Paddington Bear takes over Warburtons

warbeartons If you are anything like me you will try to get the good stuff in your kids any way you can.  One way I do this is by buying half & half bread.  The boys do not even realise that I am giving them anything different! From this week over 6 million Half & Half products will bear the name Warbeartons in they team up with the ever youthful Paddington Bear. warebeartons In addition to just changing their name they are encouraging families to get out and about this summer and enjoy their own adventure by joining them and paddington aboard the ‘Warbeartons Adventure Bus’, which is infact a travelling loaf!
Warburtons will also be challenging families to spot the Warbeartons Adventure Bus and upload a picture to the Warburton Facebook page, for a chance to win a once in a lifetime adventure family holiday. Fans will also have the chance to influence the bus’ journey and track its progress on Warburtons’ Facebook page.
Paddington will be  touring Britain in a double decker sized bus in the shape of a Half & Half loaf - sharing his summer adventure tips with families across the country ahead of the summer holidays. Families will get the chance to meet Paddington Bear, sample Paddington’s favourite marmalade sandwiches and take home a special summer adventure guide - featuring Warbeartons ‘Top 10 Family Adventures’ and ‘Top 10 Adventurous Sandwich Recipes’, created by sandwich guru Helen Graves. 3.
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Looking after your eyes and your family’s eyes

  Looking after your eyes and your familiy's eyes MadDad wore glasses from being a toddler, I started wearing glasses at 20, so there was a high chance that our children would need to wear glasses too.  We took them both for their first eye test at a year old and Maxi was fine, but Mini needed specs as he is really long sighted. reading glasses Having a child that needs glasses makes you really aware of how vulnerable eyes are.  More so when that child is sensitive to the sun, so wears reactorlite (glasses that tint in the sunlight) to help prevent his headaches.
Boots Opticians lenses now come with  Boots Protect UV protection as standard which are worth £40.  This protects both the front and the back of the lens.
Recently Boots Opticians got in touch and asked if I would like to review their service and spectacles, as someone who has had laser eye surgery and also only really used a local opticians I thought it would be great to see how a national chain work and also I really wanted a pair of their exclusive Orla Kiely sunglasses (yes I am THAT shallow)! Orla sunglasses I was really impressed with the service I received both before the test, during the test and after.  Both the Optician and the assistant were knowledgeable, approachable and friendly.  The test results were exactly the same as at my local independent optician, which was really reassuring. For me it isnt the test that is the hard part, but choosing spectacles and working out the cost.  The cost of the frames is only the beginning and once you start adding in all the lens options (which I do not understand) the price suddenly escalates and I start to feel out of control.  However, Boots put the customer in control by making the prices clear and understandable and at no point did I feel pressured to pay for lenses that were more expensive. In the end I walked away with a pair of reading glasses and a pair of Sunglasses all for £145. MadDad also went to Boots Opticians for a test and he has been going to Opticians since he was a year old, has had operations on his eyes as a child and his Mum is borderline for glaucoma.  He was really impressed with the tes and when his pressures came back slightly high, he was given drops in his eyes and then had them retested on a more accurate machine.  Thankfully they were well within normal, but it is really reassuring that the Optician wasn't concerned about running over, just about making sure MadDad got the best service possible. Boots Opticians stats His test was the same as the local optician again and as he was really happy with his glasses he decided to go for a classic pair of sunglasses, but with varifocal lenses.  Geeta the optical assistant helped him and the boys chose the frames and then talked through the lens options with him.
Do you get your kid's eyes tested?  You can get them done free annually on the NHS from Boots Opticians.
Disclosure: Boot's paid for my trip to Britmums Live, for eye tests for me and MadDad and £300 towards glasses. 
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“The Day That” giveaway worth £130

Win a unique baby gift – a framed photograph of the dawn your child was born Roomshot14 The Day That have been taking beautiful photographs of sunrise ever day since mid summer’s day 2005. Their photographers have captured dawn rising over the sea which is deeply symbolic – the start of a new day, the start of a new life. It means you can own a beautiful photograph taken on the very day your child was born, one of the most unique new baby gifts on the market.  Available as framed, mounted, canvas, acrylic or digital download, these are truly dramatic images.
“It captures the spirit of a new life beginning, it’s so beautiful” - Elton John
We are giving you the chance to win a stunning “Classic” framed photograph of the dawn of your special date worth £130. Use the calendar below to see what the dawn looked like on the special day your baby arrived in this World: To enter, simply use this calendar above and find your own special day and tell us how many photographs were taken on the day your child was born. Please include the date and number of pictures in your answer and use the rafflecopter entry for more ways to win: framed photograph of the dawn your child was born a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Dalby Forest and Go Ape Junior with Vimto Squeezy

I have mini thrill seekers for children as you may know if you are a regular reader.  They are pretty active and love a challenge, so when Vimto Squeezy suggested they give Go Ape Junior a try at Dalby Forest they were up for the challenge. The minimads visit Dalby We have a discovery pass for Dalby Forest and love visiting.  It is great for a day out, with a Gruffalo trail, fab adventure playground, beck. plenty of bike trials, walks, a cafe. shops and a toilet.  We love visiting with Alvin and having a BBQ (yes you can have a BBQ).  It is a beautiful place and now it has a Go Ape Junior. We packed our standard picnic which usually includes bottles of water, but we also packed some Vinto Squeezy too, which was drunk a lot faster than just water! vimto squeezy The boys loved Go Ape Junior, you get an hour to go on the two rope courses as many times as you like and they certainly made the most of their time. Go Ape Junior   I would recommend Go Ape Junior to anyone with kids.  They do not have to be part monkey like mine, in fact the course is designed to enable all levels of skills and to instill confidence in children.  They recommend that you go round with the children first. Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Kids in the kitchen – Eating what you grow

eating what they grow kids in the kitchen Ever since MadDad put raised beds in our garden after my Mastectomy six years ago we have always grown a small amount of vegetables, salads and fruits at home.   I know from experience that kids are more likely to try to eat things that they have grown and nurtured.  It worked for me in my Granddads allotment and for MadDad as a farmers son.
Tip: Involved the kids in growing as much as possible from planting, labeling, watering and picking. Let them give the plants names such as Robbie runner beans or Colin carrots. 
Higgidy  sent us a selection of Sarah Raven Salad leaves earlier in the year and we planted them along with radish and lots of other vegetables and waited for them to grow. Last week Higgidy sent us a selection of pies and quiches to eat with our salad and challenged us to design a salad to go with them.  So Mini and I put on our thinking caps and came up with our salad: Salad Ingredients
  • A selection of leaves
  • Radish slices
  • Blanched sugar snap peas
  • Crumbled feta cheese
Tip: blanched sugar snap peas, beans, asparagus or long stemmed broccoli are great added to a salad or served cold as finger food for younger children. Cook in boiling water for three minutes before plunging in to cold water with ice.
Salad dressing
  • White wine vinegar
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt
  • Honey
kids in the kitching eating what they grow Mini put all the salad dressing ingredients in to a kilner jar and gave it a good shake, before checking the taste and adding a little more honey.  It was important that the dressing was to his palate to encourage him to eat it.  Both the boys loved it and covered their new potatoes with it too!
Tip: always put a small salad out with dinner. When the boys were small I served chopped cucumber, red pepper and tomatoes in a small bowl with each meal.  Eventually they will eat it.
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June’s #SmallStuff

June has truly flown by and I can not believe that in less than three weeks the boys break up from school for the summer holidays. So what has rocked my world this June? junes small stuff This month has been filled with later nights spent in the garden and the joy of eating food that we have grown and watching the boys cook. There was aa Father's Day where we celebrated a grumpy, but much loved MadDad.  We showered him with homemade gifts and lots of love and cuddles. June was the month where loom bands finally took over the house and we crafted for craftings sake. We watched flowers bloom and then the petals fall to the ground due to epic rain showers. The boys attended their first cricket Match, a T20 Blast game at Durham. A certain someone turned eight and had a "nerfday" and a world cup football party with his closest friends (more on this to come). I spend three nights in a hotel bed on my own and got some fantastic sunglasses and reading glass thanks to Boots Opticians, but the best bit about my weekend away was the train station reunion on the Sunday! We also had a fab day out at Dalby Forest and Go Ape Junior thanks to Vimto Squeezy and trees were climbed, water jumped in (not just by the dog) and ropes swung on. I also attended a fab assembly by Mini's year at school and captured a wonderful image of him and his inspirational teacher. All in all June has been a fab month, although very tiring for me.  I am looking forward to an action packed July and a more sedate August.
The Mad House
  How was your june?  If you feel like joining in, leave a link to your post below in the comments or on the linkie.  
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Teacher Appreciation Gifts, Wine and Chocolate

Do you gift to your kids teachers?  I do and have done since the boys went to preschool.  I want to thank the teachers for a fab job they do looking after my children.  I trust them to look after my most precious things (my children) and this is a BIG thing for me. wine and chocolate teacher gifts Up until this year the boys have crafted teachers gifts.  I think that it is important that they are a part of giving and thanking their teachers.  However, this year they have been a little reticent, so I decided to give what I would like to receive, wine and chocolate. However, me being me, I felt the need to jazz them up a bit. Teacher appreciation gifts So here are my chocolate and wine labels, cause it must be hard coping with my boys! chocolate gifts   So a lot of chocolate is needed!  I printed the chocolate labels on a full sheet of paper and using a template I hade made from a clear pocket positioned them.  I used double sided tape to secure them, but a glue stick or standard take would be fine too.Chocolate wrapper I also used standard paper rather than printer paper and was really impressed at the quality of my new Canon PIXMA MG7150. I made a selection of labels in different colours, so just click on the image below to make it larger and then right click and the image to your computer before printing.  I put four labels on one sheet or A4 for the wine and one label per sheet or A4 for the chocolate.

Chocolate bar wrappers for  Teacher

  choc bar choc bar blue chocolate purple

Wine labels for Teacher

  yellow wine small wine purple small wine blue small reasons teachers drink Feel free to print them and use them if you wish.  Disclosure, the Canon Pixma MG7140 is a sample for review purposes
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Why I want to be an organ donor

A serious post from me today.  National Transplant Week runs from 7 to 13 July 2014 and this is what I want to talk to you about.   Please don't skim over this as it is so important to talk about being an organ donor and I am going to explain to you why it is important and how talking about it can make a unbelievable difference to someones life. I want to be an organ donor A - Amazing I along with a group of bloggers are all going to tell you why we think it is important to be a donor, we are going to spell it out for you and my letter is A. Firstly donating an organ is an amazing thing for anyone to do.  It isn't an easy decision and has an impact on the people you leave behind, but you are giving an amazing gift to another person. Do not be Ambiguous • Only 45% of families will agree to donation if decisions aren’t known • This rises to 95% when the decision to be an organ donor is known So you have to talk about organ donation with your family and friends.  Let them know what your decision is and why.  Make is clear and do not be ambiguous.

Why organ donation is important to me:

  organ donation  Advancement  I have touched upon my condition and dance with cancer in the past.  The fact that I have a genetic spelling  mistake and may have passed this on to my boys is hard to deal with, but it is not something that dominates our lives.  We choose not to let it, but it does mean that as a family we have all discussed death and that I have seen more than my fair share of family die. I know that if in my death I could help another person I would in a heartbeat.  I know that it is though peoples generosity and also scientists and doctors thirst for knowledge and desire to find cures that my childrens lives and outcome may be different to mine. So for me it is about Advancement.

What I want you to take away from this blog post

Please don't just read this post and nod to yourself.  I am asking you to make an action, to go away and tell your family and friends that you want to be an organ donor.  Talk to your partner, your parents and your children, ask what their wishes are and make it clear. If you haven't signed the Organ Donation Register, then please go to the National Transplant Week website  and sign up. Now you know what I want to be an organ donor I would love for you to pop over to Aim Above Limits and see why Katie is an organ donor.
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Healthy (ish) chocolate pots – cooking with kids

Healthyish chocolate pots We were challenged by Philadelphia to create something that could be had at lunchtime, took little preparation and less than five minutes to make.  So Mini and I put our heads together and decided to have a go at making a healthy ish chocolate pot. Sometimes there are days when nothing but chocolate will do, so this is our way of getting a hit of chocolate, that is satisfying and filling at the same time. My biggest tip would be to make sure your avocado is ripe.
5.0 from 2 reviews
Healthy (ish) chocolate pots - cooking with kids
  • Pot of Philadelphia
  • An Avocado
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Date syrup to taste
  • Crushed or chopped hazelnuts
  1. Blend the cream cheese, avocado, cocoa powder and vanilla extract to a smooth consistency.
  2. Add date syrup to taste - Mini likes it sweet!
  3. Top with crushed hazelnuts
healthy chocolate pots This is a really simple recipe and really easy for children to make.  Mini loves using the blender and it doesn't work if the lid isn't on correctly, so I know that he is using it safely. Mini took his role in this make very seriously nad decided that he had to style the shoot in the garden and then take the pictures and then eat the chocolate pots!  He did share one with Maxi though. Mini styling 3.
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Mothers of boys I need your help

This parenting lark is hard work.  Just when I think I am doing well, something comes along that gets me questioning what we are doing or how we are doing it. femanist boys As a woman I find the fact that I am the mother to two boys something of a challenge and a huge responsibility.  Now before I continue I just want to say this is not about whether or not it is harder to parent boys or girls. I want my boys to treat women as equals and that will be completely down to the way that we as parents bring them up.  I know that I need to stop just focusing on getting through the day and week with them and start to think about the future and how to mould them in to the men I hope that they will be. Feminism starts with Men. I am a firm believer that feminism is as much down to men as it is women,  That men have a responsibility to feminism as much as women do. So feminism starts with me raising feminists, but how do I do that? This is what I don't have answers too. I know that when one of the boys is crying that terms such as "crying like a girl" should not be used.  That words have so much power.  That we should not use the phrase battered women (the woman didn't have any power over the abuse), no, it was the man was the abuser, so let's get rid of that term and put the onus and the man. I hope that me and MadDad are good role models and examples for the boys.  We both believe that women and men are equal and we have an equal relationship.  I demonstrate that women can do most things as well as men and some things much better. I show them how to cook and clean, I get them involved. When they were smaller we didn't have boys boys and girls toys.  We had a toy kitchen in our kitchen and encouraged the boys to play with dolls and buggies.  In fact they were just copying their daddy's actions.  They loved pink.  We didn't reinforce sexual stereotypes. Then they started school.  Wow, that was a change, soon pink was for girls, blue for boys.  Crying was for sissies and more. My boys do not need to "Man up". I need to work not just raising boys, but gowing men.  I know that they are like dogs, they need exercise, good food and lots of praise, but what else do they need? So mothers of boys I need your help.  How do I do this, what advice can you give me?
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