A Letter To My Kids Now I’m Working Full Time

I had a sense of Déjà vu as we sat down to talk. Remembering my Mum (Nana) doing the same thing to Uncle Justin and I. She said “do you want Mummy to be home all the time or do you want treats, holidays and days out?” We went for the latter. We always had holidays to Tenby, days out to Oakwood and much more. Mum worked hard (still does). She was a single parent for a while and it must have been exhausting for her, working all day and coming home to meet our demands too.

So I told you I was going to be at work Monday to Friday from now on because the other lady I work with was leaving and the opportunity was there. Daddy and I had talked about it and decided it was a good idea because we bumble along at the moment but this would make life easier. You looked sad for a little while as I went on to explain that I was doing it for us to have more money, for a better life. A chance to have holidays and more fun days out. “Could we have a holiday?” you piped up Little Man. “Where would you like to go?” I asked. “A caravan in Porthcawl” you answered and I gave you the biggest hug because when you’re little a caravan holiday to a seaside town with a fair, arcades and icecreams of all colours is beyond your wildest dreams.

I promise I will still be there to get you ready for school, to kiss you goodbye and tell you I love you before you start the walk to school with Daddy, I may not be there to pick you up from the gate but I will still take you to gymnastics Little Lady and tut at all the other parents who, despite being British don’t understand the concept of a queue. I will make it to all your concerts and parents evenings as I always have because I love to see your little faces light up when the teacher is saying all those lovely things about you. Even though in your case Little Lady I sometimes sit there with my mouth hanging open in disbelief as they tell me how quiet you are and they barely hear a peep out of you.

I reminded myself of Nana (in a good way, not in stern get your elbows off the table way) when I set about ironing a huge pile of your uniforms in a bid to be totally organised, I would usually wing it but I’m determined to start as I mean to go on and not rush around in a panic because I can’t find anything. So far we have got ourselves in a routine that works. I still get the best cuddles when I walk through the door, play board games on the bedroom floor and get our weekends all to ourselves. I hope that as you grow up you will see that working hard is good not only to keep your head above water financially but that it gives you good self esteem too as your older brother has found now he too has a full time job. I don’t claim to be the perfect Mum by any stretch of the imagination but I have and always will, try my best. Because I love the bones of you, my little monkeys.

Mum

Monday Stumble Linky

 

Last Minute Back To School Ideas

Back to School time is upon us once more and the last minute purchase scramble is in full swing. Here I’m sharing some fab options if you’re yet to finish shopping for your littles and are looking for some inspiration.

Smiggle Says Silicone Roll Bottle £13.50 

This awesome Smiggle drinks bottle can be rolled up to take anywhere, great for lunchbags with a fold down spout, squeezy body and a handy caribiner clip to attach it to their bag. The silicone carry strap can be used to hold the rolled up bottle in place.

Smiggle Chaos Twin Zip Pencil Case £10

Rectangular soft block pencil case perfectly sized for holding all their stationery items. Features 2 zipped compartments, attractive bright colours the Smiggle logo embroidered to the front.


BRITA fill&go Active Water Bottle in Pink & Lime £12

The BRITA fill&go Active water bottle is an easy way to make sure your child is hydrated at school. At our school they ask us to bring plain water in bottles to be kept in the classroom as well as their drink in their lunchbag, which makes the Brita fill&go ideal as it can be filled up at any tap and the Microdisc filter (which lasts a month) will reduce the levels of impurities and chlorine, leaving you with fresh tasting water. It comes in lime,pink,blue and purple colourways and has a BPA free pull up/push down mouthpiece and a cap. The filters are replaceable and can be purchased separately.


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Pusheen Lunchbox Set from Find Me A Gift £7.99

This stackable bento-style lunch box set features a cute Pusheen cat illustration to the top and inner layer. The set is made up of two individually-lidded layers that clip neatly together meaning you get a small, medium and large compartments, big enough for a yummiest of packed lunches. Even better, included are a spoon and fork.


Madpax Tennis Ball Bag Pink & Green from Room To Grow £29.99 each.

These quirky bags are made to look exactly like giant tennis balls. Double padded straps and a carry handle make it cool for school along with zipped pockets, inside compartments for pens/pencils/ dinner money purse or wallet and space for a lunch box/ drink bottle. Also great for days out or sports kit, particularly great fun if you have a tennis mad child!


Personalised Patchwork Union Jack Swim/PE Bag from Born Gifted £11

This great quality bag has made of bright blue canvas outer and has a waterproof lining  and black drawstring dual cords double up as shoulder straps. It’s roomy too, making this a perfect choice for either PE kit (which is what we will use it for) or swimming kit. It can be personalised with up to 12 letters, great for ensuring their PE kit doesn’t go walkabouts from their peg. In the school holidays it can even be used for days out. I also love that these guys are an independent website. It’s easy to go for all the big chains without seeing the other options out there.


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Term Scarlett Touch Fastening School Shoe from New Brands £39.99 (Left)

Comfortable yet hardwearing and sturdy. Easy to get on and off with the velcro straps and a pretty pattern to the black leather upper. Term shoes come in half sizes which is brilliant if you struggle to get your child the right size.

 Black Boat Shoes from Dobell £29.99 (Right)

These black touch fasten shoes come with a double strap fastening for easy on and off. A padded collar for extra comfort and breathable mesh inside lining. They also have easy to clean uppers and durable soles which make them ideal for running around at school.


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Del Monte Squeezies from Asda RRP 50p

These yummy squeeezy fruit pouches are packed with vitamins and minerals and full of flavour. As every pack counts as one of your five a day there’s no worrying what they’re eating at school and with 100% fruit, no added sugar or artificial ingredients there’s only goodness involved. The caps of the pouches can even be joined together to make fun shapes once they’re done enjoying them. Perfect for fitting in their lunchbox or as a snack after school. They come in Apple/Banana/Strawberry, Apple & Mango and Apple/Strawberry/Blueberry flavours.

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Sheaffer Star Wars Stationery from £10

With a Darth Vader roller ball pen, Yoda pencil case and journal these are the perfect choice for any Star Wars fan big or small. The pencil case is large enough to fit all the essential school items or pens and pencils for after school colouring fun. A brilliant journal for writing about your day, remembering the all important homework or doodling your favourite Star Wars character in. Han Solo for me 😉

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*Some of the items featured were provided free for the purposes of this post however all opinions remain honest and my own*

Back To School Labels With Petit Fernand

One thing that can be a huge headache for Back to School is labelling every individual item to ensure that errant ones are returned to their owner. The office at our school has a huge box of sad looking lost property, unclaimed & unloved even though they probably cost the parents a small fortune when new. This is where Petit Fernand comes in. We were offered the chance to try out some of their clothing/item labels to see what we thought.

Ordering was particularly easy, choose which type of labels you need, customise with colours and a little picture, as you will see my children chose game controller/dinosaur (Little Man) and cupcake/lolly (Little Lady). They are made in France and dispatched within 48 hours with free delivery.

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The labels come in a hand ‘cheque-book’ style which is great as it means they are all together and easily storable if you don’t use them all at once.

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Each page has it’s own heading at the end so you know which labels are which. We had:

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I used the Stick-On Item Labels for their lunchboxes (you’d never guess their favourite colours are green and pink would you?) They could also be used for bags, pencil cases, bottles etc. They are dishwasher/microwave safe and should be allowed 24 hours before use.

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The Stick-On Clothing labels need to be applied directly to the label on the item rather than direct to the fabric as it would not stay put otherwise and you need to allow 24 hours before wearing or washing after applying. Iron-on labels are also available.

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The Stick-On Shoe labels come in 2 parts, the sticker with the name on and then a transparent protective layer that goes on top. These are perfect for P.E day as I have heard of kids going home with the wrong shoes in the wrong size (bless). These stickers mean there’s no confusion. Again they should be allowed 24 hours before wear.

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Inside the back/front cover of the book are instructions on how to apply the labels and some care tips just to make things extra easy. There is also an extra page of fun stickers for the little ones to play with. We shall say no more about me opening the door to a visitor with a coconut stuck to my chest.

Overall I loved these labels, they make life so much easier. As I chose the non-iron ones I literally just had to sit there and stick a few stickers on the items I wanted labelled. It took a matter of minutes once I’d gathered all the items together.

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*we were gifted the labels for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

Sugar Free Fairy Cakes With Natvia

With sugar being in the media as a top bad guy most of the time it’s great to know there are choices and that you can have alternatives. Natvia is made from Stevia and Erythritol which makes it a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar. We have been sent some Natvia products to try out and see what we thought. We were sent:

Natvia Sweetener 

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Natvia Sweetener Tablets

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Myself and the children decided we’d have a go at making some cakes as they love them and we wanted to see how they would compare. I’m always looking for different snacks I can give them – especially whilst they’ve been off school for the holidays and ask umpteen times a day. But am also aware of high sugar/salt content in most of them.

When I was young I was fascinated watching my Mum make cakes without a recipe and when I asked how she knew she told me always remember 8,8,8. As in, 8 oz of the dry goods that go into the cake. So that’s how I decided to go with this. As Natvia is spoon for spoon the same sweetness as sugar we used the same amount as we normally would but you could play around with the amounts to suit your own taste. You could also exchange the butter for a lighter version if you wanted to make these even less naughty for weight loss. For our fairy cakes we used:

Ingredients (makes 24 small cakes) 

225g (8 oz) butter
225g (8 oz) Natvia
225g (8 oz) self raising flour
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line a cake tins with cake cases 
Cream the butter and Natvia together and add the vanilla essence
Add the eggs one at a time
Fold in the flour
My daughter also added a few drops of red food colouring just because she likes to!
Bake for 10-12 mins (our oven is fan assisted) or until golden brown 

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The mix looked exactly as you would expect it to and the cakes looked no different to a cake baked with sugar, so if you wanted to do these without telling the kids in my opinion they wouldn’t know the difference. Because there are no chemicals involved, only natural ingredients it doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste you come to expect from something that isn’t real sugar. My kids said they tasted exactly the same so that’s a win in my eyes!

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Some other great facts about Natvia:

  • 100% naturally sourced
  • 0 calories
  • Zero impact on blood sugar levels
  • Great for cooking and baking
  • Nothing artificial included
  • Tooth friendly
  • Fructose free
  • Suitable for diabetics and vegetarians
  • Can help slimming or weight control as part of a calorie controlled diet
  • Available to buy from Tesco, Ocado and Wholefoods Market

Are you trying to go sugar free? What would you have a go at making?

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*We were sent the items for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

Yeti In My Spaghetti Review

Yeti in my Spaghetti from University Games is a great game for kids that we were sent to have some fun with. It comes in a brightly coloured box with the Yeti itself through a plastic covered hole to the front.

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The best part about this game is that there is literally no messing about to set up. There are only 3 parts to it, all made from plastic:

  • Spaghetti Bowl
  • Spaghetti
  • Yeti

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The only other thing in the box is the instructions. No bored whinging while you set up a million pieces and no tiny bits to lose that render the game unplayable if lost.

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All you need to do is criss cross the spaghetti across the top of the bowl and balance the Yeti on top. Then the idea of the game is to take it in  turns to carefully pull away the squiggly spaghetti sticks from the bowl being careful not to let the yeti balancing on top fall into the bowl. The player who makes the yeti fall is the loser!

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My children – aged 8 & 5 really enjoyed playing it, it was good fun to watch them try not to pick that one stick that would make the Yeti drop or see them take a risky move and get away with it! It’s a great game for keeping the kids busy for a while during the holidays, especially on rainy days. It’s not hugely involved game so it doesn’t last ages, which I felt is a good thing as there’s less chance for arguments and sulking!

  • Ages 4+.
  • For 2+ players.
  • RRP: £19.99 available from Amazon

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*We were gifted the game for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*