Monday, 26 May 2014

Starting School

Last week I went along to a meeting at nursery about Little man moving rooms, moving into the pre schoolers room, the room before he starts Primary school. Yes it's over a year away  and little man is still a toddler in my eyes, but I have already  started to make enquiries in the application process and think about the schools in our local area.

The application process in theory is a choice based process that allows you to submit your preference of primary school via your local authority. However as we live on the boundary of two local authorities the process is maybe a little more complex for us especially considering that the year of little man's birth was considered to be a high birth rate year. 

I have already started to make enquiries with local schools to find about admission criteria and to started to contact head teachers about the possibility of coming to view the schools. Deciding on a first school seems like a massive decision to make and I am hoping that I just get the feeling of knowing that it is the right school for my children, like any parent I want my children to have the best possible start, and feel strongly that both education and social aspects should not have to be compromised. 

The thought of not getting my first or second choice school and having to look at the appeals process or alternative is an added pressure to making the right decision. Then comes the thoughts of School uniforms, packed lunches, before school clubs, after school clubs. I am sure all will be come clearer over the next few months especially once that application pack come through the door.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Bank Holiday shop with Morrisons

A few weeks ago I was selected to become a #Morrisonsmum and was sent some vouchers to go along to our local store and create a meal for the family. I had a few ideas in mind but as Morrisons is not our usual supermarket I went along with an open mind and apart from the usual weekly purchases I hadn't prepared a meal planner.

More often that not I do the bulk of my shop online, so tend to have a good idea of prices but perhaps don't find that I see special offers and promotions as much. In advance of my shop I heard about the price cuts that Morrisons had made so was keen to see these in store.

So in advance of the Bank Holiday, I set out to the weekly shop. I was instantly drawn to the clear signage indicating the lower prices, and the fruit and vegetable section was packed with them, a lot of them as cheap or cheaper than the local market. I chose quite a wide selection which made great snacks for the boys and I.

The meat selection was large and I was really impressed with not only the prices, but the portion packs too, so I was able to purchase packs that were suitable just for the boys meals which I found handy. We also selected a piece of Rump steak for a Bank Holiday treat.

It was great to see that the cheaper prices weren't contained to one area and were spread throughout the departments and I was particularly pleased to find the offers on cheese as this one of the things we tend to go through a lot of and always like to have in.

As I shopped I put together a quick idea of meals for the week, and added a few treats too. As I prepare my meals I will be keen to see the difference in price to my normal shop.

Disclaimer: I was selected to become a #Morrisonsmum and was sent vouchers to shop in store.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Sweet Treats #CollectiveBias

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser #CollectiveBias

Easter for us has become a time when we all get together as a family to spend hours running around the garden hunting for eggs and clues, chatting, playing games and of course endulging in lots of Easter sweets and chocolates.

This year when planning our Easter get together i have put my thinking cap on and come up with something that we have never done before and set my mind to making an Easter pinata cake.

I wanted to make this Pinata as Easter themed as possible and to pack the centre with lots of sweets, like you used to get on the penny tray! This got me casting my mind back to some of my favourite sweets so i popped online and had a look at and amongst a host of goodies found the perfect sweets; a whole tub of  jelly fried eggs.

Making the Pinata was really simple, i just made up a batch of my favourite sponge cake and flavoured with a hint of caramel. i used an Easter Egg cake mould as i thought i could make a few of these and decorate in different colours.

Once the cake had cooled i scooped out an oval of cake from each of the Easter egg halves and filled them with fried eggs. For a burst of colour i used one of my childhood favourite treats, Swizzles Matlow Rainbow drops.

I then sealed the Egg shapes together with melted chocolate and drizzled this over the cake to create an effect of a decorated egg. The boys were very excited when we cut into the cake and all the sweets came tumbling out and i am sure these will go down a treat with us all again at the weekend.

As an added bonus we have plenty of egg sweets left so these will be put to good use in the Easter egg Hunt.

What are your favourite Easter Treats?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Cake and Bake Show Manchester

Last year me and my mum took the short train journey to the Cake and Bake Show in Manchester. Not sure quite what to expect i was quite taken aback by how much cakey goodness had been packed under one roof. From the simply outstanding life size gingerbread village to all the stalls, cakes, books and demos that were on offer. We both came away laden down with purchases, a whole host of new ideas, inspiration to get creative in the kitchen and a vow to keep our eyes peeled for the next event.

This weekend the 4th - 6th of April the Cake and Bake Show returns to Manchester Central with a fantastic line up of star speakers including Frances Quinn and John Whaite and several other competititors from the Great British Bake Off.  A wide range of classroom and bakery demonstations across the weekend alongside free sugarpaste modelling sessions and several different types of competitions. There is also a Welcome to the Jungle feature which is the UK's most ambitious sugarcraft installation which sounds like its not to be missed.

The fun doesn't stop there either with a great selection of exhibitors for all types of baking enthusiasts and cake fans. There is bound to be some treats in store too!

For more information on the Cake and Bake Show Manchester or to purchase tickets click here

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Moments that mattered in 2013

2013 seemed to fly by, from little man turning two in early January, Christmas soon seemed to come along although the year was packed with lots of highlights and moments that really mattered.

The boys both had birthdays is the first few months and their little tea parties were lovely family gatherings and a afternoons packed full of party food, cake and proper party games.

We took advantage of the summer weather and spent days outside in the garden and enjoyed walks in the park.

We took a little break and enjoyed staying in a little caravan near the beach.

Little mans language really develop and could really tell us what he wanted, he learnt to count and take an interest in letters. He said I love you'

Tiny learned to walk and talk he learned 'mummy' and 'daddy. Learned how to play , how to feed himself.

We had days out Thomasland, the beach, the park. We had picnics we had takeaways. We had messy play. We read books over and over. We had fun lots and lots of fun.

We went away to London, we enjoyed lots of Christmas festivities.

We had lots of cuddles, and made lots of memories.

And I watched my two little men, watched them grow, watched them bond, watched them grow closer as brothers and saw my love for them grow stronger.

This is my entry in to the Lloyds Moments that  mattered competition.

ELC Art Challenge

Little Man has really started to show his creative streak, so when ELC asked if we would like to participate in the Valentines Challenge we saw this as an ideal opportunity to put those skills to good use.

We were sent a collage toolbox which contained allsorts of crafty goodies from paper and glue through to jewels and wiggly eyes. Little man was really taken with the kit and walked around all evening shouting he was off to work.

Before we started our Valentines crafts little man we talked about love and little man decided that he wanted to make something for me, so we set about making a picture that was a bouquet of flowers. Little man set to work and chose coloured sticks for the vase and green pipe cleaners for the stems, carefully gluing them to the card. Next he selected lots of different coloured sparkly pom poms for the flowers.

Little man was in full flow and as he saw that his craft boxed was still packed with goodies he to make something else. So i asked him to choose materials from the box that he would like to use and he selected coloured beads and after finding a length of elastic in the box i asked little man if he would like to make mummy a bracelet. Eager to started a tied a big knot at the end of the elastic and asked little man to thread the beads onto the elastic. He really enjoyed this as he selected each bead he shouted the colour of the bead and added to the elastic, we found this to a great hand- eye co-ordination activity. As the elastic was filled i then tied the two ends together. Little man was so pleased with his effort and how it looked on mummy that he asked to make one for himself. So we repeated the activity using a smaller length of elastic.

After making mummy a beautiful flower picture and bracelet little man asked to make something for grandma, so we decided on a little love bug picture. I cut out two heart shaped pieces from the yellow and black card and stuck the yellow heart to another piece of card. i then cut stripes for little man to stick on to the bug. which he did he then picked some wiggly eyes. Little man then asked to add legs and arms to the bug which he did using a white pipe cleaner. he then selected a couple of sequins and heart shaped jewel to complete the decorations. I think it looks really cute!!

 Disclaimer: We were sent craft materials to participate in the ELCArtChallenge

Monday, 3 February 2014

Childhood Crazes

Whilst watching a Fireman Sam DVD with the boys tonight it brought back childhood memories as it was the very same episode that my brother watched when he was younger. This got me thinking about toys that have stood the test of time and then the fads that my sister and I had when we were younger.

Care Bears we were both obsessed, from cuddly bears to plastic figures shortly. The introduction of the Care Bears sticker book started a fascination with collecting stickers and the eternal search for  'furry' and  'shinies'.

Collectables seemed to be the norm and  whilst I collected erasers with everything from pencils to burgers my sister had hundreds and hundreds of key rings.

Cereal box collectables were always a hit, with everything from stickers to bike reflectors buried at the bottom of the weekly cereal of choice which usually was something that was chosen for the sole purpose of hunting out the bagged treasure.

Cabbage patch kid dolls followed and the introduction of the more sinister adaption of the Garbage Pail kids created a mad frenzy of card collections in search of Slimy Sam and friends.

Whilst Rainbow Brite and My little Pony also had their moments,lights alive, Goblins, and tamagotchi were also firm favourites. Everyone who was anyone had a water game too......always a firm favourite for birthday presents (such a simple toy but hours and hours of fun pressing a button to fire hoops onto a pole)

These crazes didn't stop at toys and collectables jelly bean shoes and bags were a must alongside a candy watch watch and bracelet and your hair up in a banana clip. Any spare pennies were spent at the newsagents on push pops and ring pop lollies. A few years later we then moved on to the next craze of swatch watches which came in various colours and patterns.

Then do you remember the craze of the  Coke Cola spinners Yoyo's were Everyone was obsessed with trying to find a gold ring pull to win a prized gold Yoyo, and adults and children alike were frantically trying to master the arts of  'walking the dog' and 'rocking the baby'  in order to attend the spinner championships.

What were your childhood Crazes? These are some of the favourites listed on the Amazing Crazes website who are reminscing on five decades of childhood obsessions

Disclaimer this is a entry to the Oxford Open Learning Competition

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