Monday, 30 October 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #44

Good morning! Another Monday has rolled around. This morning I am mostly making a birthday cake as Alex turns 5 tomorrow.

The temperature has dropped over the weekend, it's definitely time for winter warmers now when it comes to meal planning and yesterdays sausages, mash and gravy in giant Yorkshire puddings were perfect for a chilly evening.
I am so looking forward to my lasagne on Wednesday, it's been too long since I made one! We are planning a little bonfire night party with the boys on Saturday night, watching local fireworks (we have views for miles) with glow sticks, hot chocolates and edible sparklers.

Monday Fish Pie
Tuesday Whatever the birthday boy decides, at the moment it is McDonalds
Wednesday Lasagne
Thursday Fajitas and wedges
Friday Macaroni cheese with broccoli
Saturday Hot Dogs and corn on the cob
Sunday Roast dinner

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

VTech Kidizoom Duo Camera Review

Photography is a part of all our lives. From quick phone snaps uploaded to Facebook to professional shots of the whole family. It is only natural that our children want to get in on the act too. We have been sent a Kidizoom Duo Camera in Blue to try out and the boys have had great fun becoming the photographer!

The Kidizoom Duo digital camera is aimed at children aged 3 to 9, perfect for Seb and Alex who are aged 4 and 6. The dual lens camera has a 2.4 inch colour screen and features a voice recorder, auto portrait feature, 5 games, photo editor and more.
The boys were so excited when the camera arrived and wanted to start taking photographs right away. I recommend you have a play with the camera together first along with the manual, familiarising yourselves with the functions.

The camera is chunky making it easy for small hands to grip. It is easy to work and the boys really enjoy using it. They particularly love the selfie mode! Seb really enjoys using the 4x digital zoom to take photos. It is very simple to use, both of the boys grasped it really quickly and are confident creating fun photos and videos. The effects are really fun, the rainbow effect has proved popular with the boys and they love making each other into superheros. The 2.4 inch colour screen is great for instantly checking the pictures you have just taken.

A feature I really like is the automatic shut off. The camera will automatically turn off if it hasnt been used for 3 minutes. The Kidizoom Duo takes 4 AA batteries and the shut off feature helps to preserve their life.
I also find it easy to transfer our photos onto a computer using the USB cable included with the camera. Simply connect them with the cable and save the photos. It is great fun for the children to see their images appear on the computer and of course you can print them.

Photography is something I want my children to enjoy as I think it is a great hobby . The VTech Kidizoom Duo camera is the perfect starter camera for small children. We are having plenty of fun with it and recommend it to others.

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

Monday, 23 October 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #43

Happy Monday Meal Planners! How was the weekend for you? Ours was good although we haven't done much, it has been chilly and we all have coughs. On Saturday I did my usual trick of heading to Lidl for one item and coming home with all sorts including some awesome Halloween shaped pasta which the boys are so excited about. I have to admit I am enjoying all the Halloween themed food around at the moment.

Last week I saw three separate people making Jamie Olivers sausage carbonara on my instagram feed so that is the plan for tonight! I am getting the big two making fishcakes this week and also pumpkin soup, they love helping in the kitchen at the moment.

Monday Sausage Carbonara
Tuesday Cottage Pie 
Wednesday Chicken kievs, mash and veg 
Thursday Fishcakes, sweet potato mash and peas
Friday Turkey, sweet potato and spinach curry
Saturday Pizza night with garlic bread 
Sunday Sausage, mash and veg in giant yorkshire puddings 

Why not check out my previous meal plans

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Five People I Fancied as a Teenager

I have been terrible with keeping up with blogtober ths month. Todays prompt however is unusual crushes as I don't have any unusual ones I thought it would be fun to relive my teenage crushes on famous people.

Times have changed since I was a teenager. These days teens can watch their famous crush anytime they want and follow them on social media. Back in the day we had to make sure we caught them when they were on TV. Inbetween we had to make do with the posters torn out of Just 17, Bliss or Sugar; the magazines we begged our mum to buy us.

Paul Nicholls I loved Paul Nicholls,  I remember watching him in The Biz (anyone remember that?) and was overjoyed when he joined Eastenders as Joe Wicks and never missed an episode. He is still on our screens regularly and while I am well past my teenage years I can still see why I had a crush on him.

Adam Rickitt That blonde floppy hair and six pack was stuff teenage girls dreams were made of in the 90's. Adam Rickitt was the only reason I watched Coronation Street back then.  I wonder what he is upto these days?

Craig David Back in 2000 I was in my final year at school and Craig David was my crush. He is only a couple of years older than me but he seemed to grown up. This was the time when I started going out to bars and clubs and his music was everywhere at that time.
My life was made when on the day his Born to Do It album came out, my dad went and got me a copy while I was at school, (best dad ever!), that album was played over and over again (I bet my dad regretted buying it) and I think I still have it now.

Ryan Phillipe Ryan came to my attention in the film Cruel Intentions and a crush was born. As a teen back then I think that film was quite edgy, the storyline, it showed drug use and that kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair. Ryan was so cool and clever as Sebastian, I had poster of him in one of my files at school to swoon over.

Leonardo Dicaprio I  think pretty much every girl I knew had a crush on our Leo. For me the crush stemmed from Romeo and Juliet, Leonardo played such a good Romeo he was the perfect pick for the role at that time. I adored this film when I was younger(I still love it now). So many of my school friends went to see Titanic over and over again at the cinema, goodness knows how many hours were spent hoping Jack didn't die. To be honest I never really liked Titanic but I do still have a little crush on Leonardo, I have a feeling he would show a girl a good time.

Who were your teen crushes?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Family Fun in Yorkshire This October Half Term

It's half term already! I have been busy looking at what is on and am sharing places for family fun in Yorkshire this October half term with you all. As usual we are spoilt for choice but I have narrowed it down to ten top picks.

You can't have Halloween without pumpkins in my opinion and why go to the supermarket when you can pick your own?

A trip to Farmer Copleys to pick pumpkins has become an annual tradition for us now. With the Uk'so largest pumpkin festival there is plenty to do including story telling, rides, fancy dress parade and face painting.

We are big fans of Cannon Hall Farm, the animals, the play areas (indoor and outdoors) and the farm shop. This half term they are holding a pumpkin festival where you can pick and carve a pumpkin, a trick or treat trail and childrens shows and crafts.

Piglets Adventure Farm is somewhere we have been meaning to visit. The farm is having an amazing pumpkin festival, they are offering great a free pumpkin to every child aged 1 or over. There is a tractor ride down to the pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, a mysterious maze, a magic show and spooky stories.

If pumpkins aren't your thing, there is plenty more happening around Yorkshire.

Lotherton Hall is holding a Spooky Scarecrow trail over the holidays.  Follow the clues to find the scarecrows, visit the witches house and have a go at creepy crafts.

Forbidden Corner is somewhere we are keen to visit but I have been told how awesome it is.  This half term they are open for Halloween week complete with a quiz and prizes.

The brilliant Kirklees Light Railway are running spooky ghost trains over Halloween weekend. Warning! the ghost trains are scary and are NOT suitable for under 3's.

Shipley Glen Tramway are also offeringg spooky rides, count the skeletons and pumpkins for the chance to win a prize. This is a total bargain with an adult return being £2 and child return just 50p!

Eureka is always a fun day out. This Halloween visit to see the Monster Mash Up Show (learning about how the body works), go on ghost walks,  make monsters and spot spooky characters.

The York Dungeons are being dressed up for Halloween.  Not only that they are also offering family trick or treat walking tours around beautiful York.

Finally for something truly spectacular head to Whitby Abbey for the illuminated abbey event. You will see the abbey lit up in all the colours of the rainbow and see the story of Dracula brought to life.

Whatever you get upto, I hope you have a fabulous half term!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #42

Happy Monday Meal Planners! We have had a lovely weekend. Yesterday was absolutely beautiful and we went to our closest National Trust property for their Apple day celebrations and a picnic (in October!). I am full of cold though and feeling sorry for myself so today is an easy dinner.

Monday Omlettes
Tuesday Cottage Pie
Wednesday Turkey, sweet potato and spinach curry
Thursday Turkey dinosaurs, mini waffles and veg
Friday Tuna pasta bake
Saturday Homemade pizza, garlic bread and salad
Sunday Roast Chicken

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Six Reasons I Love Autumn #blogtober17

I often talk about Autumn and how it is my favourite season and my Instagram has taken on an autumn feel. As today's blogtober prompt is love I am sharing six reasons i love autumn.  

Monday, 9 October 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #41

Happy Monday Meal Planners! Last week showed me how much I use our oven, I have totally missed baking! We managed fine though although we did have a meal out at Barnbow in Leeds one night.

I shopped with Sainsburys this week for a change I had a £10 off voucher so figured I may as well use it. The start of this week is quiet and getting busier as the week goes on.

Monday Pulled pork in buns with corn on the cob

Tuesday Pasta with a tomato and herb sauce

Wednesday Tomato soup with cheese toasties

Thursday Turkey Mince Pasta

Friday Crispbakes and pizza fries, pizza and salad for boys

Saturday Fish Pie

Sunday Ikea Meatballs and Mash

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Our Recent UK Family Travels #blogtober17

Todays blogtober prompt is holidays so I thought I would post about our recent UK family travels.

We really enjoy getting away as a family, even just a night away is an adventure for children. We home educate so can go away in term time and my husband works shifts meaning he has some weekdays off we can get some real bargain breaks. These are four recent favourites.

Liverpool Last year we headed to Liverpool for a night away. The reason for our visit was to head to Knowsley Safari Park but we decided to stay the night and explore a little too. I loved the Albert Dock and want to head back again to explore the museums Liverpool has to offer. The safari park is a great day out, especially those cheeky monkeys!

London We visited London for a few days earlier this year. I absolutely love London and it was so much fun going with the boy and seeing it through their eyes. We visited the Science Museum and Hamleys and Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, all the touristy stuff! Of course there is so much more to do. The boys are desperate to go back again and explore some more and hopefully we will go again in 2018.

Humble Bee Farm As well exploring as cities we enjoy lots of fresh air and spending a couple of nights in a bell tent at Humble Bee Farm this spring was amazing. We had gorgeous weather when we stayed and it was such a fantastic experience staying on a farm and toasting marshmallows. I am not a camper but glamping I can do!

Center Parcs Our most recent break was last month at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest. I do love Center Parcs it is such an easy break as everything is there, it is built for families and it is so peaceful in the forest. I feel relaxed instead of in need of another break when I come home!

I am already thinking about more places to visit. I would love to head up to Scotland as I have never been. So if you gave any tips on areas to visit that would be amazing!

Why not take a peep at my other blogtober posts?

Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Family Meal at Barnbow in Leeds

We love to eat out. When we were invited to have a family meal at Barnbow in Leeds I eagerly agreed. Barnbow is located in Crossgates in Leeds and sits at the edge Marston Park. It is a Stonehouse restaurant, specialising in pizza and carvery and offering great value to customers.

Friday, 6 October 2017

A Host of Golden Daffodils #blogtober17

I absolutely love flowers. I drive my husband mad when we are out by taking photos of them(often using his phone as it is better than mine!) and often I never actually use them for anything apart from the odd post on Instagram.

My favourite flowers are Daffodils. In Spring I tend to have several bunches around the house, I can't resist buying them. They are just so bright and cheerful and signal the new season and milder weather. I love them most when they are outside like they should be and i hate that people often pick them or walk on them. In fact when I was overdue and grumpy with Barney, we saw a lady getting her children to pick armfuls of them in the park and loading up a pushchair, I went and told her to leave them alone and she could buy them for £1 in the supermarket down the road(totally embarrassed my husband there!). I mean sure children will pick the odd one or two but seeing her encouraging them to pick so many and ruin them for everyone else gave me the rage! I am not usually a confrontational person so I suprised myself!

Back on topic, I absolutely love finding a host of golden daffodils and the photos below are probably some of my favourites this year.

Which flowers do you love?


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Date Ideas #blogtober17

Todays blogtober prompt is date. I did consider writing about my worst date memory (getting trapped on a train on Valentines Day), or significant dates to me. Instead I thought I would finally finish off a post that has been sat in my drafts for quite a while. Date ideas! We don't get much chance to have child free time and often when we do it is in the day rather than at night so I have listed ideas for both daytime and nightime.

Of course the obvious date ideas are going to the cinema or out for dinner or staying in with a takeaway and a DVD or Netflix and it is lovely to do that but sometimes it is fun to do something different.
  • Trampolining There are so many trampoline parks opening up at the moment, it looks like such a fun way to spend time together. 
  • Adult Picnic Pack up some favourite foods and grab a bottle of wine and head to a pretty spot. 
  • Share a bath A bit risqué maybe but sharing a bath can be really relaxing, grab a bath bomb or fancy bubble bath and have a soak. 
  • Retro video games Mariokart, Pokemon or Pacman which retro game was your favourite? 
  • Board game night If video games aren't your thing try board games instead. 
  • Dance lessons Find a local class and go and join in! 
  • Go to the theatre See what is going on locally, check out smaller theatres as well as the big ones. 
  • Gigs Head to a gig Be it a well known band or someone you have never heard of. 
  • Play tennis I reckon most people are like me and haven't picked up a tennis racket since school! Loads of parks hire out courts for a small fee or have them to use for free. 
  • Visit an art gallery Check out your local gallery or head further afield. You might be surprised about what is on offer! 
  • Sightseeing Head to a local sight Most of us don't don't take the time to visit the sites closest to us. 
  • Go to the seaside One of my favourite dates with Phil was a day at the seaside. We headed off by train, ate fish and chips and hot donuts and played on the 2p machines. 
  • Go to the fair Act like teenagers, see who braves the rides and if you can win a giant cuddly toy. 
  • Go Ape Go on a treetop adventure together. 
  • Quiz night Find out when your local has its quiz night and put your heads together.  You might even win a prize! 
  • Adult soft play Soft play is not just for kids these days. There are loads of places offering adult sessions and many even have a bar. 
  • Mini golf Pick up some clubs and let battle commence. 
  • Cooking classes Loads of places offer cooking classes, learn some useful skills and spend time together. 
  • Comedy night Check out your local comedy club and you might spot some up and coming talent. 
  • Segway Book a segway experience, have a giggle learning to use them. 


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Bibetta UltraBib With Sleeves Review

Barney is now at the stage where he is pretty adept at feeding himself with a spoon or fork. Of course sometimes the food doesn't quite make it to his mouth! We were sent a Bibetta Ultrabib with Sleeves to put to the test. Bibetta design a range of smart, innovative and practical products for family life. Their UltraBib design has won multiple awards over the years and I was keen to try it.

The Bibetta UltraBib with sleeves is a coverall type of bib with body coverage and a pelican pocket to catch food. It fastens at the back with adjustable velcro. The bib is made of neoprene making it soft, stretchy and comfortable for your child and the top layer is absorbable.  I find the material of the body is thick and feels nicer to the touch than many bibs, there is no plasticky feel. The sleeves are waterproof and have comfortable elasticated cuffs. This is so important as if it isn't comfortable, I promise your child will not wear it! The dinosaur design is cute and there are several other designs available.

Barney is quite a chunky lad and the bibs fit was snug on him. It fit but only just. Of course younger babies or slimmer toddlers wouldn't have this issue and there are handy measurements on the Bibetta website so you can check.

The UltraBib has done an excellent job of protecting Barneys clothes during meals. His lovely outfits are kept clean and dry so no change of clothes is needed. It folds up pretty small so you can pop one in your changing bag for meals out.  The pelican pocket is super handy and Barney like storing food in there on purpose!

Overall I recommend Bibetta UltraBib.  I can see why it is an award winning product. I wish i had found them before now as it is ideal to use from the start of weaning.

**We received a Bibetta Ultrabib for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own**

Why I Don't Drive #blogtober17

So todays prompt for blogtober is Cars. I have to admit I struggled with todays prompt as I don't drive and or have any exciting stories about cars unless you count my imaginary husband as a child who drove a pink Porsche with red lipstick kisses all over it (I had an active imagination!).

I thought I would talk about why I don't drive. I guess is quite unusual for a 33 year old woman not to drive although there are more of us than I thought. My own mum didn't drive until she was in her mid thirties, I used to go on her lessons with her as a toddler.

Back when I was a teenager I could have learnt to drive, but while my friends were really excited about it I just wasn't that bothered. In my early twenties I had the money of my own to learn and run a car but I still wasn't fussed and instead I prefered to spend my money on clothes and nights out.
Then Seb came along, I became a stay at home mum, then Alex arrived and any money went on the boys. At this time we didn't own a car at all but we did get one when Alex was a toddler and it gave us so much freedom as a family. Phil enjoys driving and within a few months we had been to so many places.

Now we have three children I regret not learning to drive in my twenties. We are lucky to live somewhere with good public transport and the boys are good on the bus but a car would be easier and quicker! At least I am helping the environment!  I am not sure if I am confident enough to learn now, part of me wants too but I would be a nervous driver I think.

Why not take a look at my other Blogtober posts? 


Monday, 2 October 2017

Pregnancy and Babies #blogtober17

Todays Blogtober prompt is babies.

This one is pretty easy for me to write about. Since I was very young I have always loved babies and knew I wanted a family of my own. I am that person who waves and chats to your baby on the bus in the supermarket, I was 26 when Seb was born, he was very unexpected but the best surprise you could ever imagine. 

My body has grown three baby boys and the whole process blows my mind. I really savoured pregnancy even my second one which was blighted with sickness. Women are pretty amazing, housing a tiny bunch of cells and providing it with all it needs to thrive and become a fully grown baby. Seeing your stomach contort and realising there is another human being in there punching, kicking and doing flips is bizarre but amazing! Our bodies change shape, our organs move and we put up with some weird and unpleasant symptoms which are soon forgotten. We go through birth and for some like myself that can be a traumatic experience but at the end you get this amazing gift. 

My babies aren't really babies now. Seb will be 7 next month, Alex is 5 this month and Barney is 18 months old and there will be no more babies. The bouncy seat and playmat are long gone. But the baby days hold so many memories. Those newborn days where you seem to do nothing but feed and change nappies with some sleepy cuddles in between. Where you want to show the amazing little human that you made off to the world because they are the most beautiful thing you have ever seen but at the same time you could cry with exhaustion and your life has changed beyond recognition. I am so glad that I have blogged, that I have shared photos and memories and written about milestones and I can look back on them. Those days pass so quickly and in what feels like a blink of an eye you are cheering on your son at rugby or refereeing in some daft argument.

Of course I can't write a post about babies without sharing some newborn photos of my own boys.

Sebastian. November 2010. 8lb4oz. 59cm.
Alexander. October 2012. 7lb13.5oz. 49cm. 
Barnaby. March 2016. 8lb9oz. 59cm. 
Why not check out my other Blogtober17 posts? 


Our Weekly Meal Plan #40

Happy Monday Meal Planners! I hope you had a good week?

Ours was okay although it was a little quiet. Our meal plan was a bit of a disaster, we had a sneaky chip shop dinner on Tuesday and then I made the sausage and bean casserole on Wednesday only to find that the oven wasn't working. Of course that threw things up in the air a bit, thank goodness I had eggs in for omelettes! I made a chocolate cheesecake with Alex this week too,  he is such a good sous chef and loves to help me cook.

Our oven should be fixed this week but I have planned meals that can be cooked other ways just in case!

Monday Turkey and sweet potato Korma with naan

Tuesday Hot dogs and beans

Wednesday Turkey mince pasta

Thursday Ikea meatballs and mash

Friday Fakeaway Chinese Chicken Curry and noodles

Saturday Slow cooked meatballs with pasta

Sunday Sausages, sweet potato mash and peas

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Ten Random Facts About Me #blogtober17

This month I am taking part in Blogtober. Using a series of prompts I am hoping to blog every day this month along with some other awesome bloggers. Today's prompt is All About You.

I honestly find it really hard to sit and write about myself.
Of course there are the basics, my name is Emma and i am 33 years old and I live in West Yorkshire. I am married to Phil and we just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Together we have three little boys and I am a stay at home mum. Then I get stuck so I thought I would take inspiration from the Instagram tags and post 10 random facts about me.

  1. I am the youngest of four children,  I have two bothers and a sister who are quite a few years older than me. I was definitely a bit spoilt. 
  2. I have lots of nieces and nephews, eleven to be exact and a few months ago I became a great aunt and my eldest niece had a baby boy.
  3. I have a tattoo on my back, I got it when I was at uni, I am not really into tattoos (although i think some are pure works of art) and never show it off. At the time I thought it was awesome though. 
  4. I hate visiting the hairdressers.  I love the end result of course but sitting in front of a huge mirror making small talk is not for me. My hair is so thick and I have loads of it so it is never just a  quick visit. 
  5. I love going to art galleries and museums and we are lucky enough to live near some great ones. 
  6. I don't own any jeans. I never wore jeans as a little girl, I hated them I wore them as a teen and early twenties but stopped and haven't looked back. They look fab on some people but I just don't suit them. 
  7. I have never been in to Starbucks/Costa etc and have no desire too! I know coffee is life for some but I am a tea girl and would rather go somewhere I can get a nice pot of tea. 
  8. I play board games to win. I love a good board game but I am competitive with them and take no prisoners,  I am not the mum who lets her child win the game. Phil won't play Monopoly with me. 
  9. My last meal would be a big bowl of cheesy pasta, it has been my comfort food of choice since I was small and I could eat it until I burst. 
  10. I have lots of scars. One onight my forehead, some under my chin, some on my knees and of course my scar from multiple c-sections. 


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