Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Banana Muffins

We are big muffin fans in this house and I have shared quite a few muffin recipes on this blog now. Today I took advantage of the baby napping to whip up a batch of banana muffins. These are super easy to make and you can play around and add extras such chocolate chips or blueberries into the batter too. Another thing I love about these is that they freeze really well.

To make 8 large muffins

250g plain flour
100g caster sugar 
3tsp baking powder
175ml semi skimmed milk
75ml vegetable oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 200°C and prepare your muffin tray with paper cases.
In a large mixing bowl mix your dry ingredients together and mix your wet ingredients in a seperate bowl. Then combine them together and until the dry ingredients are wet, don'the overmix, the batter should be a bit lumpy for muffins. Chop your banana into smallish chunks and stir into the batter. Fill your muffin cases around 3/4 of the way, and pop into the oven for around 10 minutes before turning the oven down slightly (180°C) and bake for another 10 minutes until cooked through. 
Cool and eat!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Our weekly meal plan 30/5

Happy Bank Holiday Monday Meal Planners! I hope everyone is enjoying the extra day off and those with children are looking forward to a half term full of fun.

Last week's meal plan went so well until we got to Friday, I had been out at my parents with the boys and decided instead of our planned meal we would pop to M&S and pick up the pizza meal deal they had on. Of course while there I managed to pick up a few other bits, I do love M&S food hall and 5 bunches of flowers for £3.50! On Saturday the boys ate their dinner at a party so Phil and I decided to treat ourselves to a takeaway and I was finally able to drink the champagne I had from when Barney was born as I am now off the antibiotics. We did get back on it yesterday and had our planned gammon and we are having the leftovers tonight.

I am looking forward to our pork at the end of the week.  When you shop online with Morrisoms they often give you flash deals at the checkout and they offered me a 1.8kg pork shoulder joint for less than £3 so I had to buy it, the joint is huge and will do us two main meals plus sandwiches for Phil and there will probably still be leftovers to add to a pasta sauce or something.

Monday Creamy Gammon Pasta Bake

Tuesday Slow Cooker Chilli with jacket potatoes

Wednesday Spring Onion and Bacon Pasta

Thursday Baked Omlette and beans

Friday Pizza pasta bake

Saturday Roast Pork with all the trimmings

Sunday Pulled Pork in baps with sweet potato fries and salad

What is on your meal plan this week?

Sunday, 29 May 2016

5 things I miss about being pregnant

Pregnancy is an amazing time, I am in awe of the whole process to be honest and think that a womans body is pretty damn amazing to be able to grow an actual human being.
Of course even the most straightforward pregnancy can be hard work at times but there are some things I miss about being pregnant.

1. My shape. I love the changes that pregnancy makes to my body shape.All three of my pregnancies have seen me sport a pretty large bump and I seem to carry them all at the front.  I enjoy having a bump, and and dare I say it, I do feel sexy and attractive in an earth mother kind of way. 

2. My hair, skin and nails. One of the big perks of pregnancy is he extra shiny hair, glowing skin and strong nails. I did suffer with dry skin on my legs but facially my skin was lovely and clear. 

3. Baby kicks. From the first flutters where you aren't sure if you just imagine the feeling or if it really is the baby to the huge movements and somersaults later on baby kicks and movements are pretty magical, I loved lying in the bath watching my bump move all over and rippling the water. 

4. Eating for 2. Of course these days you aren't really meant to eat for 2, here in the UK it is recommended to eat an extra 200 calories just in the third trimester. However it is nice to be positively encouraged to eat an extra slice of cake!

5. The boys bonding. My third pregnancy was pretty special,  I was so excited to be giving the boys a brother and they were pretty excited too. I loved them talking to my bump,  kissing it and seeing their awe when they could see and feel the baby move inside of me.

What parts of pregnancy do you enjoy?

Friday, 27 May 2016

Picnics, sleeping through and keyboard warriors

I haven't blogged this week, despite having had the time as Phil was on nights and Barney has been going to bed between 8 and half 8 all week. I just haven't felt like sitting and writing despite a number of half written posts waiting in my drafts. I wanted to just relax.
Instead I spent my downtime catching up on the soaps, starting to watch Pretty Little Liars and doing a little bit of online clothes shopping for the boys.

It's been a funny week. On Sunday I had a run in with someone on Facebook, I am probably been a bit more sensitive to things than I usually would be due to my hormones, tiredness and from being poorly since B was born and it both made me very cross and upset at the same time. But as the week has gone on I have realised there is no point getting upset over someone who has never met me and only knows what they have seen online. It also made me wonder why people feel it is okay to be nasty from behind a screen?
Then on Monday at 7am Yorkshire Water decided to block the end of our drive and dig up the pathway, fair enough that they have to fix something but they left 3 hours later leaving our drive blocked and it still hasn't been sorted out. While doing the work they also moved our bin back onto our driveway from the path which meant that the binmen didn't take our rubbish and that still hasn't been collected despite me contacting the council. It has been annoying me all week, as a family of 5 we do produce quite a bit of rubbish despite using cloth nappies and recycling as much as we can. 

On the flip side Barney has started properly sleeping through the night at 7 weeks old. I wasn't expecting that at all and I am sure things will change again soon but for now I am enjoying the sleep. 
We had a lovely day out on Tuesday, we went to a local park for a picnic in the sunshine, explored the museum that is there, played in the playground and found a bug hotel. Talking of bugs we received our caterpillars in the post and are eagerly waiting for them go become butterflies and Sebastian also decided to capture a slug. We have been learning about minibeasts recently so he is very into them at the moment.
We have also spent time with both sets of grandparents and a trip to M&S for yummy food and I picked up some bargain flowers all reduced with 90% off.

Phil has this bank holiday weekend off so we are hoping to make it a good ome. Tomorrow we are going to the cinema in the morning and then a birthday party in the afternoon. We will also be celebrating Elmer Day!
I hope everyone has a great weekend, don't forget to enter my current giveaway to win chocolate! 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday 23/5

Happy Monday Meal Planners! I hope May is treating you well.

After our pretty lazy meal plan last week I am back to doing some cooking this week instead of throwing things at the oven. As well as our evening meals I am making a couple of soups this week as I picked up some bargain sweet potatoes and butternut squash in Lidl and i am sure we will do some baking too. We went to the farm shop on Friday to buy our quiche and came home with some of their lovely sausages so they have made it onto our meal plan this week cooked with some BBQ sauce from our latest Degustabox.

Monday Slow cooked spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread

Tuesday Chicken, Bacon and Leek pasta

Wednesday Tomato soup with cheese bread

Thursday Fajitas with sweet potato fries

Friday BBQ sausages with sweet potato mash and sweetcorn

Saturday Pizza and garlic bread

Sunday Slow cooked gammon, pineapple and wedges

As usual I am linking up with Meal Planning Monday over on At Home With Mrs M. Why not join in and check out what others are eating?

If you are looking for family meal inspiration why not check out my previous meal planning posts?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Fathers Day Crafts from Baker Ross

As you may know we are Baker Ross bloggera and recipe email regular deliveries full of crafty items. Our most recent delivery included some fabulous Fathers Day crafts and we have been busy getting stuck into them.

The boys were instantly drawn to these Stand Up Wooden Boats (£2.75 for 6), we painted the wooden shapes with poster paint and once dry stood them up using the wooden stands. I love how they turned out.

The Tie Bookmark Kits (£2.99 for 4) is one of my favourite types of craft kit for when I am feeling a bit short on time. The foam is all precut and sticky backed so just needs to be peeled from the backing and stuck down. They are so simple to make that both boys(3 and 5) were able to complete them independently.

This Fathers Day Keyring Kit (£2.99 for 4) is aimed at slightly older children as it is a little fiddly, you thread the beads and charm onto the elastic before knotting. Sebastian was able to thread the beads whereas as I ended up making Alexandera for him. The result is some lovely keyrings (or bag danglers).

These Cat Coasters (£3.96 for 6) are a fun gift item for cat lovers and they came with instructions on how to make them. They are made of felt and have sticky backs so no glue is required, always a bonus!

I saved the boys favourite until last! They were super keen to make thse Wind up dinosaur racers (£3.99 for 3) and once they were made we spent ages racing them, they absolutely loved these and I can see dad's loving them too.

Will you be making any crafts for Father's Day?

**I received these products for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own**

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Win £15 to spend on chocolate at Morse Toad

It's Fathers Day next month and let's be honest it can be hard to find the perfect gift for dad.  Well today I am solving your dilemma and introducing you to Morse Toad and one lucky reader can win a £15 gift voucher. Who doesn't love chocolate?

In a world where everything is digitalised , it always feels a bit special to get something physical in the post and Morse Toad cleverly combines the two and allows you to send a message in the post made from delicious belgian chocolate along with a wallet sized photo card with personalised message to keep forever. They have a great Fathers Day range at the moment aswell as messages for all manner of occasions or simply just to say hello.

Either choose one of the great messages available at Morse Toad or write your own message (up to 44 characters), upload a photo from your phone or social media, include a personalised message to go on the back and that's it. Your chosen recipient will receive a lovely treat in the post, the box even fits through the letterbox so no need to worry about treks to the post offi&ce.

Morse Toad are offering one lucky person the chance to win a £15 gift voucher to spend on their site. Simply fill in the rafflecopter below to be in with the chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
1. Open to UK residents only.

2. Entrants must be over 18.

3. All entries will be checked.

4. Please make sure i have a way to contact you if you win.

5. Prize will be sent direct from Morse Toad.

6. No cash alternative

7. If I am unable to contact the winner or they do not respond within 7 days a new winner may be drawn.

Five things to do with outgrown clothes

Barney is now at the stage where he has outgrown quite a lot of clothes and as he is to be our last baby I have been thinking about what I want to do with them. I pretty much kept everything when the older boys were babies which has stood us in good stead as Barney has worn some clothes that both of his brothers wore plus his cousins before that. Here are five things you can do with outgrown baby clothes.

Sell them online If they are in good condition, branded items can sell really well. Of course there is eBay or but there are also Facebook groups both local, (great for selling bundles) or groups for specific brands or types of clothes. Remember to read the rules of the group before selling anything.

Sell them in person Another way to make a littke extra money. If you fancy selling face to face without the hassle of posting, why not try a car boot sale or an NCT nearly new sale.

Keep them If you are considering another baby in the future, why not buy some vacuum bags and keep your favourite items. I have loved seeing Barney wearing the clothes his brothers wore, it brings back so many memories. Even if you aren't considering another baby you might want to keep some particular favourites, my mum still has 2 baby dresses worn by my sister and me, I would have loved to have used them if I had ever had a daughter.

Make them into a memory keepsake Turn your favourite clothes into a keepsake. Memory quilts are lovely as are memory animals. If like me you having zero sewing ability, there are lots of amazing sellers out there,  one of my fellow November 2010 mummies makes amazing memory animals.

Donate them There are endless places to donate unwanted clothes., charity shops are the most obvious one but there are also women's shelters and some food banks take clothes in too.

What do you do with outgrown clothes?

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Painting with toys in the tuff spot

It's the time of year when our tuff spot comes out of it's winter hibernation in the shed and starts being used again.
I am currently trying to work my way through some of our craft stuff, I have so much that my huge cupboard and Trofast unit are bursting at the seams. So as I work through it I will no doubt be using the contents for some tuff spot fun over the coming weeks.

We woke up on Tuesday to a gorgeous sunny day so we decided to spend the morning in the garden and I set up a super easy tuff spot that anyone can do. We gathered a whole load of toys, some bright poster paints and a roll of newsprint paper that I was recently sent from Baker Ross.

I cut the paper to size and used masking tape to secure it in the tuff spot, the boys added their chosen toys and finally I squirted the paint into the edges and the boys set to work using their toys to paint with. I also made sure they had a tub of water to rinse off the toys in between colours.

They spent a whole hour painting and printing with the various toys. I think part of the fun was using their toys in a different way. Favourite toys for printing were sticklebricks, duplo and wooden blocks, the toy animals were walked through the paint and their footprints across the paper.  As I expected both boys loved running the vehicles through the paint and over the paper, we have done this before and I am sure will again.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

We Made Me Wuti Wrap

When I found out I was pregnant this time I knew I wanted to babywear as much as possible. I don't drive so walk alot and Seb and Alex both like to hold my hands and to be honest I am happier that way as we often have to walk along busy roads, obviously a pram would mean they couldn't do that. I also use buses regularly and a pram on public transport can be a nightmare,  if there are already prams on you need to fold yours down or wait for the next bus, if it is really busy you have to push your way through the scrum of people stood in the aisle plus my bigger 2 like to sit at the back and I can't leave them up there while I stand at the front with a pram. So babywearing just seemed the most practical option for us.
I have dabbled in baby wearing before, I used a carrier with Seb for a short while and I used a stretchy wrap a few times with Alex but to be honest  I never really got the hang of it and gave up pretty early on.
This time i have stuck with it so far, Barney is now 6 weeks old and we have only used the pram out in public once, the rest of the time he has been in a sling,

A couple of months ago while I was overdue with Barney I was tagged in a Facebook post by We Made Me (formally Babaslings) who were looking for parents to honestly review their new wraps and slings. I applied and was lucky enough to be selected.

I was sent a We Made Me Wuti wrap in Midnight Black to try.

The Wuti wrap is a stretchy breathable woven wrap designed to be used from 8-35lb. It is particularly suitable for those first few months of a baby's life where they want to be close to you.

The wrap arrived really well packaged. It comes in a sturdy tube which We Made Me suggests can be used as a keepsake box, inside the tube is a mesh bag which contains the wrap. Again the bag can be reused as a nappy bag or similar on days out. Along with the wrap is a detailed instruction booklet.

The wrap itself is generously sized, so can be used by people of all shapes and sizes, i am short and curvy and Phil is tall and slim and both of us can use it without issue. The generous size also means that there is plenty of room for your baby to grow.

I was a little apprehensive about putting the wrap on correctly as my other carrier does not need tying but thanks the frankly fabulous instruction manual I actually found it really easy to work out and was able to put it on and get Barney in with minimal fuss.

One of the big selling points of the Wuti wrap for me is the mesh fabric, it is light and breathable. One of my worries around babywearing is of Barney getting too warm as we are getting into summer. However despite wearing him on a warm day at the beach i was pleased that he didn't get too hot at all. This will definitely be worn throughout the summer for that reason alone.

I have found the wrap very comfortable to wear, having worn it for several hours at a time I haven't had any issues with comfort or with the material sagging. Barney also seems pretty comfy,  he pretty much sleeps the whole time he is being worn!

I am so pleased we got the chance to try the Wuti wrap, it is a fab product and we are really enjoying using it.  I am interested to see how we get on with it as Barney gets a bit bigger.

**I received a wrap for the purpose of giving an honest review, all opinions are my own**

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

I'm glad that I tried for a VBA2C

When it came to trying for a natural birth after 2 c sections, I encountered many many opinions both from friends and family to medical professionals. From those who were positive and encouraging to those who clearly thought I was doing the wrong thing, I heard it all.
Most people assumed I would be booked in for an elective section at 39 weeks and that would be that and I had lots of queries about why I wasn't happy to do that. Some people understood, others didn't. While there is nothing wrong with opting for a c section, it wasn't what I wanted.

I had the full support of the most important person and that helped me to stick to my guns and attempt to give birth vaginally. My pregnancy was uncomplicated and there seemed no reason not to give it a go. I was so excited to write my birth plan, to go into labour to have my baby born and put straight to my chest. I wasn't frightened of birth, nervous of course but not scared. When i got to full term I did everything I could to try and make sure Barney was in the right position and to encourage him to come naturally, lots of long walks and bouncing on my ball. I finally went into labour nearly a week after he was due and I was so happy and excited,  yes it was painful but the pain was means to an end.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be and Barneys birth ended up in a pretty frightening emergency c section after i failed to progress.

But (and it's a big but) I am so glad I tried. So glad that I gave Barney the chance to be born when was ready (2 weeks later than an elective section would have been),  so glad that i went into labour naturally, that I managed to progress to 6cm with no help, that I went for it. At the hospital i was told i was brave but consultants and midwives alike and that it was so rare for a mum to try for vba2c that everyone wanted to come and see me and to know out how I got on but I wasn't doing it for that, I wanted to experience a natural birth, I wanted to try, to give my body the chance and I did it.

So it may not have ended how I would have liked but I know that I would have regretted opting for an elective caesarean this time. I would have always wondered what if and if I had my time again I would still have done the same thing.

Monday, 16 May 2016

JoJo Maman Bebe New Baby Gifts

I am one of those people who just loves buying for new babies and one of my favourite places to buy new baby gifts is JoJo Maman Bebe. It is one of the first places i look and I absolutely love browsing their gorgeous website. I know from my own experience as a mum that their products are fantastic quality and a little bit special as well as being practical.

Duckling Sleepsuit £15

To make finding the perfect gift even easier JoJo have recently launched a new online gift catalogue

Meal Planning Monday 16/5

Happy Monday Meal Planners! Last week we were away for a few days so there wasn't really a plan to stick too apart from over the weekend. It was so nice to have a break from cooking.

I am feeling exhausted at the moment (my iron levels are low since i had Barney) so it is a really simple meal plan this week, mostly bung in the oven food. I am really looking forward to having quiche, we get them from a farm shop and they are just amazing!

Monday Cheese and onion rolls, salad and chips

Tuesday Fish finger sandwiches with some kind of veg

Wednesday Crispbakes with something potato based from the freezer

Thursday Pasta with Meatballs in a homemade veggie sauce

Friday Quiche with jacket potato and beans

Saturday Macaroni cheese

Sunday Garlic chicken kievs with peas and wedges

As usual I am linking up with Meal Planning Monday over on At Home With Mrs M. Why not join in and check out what others are eating?

If you are looking for family meal inspiration why not check out my previous meal planning posts?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Park Resorts Skipsea Sands

Last Sunday I spontaneously booked a last minute midweek break to Park Resorts Skipsea Sands site. A huge bonus of home educating is that we can take advantage of good weather to get away or have days out whenever we fancy without worrying about missing school. As I have had a bit of a rubbish time recovering from Barneys birth I really thought a few days away and some fresh sea air would do us all some good.

The break was very very cheap, at just £69 for the five of us which can easily be the cost of a family day out when you include lunch somewhere. I was a bit unsure what to expect as I had never been to a Park Resorts before and because it was so cheap I was worried it might not be great.

I need not have worried, we had a lovely few days away. The boys absolutely loved staying in a caravan (which was clean and well equipped) and the Skipsea Sands site was really nice with enough to keep the boys occupied and it is well located in between Hornsea and Bridlington meaning we popped to both resorts for some seaside fun.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Salt Dough Minibeast Fossils

We are currently learning about minibeasts and as part of our topic we made some salt dough minibeast fossils.  Salt dough is so adaptable, it is one of those things I go back to time and time again.

It is so easy to makeband you most likely have the ingredients anyway; 1 cup of plain flour,  1/2 a cup of salt and 1/2 a cup of water added slowly until a dough is formed. If too sticky do more flour,  too dry add more water. So simple!

I have a collection of minibeast figures that I bought at Tropical World but we haven't really used them for anything before but they were perfect for this activity,

We simply shaped the salt dough into stone shapes and pushed the minibeast figures right into the dough(not deep enough to go right through) to ensure a detailed print. Remove the figures and you should have an imprint of your chosen minibeast.

Then we baked the salt dough in the oven on the lowest heat for a couple of hours, they still weren't fully hard but as the weather has been pretty warm we left them to finish going hard in the sunshine.

Once they were ready we painted them, Seb mixed all of his colours together to make varying browns to paint them in.

I am pleased with how they turned out, they would make very cute paperweights or to be used in a small world set up.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Fathers Day Printables from Twinkl

Back in March I posted about Mothers Day printables and today is the turn of the dad's. Fathers Day falls on 19th June this year which is rapidly approaching so I am sharing some fab Fathers Day printables from Twinkl. I will definitely be using some of these with the boys to spoil their amazing daddy.

First up the cards. These card templates are super easy,  simply print and write, perfect for a last minute panic moment. If you have a bit more time, why not try this 3D shirt and tie card or if you want to get crafty I love this following in daddy's footsteps card idea.

The clever people at Twinkl also have printable gift ideas for dad covered. These colour in printable badges are great fun and suitable for all ages. Does he deserve a best dad certificate? How about a trophy?

Finally these IOU coupons are the perfect printable if you want to give something non physical, can't be with dad on the day or if you just totally forgot it was Fathers Day.  Treat him to breakfast in bed or a day out or simply a lie in!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Miles Kelly Convertible Submarine

Is it a story book? Is it a playmat? Is it submarine? Well amazingly this fab convertible book from publisher Miles Kelly manages to be all three!
Yes the latest addition to the Miles Kelly range of convertible books is a Convertible Submarine and we were lucky enough to be sent one to review.

The idea of the convertible book is simple but genius. Use it as a book and engage with an exciting story, unfold and lay it out on to the floor and use it as a fun playmat, adding your own toys to the fun. Finally use the handy velcro tabs to covert the book into a sit in vehicle.

The convertible book range is aimed at children aged 3-6 years so both Seb and Alex fit the target audience and it certainly gave them both plenty of fun. It was easy for them to covert the books into each form themselves. They particularly enjoy using the submarine in playmat form, and were so pleased that they could both(just about!) fit into the sit in vehicle and share it while role playing, pretending that they were surrounded by sharks.
From a mums point of view I was really pleased that the story was engaging for both of them and has lovely bright illustrations and I love that the book encourages imaginative play.

This book would be an amazing gift idea and as the range comprises of a convertible fire engine, spaceship, pirate ship, train, tractor, princess carriage, pink car, bulldozer, four wheel drive and school bus as well as the submarine there really is something for every child.

Check out the Convertible Submarine along with the rest of the convertible range (including a spaceship and fire engine) at Miles Kelly.
Family Fever
**We received this book for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own**

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