Monthly Archives: September 2013


An Autumn Nature Walk 9

Today is such a beautiful autumn day so we decided to take a walk in our neighbourhood and the boys grabbed their cameras so they could snap their images for the Kids Capture the colour competition. We were like pied pipers and started the walk with two children and a dog and ended up with five children!  We are really lucky that we have so much beauty and wildlife on our doorstep, in fact this is less than 2 minutes walk.


Need, want, must have – Rex London 2

I love Rex London (formally dotcomgiftshop).  I think they are fab and I have bought lots of things from them in the past including my fab nightlights.  I was so excited this morning when I saw that they had a whole new selection of nightlights available and all of them under a fiver, which makes them superb value.  So I decided to put together my need, want, must haves from Rex London and as Maxi is home unwell, he had to add his 2p’s worth too!


Taking the stress out of arranging a child’s birthday party

“How many sleeps now Mum?” asks an elated child in reference to how long it is until his birthday party. The mother takes a deep breath and slowly replies, “Only four more sleeps darling,” as she worryingly ponders how on earth she is going to get the party arranged in such a short amount of time. Arranging a child’s birthday party can be a stressful experience. There is the cake, the party games, the presents, the party bags, the food, decorations, invitations and entertainment to sort out, and that’s before you start making the house more ‘child friendly.’ Yes, it’s safe to say that, similar to Christmas, arranging a child’s birthday more »


My Autumn Manifesto 2013 4

Make a start on homemade christmas items
Encourage the boys more in the Kitchen
sort the boys toys, sell, give away and recycle all that we can
Find something to occupy me at junior football matches
Learn something new
Decorate Maxi’s bedroom. We have some great things that GLTC and Next have provided for it, so really need to crack on
Talk to my consultant about operation that I need
Summer 2013 was a great time, the BEST summer we have ever had as a family. It was relaxed, filled with fun and sun. It was a summer that will go down in history, that we will look back on in years to come. I see it as a faded photograph with curled ages, slightly worn through over handling, but something treasured to be held close to our hearts. I think that the weather made the summer, but also the fact that we all tried new things, went new places and really tried to embrace the changes that surround us. We succeeded in less electronic time as a family, but didn’t manage to get camping.

Feel free to join in and make your own goals and aims for the autumn, I would love to know what they are.


10 ways to encourage your reluctant sleeper 12

I have posted many times that Mini Mad has issues with getting to sleep.  It is something that he (and us) has suffered with since being a toddler.  In January this year it got so severe that we sought some professional guidance and we have been consistently working on it since then.  So how do we go about encouraging our reluctant sleeper?


My Back to school round-up 2

Dr Beackmann Stain Removers

Mini is just noise with muck on and I have come to rely on stain removers to help get his clothes clean. I am a real fan of the Hygiene White product for school shirts and polo tops. I use it once every half term on them and it really makes a big difference in lengthening their life. I keep my kit together with my other laundry kit and use it regularly and replace when I have run out.


Creating a family budget

Keeping track of your finances when you are supporting a busy family can be tough, and it is easy to overspend or lose track of your money if you don’t have a system in place to stay on top of your income and outgoings. If you can develop a way to plan your spending and find efficiencies in how you use your money you’ll be able to save and stay on top of your finances much more easily. Audit yourself Before you create a budget you should go through your normal spending habits to get a good understanding of how you spend your money at the moment. This will help you more »


3 Tips On What To Wear This Autumn

The cold weather is officially upon us and, after an incredible summer, we can’t really complain. However, one thing that will be complaining is our summer clothing which will have to be forced to the back of the cupboard until next year.  So as we’re preparing ourselves to brave the rain, wind and cold this autumn, you might be wondering about what key items you should be wearing this autumn and how you should be wearing them. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that autumnal weather is significantly colder than the previous summer months, but there is still plenty of time before winter kicks in and we reach for our more »


Learning to take a step back and not push my ideas 3

holds stronger and longer to a multitude of surfaces. This time they asked us to produce a fabulous window scene. Me and the minimads had a chat about what they wanted to do and if they wanted me to help. The result was an Autumn scene and a rainbow and NO they wanted to do it all on their own.
So I sat on my hands, which was blooming hard to do and gave them the post it notes, scissors and some window crayons and left them to it. The result is the below art work, which is amazing and delights me. They worked together to produce this on our french doors between the dining room and the conservatory. Me and MadDad thoroughly enjoyed sitting and watching whilst they explained what they were doing and why and the discussion soon lead to why trees leaves change colours over the Autumn and how rainbows are just refracted light through the rain water.

3M have just launched Post-It Notes Colour Cubes which have many more bright and lovely colours. Why not check out Post-It UK Facebook Page for more information on the new range of Post-It Notes and see other peoples pictures too.


Did you know that UNIQLO sell Childrens clothes too? 2

I didn’t, not until they asked me to take part in the Family fashion challenge.   So I let the boys go online and pick what they wanted from the superb choice of boys clothes.  They both chose a Long sleeved T each, which at £7.90 each was great value.  The hoodies they chose were less than £13 each too and look fantastic and are spot on fit wise.  They also chose a pair of trousers ach too, which came out a little long, but look cool folded up.  I was really impressed with their choices and they have washed and wore well.  Mini’s trousers have a great stretch to them more »


What activities have been keeping the boys busy this summer 2

e kit did make for some interesting conversations about crystal structures and we spent one evening researching this on the computer and looking at salt and sugar under the microscope. Now the boys are at school I think this will get a lot more play as it is something they can start after school and continue with the next day.

The Human Body

As a family we LOVED this kit. It costs £27 from Hobby Craft, but is jam packed with things to do, games to play and experiments, such as building your own stethoscope and finding out about finger prints. It really tapped in to the boys imagination at 7 and 8. I think it was perfectly pitched for their age range. The kit is full of primary coloured based kit and is really engaging. It is not something you have to spend hours with all at once, as it is broken down in to different sections and covers the five senses. This has been returned to again and again over the summer and we still have more to do and use, plus it comes with a 48 page book. A super buy.

Puzzler Brain Games for the DS

This came in to its own on one of our many long road trips. It is perfect for all ages and both the boys, their cousin and the Frugals played with it. At under £12 it is a great value game for any DS owner. Rather than use it in main game mode, which is a 90 tournament designed to improve your brain, they played it in practice mode, which is more like accessing mini games. The 20 puzzles are based on training 4 different brain function categories – Visual, Word, Mathematical and Memory. During all thge time it was played over the summer the boys never had the same content twice, which was pretty impressive.


The best weekend of the Summer – #EpicKielder 3

Sunday

Sunday morning was a little more leisurely. We had breakfast and then made our way down to the pool where the boys were booked in to have a go at water walking. Both of the boys thought it was great fun, but were pretty tired out after their allotted 15 minute session.

Overview

We could have stayed at Kielder for a whole week and still had more to see and experience. We were amazed at the dark skies and the amount of stars that could be seen from the balcony of the lodge. The lodge really was a home from home with everything you could need including a washer, dryer, cooker, fridge freezer and a dishwasher. It really was an epic experience.

Disclosure: 7 nights accommodation in a Lodge at Leaplish Waterside park ranges from £349 a week. Special offers and discounts are available at certain times of year, see the Kielder Website for details. We received 2 nights free accommodation, free meals and activities for the purpose of this review. You can see more photos of our trip on Facebook.


Top comics for 7 and 8 year old boys – tried and tested by the Mini Mads 1

top comics
LEGO Club Magazine – Free, quarterly

A free quality childrens magazine, yes I did say free. The boys love their LEGO magazines and are glue to them from the minute they pop through the letter box. There is a Junior magazine for under sevens and it really is filled with hours of fun. It gives you ideas of things to build with your LEGO, stories, comic strips and puzzles too. There is also an interactive version of the magazine too.

Anorak – £6 per addition, quarterly

Anorak is “the ‘happy mag for kids’ is aimed at boys and girls aged between 6 and 12 years old” and it is a beautiful magazine. Printed on recycled paper with vegetable inks, the pages are matt and it has a wonderful book smell. It isn’t a throwaway publication. Just like much loved children’s magazines and annuals of the past, it is designed to be collected and kept. In fact it is in the front of our bookcase and the boys go back to their previous copies on a regular basis.

The Phoenix – £2.99, weekly

This is a 32 page weekly comic, which is aimed at children aged 8 to 12 years old it features 7 or more exciting story strips, a puzzle competition and a new non-fiction strip every week of the year. If you have an avid reader then this is the comic for you. It is fun, full of quality stories and delivered every week. Both the boys love The Phoenix, but it is too regular for us. We would prefer it on a monthly basis as when they are busy they just pile up and you need to read them in order as some of the stories are longer than one week. If you have a very reluctant reader then The Phoenix is available on the IPad.


The Tefal Steam Generator means I can iron with broken ribs

There is no way I could have used a traditional iron and have been so thankful of my Tefal Steam Generator as the iron part is much lighter as the water for the steam is not stored in it, rather it is stored in a separate part. The model I have is the Pro Express Total Auto Control – GV8930, which retails at around £299.

Now I appreciate that this is A LOT of money for what is an iron, but really it is more than that. Since getting mine I have halved my ironing time. I used to take around an hour on a Sunday to iron 5 mens shirts, the boys school shirts and tops and all the rest of the weeks ironing. Now that is down to 30 minutes. Plus is it easier and looks better too.

The Pro Express Total Auto Control means that I do not have to set the irons temperature, but I do have control of steam with its two preset steam levels. It has 5 bar of steam pressure which means that the results are pretty impressive.

It also comes with the following:

Tefal’s unique anti-scale collector and Auto clean soleplate
Unlimited ironing time thanks to the permanent refill and 1.8L detachable water tank
Added safety with the auto-off feature
Environment friendly product with an “Eco” setting saving 20% of energy
The cord winds back in to the iron
The iron locks on to the base, even when hot


Back to School 2013 5

Back to school 2013
After what has been an epic summer the boys went back to school today. I am sure that the summer of 2013 will go down in the anals of history. It couldn’t have been better weather wise and they have experienced the summer I have always wanted for them.

I am a little sad to see them go back to school, but know that they have so much to look forward to this coming year. It is also amazing to see how different they are this year in comparison to this time last year and the year previous. How their likes have changed and developed.

Both of the boys had first day nerves today as not only do they have new teachers, but also new class groups too. Maxi is going into year four and Mini year three. Hard to believe that both my boys are in junior school!

My hope for them this year at school is that they have fun, stay happy and learn to get on with new people. I want them to continue to remain individuals and learn to stand by their morals and opinions. I also want them to remember that learning is not a spectator sport. So get stuck in and enjoy it boys, when I look back at my school life, primary where the happiest and most carefree time of my life.