Saturday, 31 October 2015

An Enderman Costume for World Book Day!

Enderman Costume with title overlaidThis post was originally published for World Book Day, but I thought it might make a cool last minute Halloween costume for a Minecraft lover. Minecraft continues to be very popular with children of all ages and is equally appreciated by boys and girls, so this easy costume could be the answer to your costume concerns. All you need is a good size cardboard box, some black binliners and black clothes for them to wear. You will also need the head, but if you can't buy an official Enderman head, you can always paint a cardboard box. Also, before you say it, yes Minecraft does count as a book! Ok, maybe not in the traditional sense, but L is happy and it's meant to be fun, so there!


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Win £50 Cash

Roman Coins
Does anyone else find that, after the summer holidays, it's a slippery slope towards Christmas? Don't get me wrong, I'm not being a Scroogey old Grinch, or a Grinchey old Scrooge, whichever is grammatically correct. It just seems to get more expensive every year and it's such a worry for a lot of parents, when ends aren't always meeting anyway. So after, the children go back to school, it's a time to start stockpiling, bargain hunting and trying to squirrel away some pennies! However, Christmas shouldn't be all about money, or material things, it's important to try to make time to appreciate what you do have. Like friends and family. I am lucky enough to have made some amazing friends since I started blogging and they have all been a big support to me one way or another.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Mueller Spiral-Pro Review

Mueller Spiral-Pro with text overlaidThe Husband loves playing with his food, namely making it look pretty, or funny, or different. So when the people at Mueller offered me a Spiral-Pro to review, I was keen to take part, as I knew he would gleefully put it through its paces. He was initially a bit concerned by the lack of instructions, but it turns out it is so straightforward to use, even he didn't need too many directions to put it together or start spiralling. The box tells you what each different attachment does and it's very easy to put together. Not to be played with by children, it's strictly adults-only, due to the extremely (but necessary!) sharp attachments. 

Win a Blocktech Pit Stop Transporter Set

If I was more organised, this would have been a 'keeping children amused over halfterm' giveaway but I'm not, so it will have to be a 'Christmas is coming' giveaway. Or, maybe, a 'building sets aren't just for kids' giveaway. Whatever you like, just make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter thingy below.

Blocktech Transporter Set
Win me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Blogs I am Loving Right Now

Wine glass with text overlaid
You know when you have a job, and all of a sudden you become really interested in that profession and other people who do a similar job? Or when you get a new car, and you start noticing the same cars everywhere you go? It's a bit like that with blogging. Since I started, I have collected an assortment of friends who blog, as well as discovering some brilliant blogs that I read myself. So, I thought I would share with you some of my favourites, as I figured; if you like my blog... What? You don't?! You were googling parent blame and you fell in accidentally?! Oh, ok then, as you were. Moving on...

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Making Halloween Fun for Everyone

Boy and Girl Halloween Costumes
Like a lot of parents, I'm a bit unsure about Halloween. There are aspects of it that just feel a bit... wrong. Like Trick or Treating, it can easily turn into begging with menaces, really, if not properly organised. When Jade was small, I managed to avoid it completely, because we lived in an upstairs flat. We just turned the door buzzer off and no one was any the wiser! She never even learned about Halloween until she was quite a bit older. So, fast forward ten years or so and things have changed a bit. We live in a house now, on a development with a lot of similar aged children, so it's impossible to avoid. Perhaps because she had a somewhat deprived childhood, Jade embraces L's Halloween adventures, especially dressing up.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Toad Diaries Review and Giveaway

Toad Diaries Design Page
I am not the most organised of people. I forget things and find myself having to write more and more of my life down, as I get older, so that I can be where I should be and not double book myself. But then, you see, there's the losing things, I write things down then lose the list. My poor hapless daughter, Jade, who writes lovely guest posts for us, strives very hard to fight this unfortunate heriditary character trait. When she started her new University course, I was really keen to give her all the help I could, to help her stay organised. I enlisted the help of Toad Diaries, a company I have a lot of respect for, because they don't stick to the rules. With Toad, you don't have to wait til Christmas to get your diary, you can pick any month you like. You can also choose the page format. If you like to see what your week holds, try the week per page option, or, if you have an awful lot going on (or massive handwriting!), you can choose a day to a page. There are too many options to list, but you are sure to find one that suits your schedule.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

How Direct Line Made my Daughter's Day!

Girl With Hamper
It's often said that it isn't the value of the gift that's important, but the thought and time that went into it. I am a great believer in this. It's not that I don't appreciate extravagant gifts, but my best presents will always be the ones that mean somebody was thinking about me. The trinkets my daughter used to find at car boot sales or charity shops, because she knew I would really love them, the cards and gifts the children have made me over the years, and not forgetting the card with a recording of my son saying 'Happy Birthday Mummy' when he had not long learned to talk. For my birthday this year, it made me so ridiculously happy that my nephews, aged two and four, took time out of their day to draw me lovely pictures, I could have exploded with joy! So, that's me, a great believer in; 'It's the thought that counts'.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Win Two Accessorize Tablet Sleeve Gift Sets!

Accessorize Talet Sleeves
With Christmas creeping up in the distance, this week I am giving away two gift sets, one to keep and one to give to a friend, perhaps? Or maybe you have two children who would like one? Either way, I wish you lots of luck in the competition.

10 Skills Parents Accidentally Learn

10 Skills All Parents Learn

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Remembering Jack for National Poetry Day 2015

Family photo under a tree
I originally wrote this almost exactly three years ago, although it really doesn't seem that long. It was something I did to reach out to a friend during an incredibly difficult time. It was meant to let her know I was thinking of her and I cared, but it ended up doing so much more, but that's another story. It is the poem I will always be most proud of, because I wrote it from everything I was thinking at the time. I didn't edit or mess about with it, I just wrote it from the heart. It is the most genuine poem I've ever written. I hope you like it and forgive me this little indulgence.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Win a Betty Crocker Baking Bundle

Great British Bake Off evokes different feelings in different people. For some, it creates feelings of inspiration and enthusiasm. Getting creative juices flowing all over the country. Spurring on even the least culinarily literate to get their bake on. However, for some, it is met with quiet defeatism at the very idea of attempting some of the elaborate creations. For those people, when even a Yorkshire Pudding would be a challenge, there is hope. To cheer you up, in the face of Paul Hollywood's raised eyebrow and Mary Berry's kind, but hopeless, encouragement, I bring you the best in faking it cake mixes! So easy and pain free and, as far as anyone has to know, you did it all yourself. Your secret is safe with us...

The Importance of Learning Digital Marketing for Bloggers

Coke Can in Water
There are many different reasons why people blog. Many do it to share a passion, or as an outlet for their thoughts and ideas. I meet so many people who began blogging for a variety of reasons but are now finding they can make money from it. I don't think, as a blogger, making money should ever be your primary objective. If you can make money from it, brilliant, but I believe, it's much harder to keep readers interested when you don't have an 'organic' base for your blog.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Surprisingly Easy Beef Wellington

Beef WellingtonIt's Buy British Day today, so how about a British classic, Beef Wellington? When I did my coupon shop recently, I bought a Tesco meal deal, which included a small beef joint. It wasn't really big enough for the whole family, so I had to get creative to make it stretch. I had a look around for a Beef Wellington recipe and found they varied in difficulty from a bit complicated, to 'degree in catering required'. As I'm quite lazy, I simplified the recipe as best I could, and it was still really, really nice. Here it is, for any other lazy, cheaty 'chefs' who fancy giving it a try!


Friday, 2 October 2015

Win a Family Health Bundle of Multivitamins with MultiVits!

It can be really tricky to encourage children to eat well. As you will see from my post about Fussy Eating this is something I have first hand experience of. Particularly as children get older, we have less control over what goes into them. Firstly, they develop their own opinions about what they do and don't like, then they start eating at their friends' houses, and maybe even using their pocket money to make their own food choices.
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