Tuesday, 28 April 2015

When Life Hits a Fart Dump, er, I Mean Speed Bump, with Lebara!

I just did a quick survey amongst my friends about what they would miss most if they lived abroad. For me, it would probably be tea. No one does tea quite like the British. Some of the answers that came up though, included Marmite, Chocolate Fingers, Heinz Beans and Oxo! Home comforts are so important to relieve homesickness and inject a sense of familiarity into a new routine. What else would we miss? Our Health Service, maybe? How about British television? An obvious one would be the English language in general. The language barrier can prove difficult to navigate and the results can be hilarious! Here are some of my favourite examples of innocent English that doesn't translate well abroad.
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Making Teaching Times Tables Fun!

Homemade flash cardsMultiplication is very, very dull. If you are of a certain age, you will remember those endless, repetitive lessons at school, chanting times tables over and over again. Thankfully, lessons have improved somewhat since then and these days all good schools move mountains to make learning a bit more interesting. How can we help at home, though? I know that, at my son's Parent's Evenings, the two most recommended areas to work on at home are reading and times tables. Reading is relatively easy, but I have always found tables difficult to teach. It's just... so... boring! Ok, I'll admit, Maths isn't really my thing, but it has to be done. So, I did the only thing I could do, in the face of an apathy uprising from my son, introduced chocolate!
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Monday, 27 April 2015

The Writing on the Wall: Thoughts on the General Election

Southmead Hospital
It really makes me cross that the General Election is the only time when I feel like I have a voice concerning the important matters affecting this country. I keep hearing about how I can make a difference with my vote, how if I don't vote, I won't be able to help change things, but I am not sure if it's enough. The cross on the paper is all very well, but are the candidates really aware of what I am saying with my vote? I have been wishing for some time that I had a medium to be heard, some way to make the government listen to how life is on this side of the fence. It's not that I think I am more important than anyone else, the opposite in fact. It's not about me.
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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Win a Real Leather iPad Air Folio Case from Xqisit

Last week we gave away a tablet case for children, so this week, it's one for the grown ups! This week's giveaway is an exquisite (see what I did there?!)  iPad Air case, featuring Sleep Mode. It's in a lovely leather colour, so the boys don't feel left out. Make your way through the Rafflecopter doofah and lots of luck to you!
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Friday, 24 April 2015

Time for Tea with Teatulia


We love tea parties in our house. It might be old fashioned and a little bit daft, but it's actually really fun, and doesn't have to cost much. You can make your own cakes or pastries, which is a fun activity for children, and then have a proper teapot and cups and saucers, a la Downton Abbey. We even have a cake stand. Oh yes. In the summer this becomes an outdoor activity, like a tiny garden party with just a few select guests. My daughter is a big tea fan and a bit of a connoisseur, so I thought it only right that she contributed to this review of a selection of teas from Teatulia. 

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Robert Downey Jr; A Beacon of Hope!

Robert Downey JrI don't generally get involved in celebrities. I don't read shiny magazines and I could not name two characters from TOWIE if my life depended on it. I just don't care. I'm sure they are lovely people, but I'm just not that interested in other people's lives. I also don't take a lot of notice of what I read in the papers. Let's face it, a lot of it is probably made up and I can't help thinking that people like Jordan, Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, whoever is making this week's headlines, are just people trying to raise a family. Probably with the same issues and parent-worries that the rest of us have. Something happened yesterday, though, that made me want to write this post and I hope you will go on to see why it matters so much to me.
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Caramelised Carrots Make Veg Fun!


This caramelised carrot recipe is very simple to make, using just a few ingredients, and is always really popular with children, due to the sweetness. Happily, it offers a good way to get vegetables into even the most reluctant vegetable consumer. However, as they do contain sugar, they are not the healthiest of vegetable options, so are probably best reserved for a delicious occasional treat. They do get children used to the texture of vegetables though, so might be one to consider if you are in possession of a really committed fussy eater.


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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Review: Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man Arc FX Armour Gloves


As part of L's new Youtube venture, The Children Game, he would like to show you what he bought with his birthday money. These Iron Man gloves form part of a range of merchandise for the new Avengers: Age of Ultron film and are suitable from age five and upwards. Retailing at £22.99, the gloves are currently on offer at Tesco for £17.25. They are made of a robust, rubbery material, which I think has a lot more strength to it than some of the previous efforts that have worn out fairly quickly. It also creates an added element of realism, because it looks much more authentic.

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Friday, 17 April 2015

Win a Doodles Tablet Case!




One for the little ones today! You could win a unisex 6-8" tablet case, featuring a cheeky alien character. Set also includes in-ear headphones and luggage tag. REALLY handy for spotting your child's bag from a distance! Enter using the Rafflecopter doodah, but I promise it's not too arduous!


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My Captured Moment; Downy Duckling Days!

Ducklings with mother on a lake.
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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Bringing Up Teenagers

Children walking away There is no right or wrong...

This is not a how-to guide. I honestly don't think it would matter how many teenagers you brought up, you will never become an expert. Everyone is different, including children and young adults. You will not get it right all the time. Fact. You might as well accept it now. There is no room for perfection in any aspect of parenthood, but luckily, children don't actually care about perfection, they care about happiness and security. The good news is, you can give them that without being an expert, you just need to walk a mile in their stinky trainers now and again.
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Friday, 10 April 2015

Bristol Bits: M Shed



Checking out the working traffic lightM Shed is somewhere we've been planning to go to for a while, but just haven't got around to it. The easiest way to travel into Bristol is by bus, but it's no fun if the weather is bad, so we haven't been into the city for a little while now. Hopefully, this is the first of many sunnier jaunts! Although it's a great indoor activity, M Shed has some outside exhibits, so it does help to have the weather on your side. There are a wealth of hands-on exhibits within, though, and something to interest everybody. This place really brings local history to life. It's very large, and very free, so you can while away as long as you like walking around, experiancing a bygone age. 
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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Why Pay More for Hot Chocolate?

Two Hot Chocolate Mugs
I recently ran out of hot chocolate and was surprised to find out just how easy it is to make a really delicious hot chocolate, using just milk, sugar and Cocoa. This particularly appealed to me, because I don't get on well with dairy and try to avoid it if I can. The shop-bought hot chocolate I was used to was one you made with water, so the milk was already added. Not only does this mean you have to suffer the dairy content, but also, like all processed foods, there are lots of other ingredients too that aren't strictly necessary. Take this example from Tesco. This is a list of ingredients for their Value hot chocolate;
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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Space Age Strawberries; Making Fruit Exciting for Children!

A Strawberry Sprayed SIlverMy daughter has been the big sister to a fussy eating younger brother for years and during that time she has come up with lots of fun ways to encourage him to try new foods. I don't know why she is so good at it, I think it's partly the imagination of youth and partly the fact that she is close enough in age to him to still remember what it was like to be suspicious of food! Her latest invention is a novel way to jazz up some strawberries. This simple recipe makes them more appealing to little, and bigger, picky eaters and it involves a product I am a huge fan of. It's not especially cheap, contrary to my normal food posts, but it does last a long time, as a little goes a long way. Dr Oetker Shimmer Spray is so much fun, your food will never be the same again! 
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Monday, 6 April 2015

A Picture Says a Thousand Words



I really want to do more with my photography. I feel the blog would benefit from better quality photos and I actually really enjoy taking them. I also need an excuse to walk more, as it's one of the best exercises for me and it's free! If you are going to walk and you don't have anyone to go with, I think it helps to have a prop. Dogs are great, but a bit of a commitment. After all, they are for life, not just for walkies. So, the next best thing is a camera. I find if I have something to focus on, I walk further without even realising and it doesn't feel like exercise.

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Friday, 3 April 2015

The Toothbrush Truth with Toilettree!



I am a bit fanatical about dental health, as I am not actually a fan of the dentist, so I was very interested when Toilettree got in touch to ask if I would like to review their electric toothbrush, with (and this is the best bit, in my opinion!) a free travel electric toothbrush! How inspired is that? I hate having to switch back to a manual toothbrush for travelling and the beauty of this one is it has a cap, so you don't have to throw a wet toothbrush in your luggage, to get covered in fluff and other stuff!

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Remembering Jack: The Final Chapter

With Addenbrookes Charity ChequeFor those of you with a really good memory, you may remember how myself and my friend Lisa had a great deal of support from a lot of amazing people in order to raise £2,000 for Addenbrookes Hospital. We started the fundraising to honour the memory of Lisa's beautiful son who lived just two days. If you would like to, you can read the original story here. Lisa recently travelled to Cambridge to hand over the cheque and meet some of the wonderful staff who do such a brilliant job looking after some of the most vulnerable of the hospital's patients. There follows a short post from Lisa, who wanted an opportunity to thank everyone who made this possible, so I will leave the final word to her. I did just want to add a thank you of my own, though. It's a massive thank you to every blogger, FB business owner, friend and stranger who got behind all the hair-brained schemes that helped us reach our total. From quiz nights to celebrity auctions, no one ever said; 'Are you sure about this?' and for that support I will always be grateful! Over to you, Lisa!
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