Half Term Highlights

Today is an teacher training day, so we are off to spend the day with Grandma, original plans had to be changed due to the weather, but we have had a fantastic half term break, the weather has been mostly kind and it has been so much fun watching the boys play together.


Our Fab day at Emma Bridgewater


Baking our best in the world oat and raisin cookies


Spending time together just chilling in the garden


Watching our veg plants grow, the warm weather has made a real difference


Having fun in the paddling pool


Good job the neighbours don't mind the boys running around naked


Visiting Whiby with Grandma and having fish and chips from The Magpie and treats from the old fashions sweet shop.


Days out to the beach


We really had great weather for it (no it is not my windbreak)!


The boys spent more time wet than dry.


Lots of fun in the local parks was had too.

Before we had school and preschool I used to dread the half term holidays as all the things we did, the toddler groups would be cancelled, but now it is wonderful to spend quality time all together.  I can not wait for the summer holidays.  I hope you had a great time too.

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Why you should vote for me

Today is the final day for voting in The Mads.  I am one of the final five who are up for the Best family Fun Blog, so I am putting in a shameless, last ditched attempt to gain your votes.


So here are some reasons why I think we fit the bill

Crafting with Children


Fathers day is June 20th, so here I have some great ideas for Fathers day cards and gifts you can make with your children.

One of my most popular posts via search engine is the rain catchers we made inspired by Cbeebies.

Do you have lots of broken wax crayons?  Don't throw them away, try out recycling them in to make your own funky multi-coloured crayons.

Cooking with Children



Get creative in the kitchen with this recipe for home made naan bread and dahl.

best carrot cake in the whole wide world, don't believe me take a look at the comments!


Great Ideas

.  Well my car packs came in so handy when we had a breakdown


When I was teaching the boys to set the table, I made a printed table mat and also made a fabric one for each of them too.

Rewards and Incentives for children.   Read about our method of positive reinforcement and rewards to encourage good behaviour

Wonderful Readers

One of the most inspiring things I have learned from blogging is the support and comments I receive from my readers and commenter's. A great example is that fact that Mini suffers from terrible tantrums and the advise and support I received was life changing for us all. Read about the recomendations and how we implemented the ideas.



Voting closes tonight at midnight, so if you haven't voted for TheMadHouse yet, then please click here and give me your vote!


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Emma Bridgewater – Getting to be a designer


The highlight of the afternoon of our day at Emma Bridgewater was that we all got to have a go at decorating some mugs.


It was so much fun, they have a large selection of pre cut sponges and a great choice of paint.


The boys really enjoyed expressing themselves.



MadDad had a go too, in fact his mug looked fantastic, he did tractors.


Maxi really concentrated hard whilst painting his mug.


Mini had some expert help at hand.


We can not wait until the glazed finished mugs are posted to us.  It was so much fun and it as fantastic watching everyone get really stuck in.


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Emma Bridgewater – Factory Tour, Part One

Part OneWe had a fantastic day out at The Emma Bridgewater Factory on Tuesday to celebrate their 25th Birthday. 


We started the day in the newly refubished cafe area of the factory for a tea and coffee and to meet my fellow bloggers.  Josie at Sleep is for the Weak, Becky at English Mum with her two boys (who were a real pleasure), Racheal from Tales from the  Village and we also made a new friend in Kate from Kitchen Critic.  There was this fantastic Aga, I was salivating!


It is such a lovely relaxing area to meet and have a good old chat with everyone.


We were then taken on a tour of the factory by Jamie, it was amazing and managed to hold the attention of Maxi and Mini most of the way round.  It is wonderful to see so many crafts people at work, showing real skill and dedication.


This is where the slipwear is made - The web site has a great video explaining it all, which we showed the boys before our visit.


There are pots drying everywhere and you can see the difference in the colour.


MadDad had a go at throwing a plate.  One of the best parts of the factory tour for us was the empoyees, they were all really welcoming and freindly.  The didnt mind us taking pictures nad were really happy to chat.


Many had been employed for a long time and they all really enjoyed their jobs.  This lady is finnishing the pots by removing excess clay from seams and edges.


There are two types of decoration, this photo shows the transfer method, which is done on preglazed pot.


The other method is by sponging the pattern.  It was wonderful to watch everyone at work, the photo above shows the personalisation.



It is such a skill and there is one lady who spends all day cutting the sponges for the patterns.  Each sponge only lasts on average 3 days.


Look at all the pottery waiting to go in to the kiln.  






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The Gallery – Still Life

This weeks theme for The Gallery, which Tara at Sticky Fingers hosts is Still Life.  Me and a group of bloggers were invited to Emma Bridgewater this week and I took over 300 photo's.  So here are a few (I have a full post to follow), so this is a sneak peak.











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A Wonderful Bank Holiday Monday spent in the Kitchen and Garden


I think the sun forgot our little park of the North East today.


So we have spent the day baking.


Maxi did all the weighing and measuring


Mini did most of the stirring and tasting


We have had a lot of fun and made lots of cakes

Oat and raisin cooks and mince pies (mini's favorites)


Many Muffins, sweet mincemeat and St Stephens Day Muffins, in addition to some fairy cakes.


Whilst I was busy in the kitchen, MadDad tended the garden, including planting out the courgettes and cucumbers.


Everything is looking great and really coming along.

He also washed and cleaned the cars, ready for the trip we are taking today to Emma Bridgewater's Factory to celebrate their 25th Anniversary with them. We are very excited and I am sure will have loads to show and tell you.



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Maxi’s first letter of appology!



Maxi went round a friends after school for an hour last week (whilst I took Mini to his first swimming lesson) and was a terror, he didn't listen to her and in the mayhem a paddling pool (hard shell type) got broken.

After his swimming lesson he came home and wrote this (all by himself)


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Spiritual Sunday – Nourishment


What feeds your soul?

What to you need to enable you to live everyday?

For me my family, my faith and my spirituality help me get through everyday, they help me find make some sense of the day to day struggles that we all call life.

For me affirmations play a big role in helping me find calm and serenity during the day. They help keep me focused, balanced and calm.  They also help me in exploring my thinking and expanding the way in which I approach issues that I have in my life.  They help nourish me both mentally and spiritually.

I am also trying to bring affirmations in the boys life.  Nothing scary, but basic affirmations, introducing confidence.

I am smart, I can do this
I am beautiful
I am a good reader
I am great at Maths
I am always doing the best I can
I am loved
I am unique
I am helpful

In helping them chose the affirmations for them, we have been working on keeping them concise, focusing on "I am" and making them positive.  They are really starting to work, it is wonderful listening to Mini tell me what a great reader he is or Maxi telling me how he is quiet in the line for lunch.

As the boys are now able to read we have printed these and others on to business cards and keep them in a small box.  When we hear the I cant word, then we tend to jump in with the affirmations, rather than the standard cant means wont.

What so you do to help your children believe in themselves and develop confidence?
How do you nourish your soul?



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The Duckpond


Let me take you on a little adventure and introduce you to a our local pond, which for a long time I had no idea was there!

We live on a new estate on the edge of village and tucked away behind the houses and between the bypass, there is a wonderful pond.

It is firmly becoming a favorite place for me and the boys to visit after school, as it is only a three minute walk and it is often deserted.


We are the only people there feeding the many ducks, duckings, geese and goslings.




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Guest Post Day – Rock n Roll Baby World

It is the second guest post day, which is the fab idea of Erica at Little Mummy. I took part in the first day and was matched with the fab Kelly at A Place of My Own. This time I have been paired with Rock n Roll Mummy, who has just started blogging at Rock n Roll Baby World. Her post is pretty close to my heart as my wonderful Neice, who will be 5 on Monday is Ginger too

Ginger and Proud

When I was little I didn’t realise having ginger hair would make me the subject of cruel jibes and jokes; as I got older and started middle school I began to realise my hair which I had always loved made me stand out and made me different.

Over my teen years I began to hate the colour of my hair and wished it was just brown like many of my friends not only was it bright red when the other kids called me names my face also went bright red.

Rock n Roll Mummy with Rock Baby

I had gone through a blissful childhood of my parents and family telling me what a beautiful colour it was and my mum used to dry it for me and spend ages perfecting it for me after bath time as it was so long, pretty much to my bum that I couldn’t do it on my own. I used to love the time we had, whilst she would lovingly tend to my hair, gossiping about my day at school, her grilling me as to whether I liked any boys, and just spending quality time with each other. My mum passed away when I was 17 but I have really fond memories of this time together.

My brother had it worse than me his hair was even brighter than mine and he wore glasses he was particularly bullied and used to get called Duracell by the local school thugs. No wonder he has now shaved his head!

In my late teen years, early 20’s I started experimenting with different colours trying to make it more brown, I went really dark at one point, then I tried highlights but ended up looking like Ginger Spice; nothing really worked for me. Not only was my hair ginger it was like a thick bush not a very glamorous look!

But then something happened in my early 20’s, people kept commenting on how lovely my hair was, I had started seeing boys and they were always complimenting it, I had grown in confidence and started to realise its actually quite cool to be different and stand out from the crowd. I got a new hairdresser who just happened to be male, gorgeous and even better straight! And he told me my hair colour was actually copper gold not ginger and so now when people comment, normally just when they think its for a laugh I firmly correct them well actually it’s Copper Gold. When I discovered GHD straighteners, they literally changed my life. This will probably sound very shallow but when you were the geeky ginger kid at school with a bush for a hair cut only then can you appreciate how much of a difference they make.

It is amazing how much discrimination you can get from having a different hair colour and how victimised you can sometimes feel. I was actually ashamed when I was younger and at many points wanted the ground to swallow me up. Even now music videos like M.I.A ‘Born Free’ are highlighting this in a particularly disturbing video in which US troops are gathering up ginger haired boys and assassinating them. The video is supposed to be art and a symbol of discrimination as a whole but I wonder what impact the video will have on all the children at school who are already the butt of numerous jokes, will this video make it worse for them?

Pop Princess

Then I think about my own children, my two girls Pop Princess who is 2 ½ and Rock Baby who is 4 ½ months. PP was born with a massive mop of thick dark hair and while it does have a red hint she is darker than her little sister. RB on the other hand was born with bright red hair, very much like her mummy. I think she is stunning with gorgeous red locks and bright blue eyes. I just hope that she will love her hair as much as I love mine now and that she doesn’t suffer from the same old jokes and jibes and that society and the media may change their perception. I want her to grow up proud to be ginger!


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