family


A tour of The Mad House – Living with kids 69

Every wednesday morning after the boys have gone to school, I grab a pot of tea and log online and take a look at Design Mom’s living with kids post from the previous night.  It is a regular treat for me, like getting a new magazine.  I love looking at peoples homes round the world and how people uniquely live with kids.  I know that my photo’s will never be good enough to feature on Design Mom, but as we were recently featured on At home with Hillary’s I thought I would share a glimpse in to our home with two boys aged 10 and 8!


The Benefits of having a dog as a family 18

Can you believe that is is nearly two years since we brought Alvin in to our family.  He turns two on April 18th and we can not imagine life without him.  After being a cat family we have tuned in to a dog family and are really looking forward to watching Crufts this year! We have also had a great deal of fun the last few days watching these fab “Ninja Dogs” who will get you if you disrespect the chocolate in Balsen Pick Up Biscuits! We have a sneak peek of the advert for you below……..


The perfect family weekend in London with 8 and 9 year olds 16

As a family we love London and we love visiting, however, as we reside in the frozen North of England it is a long journey and sometimes weekends can be stressful and hectic.  Not anymore as thanks to Superbreak we had the perfect family weekend in London and I want to share with you what made it so special. Make it for all the family What made this weekend so perfect (even with Mini feeling under the weather) was there was something for everyone in the family.  We talked about what we all wanted from the weekend before we started planning and discovered that we all wanted to do different things. more »


Outdoor Fun: Five Child-Friendly Festivals across the UK

Hopefully, we’ve seen the back of the worst of the weather, and while we are still in the middle of springtime, summer is just around the corner. Apparently, we can expect one of the best summers in a long time, with bright sunny days making regular appearances, and what better way to enjoy them than with a festival or two? Festivals aren’t just for grownups who love a good booze up and a funky pair of wellies – there are loads of fantastic festivals across the UK that appeal to families, too. Whether you wish to take your children along to a predominantly adult festival, or you’d prefer to ease them more »


What type of Bingo player are you? I am old school

Costa Bingo are trying to find out what your boingo personality is.  I took the test and I am an old school player, which is pretty spot on. Bingo for me reminds me of my family and good times when everyone got round the table having a laugh and playing together! My mum and aunties and my cousins would often play together and it was real family fun and I have never played online bingo in my life. Both my boys see bingo as family fun too and my brother runs the bingo in the club that he and my sister in law run. So what is your bingo personality?  Take more »


Are we failing in our mission to support elderly relatives?

Recent media attention has put a spotlight on how isolated many UK elderly people actually are. The blame has largely been placed upon the busy pace of modern life.  As we struggle to make ends meet, and juggle work and family life, it can be easy to forget about the elderly people in our lives. However, the question is; are we really failing to provide support for this forgotten generation? Not just face to face support that’s lacking When you think about loneliness, you often associate it mainly with a lack of face to face contact. However, even just contact over the telephone can play a big part in keeping elderly more »


Grandma’s Chicken Soupy Stew 34

This is my Mum’s recipe and it is a family favorite with both the boys and even better it is frugal too as it uses up the chicken carcass for making the stock.  You could make it suitable for vegetarians by using vegetable stock and substituting the chicken.   If you do not have much chicken then a broth pack is a great way of bulking it out and I have to say I love adding pearl barley to mine. It reminds me of dinner round the table when I was growing up and there was always a fight for the extra dumplings!


Connect with your children at mealtimes 4

However, I really encourage chatting and communication. When the boys were younger we had a news style roundup from each of us, where we “reported” our news and events from the day, which included what was had for dinner, what we have done, places we have been and also anything we needed to remember. MadDad and I did this as well as the boys. I would ask open ended questions about their day and encourage them to remember as much about it as they could. Food can always be warmed up.

Other ways to encourage conversation at the dinner table include:

Use story cubes
Ask questions such as What was the best part of your day?
My boys love hearing about when they were younger or other family members, so have conversations about how you chose their name or how you and your partner met.
Try finding foods all of a certain colour or starting with a certain letter.
My boys study a different topic each half term and we find out what it is and use that. For example recently the boys have been learning about Australia and Africa and we have been discussing our visit to South Africa and Captain James Cook who was from our area. The school provides us with the topic list each term and we make sure we research it, so we have something to discuss with them.
Why not let your children interview you and you them.


What to look for in a family car 1

My boys are growing up and are now eight and nearly seven and what we need in a family car has changed dramatically since they were newborns. However, it is not always financially possibly to buy a new car at every stage of childhood, so I thought I would put together a guide to what to look for in a family car detailing what we needed and why at what age. At the moment I am lusting after a new Honda CRV, especially after being in a friends on Mothers day at Maxi’s football match!


Bikes and BBQ’s – our family Manifesto for 2013 3

I have mentioned before that I am not a New Year resolutions person, however that doesn’t mean that I do not love to plan, set goals and have aims, as I do. I am just not sure that the dark, dank and dismal January is always the best time for them.

But I do want to encourage my children to set goals and learn how to plan to achieve them. The safest way for us to do this is to set a family manifesto for the year. We have sat down and discussed what we would like to do and get out of 2013 as a family. A family holiday was on our list and we have that booked for November with my wonderful brother nad his family. However, I wanted to do something that brought me closer together with the boys and they both love exercise and sports.

Now I am not the fittest person (that is something of an understatement and although I do watch them play Junior Football. It is not something that I really enjoy. But one thing we all do have is cycles. So we decided the time has come to dust off my Bike. My bike that has been hanging in the garage since Maxi was born. It is over eight years since I got on my bike! That cycling is something that we can all do and have fun doing. Something that brings us together as a family.

So the boys got new bikes for Christmas. Mountain bikes with gears and mud guard and MadDad got a bike carrier for the car.

We live in a beautiful part of the world, but with hills each side of the house, there is no way that I am capable (yet) of riding very far from the house, so the bike carrier was essential.

Our plan is to use our family discovery pass for Dalby Forrest and get cycling followed by a BBQ. Our discovery pass was gifted to us by the Forestry Commission and would be an annual cost of £42, which is super value as Dalby is peppered with bike paths suitable for all levels.

Plus Dalby is a fantastic place to explore, play and just relax. It is somewhere that we love to visit as a family, as you can BBQ in designated areas and is just a wonderful relaxing place.

By taking the boys to Dalby I can ride as far as I can and then return and cook us all a treat. I am hoping that by doing something together, it keeps is all together and helps me get fitter.


Capturing Family Moments with Panasonic 2

Take a look at the very short edited video and let me know what you think of the quality. I was really impressed at the footage taken in the reading room at The British Museum as the light was really poor and photographs without flash did not turn out, whereas the video camera took perfect pictures. The camera retails at £240 on Amazon and I really wish that Panasonic had given me one rather than just loaned it to me! So if you are reading this Clara, it got lost in the post, OK!


My Father’s legacy 8

I think that my Father and Grandfather both effected my choice in men, when it came to MadDad I fell hook line and sinker for a man with echo’s of the other great men in my life. A better husband I could not have and I have had the pleasure of watching him become a great Father over these last seven years. I should have known he would do it well, as he injected me in y butt three times a day for the whole of my pregnancies and was just amazing. Watching him grow and develop with our boys has touched my heart. He makes me proud every single day and they both love him and choose to spend time with him. He is a great Father.

But my Father’s legacy doesn’t end with my boys, oh no you only have to take a look at my younger brother and the way he is with his children. He is a wonderful father to Chuky, ever the child himself. His nephews adore spending time with him and he is a good honest man. He adores his step grandchildren and is starting to look more and more like my Dad.

I am so lucky to have so many great men in my life. Happy Fathers day, to those living and to those who’s echos live on.


My Amazing Gran 15

My paternal Gran died long before I was born, in fact she died long before my Dad and Mum got together and got married. However, she was always with us growing up. My paternal Granddad lived with my parents in the house that my Dad’s wages had helped pay for when my Gran was ill. Her picture always stood in pride of place on the dresser top in the sitting room and the wedding picture of my Gran and Grandad hung next to the one of my mum and dad on the wall and it hangs next to it sill on my stairs.


Weekending 7

Sometimes it is nice not to have too much planned over a weekend, too be able to take time out and be a family. This weekend has been a lot like that. We have laughed, cried and walked together. Made dens, played games and cooked together. We have planned, partied (well the boys have) and just been together.




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