Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Enjoying ice cream in winter with Kelly's of Cornwall

Ice cream is usually reserved for long sunny days but in this country where those days are few and far between we need to learn how to enjoy ice cream on chilly winter days. 
The lovely people at Kelly's of Cornwall, the leading brand of Cornish ice cream recently offered us the chance to try their delicious ice cream and discover some ways to enjoy it in the cold weather. Kelly's ice cream is made from clotted cream and whole milk and it has a smoothness that you don't find in other ice creams and the creamy taste is really luxurious.

They have some great ideas on how to enjoy their ice cream including serving it with hot desserts like crumbles and bread and butter pudding. You can see my first ever attempt at bread and butter pudding here, it certainly went down well with the boys in the house.
My personal favourite way to enjoy Kelly's ice cream is by putting a scoop into my hot chocolate and sprinkling marshmallows over the top. I can't believe i haven't tried this before, the creaminess of the ice cream makes a delicious addition to your drink and I've been enjoying several of these recently.
 Other suggestions to enjoy Kelly's ice cream in winter include melting your favourite chocolate bar and using as a topping and of course a baked Alaska, I've never braved making one of those but i think it might have to be done in the future.

For more information and delicious recipes head to the Kelly's of Cornwall website

**PR Sample **

Monday, 18 November 2013

Writing to Father Christmas

The Royal Mail are running their service again this year so that children can write a letter to Father Christmas and get a reply.

We wrote ours last week and it's winging it's way to Reindeerland as i type. 
Just write a letter(including your childs full name and a address) and post(with a stamp) to
 Santa/Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,

 by the 6th December. In return your little one with receive a lovely card from the big man himself :) 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Reindeer Christmas Cards for baby and toddlers

So we're now past mid November, and i'm posting my first Christmas post!
Everyone loves a homemade card from the little ones but when they are small it can be hard to get them to comply.

 These reindeer cards are so simple to make and look really cute. They don't make too much mess and any age of baby or toddler can make them.
 Paint your little ones hand with brown paint(but not their thumb) and print onto some paper. Once the paint is dry, simply stick on some googly eyes, then using your little ones finger or thumb print, add a red nose. 
Finally stick the reindeer onto some folded card and there you have it! 
Of course you can add extra decorations, but i like the simpleness of these cards :)

Friday, 15 November 2013

This weeks meal plan

We did well last week and pretty much stuck to our meal plan. Our homemade pork and apple burgers were lovely. 
 This week we're using up some bits that have been in the freezer for a while to clear up some space in preparation for Christmas. I haven't ordered them as it depends on what Phil is working.

Slow cooker spag bol
Pasta and pesto
Fajitas and wedges
Italian rice with chicken
Beef burgers and waffles
Homemade spicy pork meatballs and pasta
Chicken chargrills and wedges

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My little dude

I've wanted a denim jacket for Seb for a while now but i couldn't find the right one. 
Then i found one on H&M online and kept it in mind, it recently went down in the sale and i snapped it up. As soon as it arrived Seb wanted to try it on and posed by the wall for me, though he does call it a dennis jacket!  

Today he wore it out for the first time when we popped out for lunch and a browse around the shops and he looked so brilliant.

 Denim jacket-H&M, Black sweatshirt(underneath)-H&M, Lime Green vest(underneath)-GAP,  Spooked tights- Slugs & Snails, Batman Converse hi tops, Grey hat-Ebay
 I'm really finding it hard to find nice gloves and scarves for the boys this year,  if you've seen any, let me know please :)

Linking up with the rather beautiful Medicated Follower of Fashion and Trendy Tuesday
Badge for TTT, Badge

Britain is a nation of ‘snackered’ workers

I think most us know the snackered feeling, i certainly find myself reaching towards the snack cupboard at certain moments in the day!  The lovely people at popchips, sent me the findings of a recent survey they carried out about our snacking habits.
A snackered nation

We are a nation of ‘snackered’ workers with the average worker reaching for the snack cupboard at least twice a day to keep them going. ‘snackered’ workers are tucking into a pick-me-up at 11.30am – and again by 3pm, a popchips study recently revealed. over three quarters of Brits agree a snack helps to boost energy levels.

The survey of 2,000 british office workers, commissioned by snack brand popchips, found that while 72 per cent of office workers start the day full of energy, it rapidly disappears as the day progresses with many grabbing their first snack at 11.30am. by mid-afternoon respondents admitted suffer another energy slump causing them to reach for a second snack at around 2.55pm.

The popchips survey revealed that a lack of energy or need for a snack can lead to inappropriate office behaviour. over a third said they ignore people when faced with an energy slump while twenty eight per cent of workers admitted they are likely to lash out at colleagues or even their boss. almost half said they are likely to avoid doing work all together. brits revealed that when tired or hungry they will natter to colleagues or procrastinate on social media and shopping sites rather than complete their work.

Worse still, one in ten sneaky employees admitted that when previously experiencing an energy slump they have faked an illness so they can go home early.

Dr. Sandra Scott, a spokesman for popchips, said: “when we lack energy it can be difficult to concentrate. if this happens when you are at work it can affect your performance and potentially land you in trouble with your boss!  realistically there is not always time to leave your desk to grab a meal. at these times a well-placed snack can be exactly what you need. it can provide a quick boost to your energy levels so you can get back to focussing on your work and not on your rumbling stomach!"

As for snacking, it’s a minefield when it comes to office etiquette. for the 72 per cent of employees who sit at their desks snacking they run the risk of committing a snacking faux pas. fifty five per cent of brits agreed that eating smelly food is the number one bad habit closely followed by noisy eaters (40 per cent).

Brits also admitted to being protective of their food. seventeen per cent revealed that when offering to share their snack with colleagues they hope no one says yes. a further 20 per cent agreed they eat snacks quickly before anyone realises what they are doing. while six per cent choose to hide and snack privately in the bathroom or toilet

Will Bowler, general manager for popchips added, ‘’thanks to the magic of potato popping, popchips are the perfect guilt-free healthier snack option. you won’t have to compromise on great taste with popchips so we can’t blame snackers if they don’t want to share with colleagues!”

top tips for avoiding the snackered slump

1.    be prepared. have snacks ready for when energy slumps hit.

2.    check the small print. looks for snacks that won’t blow your daily calorie intake. at less than 100 calories a pack popchips are an ideal snackered treat!

3.    get moving. keep your snacks away from your desk so you go for a walk to pick them up. a quick break from the computer can do wonders!

4.    snack tasty. keep healthy yummy snacks accessible. if you deny yourself your favourite snacks, you’ll just need up craving for them and over-doing it. try popcorn, a small packet of nuts and raisins, popchips, olives, a handful of almonds or frozen tubes of fromage-frais.

Created in california and now popping in the uk, popchips are a naturally delicious line of popped potato chips. never fried. never baked.  popchips are popped with heat and pressure for a snack so crispy and delicious you won’t even notice it’s (we hesitate to say) healthier. taste why for yourself at waitrose, ocado, sainsburys, tesco, boots, starbucks, wh smith (stations and airports), planet organic, whole foods markets, booths and now in universities across the uk.

With seven great, taste-bud popping flavours, including original, barbeque, salt & vinegar, sour cream & onion, salt & pepper,thai sweet chilli and katy’s kettle cornthere’s a different flavour for everyone’s tastes.

Want more? pop over to and for all the latest, become a facebook fan or follow us on twitter. 

RRP from 69p for single serve and £2.00 for a share bag. for more information please visit

**Along with the survey findings, i was also sent a box of popchips to snack on.**

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Do we need incentives to breastfeed?

Women who breastfeed for 6 months will receive £200 of shopping vouchers. This scheme is being trialled in a couple of areas at the moment where breastfeeding rates are low and if successful it may be rolled out throughout England next year. 

I have seen alot of discussion on this topic today, it's popped up on twitter, facebook and on the news this morning, nearly everyone is against the idea.

Personally i find it an odd concept, it seems a little condescending to women really.
 Breastfeeding was something i was desperate to do, with Seb i had a difficult time with no support(you can read about it here) and then again with Alex i was made to feel formula would be best as he wasn't gaining weight, but not one single midwife who came out to our home(there were alot in the 10 days) asked to see me feeding him so they could check on his latch etc, i was very stressed out that my baby was losing weight, i was in pain from a major operation and the idea that i would get £200 in 6 months time would have made no difference to me and the many other mums i know who didn't use formula as a first choice.
What would have made a difference is that £200 going towards someone who could come and spend some time with me and help me to feed successfully. A peer supporter or even an experienced mum could have made a huge difference.

I will say that i will be interested to know if the scheme does increase the breastfeeding rates in the trial areas, will education and support be given alongside the incentive? If so it would be interesting to see if it is the vouchers or support that has the most effect.

Friday, 8 November 2013

This weeks meal plan

I plan our evening meals each week because i find it saves money and stress on deciding what to cook. Recently thought i have found myself drifting away from the meal plan so to make sure i'm back on it im going to start posting them up. Our shopping is delivered on Friday so thats when i'll be posting :)

Friday Pizza and garlic bread (the boys had Vegetable Soup earlier)
Saturday Beef Casserole with herby dumplings,cooked in the slow cooker
Sunday Lasagne with garlic bread, though Seb is going out for a Chinese with his grandparents
Monday Cottage pie
Tuesday Pasta and pesto
Wednesday Homemade Pork and Apple Burgers and wedges and corn on the cob
Thursday Toad in the hole and mash and peas

Whats on your meal plan this week?

School at 2, what do you think?

This week the head of Ofsted Lady Sally Morgan has caused a stir by suggesting children as young as 2 years old should be enrolled into school. She is particularly targeting children from disadvantaged backgrounds who according to research by Ofsted are 19 months behind their affluent peers when starting school at the age of 5 particularly when it comems to reading and communication.

Now firstly i would like to say i find the idea of children starting school at 2 ridiculous. As the mother of a 2 year old, i cannot imagine him in a school setting and there is no way i would send him. It isn't a childcare setting like a nursery or childminders, it is school a place for education. At the age of 2 children should be going to the park, the library, building towers and be carefree, not stuck in a school setting. I actually think i would find it disturbing to see classes 2 year olds sat doing work like little robots. We already know from various European countries that children do far better when formal schooling starts later.

I will admit that i haven't read into this particular Ofsted research but i do know from previous reading that children from disadvantaged backgrounds often fall behind peers. Of course this isn't true in all cases, but in general this is a group where help is needed, we live in an area where there is alot of social deprivation and i have seen this first hand. In fact perhaps we would fall into the 'disadvantaged' group as we survive on a fairly low income? Who knows. What i do know is that sending toddlers to school isn't the answer. 

Lady Morgan says of these children "They're not ready to learn at school. Weak parenting, low educational attainment of parents, poor diet, poor housing and so on."  
Surely from that most people would say instead of shoving these kids into school, why not get to the root causes of the issues? Why not make it so people don't have to live off of a poor diet, so they can live in suitable housing, support parents who perhaps need extra help. Sure Start do some excellent work, in our local area there are several centres, i get sent their literature from time to time and they run courses on family cooking, reading with your children and also adult learning courses covering many subjects. The centres are full of lovely books and toys and there are free play sessions for the parents and children.  However hundreds of Sure Start centres have been closed or have had to reduce their services in the last couple of years after around 1/3 of its funding was cut by the governement. 

The government has said they are making it easier for schools to take children from 2. Children aged 3 are already eligable for 15 hours of free childcare a week(usually in an informal nursery or preschool setting) and some 2 year olds are also eligable for this. One thing that makes me wary of the education system at the moment is that a certain Education Secretary seems very keen on learning by rote and tests, which to my mind are not the most effective methods of learning.

For me, Neil Leitch of The Pre School Learning Alliance summed it up by saying "Social inequality needs to addressed in many ways and taking very young children away from their parents and placing them in formal schooling is not the answer," 

I'd love to know what you all think. Should children be in school from 2?

Awesome Autumn playdough

Autumn will soon be turning into winter and i wanted to do one last craft with Seb before starting on our winter list.

When we carved a pumpkin i washed and dried out the seeds and we still had conkers left so i decided to make some playdough and add these into the fun. I made some basic yellow playdough, set it up with the usual rolling pin and a few cutters and then added the seeds, conkers and some red lentils for colour into a tin and set them with it.

Seb knew the seeds were from the pumpkin as he had helped me retrieve them from the guts and of course he remembered collecting the conkers. He ignored the rolling pin and cutters and concentrated on pushing the conkers into the ball of dough as far and he could and also adding the seeds and lentils to the dough. He also sorted them into the silicone cupcake cases i had put out. It was really interesting watching him and talking with him as he noted the different sizes of conkers and how the lentils were tiny.

I always love seeing something capture his imagination and this really did. Even Alex joined in with a lump of playdough until he started munching on it. It must taste disgusting from all the salt in it but it didn't seem to bother him! 


The last couple of weeks have been pretty crappy round our way. Some personal issues, a bereavement and Phil getting mugged on his way home from work(he's OK) have all added up to blogging taking a backseat. 

Hopefully things will start to settle down now, i have a huge list of blog posts to write up, i just need to find the time to sit and write them now! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Birthday fun

For Alex's birthday we had a family day. Phil had the day off work so we had a late breakfast, i made American style pancakes with nutella, smarties and candles on top.

Then we opened presents(well Seb opened them), put Alex into his birthday monster nappy. had a play and our first visitor of the day popped in.

We went out for lunch to a local pub with a soft play area.

We came home for an afternoon snooze and some more visitors.
Finally the boys had dinner followed by cake. I think Alex enjoyed his first taste of chocolate and cake!

 We had a lovely day and both boys were exhausted at the end of it. I had put up some Halloween decorations and got lots of sweets in but we didn't get a single trick or treater. Booo!

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