Monday, 1 September 2014

Summer 2014 update - part two

Hello my friends, can you believe that it is the 1st of September today already? The summer holidays have flown by for us and we have been so busy organising everything for all of the changes that we have going on in our lives at the moment.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

42 days of summer!

The summer holidays are always a controversial topic with many parents dreading occupying their children for such a long time, other parents worrying about how they will manage with childcare during the long summer holidays and then the parents like myself, that actually can't wait for the summer holidays as we have so much fun each year! No matter what your view on the summer holidays is, there is no doubt that they can be stressful if you are not prepared, so I thought I would share some of my tips on making the most of the summer holidays.

My top tips for a stress free summer (although a little later then I had anticipated) are;

1) Plan! I am a huge believer in the old saying - failing to plan is planning to fail! Now I am all for children having time to use their imagination and deal with feeling bored rather then being totally over scheduled with every minute accounted for, but I also think that as a parent you need to know what you are doing and when, so that you can plan for work commitments, plan budgets, book activities etc so every year I make my children summer holiday books which tell them what we will be doing each day. You can read about these on a previous post which I wrote here. The idea is that the children do not have to continually pester me about when will we be doing certain activities and I can create a good balance of activities and free time where they can play in the garden or out with friends, use their imagination and over come boredom. Having a routine for each week mapped out in the books makes life so much simpler and is good for the children as it keeps them more focused and we are all kept happy.

2) Make a back up plan. I like to keep a few indoor activities in a secret place so that if something happens that you can not predict, such as bad weather or one of the kids becomes poorly, and you can not do what you had planned there is still something fun that is on hand to keep the kids happy and you sane!

3) Be open minded. I think that the summer holidays are really important for bonding with your children and as a family and they are also the perfect time to make memories that will last a life time, so the summer holidays are a time for letting your hair down and being silly! Do cart wheels in the garden, join in at the soft play, cover yourself in homemade face packs, dig for worms in the mud and get stuck in with the kids, they will love you for it.

4) Relax and be a bit more flexible with the children. Yes it is important to still keep some kind of routine for the children as most children do thrive when there are rules and boundaries in place and they know what they are doing, but does it really matter if they have sweets three days in a row, or if they stay up a little later then usual? You need to relax your expectations and there will be far less arguments and stress.

5) Make a budget and stick to it. Money can often be tight for families now more then ever, so decide on a budget that you can afford and then plan your holidays with that in mind. If you are on a very low budget there are lots of free or low cost activities that you can do if you do a bit of research and use your imagination. 

This post was inspired by the McVitie's/Britmums blogging challenge and McVitie's were kind enough to send me some of their BN biscuits. 

We received a packet of the chocolate flavoured biscuits and a packet of the raspberry ones.

The biscuits are artificial free and 45% wholemeal and whole grain. They are also really tasty and make a great treat after a busy morning or afternoon of summer fun!

I was a bit worried about the raspberry flavour if I'm honest, but they actually taste great and my oldest daughter Lauren who is 16 said that the raspberry ones were her favourite. 

I loved the chocolate ones the best as I am a bit of a self confessed chocoholic and Faith said that she could not decide on a favourite flavour as they were both equally yummy!

The biscuits are a good size to fill hungry tummies and I will definitely be keeping some in my cupboards from now on!

I had to laugh when I came into the kitchen and found Faith using two of the biscuits like dolls talking to each other! It's because of the cute faces on the biscuits so they are also great for imaginative play!

This post is my entry for the 42 days of summer linky challenge sponsored by McVitie's BN - Learn more at

Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer 2014 update

Hello out there! So sorry for the lack of recent posts, life has a funny way of getting in the way of blogging!

The summer holidays are keeping us busy and we have been having so much fun and I have also been very busy organising my application to university and attending my social work degree selection day. 

Haven't we been lucky this summer with such beautiful weather, it really has been lovely. We have spent so much time in the garden and we purchased a paddling pool which has kept Faith busy splashing around and even Chloe has been out in it too. 

We have been to the cinema, bowling, farm, car boot sales, park and soft play centres. We have also been doing the reading challenge at our local library which is something that I use to do with my older girls when they were younger and now I am doing with Faith. 

We have just returned from a trip away at Drayton Manner theme park which was fantastic and enjoyed by all.

We have also been busy indoors doing science experiments, arts and crafts and cooking cakes and making pizzas. 


It has been lovely and we still have 19 days to enjoy before the children all go back to school!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tuna pasta salad

I love having meals that can be thrown together quickly for nights where we are extra busy as it saves us from relying on a take-a-way which saves us money. It is also much healthier then most take-a-ways too and as I am a self confessed control freak knowing I have something quick and easy makes me feel much more in control of things which keeps me happy!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Mango upside down cake

We decided to try a new twist on an old favourite so we substituted the well known pineapple for mango to see what it would be like and I have to say, it works really well. In fact my whole family said that they prefer the mango to pineapple in this cake and Faith really enjoyed cooking it with me.

Magnetic notice board review

I am very lucky to be working with Shoplet UK as one of their reviewers and a few weeks ago they sent me this lovely magnetic notice board which I love. 

Shoplet are an Office Stationary supplier but many of their products are also great for use at home.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Word of the week - Exciting!

Well, what a difference a week makes! This week has been a very exciting week for us all.

First we had Lauren's prom which was lovely and so exciting for Lauren as it was something that she had been looking forward to for such a long time. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Lauren's prom

On Friday 4th July it was Lauren's high school prom. 

This is all very new to me as they didn't have school proms when Darren or I were at school and with Lauren being our eldest we were not really sure of what to expect. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Meal planning Monday - July 7th 2014

 Monday 7th July.

Chicken pie, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.
A store brought pie makes this a nice and easy dinner to kick start the week!

Tuesday 8th July.

Turkey dinosaurs, cauliflower and broccoli cheese and chips or roast potatoes.

Wednesday 9th July.

Spaghetti bolognese.
I use a Dolmio sauce in a jar for this as I prefer the taste to my own and it only takes 25 minutes from start to finish for this dinner.

Thursday 10th July.

Iceland Chicken hotpot, extra potatoes and vegetables.

Friday 11th July.

Pizza for the kids.
Darren and I are going out to a country pub for a drink and something to eat.

Saturday 12th July.

BBQ chicken breasts, boiled rice and garlic bread.

Sunday 13th July.

Rustic chicken with extra potatoes and vegetables.
One of those packets which you add fresh ingredients to the bag which has some herbs or spices in and oven cook the meal in the bag.

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Friday, 4 July 2014

The prompt - life without TV?

mumturnedmomThe Prompt for this week from the lovely Sara over at Mumturnedmom is a topic and it is:
TV: could you live without it?

Yes I could! I must admit that I would rather not live without TV as sometimes it is just nice to chill out and indulge in some me time watching some of my favourite TV shows but if I had to live without it, I could.