Marshmallow Play dough

I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this recipe for marshmallow play dough – yes that’s right a play dough that is made from marshmallows, and that you can eat!

As a parent I have spent many days playing play dough and then finding it all over the furniture and picking it out of the carpet. We’ve made our own before, you know the salty one that smells a little bit odd? It was great because I could throw it away when the children mixed it together and made a lovely brown colour.  I’m sure I can’t be the only parent that spends all their time saying “don’t mix the colours together!”.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler; a jar of Marshmallow Fluff (you can melt marshmallows but this is easier!) and 250g icing sugar!

Empty the marshmallow fluff into a bowl and add the icing sugar (I added 1 cup at a time).  It’s very sticky, but keep mixing until it makes a non-sticky dough.  If you add too much icing sugar and the mixture is too dry you can add a few drops of oil.  I found I didn’t need to do this.

It was a lot easier to use your hands once you reached a semi-formed dough.  You can use food colouring to change the colour if you want, but remember this will make the dough wet again.

 

Any Bake Off fans may remember that Candice made this as a fondant roll out icing for one of her cakes and this recipe would be great for that too – It is quite sweet but very pliable and tastes lovely!

The children did a combination of playing, eating and icing biscuits with the dough and really did enjoy doing something a little bit different to standard play dough.

 

 

 

The Joy of A Teenager

Teenager – A child aged between 13-19 (basically a number ending in “teen”)  that’s the definition, but what it doesn’t say is how joyful a teenager can be to be around.  We’re warned about the terrible 2’s, it’s almost as if a switch is flicked when it starts but no one tells you about the fiesty 5’s, hormonal 8’s and obstinate 10’s and I don’t know where to start with teenagers and we’re lucky to have 2 in our house!

In a lot of ways, it’s great; they can make you a cup of tea, even cook a meal, help around the house, are great company and independent.  The flip side; they live in their room and only come out for food, they leave cups and plates in random places with food to fester away on, they normally have a phone permanently fixed to their hands, they communicate in grunts and groans or texts and they never want to come out with you anymore.  The last one is probably the one I struggle with the most.  Although dragging a grumpy teenager along is no fun for anyone, I have to be honest, I have done it!

But fear not, I have discovered the secret to getting your teenager to come out with you; FOOD.  The amount of food that a teenager can consume is ridiculous.  I’m talking finishing dinner and pudding and then half an hour later hungry again, always in the pantry looking for food and eating twice as much as a grown adult.

I cannot tell you the number of sighs and groans I get when we say we’re going out but today, on the promise of fish and chips and ice cream at the coast we all headed out of the door happy.

 

I’m pretty confident that food is not going to get my teenagers out of the door all the time, but I’ll take it as a win whilst it does.

And just in case you wondered, the best thing about having teenagers is they SLEEP, lots!

Asda – Good Living Magazine

As a larger family it’s difficult to have a day out for anything less than £50-£100 so when we were challenged by Asda to discover free or cheap activities (that please all the children) to do over the summer holidays we leapt at the chance.

The aim of the article was to show that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep the children entertained and happy over the holidays.

We had a very busy, fun filled week fitting in as many craft activities and trips out as we could.

We’re members of the National Trust and English Heritage so days out to any of their sites are free to us. We live close to Blickling and Felbrigg Hall so these were a must. Beautiful walks, gardens to explore and a wander around the house.

Lots of restaurants have offers on during the summer holidays where children eat for £1 or even free (with every paying adult) including Jamies Italian, Frankie & Bennys and Pizza Hut and these are well worth checking out for a great deal on food.

We visited Castle Acre with a picnic and the children loved exploring the old ruins.  We took a trip to Norwich library for a free drop-in activity and Norwich Cathedral for a free guided tour.

 

We got the craft box out!  There are lots of things to make and do with things recycled from around the house.  We made egg box boats which we then floated in the paddling pool.

We baked and decorated biscuits, made shaped wax crayons and painted magnets for the fridge.

 

I think the best thing we did was build a wig wam in the garden.  It was lovely for the children to sit in and relax, even the rabbit made it in.

 

IMG_0186

Like most parents, the summer holidays can be daunting trying to keep all the children happy.  Being creative and doing simple things can be just as enjoyable, if not more so, than an expensive day out.  There really are some wonderful things to do in and around Norwich.

Check out the August issue of Asda’s Good Living Magazine to see what activities were used in the article and get some ideas for the last week of the holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

Car Boot Bargains!

I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t like to get a bargain and I have to confess that I am a secret car boot lover.  This time of year is car boot season and I love nothing better than a trot around a packed field full of car booters and their wares at the weekend.

You never know what you are going to find and half the time you don’t even know you needed or wanted it until you’ve found it!  Think of it as Ebay without the postage and packaging costs.

Now, I am quite a snobby car booter, I only buy good quality things in excellent condition (because why would you not) but believe me there are people who sell things that are only fit for the bin! I usually suss out the seller,  you can instantly tell what sort of things people will be selling and whether you want to buy them from first impressions.

So I thought I would share with you my best bargains from this weekend.  This is probably my favourite find – A brand new Boden dress for £4!  I’ve got a Christening to go to in October and this will be perfect.

img_1034

Baby clothes are also great on a car boot (if you find a decent stall) as they are barely worn, so practically brand new.  We all know how quickly baby’s grow.  I normally find more girls clothes than boys, but you only need one good stall to find some lovely things.

I paid £1 for the Cath Kidston top and £0.20p for the John Lewis dungarees – Bargains!

I love reading, and there are always books to buy from as little as £0.10p each, as well as children’s books galore.

img_1036-1

I paid £0.30p each for the children’s books.

BE WARNED – It can be a dangerous place to take your children -you will end up with more toys and soft toys in your house as they seem to be magnets to them and sometimes they even want to buy things you already have at home!

Mini Medley

I wanted to share with you this little gem of handmade clothing I’ve found.  Based on the South Coast of the UK, bright and bold bespoke handmade clothes created in a shabby chic caravan – Mavis (cool right?).

There are no gender specific clothes, quite simply if you like it, you can wear it.  With bright prints and unique designs it really is a collection of beautiful clothing.

I bought this gorgeous rainbow fan jumper for Milo and it really is beautiful.  There are matching harem dungarees in the current collection too which I’ve got my eyes on!  The service is exceptional with a personal touch and the quality of the clothing is very high, but the price is very reasonable.  There was a quick turnaround on my order and the packaging was excellent.

It’s unique so you won’t find everyone in it, which I think makes is even more special.

Milo gets some wonderful compliments when he’s wearing this.

The fabric used is soft GOTS certified organic fabric, sourced from America and Europe and a much better quality than you’d find in the high street children’s clothing shops. It  washes well without shrinking or fading, which is a must considering how many times you wash children’s clothes!

My favourite piece in the collection at the moment are these hareem dungarees.

mini medley

and this I’m hoping is going to make a return……….

 

bright top

So if you are looking for something a little bit special and unique for your baby or child then take a look at this wonderful collection at Mini Medley .

This is a personal blog. All opinions expressed here are my own and no one else’s.

 

Babymoov Babyni Pop-up Play Area

We’re heading off on holiday in just over a week and to keep the mini dude safe on the beach and around the pool we bought a Babymoov Babyni pop-up play area. Babymoov Babyni

It’s is fantastic! It really does just pop up and is perfect for a little bod to play and sleep in. It comes in a light weight zip up bag with handle which will easily fit in the basket on a buggy so is easy to carry around.

The removable comfy mattress fixes securely to the base of the pen with Velcro straps and is soft and machine washable (great because you know there’ll be sick and poo!). It has a canopy, mosquito net and 3 detachable toys. The best bit, especially for in the garden or on the beach, it has a sun protection factor 50+ which you can easily zip on/off.

I like knowing Milo will be safe in the sun and not rolling off towards the sea! He can sit and eat his food and sleep in here quite happily. There’s enough room to put a snug seat in and extra toys to play with.

First impressions are that I really like it, but I’ll let you know how it holds up on our holiday!

The playpen retails at £59.99 but is currently on offer on Amazon for £42.29 (as at 16/08/17) Amazon.

What do you do with your little one on the beach to keep them safe and contained and not chomping on the sand?

This is a personal blog. All opinions expressed here are my own and no one else’s.

Am I Too Old For Topshop?

On a recent shopping trip with my teenage daughter we ended up in Topshop, she was happily collecting clothes like flowers and it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I was too old to shop in Topshop!

The fact that my daughter picked up the same t-shirt as me did give me a slap in the face at reality but when do you become too old to buy clothes from certain shops? I guess if my daughter wasn’t buying clothes from Topshop then this wouldn’t have even occurred to me.  I’ve seen old and young people in Superdry hoodies and that’s ok, isn’t it?

There are certain shops that seem to cater for all ages like my faithful friend Joules, I think at one point my nanny, mum and me were wearing clothes from there. Although I did spot Mary Berry wearing the same top as me on an episode of the Bake Off, I sold it on EBay!

There is a very blurred line between what age is appropriate to wear a certain style of clothing. Some people, regardless of their age, can just wear anything. Years ago M&S was my nanny’s shop but today even Holly Willoughby wears their dresses.

Me and my daughter have very different tastes in clothes and only occasionally agree on clothes so I think we could both shop in the same shop happily but it’s got me thinking maybe I shouldn’t be. Maybe I should stick to the “Mom” jeans and let my daughter take the Topshop baton.   What if one of my daughter’s friends came round and had the same top on as me, would that make me cool or embarrassing?

I am a thirty something mum of six, is it worse to dress older or younger than I am? I’m struggling to find the middle!

Half Way

So here we are at the half way point of the holidays! Does anyone else feel it’s going too fast?

I think as a parent, when you have children at school you feel a pressure to make the most of the holidays and “do things” and we have certainly been “doing” things! Just last week alone we played crazy golf, went to the cinema, bounced at High Altitude, went to the zoo, walked at Blickling and Felbrigg Hall, park ran, went to the dinosaur park and even managed a couple of BBQ’s. I have to be honest – I’m exhausted!

Now I’m not complaining, and it’s nice to do all these things because before we know it we are going to be back to school runs, packed lunches and homework.

So for the second half of the holidays we are going to do a bit more slowing down. We’ve got a holiday booked for the last week so we are officially on wind down, in the hope the holidays will slow down a little.

Does anyone else feel the days are flying by?

A Kind Word

We had to be up and out fairly early this morning to get my daughter to a birthday party. I have to be honest, I literally got up, washed got dressed, sorted children and left and was feeling a little bit rough around the edges!

I think everyone was tired after a busy week and the car journey was full of bickering and tears, coupled with my grogginess after a restless night with my mini dude it wasn’t the calmest of trips.

So when another mum said “you look great, have you been dieting?” I honestly could have cried, I hugged her! I have not been dieting, quite the opposite in fact during the holidays and to be honest I was already having a day when everything seemed hard work and I’d changed three times as the clothes didn’t “look” right. I am still carrying baby weight and was ok with that, but her comment really did make me feel good about myself.

We all have parts of us that we’re not happy with but the truth is we don’t see ourselves how others do.

So lovely mum friend (you know who you are!) thank you for taking time to say something that really did cheer me up in a moment when it was very much needed. You put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

The Best Breakfast

Every school holidays we try and go out for breakfast together, we always head to the same place – The Premier Inn! It’s great, children eat for free (up to 2 children for every adult) so we pay £17.98 for 6 of us and then an extra £4.00 for the extra child – how good is that!?!

And the best bit is, it’s all you can eat buffet! There is everything you can think of from fruit, yoghurt, pastries, pancakes, full English, toast, crumpets, cereal and it goes on. It’s all fresh and tastes good too! There’s a Costa hot drinks machine where you can have unlimited coffees or tea and fruit juices. And again for us (family of 8) it only cost £21.98!

If you are a larger family I’d definitely recommend going here, we fill up on breakfast and then normally don’t feel hungry again until tea. Today after breakfast we headed to Amazona Zoo and we didn’t spend a penny on food/snacks as no one was hungry – great, hey!

Bearing in mind just how much food children can eat, this has got to be the best value for money I’ve ever come across – and best kept secret!