A Mothers Ramblings: January 2015

Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Last Week of January

I can't believe January is over already. It has felt like a long month and with all the gloomy weather I'm finished with feeling like a drowned rat! I saw some Snowdrops in the garden this week, so I'm hoping that this means Spring is on the way and with it some blue skies. Heck I don't mind the showers if we get blue skies.

Blue Skies over Milton Keynes... just before the snow!


The Last Week of January Has Had Me


We went for a walk again, we had a good giggle when we found a gate we could limbo under, the children cheated a little obviously being half the height of us! Top Ender and I were a little cold so we made Ninja scarves from our hats and it was just a fun day together.

Top Ender and Pippa D Ninja Selfie

Good news. I did do a new Welcome To Primary drawing on the board again this week. I love my chalk pens so much.

After School on Monday, the children and I went to see the Chicks at School.

Baby Chick!

We spent Tuesday evening crafting together, and I spent most of the day in Top Ender's bedroom. Top Ender also, most importantly to her mind lost her tooth in the morning!

We didn't do much until Friday when the Children had a special guest in School who spent 45 minutes reading to each of their year groups. The gentleman was an absolute delight to listen to, and by example has taught me some brilliant ways to read books to children other than the ways I normally read books to children. I can't wait to put what I've learnt into practice!

On Friday evening we also went out for dinner paid for by the Children. We were so happy to be spending time together and of course eating some yummy food. Their will be more about this tomorrow so make sure you come back to see what we got up to!

Pizza Express at The MK dons Stadium


The Last Week of January Has Had Me Read 3 Books


I read The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37 3/4  which is an old favourite and very funny, it did give me cravings for Quiche though.

I read Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder which is again an old favourite and one I love reading as it makes me think. If you haven't read it before then do and get your children reading it too.

And lastly I read a book about James Bond films that Top Ender got at the School Library. Why? Well, she and Daddy are watching a Bond film a week and she thought this would be a good book for the two of them to read together. Which it has been. I however had to read it so that I could understand half the questions she's asking me as I'm not the worlds biggest Bond fan!

The Last Week of January Has Had Me Crafting


Things for Valentines Day (Post coming up next week I swear!) and for Chinese New Year thanks to my status as a Bostik Family Blogger being renewed for another year.

The children and I were also making some paper crafts as BB got a brilliant book from the library that was heavier than he is.

The Last Week of January Has Had Me Decluttering


Top Ender's bedroom. Honestly I did such a good job on her room that the bin men nearly put their backs out putting our rubbish and recycling on the lorry! Here are a few pictures to show you what a difference has been made. I should have taken one of the bin bags waiting to be collected, but honestly it was a scary sight!

So that's really what I've been up to. I'm sure there was more, but I just can't remember!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Thursday Night Walk - Wordless Wednesday

Bench in the Dark

Big Boy was at Beavers and I went for a walk. If I told you that it was pitch black and the only reason you could see this bench is because of the camera flash would you believe me?

It was so dark and cold I swear I burnt more calories jumping because thinking the bogey man was going to get me than the actual walk burnt!

Don't forget to comment if you link up!


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Baby Chicks!

The Reception Class at School have had some Baby Chicks (they were eggs first!) in the classroom for the past couple of weeks and all the children in the School have been invited down to see the chicks and as always the Parents have been invited in too. 

In fact everytime I have walked pass the Reception playground Miss Charles* has invited me into come meet the newest School residents... well we're only borrowing them, they'll be returned to their original owners soon and Miss Charles has reminded everyone that she counts the Chicks each night and after each visit to ensure that the Chicks aren't being kidnapped by eager School Children or staff or parents. 

I have no idea why she looked at me when she said that.

This evening, after School Top Ender, Big Boy and I went to visit with the Chicks as we had heard a rumour that visitors were being allowed to hold the chicks.

Sure enough when we got there Miss Charles showed us how to hold the chicks. Top Ender was first, and cuddled up with an adorable little Chick that for now we're calling Googley (and Top Ender is glad she held him after another little boy as it pooped on him) for no other reason than that's what Top Ender decided the chick should be called!

Top Ender holding a Little Baby Chick

Top Ender holding a Little Baby Chick

Next Big Boy got to hold a Chick, whom we are calling Fluff. Big Boy was a little nervous and so Miss Charles, kindly showed him how to sit the little chick on his hand, but made sure that she kept her hands close by incase BB needed to put the Chick down more quickly than we were expecting.

Big Boy holding a Little Baby Chick

Big Boy holding a Little Baby Chick

As you can see both Big Boy and Top Ender were delighted with their up close encounter with the Chicks and it has renewed my enthusiasm for keeping Chickens in the garden...

The Chicks in their little hutch, being live broadcasted over the internet

For now though, I'll content myself watching the little Chicks on the webcam, well until they aren't at School anymore and then I'll find a new webcam to watch!

*Not the Teacher's real name, protect the innocent and all that.

Monday, 26 January 2015

National Chocolate Week, Rangemaster, Ruined Cake Pops, Chocolate Lollipops and err Me

I have one of the best cookers in the world, I have a rangemaster and it's one of the few things in my kitchen that I take pride in. Although, I do hate cleaning it and so I guess I don't take that much pride in it...

Anyhoo.

When Aga Rangemaster asked if I'd like to make some cake pops to celebrate both National Chocolate Week and Aga Rangemaster and they'd supply everything I needed I was like YES! As one thing I know I can make with my eyes closed is cake, especially if I use my right hand oven instead of the left hand oven (it runs a little hotter).

So the ingredients arrived and I made my cake as per the recipe that was sent to me.

And err forgot about it for a couple of days and it went all hard and horrid.

So I remade the cake.

And a cat ate it.

So I remade the cake.

And I burnt it.

So I remade the cake.

Look, basically after about the tenth time of remaking the cake I gave up. It seemed that the recipe and ingredients were against me and I just couldn't face it anymore. Plus I'd run out of flour and eggs.

And then for ages I didn't do anything about it and what seemed like everyday the children were asking me when they were going to get their cake pops. What could I do?

CHOCOLATE LOLLIES!

Yup, I just melted some chocolate, in a bowl over a pan of water (the old ways are the best ways) and then dripped the melted chocolate into a circle on some greaseproof paper.

I stuck in a lolly stick into each circle and got confused over how many I did (I thought I did eight, but counted seven when I put in the sticks in and recounted to make eight!), added some chocolate over the top of the stick so that the lolly stick wouldn't come free in the first bite and then decorated the circles with sprinkles before putting them in the fridge to set.

After about ten minutes I went to check the lollies. They weren't set.

I was starting to worry, surely these lollies weren't going to go the way of the cake pops?!

The next morning I checked again. Perfectly solid chocolate lollies. One of each kind for the children, Daddy and I.

Homemade Chocolate Lollipops

So there you go, we did get to celebrate National Chocolate week, just not during the actual week, or with cake pops!

I was sent the ingredients to make the cake pops but made chocolate lollies instead!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Family Savings - End of Week Four

I have to admit that when we started this Family Saving plan I didn't think we were going to do it. I didn't think that Top Ender and Big Boy were really selfless enough to give up their pocket money for a family treat, despite it being their idea, and I didn't think that we would get more than the £40 that we had planned to save.  And yet already we are ahead of our goal!

Our Piggy Bank with our increasing Savings

This week, Big Boy wanted to buy a new Skylander character to add to his ever increasing collection. He had £20 in his wallet and the character he needed was £15 and so he decided to add his £5 to the piggy bank. He voluntarily added £5! I had £15 in my wallet that I wasn't quite sure where it came from, so I added that to the piggy and suddenly our meal out at the end of the month is fast becoming a banquet!

So yesterday was the day we were supposed to see Big Boy add his fourth £2 to the pot and as he had already added £5 to the piggy bank, I figured that he wasn't going to add any more but he did and added an additional £2 meaning we were now at £69! I couldn't resist adding another £1 to the pot because I didn't want it to be uneven and I happened to have a £1 coin in my purse, we're up to a grand total of £70 with just one week to go until we're supposed to have completed our savings challenge.

I wonder if we could double the amount we hoped to save and have two family meals out?!

We were challenged to do this by Family Investments, we could win a family day out but we're just enjoying the challenge!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Third Week of January

I'm quite liking this sum up of things I'm doing each week, for a start it's helping me to actually recognise that I do do something when the children are at School and also it's making me do some more "stuff" so that I have something decent to report back to you all!

THE THIRD WEEK OF JANUARY HAS HAD ME


Well, we didn't go for our walk on Sunday as we were busy watching the film Big Hero 6, it's an amazing film and I would suggest you book tickets to go and see it now because it is BRILLIANT! At Church, I did remember to do a quick Welcome to Primary drawing on the board, but it got wiped off before I could take a picture. The point is however that I did do it!

We got new socks and some tiny Easter Eggs in our Monday bags, which the children and I LOVED and because Daddy was here on Monday (he had the day off for his Birthday) he got to see us open the bags! It was fun having Daddy around for an extra day too, even though I didn't see much of him because I was busy decluttering and he was catching up with old work colleagues and friends.

My week was punctuated with School Governor meetings, doing the dishes, washing and catching up on other household chores. I swear my life is just one big party. There was a highlight though, on the Tuesday, the children and I were walking to School super early and we got to see the sunrise together. The children were amazed that we could see it from the top of our road, unlike during the summer.

Tuesday Morning Sunrise

The week did seem a little slow, but I did make some cakes and was really surprised at how this little bit of baking made me so happy. I'm going to have to start baking on a regular basis.

I went for a walk when BB went to Beavers. Couldn't see a thing and was freezing cold the entire time but, it didn't matter because a little exercise does a lot of good right?

I spent an awful lot of time on the computer this week, sorting out my plans for the Sharing Time at Church on Sunday. I made a cute little slideshow, but I can't really show it to you as it has pictures of the children from Primary in. I can't wait to see how the children react to it in Sharing time tomorrow.

And then Friday came. I had an odd Friday where I didn't seem to get anything done but a lot of jobs did get done!

THE THIRD WEEK OF JANUARY HAS HAD ME READ 0 BOOKS


Yup ZERO.

I just wasn't in a reading mood and instead of going to bed with a book like I had been over the last couple of weeks I've instead been going to bed with a hot water bottle and sleeping. I should be finishing up my 8th book today but as I was ahead of myself I guess it all works out in the end... at least it had better!

THE THIRD WEEK OF JANUARY HAS HAD ME CRAFTING


Bookmarks!

The children and I have been having crafting time together making different things to help them out with their topic work at School. I started making a few bookmarks whilst they were busy colouring various bits and pieces and so we decided that what we'd like to do was make some bookmarks for their teachers.

Crocodile Bookmark


THE THIRD WEEK OF JANUARY HAS HAD ME DE-CLUTTERING


My bedroom.

Again.

I started on the wardrobe in my bedroom, I pulled everything on the shelves out and put them on my bed. Poor Daddy was then called up half way through the session (just as the bedroom looked at it's worse) to sort out his clothes and luckily he agreed, we sorted out his clothes and I finished putting everything else away and now the wardrobe is tidy and neat and organised!

Now I just need to lose weight so that I can get rid of all my horrid fat clothes and get some nicer normal sized clothes. I think I'd like to have a capsule wardrobe.

I also decluttered the pot next to the cooker that holds all the cooking utensils. In the time it took the kettle to boil I was done and I gave the area a clean too.


So what have you been up to this week?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Toshiba Telly

A few weeks ago whilst I was perusing Pinterest I found a brilliant idea for our Den. Well, rather I found a brilliant idea for how I would like our Den to be. Basically, I thought if we could move the game consoles from the Living Room to the Den, it would free up the TV and also allow the children a more relaxed area to game in AND I'd be in a better position to monitor what was going on. I showed the picture to Daddy, who thought it was a great idea, so much so that he told Top Ender and Big Boy that we were going ahead with it, before I had even decided that this was what I wanted!

At roughly the same time Toshiba got in contact with me and asked if I'd like to borrow one of their TV's over Christmas. Daddy and I didn't really need a new TV in the Living room, as after our TV caught fire in the Summer (the same weekend, our car ran out of petrol on the way home from my Birthday Meal out and our bed collapsed in the middle of the night!) we got a fairly snazzy one... however we did need one in the den so we could trial if having the game systems in the Den would work for us as a family!

So the TV was delivered. It was actually delivered the day I was so poorly that I couldn't even get out of bed so Daddy decided to install it in the Den for me. I was little worried that it was going to be too big for the Den, but as we used it with the PC, the games consoles and I curled up on the den sofa to watch back to back episodes of all seasons of Friends and the Harry Potter movies we realised that it wasn't too big... in fact it was the perfect size!

The Toshiba Telly in the Den

Daddy had a couple of weeks off over Christmas and so my usual spot of sitting on the PC between chores was taken up by Daddy, who was occasionally signing into work to check on emails and sort out a few little issues etc. Not all of the consoles were moved into the den (the Wii U stayed on the main TV because I use it for Wii fit and I need space to swing my arms about and the like) and so when I couldn't use the main TV I found that I ended up sitting in the den when the children weren't playing on the consoles that we had set up there.

If I wasn't using the PC, I would watch something on TV that the children weren't interested in or throw on a video (well DVD). I even managed to work out how to use the catch up services to watch a couple of shows I'd missed out on over the Christmas period. Even when the Missionaries came round for dinner, they had wanted to share a video with us and so I simply just ran Youtube on my phone and told the app to run the video on the Toshiba TV, much simpler than having to load up youtube on the TV and find the video to run. It was exactly as we had originally intended the den to be used and all I'd needed was a larger TV and one that was Smart too. Who knew?!

So now I'm saving up for a Toshiba L7 Smart TV in the den and I have a feeling the children and I are going to be fighting over who gets to use it when!

We were sent the TV and DVD player to play with over Christmas. We were also sent a hamper which had some cool mugs, some DVD's and the onesie which I took a picture of me wearing and told you all not to share all over the internet!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Big Hero 6 - A Movie #Review #MeetBaymax

Daddy often jokes with me that he can't ever tell me anything because I always know it before him. For the most part this is true, although Daddy does often get the children and I to watch movie trailers for films that are coming out two or three years in the future so I don't know what he's complaining about. When he first showed us the teaser trailer for Big Hero 6 I was interested, but a little confused. I wasn't sure what the film would be about, but I did know that it was going to be fun.

I knew a fair bit about the plot of Big Hero 6 because of the trailers that Daddy had shown us and because of my own internet investigating and I knew that in the film the main character (Hero) has already suffered a lost, where his parents have died leaving him and his older brother in the care of their Aunt. There goes on to be a further loss when Hero's brother dies. The thing is, the film isn't actually all doom and gloom. There are a couple of rather brilliant moments where the film has been quite serious and suddenly the mood is lifted but in a way that is believable to the story and character developments.

Baymax holding the furry baby aka a cat © 2014 Disney

I'm so scared that I'm going to give away a major part of the plot that I'm scared to write any more of the story down, there are other websites available on the internet that will provide you with the full synopsis of the film if that is what you are interested in. What I will say is that Big Hero 6 is amazing and is going to be one of our families most loved films. Top Ender and Big Boy are both already requesting that we go to the cinema again to see it, although as it's not out until January 30th, they have a few days to wait!

Oh and I so want a Baymax for the family... he looks quite fun and rather handy to have around especially when you're hurt.


We were given tickets to see a premier of the film.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Second Week of January

I still can't remember if historically overall  I like January. The last two weeks however have been overall rather fab, even if I did have the Migraine from hell and nearly kill myself by eating half cooked chicken!

The Second Week of January has had me


Well, not doing a lot really. We went to a Baptism on the Saturday and after a family walk Sunday morning (two weeks in a row! Yay us!) and our usual Church meetings we had a ward Munch and Mingle, I took Slow Cooker Rice Pudding in the end and got a lot of compliments. I didn't really take a lot of photographs, but I did sneak a quick snap of the drawing I made on one of the Primary blackboards to welcome the children to Primary. I'm hoping that I might be able to do a different drawing each Sunday, but I know me and I'm not sure that I'll keep it up!

Welcome to Primary Chalk drawing

Maybe I'll just endeavour to make sure I write Welcome to Primary each week!

On the Monday I was doing some secret things (I let you know as soon as I can!) and so the pictures being updated to Instagram were few and far between... in fact I think I only took two pictures that day one of my socks and the other of our Monday bags!

Monday Bags awaiting their pick up

The rest of the week seemed to pass in a bit of a blur. A combination of school runs, preparing for Daddy's birthday and normal "what on earth is it that I've done with my time I swear I was only just on the School run" things.

The Second Week of January has had me read 5 books


Yes, this does mean that I'm ahead of my schedule of reading 1 book every 3 days, but a couple of the books I have planned to read this year are L-O-N-G and so I need to get ahead so that I "catch up" when I read those ones. Anyway this week I read.

The year of taking chances by Lucy Diamond

I like books like this, because you don't have to think about what you are reading. There is no complicated storyline or serious undertones however this one also made me slightly depressed as all three heroines in the story found their talent and I've not got one. Sob.

The Lunar Chronicles - Cinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer (No not the CEO of Yahoo or the writer of Twilight and The Host)

I know these are YA fiction and I did originally get them for Top Ender as I figured she'd love them and I was right! She read them so quickly that I didn't get a chance to read them before she did, but I couldn't put them down either so I forgave her.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

Yeah, I might have read this wishing for snow and suddenly wishing there was no snow as I read on!

The Second Week of January has had me crafting


I've been carrying on with my secret projects, I should be posting this week, if not next and I hope it'll be worth the wait!

I've also painted some lunch boxes with chalk paint. I was thinking it would be cool to have a lunch box that I could write messages on (with my new chalk pens!) for the children and so just sat one evening and painted some that I'd been sent ages ago that I would have thrown out otherwise.

The Second week of January has had me de-cluttering


I stayed in the kitchen and did two drawers under my central table, I still have the baskets above all of the units and all my cooking equipment to go through, the bin men and charity shops won't know what's hit them.

I thought I'd make a start on the cupboard under the stairs as it had got to the point where everything was just being shoved in and not daring to breathe as we walked past it in case the door popped open! I set my timer for ten minutes, pulled everything out, put everything into categories of where it should actually go or if it was rubbish or whatever else it should be and ended up actually sorting out the whole thing and putting everything away in the ten minutes I'd allocated for pulling everything out of the cupboard!


I'm pretty sure that the second week of January has been pretty fantastic.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Monday Bags And What They Are!

The other day I posted a picture on Instagram and said that the "Monday bags are filled ready for when the children wake up. I have no idea what is in them this week." and it generated a lot of questions.. mainly What on earth are Monday bags, Where can I get a Monday bag and what was in your Monday bag?!

So to explain, I need to go back to Christmas Day.

This year Daddy had made the normal gift for me (Mr Tea Towel Cat) and had also made a second gift, which was for Top Ender, Big Boy and I to share. When we got to the gift for us to share we opened it up to find three bags inside. We looked to Daddy who explained that he'd made these three bags (again from tea towels) for us to be used as Monday bags.

Monday Bags at the top of the Stairs

It was a gift for us, but also for him. You see, Daddy decided that what he wanted to do every Monday when he left the children and I at home was to leave us something that would remind us of him and during the week, whilst he was away he wanted to think of us by finding or making a great gift.

The first week, Daddy put notebooks into the children's bags and naughtily he put some of my favourite chocolate covered nuts in my bag (only six of them so I had them one a day). The second week, Daddy gave the children Tea Towel Kittens and a tube of cake. No, seriously it was a tube of cake and it was totally the best cake I've ever had.

Someone really needs to remind Daddy I'm on a diet.

And as the children aren't awake yet today we don't know what's in the bag today yet all we do know is that Daddy loves us and we love him!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Family Savings - End of Week Three

When my Mum came round this week, she was asking about the Piggy Bank that was sitting on the Fireplace and how much was in it. My Mum knew all about the challenge Family Investments had set us and what the children had decided to save up for and how Daddy and I had decided to double the initial goal by putting in £10 each too. Whilst my Mum was sitting there and talking about the savings, Top Ender decided to put an extra £5 in the Piggy Bank and then she started giving Daddy the evil eye, because he still hadn't put in the rest of his £10 and still owed the pot £7 and as Top Ender had already put £15 in the piggy bank she wanted to make sure that Daddy coughed up too.

Piggy Bank with our Savings in

So Daddy went to the cashpoint and got £10 out. He had intended to remove £3 and put the £10 in the pot, but after a quick explanation by Top Ender about how adding extra money to the pot just helps everyone he said he felt a bit guilty and so ended up putting in the £10 and leaving the £3 in too.

This of course left Big Boy, who without hesitation added his third £2 to the pot, because he realised after last week that if he didn't he might miss out on going to a restaurant with us and having some family fun.

Big Boy has also been playing with the Pocket Money Calculator from Family Investments, which he has loved as he likes being told how much money he could save up each month if he doesn't spend anything, or if he spends everything!

Pocket Money Calculator from Family Savings

Maybe they should do the same for me, just with how much I need to save up to buy my favourite things, Dr Pepper, Chocolate and Books!

So at the end of week 3 we're up to a grand total of £47. Not bad considering we were only supposed to save up £40!

We were sent the Piggy Bank.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Breakfast Pastry Treats - Jus Rol #Review

Once a week, I give the children a special breakfast. Sometimes it's presented to them on trays whilst they are in bed, other times it's laid out on the table in the living room, or sometimes they get to eat on the sofa and watch some cartoons on TV. I figured, that with all the stresses that they are under on a daily basis (nothing major, just normal 11 year old girl and 6 year old boy stress) they deserve a bit of pampering and as they do take after me in a few ways, giving them a pastry treat for breakfast works out well for all of us. Jus Rol, sent me some vouchers to buy some of their us Bake it Fresh products, the range includes Apple Danishes, Croissants, Focaccia & Garlic Pizza Bread... admittedly the last two aren't something I've yet served the children for breakfast but may have had myself a few times in the past.

Jus Rol Bake It Fresh Apple Danish

I took BB with me to the Supermarket, I'm not sure where Top Ender was or why she didn't come, but it meant that Big Boy got to pick what I used the vouchers on. A pack of Apple Danishes and Cinnamon Swirls were quickly added to the basket and along with some Mummy Orange Juice (it's just what they call a fruit juice they like), some fruit and a few other bits and pieces that we needed (probably loo roll, we always need loo roll) we were done and back on our way home. The Cinnamon Swirls and Apple Danishes unsurprisingly weren't Top Ender or Big Boy's favourite breakfast treats. I didn't mind as it meant I got to eat the rest of the batch although you know that diet I'm on? Yeah, breakfast pastries aren't supposed to be included in that.


Jus Rol Bake It Fresh Cinnamon Swirl

The next week when I went to the supermarket, I picked up some Jus Rol Bake It Fresh Pain Au Chocolat and Croissants. These two I knew the children would like and sure enough when treat day rolled round and I presented the children with just out the oven Pain Au Chocolate they were rather blissed out.

Big Boy eating a Jus Rol Bake It Fresh Pain Au Chocolat

So the children think that I'm fantastically clever for putting together brilliant breakfasts for them, little do they realise that it takes all of two minutes to open the Jus Rol packs and prepare the pastries for baking and then whilst they are in the oven all I need to do is chop up some fruit and pour out a couple of glasses of orange juice... heck, I don't mind taking the credit and I'm sure Jus Rol don't mind me taking all the credit either!

We were given a voucher which paid for our initial Jus Rol purchase. The ones I've made after that have come out of my budget.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Family Savings, A Meal Out - The End Of Week Two

When Family Investments asked us to save up for something and the children decided on a meal out, I quickly deposited £10 into the Piggy Bank. The sight of it, soon prompted Top Ender to go get her wallet and she also decided to put her £10 share of the total we were hoping to save into the Piggy bank in one solid lump because she had the cash and she thought that if she put in a lump sum to start with she could possibly add more cash over the next few weeks, as I had said I would add change as and when I could too.

Piggy Bank

After a few pointed stares and awkward silences between Daddy and I, Daddy went and got his wallet and threw in a few loose pound coins (£3) that he had in his wallet. Finally we were well on the way to our £40 target. Big Boy however wasn't sure about the planned savings all of a sudden. In fact Big Boy refused to put any cash in.

"I need my money!" he exclaimed

Big Boy needed his money for buying Skylanders Traps and apparently he doesn't really like having meals out, so he didn't mind if he didn't go with us. I played along for a little.

"Who will look after you whilst the rest of your family go out for a meal?" I asked
Big Boy thought for a while. "Well, I suppose I could go. For a little while." he said
"Do you think it's fair that we pay and you don't?" I asked
"Hmm. Well, how about I try to put some money in?" he asked

I agreed, knowing that it was really just a way of Big Boy taking back control and deciding that he wanted to take part but just on his own terms. I gave Big Boy the Savings Planner and filled out the details for him. Suddenly Big Boy couldn't stop checking the money in the Piggy and he loved seeing it slowly increasing!

Big Boy and the Savings Planner

So at the end of week 2 we're up to a grand total of £27. Not bad eh?

We got the planner, the piggy bank and we could wind a family day out.

Friday, 9 January 2015

The First Week of January

I can't remember if I like January.

I mean I know there are a few dates this month that I hate due to deaths in the family and various other things that one would normally associate with either incredible bad luck or cosmic timing having a really funny sense of humour but I can't remember, if overall I like or dislike the month.

So, whilst I try to remember this is what the first week of January had in store for me.

The first week of January has had me


Celebrating Top Ender's Birthday on the 3rd January. It was lovely being able to make Top Ender so happy with so little, I mean one of her gifts was a pint of milk! And yet she and I would recommend the gift every hour thing to everyone, it makes the day seem more special and fun and even though BB, Daddy and I weren't getting gifts every hour we were so excited too!

Top Ender's Birthday Cake and Candles

Exercising, by going on a morning walk after I got back from being on Three Counties Radio. It is something that we're going to hopefully do each Sunday morning, the walking that is although I wouldn't say No to being the Sunday morning presenter! It's a lot easier to go walking in the morning now as Church is in the afternoon this year, although saying that I did briefly consider buying a second house in the Milton Keynes ward area of Milton Keynes so that I could stick with Sunday morning Church.

An icy Spider Web

Eating the best sausage pie ever and it was a massive treat for the children and I. The garlic roasted carrots were some of the best vegetables I have ever had and I'm certainly going to do them again soon. We do love a Sausage pie and as I used up all the half packets of things in the fridge (bacon, onion, mushrooms) it was a great clean up of the fridge at the same time as being so delicious!

Sausage Pie and Garlic Roasted Carrots

Getting back in to a routine, with going back to School happening this week. The Children were excited to get back and catch up with friends they hadn't seen during the holidays, or in Top Ender's case hadn't skyped, emailed or text on what seems like a daily basis!

Top Ender and Big Boy on their way to School

For me one of the highlights was also that BB's teachers and teaching assistants have taken over the administration of blood tests and insulin giving at break and lunch (and at other times as needed) and so now I no longer need to go to School four times a day (once to drop off and once to pick up and then again to do his insulin at break and again at lunch) and can actually get on with doing some things at home and hopefully working from home again soon.


The first week of January has had me read three books.


One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond
Leftovers by Stella Newman
Stolen Child by Laura Elliot

I enjoyed them all but the first two made my hungry and crave pasta. And cake. I didn't give in. Well apart from a slice of Top Ender's Birthday cake. Make that two slices.

The first week of January has had me crafting.


I started a little secret project that I'll reveal in time for you to craft in time for Valentines Day.

I dyed my beloved white cardigan, which somehow got some disgusting stains on the back black. It's now a charcoal grey and I'm loving it's new look.

The first week of January has had me decluttering.


I started on the easy cupboards in the kitchen. Who knew we had so much cereal?!

I cleaned out the bathroom of junk and toys. My bathroom is so clean right now.

And so that was the first week of January for me. What did it have in store for you?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Can You Help Me With My List?

I like lists, which is why my sister got me not one, not two, but three things to make lists on this past Christmas (and the most superest bag ever). I make lists for everything. Things in the Freezer. Things in the Fridge. Things I need to sort out before the children go back to School. Things I want to do when the children are back at School. People I need to call. People I want to avoid. You know normal lists.

There is one list however that I need your help with.

I was thinking about Top Ender going out into the world as a young adult the other day. Yes, I know she is only 11, but before I know it she is going to be doing her GCSE's, A Levels and at University before starting her own career and leaving this little cocoon I've created around her and her brother. Big Boy is just four years behind and so I know that as soon as I've got over Top Ender having her own life, I'll start all over again with Big Boy... although as he pointed out earlier to me as long as I always have Wi-Fi and food in the fridge he sees no reason to leave!

Top Ender and Big Boy

Back to this list, that I need your help with.

I want to make sure that when Top Ender and Big Boy go out into the world that they are prepared. They know of course that their Daddy and I will always be here for them and if we're not that there are other family members and friends who will be, but I want them to be prepared for what life throws at them so that they can have a jolly good life and enjoy their relationships and everything else that makes up the world we live in.

I want to teach them things like;

How to make a meal or three using just the items in the pantry.

How to go grocery shopping on a tight budget.

How to plan a budget and stick to it.

How to use a washing machine.

How to hang clothes on the washing line so the peg marks don't show.

So I'd like your suggestions please on what I need to teach them to ensure that they are ready for the world. Think about what you would want your children to know before they venture out into the world or what you would have liked to have known earlier than you did.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Top Ender's 11th Birthday

It's Top Ender's 11th Birthday today.

I almost can't believe that it has been 11 years since I first held her in my arms. Time really does fly, although I'm sure if I were to ask Top Ender she'd let me know that the last 11 years have dragged by and she should be 18 already.

Top Ender looking 18

We started the day as normal. The Birthday pillowcase was slipped onto her pillow last night.

Top Ender's Birthday Pillowcase

Her bedroom door was taped up with pink crepe paper trails (with gap at the bottom, as the children have decided in recent years that they like to leave it up until they go to bed).

Top Ender's Birthday Door

Then things got different.

This year, we decided to spread the birthday gifts across the day. Instead of Top Ender and Big Boy pilling on to mine and Daddy's bed first thing and opening all the gifts in a flurry of activity, we decided that this year Top Ender would get her gifts at 11 minutes past each hour. Somehow everyone managed to sleep in past 8:30am, and so it was almost 9am before Top Ender and Big Boy sat on our bed. Top Ender opened her cards from us and a few other friends and family members, before opening the 8:11am gift of Pop Tarts. A few minutes later and the clock showed it was 9:11 and Top Ender opened her Second gift, a new top that she had picked out herself. 10:11 found her opening a Sailor Moon themed gift, a plush figure and a keyring and phone charms.

Top Ender's Sailor Moon Plush

11:11 had her new found obsession with the Tesco GoGo range fuelled a little more and a visit from her Nanny to open yet more gifts (and a Top which Top Ender had professed to love yesterday but they didn't have her size but Nanny managed to get one!) and cards. Lunch had Daddy going out in the rain as Top Ender had decided that today we were to all eat Burger King (we get to decide what we eat on our birthday) and he made it back just in time to see her open her 12:11 gift, a bottle of her favourite drink Oasis.

Top Ender surrounded by gifts on her 11th birthday

The rest of Top Ender's gifts are still secret, I'm sure some of them will pop up on Instagram during the day, or maybe I'll update this post later tonight.

I just wanted to say in a public place however...

Top Ender we love you so much and are so very proud of you.

Thank you for being such a beautiful, loving and kind girl and for all that you do for your friends and family that may at times seem like they are unappreciated. Trust me, the little things that you do speak volumes about the kind of adult you are going to be and already your Daddy and I know that we did one thing right in our lives in helping to create you and that one day you're going to make the world a better place.

Top Ender in a party dress

I know that you've been thinking a lot about your future and what career path you will find yourself going down, but don't be in too much of a hurry to grow up. Being an adult is good, you'll find that out for yourself but being a child surrounded by friends and family who only want what's best for you?

Trust me that is amazing, just like you.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

What's In Your Cupboard?

Back last year, I was talking about stock cupboard basics with some friends and different family members. We'd each been stocking up on different things that were essential to our families for various meals over the Christmas period and along with looking at some of the essential ranges from some of the different supermarkets it got me to thinking, what exactly is essential? So, seeing as I had some time over the Christmas break I decided to have a good sort out of my cupboards, freezer and fridge and check what I had and see what I needed to stock up on from things I thought were essential and normally keep in to use for the base of meals and to turn basic meals into something special!

For me Pasta, Rice, a good variety of Herbs, Salt and Pepper, Gravy Powder, Baked Beans, other Canned Beans, Tinned Tomatoes, Stock Cubes, Yeast, Flour (both self raising and plain and both Gluten free and Regular), Oats, Sugar (White and Brown), Dried Fruits, Cocoa Powder, Tuna, Potato Flakes (Yes, I mean instant mash) and Olive Oil are my essentials in the cupboard.

Inside my cupboard

Frozen Vegetables, Frozen Berries, Diced Onion, Sliced Peppers, Sliced Mushrooms, and various frozen Meats and Fish are my essentials in the freezer. There always tends to be one potato type product too, it might be Hash Browns, or Chips or Croquettes or anything that will get me out of a bind and give a quick carb to a meal!

I also keep home made Soup, Bagels and Muffins in the freezer and during term time there is normally a range of frozen Sandwiches and home made Sausage Rolls and Cake ready to be grabbed and defrost whilst acting as a cold pack in a lunch bag. There is also, of course, a range of lollies, a small amount of ice cream and other puddings along with a frozen pack of bread and a frozen pint of milk in the freezer for emergencies! What do you mean puddings aren't emergencies?!

My fridge tends to be stocked with Cheese, Butter, Milk, Tomato Paste, Garlic Paste, Carrots, Cucumber, Bacon, Mustard, Various Sauces (Sweet Chilli, BBQ etc), Eggs, plenty of Drinks for BB Hot Dogs and sliced Ham. You can also normally find tortilla wraps and at least half a packet of cherry tomatoes as I keep trying to get the children to like them, but it's not working yet!

Of course this isn't the sum total of what you will find in my cupboards, fridge or freezer, these are just the thing I tend to keep on hand so that I can jazz up meals and whip up something when guests arrive that I'm not expecting!

What do you keep in your cupboards?