Saturday, 30 September 2017

Barnaby George at 18 Months Old

Oh my goodness, my little Barney is 18 months old. How did we get here so quickly? It feels like just a few weeks ago that he was born. The baby days are definitely gone and he is a toddler now. Although the toddler stage can be frustrating and relentless at times, watching my child develop amazes me.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Primary Schools and Lunchboxes Debate

Today the issue of schools and lunchboxes has been all over the media. The BBC ran the story of a school in Bradford banning high fat foods. Sausage rolls and pork pies are on the hit list. This has been widely discussed on social media today and my local radio station had a phone in on the subject. Schools and lunchboxes is a topic that comes up again and again and polarises opinions.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #39

Happy Monday meal planners. Well it has been an eventful week in our house. All three boys had a cold last week, poor Alex got it worse than anyone else as usual, it went straight to his chest and he ended up with a hospital stay for the third time in the last 12 months as the inhaler we have at home wasn't easing his wheezing. We did stick to our meal plan for some of the week although we had to cancel going out for dinner and I made turkey dinosaurs instead to try and encourage all three to eat something. I also got lured into buying the Marks and Spencer Pizza meal deal and it was delicious,  probably nicer than any pizza I have ever eaten.

This week we have a night off! Our wedding anniversary is on Thursday so we are child free and heading out for a meal and drinks. It is the first time since we got married 5 years old that we have actually been out to celebrate our anniversary. The rest of the week is pretty simple,  i'my looking forward to making the sausage and butter bean casserole as it is a new meal to us. I am also planning on making a cheesecake with Alex this week as he has asked too.

Monday Chicken soup with bread and butter
Tueaday Sausage and Butterbean Casserole
Wednesday  Homemade pizza, garlic bread and sides
Thursday Anniversary Meal
Friday Slow cooked corned beef hash
Saturday Pasta in tomato and basil sauce
Sunday  Sausage, mash, pea and onion gravy

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Face Painting With Weekend Box And Snazaroo

A couple of weeks ago before we went away a little box of fun dropped through my letterbox. Weekend Box and Snazaroo have teamed up for a fabulous new face painting box.

Weekend Box is a letterbox sized activity subscription box for children. Snazaroo are one of the most well known and trusted face paint brands. I was keen to see what they had come up with together.

Inside the box we received a set of face painting stamps with a birthday party theme. There are three stamps and three paints. Just add a couple of drops of water to each paint and away you go. The boys thought that these were enormous fun, even I got involved and let them stamp me. The stamps are very easy to use so great for some independent fun, I can imagine they would be really popular at a party.

We also received a mini theme set of face paints. Three paints, a mini brush and sponge to create your own looks. Now I admit I am pretty rubbish at anything fancy so we stuck to hearts, stars and the like. The paint is easy to use and I am sure if you are more artistic than me (not hard) you could create something fantastic!

This box went down really well with the boys, particularly the stamps. It is a totally different activity to any of the other activity boxes we have tried before.  The Snazaroo paints were very easy to use even for someone who has never used face paints before. The paints also came off really easily, we used baby wipes but soap and water also work well. It's a big thumbs up from us!

Why not take a look at my review of the Mini Weekend Box?

**Box received for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own**

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Ten Baby Names That I Love But Didn't Use

This week the ONS released the official list of UK baby names from 2016 and there has been lots of talk online. So today I am sharing ten baby names that I love but didn't use.

Since I was pregnant with Seb back in 2010 I have taken a keen interest in the baby name lists. Although the top 10 names haven't really changed much over recent years I like seeing what names are growing in popularity or falling down the charts and of course checking where my own chosen names rank. Barnaby is a 2016 baby so I had a look to see where his name placed to find it down in the 200's, if we had used Barney it would have been even lower. It is super easy to check the name of your choice.

I never had the chance to use any girls names, we didn't even get past early discussions as we found out the gender of our children. There are still some girls names I love though.


Not the mosy exciting choice i know but a nice classic name. If Barney had been a girl he would have been called Charlotte.


And his middle name would have been Willow. Willow was the name I had picked out for a girl since I was a teenager. It has become quite popular in recent years and I started to prefer it as a middle name.


This is such a pretty feminine name. Of course it also the name of the main characterin The Nutcracker, my favourite ballet.


Way back when I was pregnant with Seb my dad suggested this name for a girl, like Dale Evans  At first I wasn't keen, I had only heard it used on males before but it really grew on me and I think it would be a really cute name for a little girl.


Years ago I worked for a clothing company and their shoppers were mainly older ladies. I spoke to several called Queenie while working there and fell a little bit in love with the name. I would never have been brave enough to use it but I do love it! Perhaps a name for a future pet?!


The main reason I love this name is because of the nickname Teddy.  However in our house Theodore is one of the chipmunks and it did put me off using it.


I think this is a really strong name, we did consider it for Barney as it would have worked well with the other two boys. I like the nickname Nate too.


Another name we considered for Barney.  The nickname Laurie makes me think of the charecter in Little Women, one of my favourite books.


This was on my list of names for Seb. How cute would a little boy called Ernie be!


When I was pregnant I read Wuthering Heights so of course the name Heathcliff was on my mind. I love it though I don't think I am cool enough to use it.

What names did you love but not use?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Tackling The Family Washing Pile #EcoverLaundry

I don't know about you but we produce a fair amount of laundry in this house. Tackling the family washing pile seems to be an never ending job and I rarely see the bottom of the washing basket. I tend to have the washing machine on at least once a day, to keep on top of it.

Ecover and Britmums teamed up and sent me a bottle of Ecover’s new Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent to try. It was pretty perfect timing as we r had just come back from Center Parcs so I ha donkey of washing to test it out on! For me the most important things I look for in a washing detergent is that it doesn't irritate the boys skin. Alex does get irritated by some products. That is followed by how well it removes stains, the scent and being cruelty free. So how does Ecover measure up to my wants and needs?
  • The new Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent smells amazing. With a naturally inspired Lavender and Sandalwood scent, it didn't smell soapy at all. As soon as I opened the bottle I was honestly having a little swoon over it! 
  • The detergent is tough on stains. Our washing has the typical food stains, mixed in with paint and anything else the boys are exploring. After a visit to the Pancake House on holiday I did worry that chocolate sauce would prove too difficult a stain but it came out no problem!  
  • Ecover is cruelty free. It features The Leaping Bunny symbol from Cruelty Free International. 
  • Most importantly there was no skin irritation, Ecover is kind to sensitive skin so if you or your children are prone to reactions it is one to try. 
So Ecover delivers everything I ask for in a detergent. As well as this Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent is plant and mineral based, is biodegradable and works on low temperatures (even a cold wash) which makes it a greener way to clean.

**This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Keeping Warm This Autumn With Jacamo

Autumn has well and truly arrived, the leaves are falling,  we have been collecting conkers and the temperatures have dropped. Phil will be keeping warm this Autumn with a brand new jacket from Jacamo.

We spend a lot of time outdoors as a family and with the weather being somewhat unpredictable the versatile Snowdonia Khaki 3 in 1 jacket is a great choice.  Featuring an inner fleece that can be detached and worn separately the jacket is ideal for Autumns changable weather. With the fleece in place the jacket super soft and cosy inside so is ideal for those chilly trips to the park.

The jacket is fully waterproof with taped seams to offer full protection. We put it to the test on a rainy afternoon and it did it's job, keeping Phil nice and dry. As well as keeping you dry the jacket also offers wind protection. Furthermore I am very happy to note that it can be machine washed too! As well as being practical I also like the look of the jacket. The branding is subtle with just small branding to the zip pulls, chest and arm.
It comes in a wide range of sizes from Small to 5XL and the jacket also features velcro cuffs to customise the fit. Phil opted for a Medium and has found that the jacket is true to size for him.

Along with the jacket, Phil also updated his underwear drawer choosing from the large range Jacamo offer. He opted for the Firetrap 3 pack Assorted Boxers. (Don't worry I will spare you photos of my husband modelling them!). The design and quality of these boxer shorts is fab, they feel soft, they look funky and there are different designs available. Like the jacket they come in a wide range of sizes from waist 33/35 upto 62/64 waist. I am assured that they are very comfortable!

Will you be updating your wardrobe for Autumn?

**Items received for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own**

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Our Break at Center Parcs Whinfell

This week we have been having an amazing time at Center Parcs. Whinfell so I thought I would share a few photos on here. We last stayed at Center Parcs almost two years ago when I was pregnant with Barney and we had such a lovely time that we knew we would go back. It is such a safe relaxed environment and everything you need is right there.

Before leaving home I looked at the weather forcast for our stay and it predicted a lot of rain but when it came to it we had pretty decent weather, lots of blue skies with just one really rainy afternoon and one night where it rained through the night but had stopped by morning.

We arrived early (one of my top tips for Center Parcs), had a picnic, played in the adventure playground and a mooch around the village centre picking up some food basics. We stayed in a two bedroom Woodland Lodge which was about a ten minute walk from the village centre. I love the lodges, they have pretty just everything you need for a family break. There is also a little outdoor area with table and chairs.

The week went by in a blur of swimming, exploring the forest, playing with the children in the next lodge and dancing at the children's disco. We had packed the boys scooters and they loved being able to have the freedom of scooting out the front of our lodge.  We were all so worn out and slept amazingly, we all had a lovely 9am lie in one day(B usually wakes up EARLY!) Of course you can't visit Center Parcs without a trip to the Pancake House!

We certainly made some memories, Alexs first time on the big slides at the pool (he is finally tall enough!), both boys winning prizes for their dancing at the disco and Seb had his try of first fizzy drink (although it made him feel sick!).
Before we had even left for home Seb was asking when we would be going back and I was looking online at a potential break for 2018.  See you soon Center Parcs!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Our weekly meal plan #38

Good morning meal planners! I had a week off meal planning last week for the first time in ages as we have been away. We ate so much last week and i now feel a bit sluggish because of that plus the smallest is full of cold and has been in my bed the last couple of nights. Back on it this week though!

Monday, 11 September 2017

The Sweet Spot by Anneli Lort

Reading is one of my favourite ways to relax. I tend to favour romance and chick lit books these days so when I was offered the chance to review The Sweet Spot by Anneli Lort I was keen. I was sent over an e-copy to work my way through.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Gnome Roam at Newmllerdam in Wakefield

You probably know by now that we love a family walk. A couple of weeks ago we headed to Newmillerdam in Wakefield to stretch our legs and went on the gnome roam while we were there.

Newmillerdam is a very popular local spot, a large lake with surfaced path round, surrounded with woodland. The park was once part of an estate and you can still see two lodges that once housed gamekeepers along with the boathouse which was built for entertaining. There are always people fishing, dog walking and running around the lake. 
Earlier this year a gnome roam was added to the walk with cute gnome sculptures and a downloadable leaflet with activities to carry out along the way. The trial is 1.8 miles which is a nice distance for small children to walk. As well as the gnomes, children love to explore the woods, finding dens and climbing get fallen trees.  There are ducks and swan and squirrels to spot along the way too and minibeasts galore. 

We can't wait to head back with a picnic to revisit the gnomes,  play pooh sticks and skim stones. 

Check out more family fun in the Wakefield area. 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Third Year of Not Back to School.

This week marks the third year of not back to school. This is the year that Alex would start reception class and Seb would be going into year two.  As parents up and down the country take pictures of their children on their first day of school year (I love seeing these!) the home ed world celebrates 'Not Back to School'. It is a really fun time of year with special picnics happening all over the country, groups restart and many home edders come out of hibernation.

A post shared by Emma (@sebsmummy83) on

At this time of year I also like to take some photos as an alternative to the back to school photos. My facebook memories have shown me previous photos this week and it amazing how quickly they change year on year. This weekend we visited Nostell Priory and I got a lovely picture of Seb and Alex for our 2017 not back to school photo.

This time of year also feels a bit strange, going to school is the norm and it does feel strange at times that we aren't doing that. I think when it feels like everyone is going in one direction and you are taking the opposite route it is natural to question yourself and the decisions you make for your children.
But then I think of Seb and how this year at school he would be facing SATs, and how Alex seems so very young to be in full time education and I am pleased that we have taken this route. I am not anti school in any way, it is just not what i want for my children right now.

Happy Not Back to School!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #36

Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? We had a lovely day at our local National Trust property yesterday, so much fresh air and a roast was the perfect end to our day. I still can't believe that September is here and we have reached my favourite time of the year already!

Last weeks meal plan went beautifully until Saturday when I realised I hadn't actually ordered any of our planned kievs, cue a supermarket trip to buy some. As i mentioned above our roast dinner was well deserved yesterday and it was delicous.
This weeks meal plan is using up some meat from the freezer, it seems to be full of meat and bread rolls at the moment.  We visited the amazing food festival at Cannon Hall Farm on Bank Holiday Monday where I stocked up on Yorkshire Halloumi and some amazing Red Arrow Cheese(the best red Leicester I have ever tasted)along with some pretty epic brownies so my fridge is rammed full at the moment.

Monday Cottage Pie
Tuesday Pulled chicken in buns with Sweet Potato Wedges
Wednesday Pasta with pesto, chicken and peas
Thursday Leftover Pork, mash and veg
Friday Bacon and halloumi sandwiches
Saturday Mini cottage pie for boys and chicken and leek bake for me
Sunday Cheese and Bacon pasta bake

Why not check out my previous family meal plans.

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