Friday, 11 October 2013

Gulp, a letter in a brown envelope...my son banned from school...

It's sometimes fun watching how our children grow up, the things they say and do.

Yesterday, my son who only turned 10 last weekend, handed me a brown envelope, now as most people know, brown envelopes usually mean important.

It said Max on the front not my name, phew.
 
I opened it, wondering what could be inside, some homework.....
What a surprise I got for inside was a note!
 

 


It says-

Max is banned from school for a year! PS or 2 thank you from the head teacher Miss Haige

Max pointed out, it was cut out in the shape of someone praying.


It has to be my funniest note to date that I have received.


Thanks cheeky chops, but you still have to go to school!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Our Entry into becoming a CenterParcs Family Blogger #CPFamilyBreaks

I have many emails, but one caught my eye, it was from tots100 offering bloggers an amazing opportunity- to have the chance to become a CenterParcs Family Blogger.

I have never been to CenterParcs, but my best friend and her family go every year and they make it sound even more amazing than the adverts I see on TV.

I have been to Longleat though and its one of my favourite places to visit in the U.K
for a while I was lucky enough to live in Africa and go on safaris.
At Longleat it is as close as I could come to seeing the animals with lots of room to roam around.

But me being me put the email on flagged to go back and not lose it with others coming into my account, but I hadn't realised I was nearly out of time, so we thought what could we show that as a family we love doing together, its seeing the stars in the sky, feeling the magic of its spell, as we all gaze above, pointing out the brightest to each other and making wishes, so here is our entry.

There are some amazing entries and we had fun trying to film this in the dark together, best wishes to all the wonderful bloggers out there entering x

#CPFamilyBreaks CenterParcs


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

October is the month for giving up for many but........

But I like to be different!

Its the 1st of October and I am not giving up any foods, drinks, I don't smoke, so what can I do to mark this wonderful month?
It is truly wonderful as my oldest son Max was born in October and this Sunday he will be entering double figures.


I have decided to put aside some time in the evenings for you dear blog.
I enjoy blogging, I am just not very good at it, not very good at organising my life either at times, so this month is the month I start to become more organised.


I have started working and am really enjoying it, but I will be honest, as I am not super organised, my own home is suffering slightly, mornings are stressful to say the least, getting all four children up dressed and ready for school with packed lunches is not easy.
I always leave things to the last minute, but need to change.

I am going to draw up a family plan.
I think it is about time my children realised they need to help, for our family to run smoothly. They can empty the car of their bags and pack lunch boxes, then we won't spend time searching for them on a school morning.
One of them can set the table another can clear it, they then can take it in turns.

I have so many things to organise, but apart from dedicating some time and posts for you my blog, I have Max's 10th Birthday celebrations to think about and decide how best we can celebrate it.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Single Mum to four, goes back to WORK....

It was a Monumental week for me this week.
I can't tell you how nervous I was about this new start, new beginning you could say.


My oldest son is soon to be 10 years old, my youngest is growing too at 2.5 years old, but I have bitten the bullet and decided the time was right for me, to go back to work.
I was a Nanny for years, but having my four lovely children, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, has made me look for work where I wouldn't be responsible for little ones.


The Government is bringing in many changes, some needed and others all a bit confusing, but for me I have been so lucky to be able to stay at home with my children, whilst they were all babies and little ones, now because of the thought I might have to uproot and move from our most idyllic home, I decided not to sit back, but to do something about it and so my new adventure has begun.

It has been a good and positive first week, don't get me wrong, I am still nervous about what the future holds, for my family and I, but am feeling very determined to make this work.


To fit in with the children and work the hours I am able too, I needed to find something I could do well and be my own boss too, so have decided to go down the domestic services route, I have been really lucky to of started off well, people contacting me for jobs though initially I replied to adverts for a few posts available.

I am looking to the future, hoping to build on this, show my cheeky monkeys, that money does not grow on trees, but that Mummy has to work hard for the things we have.

So here I am, my first working week completed and I feel tired, but extremely happy with how it all has gone.

Working financially really does pay, its the giving up being their for the children, but doing this work, means I am there for when they all finish school/pre-school.
The sorting out childcare for the youngest was a huge obstacle I thought, but I have been so lucky, as Anna started school for the first time beginning of September, Edward was offered 3.5 days in a very friendly and lovely pre-school, he seems to of settled in so well, as does Anna adjusted to being a full time school girl, so hopefully it will all continue well for all of us.




Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Dear Blog, sorry I have been awol but let me explain

I have been so lost, yes you know, struggling with things because.
My beloved laptop (YES YES, I know to admit to loving my laptop is a bit mad, but where do you think the title of my blog comes from) has not been working, in fact it completely stopped working and I felt like this -

 It really was a difficult time, for I use the internet a lot, its my me time, my time to be part of the adult world, I have 4 children whom I adore and love but its wonderful that thanks to social media sites, I get to keep up with friends and family and feel grown up too.

It showed me how much I relied and took for granted my laptop, poor thing, for everything was on it, if I needed to find any numbers or address's the laptop was the first place I looked.

But due to a lovely mum, I am finally back online, as she has lent me one for now.

It was amazing to be without, yes I did more, got things done that I had put off, but I moped and was not myself, I had a little access thanks to my phone, but missed lots of things going on with friends, so have since tried to catch up, I also missed my blog, as was just getting back into the swing of it again.


It is true though what they say, a tidy & clean home is the sign of a broken computer.

So my home is messy again, I wonder if the saying a dirty child is a happy child, would apply to a home too!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Wishing on a Star ... is it wrong to let my children believe in magic

Last night, I let my children stay up a bit later, its the holidays and they had all been good, so we all watched 'Room on the Broom' as a treat, then just as it finished the girls went outside in the garden, it was just before 9pm, I was saying its bedtime and went to get them in.

I heard excited voices, the girls were telling me they could see a falling star, so I went to look and bless them, it was of course a aeroplane high in the sky, with its flashing lights, so I explained to the girls what it was, but asked them if they could see any stars, 'Yes' they replied excitedly.

Izzy was a little sad as she wanted to wish upon a star, so I sang the song above, as I remember it and explained she would be able to wish on the first star she saw that evening, the girls were so excited, I decided there and then to take them to the cricket pitch down the road, where on a clear night you can see millions of stars so clearly.



Edward was also keen to come along, so even though the girls had already got their pyjamas on, it was just a case of put shoes or wellies on with coats as was a little nippy in the air and off we all set, with me telling the children they had to be very quiet as lots of other boys and girls would be in bed fast asleep.

Anna started telling me she was wishing for a star to fall in our garden, Izzy was wishing for a new dolly set, Edward was just saying twinkle twinkle little star over and over bless him.

All three children are not used to being out walking in the pitch dark, so we all held hands on the way down to the cricket pitch.
On the walk back I asked them to stay close, as hedgehogs might be about near the bushes and Anna pipes up, so could dinosaurs and dragons, her sister Izzy straight away pointed out dinosaurs are dead extinct because they had a man go into school and talk about dinosaurs so she knows she told us, as to dragons....well I said they don't really live in this country, how can I encourage the wonder of magic if I said dragons didn't exist and there is such a thing as dragons, just bearded type lizards as far as I know.


Its times like this, that I love the innocence and simple joy children find in things, its times like these that I worry about the books I read to the children and the programs they watch on the TV, but is it wrong to encourage about magical wishing stars, is it wrong to teach them rhymes about wishing for things.




I personally love that my children still believe in fairies, in magic and are in awe of the things around them.

We love books that are all happy and sometimes have different endings than predicted, the night before we read the book 'The Wish Cat' by Ragnhild Scamell and Gaby Hansen and its one of our favourites.


So the next time you look up into the dark skies and see a star, don't forget to make a wish.




This post is being Linked to the lovely Magic Moments first time for me, but above is our Magic Moment, wishing on a stars.



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Saturday is Caption Day! 24/08/13

Saturday is Caption day, so can You think of a good caption for this photo- 




Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

Win a Gorgeous Owl Bag




To help celebrate that I have got my blogging mojo back, I want to celebrate with offering a Prize.
I have had my eye on these for ages and just ordered one, but also going to be offering another one as a prize, so please enter and who knows one could soon be YOURS! 
Good luck 



Please leave a comment on what colour you would prefer and it would also be handy for you to leave a way for me to contact you, be it a twitter name, email or FB

(PS I am still learning and would appreciate likes on my new FB page http://www.facebook.com/mumsguidetoinsanityUK )


1. Made from good quality oilcloth Material with pretty owl print
2. Fap-over with magnetic snap
2. Two medium size open top pocket under the flap
3. Two medium open pockets on the sides and back zip pocket
4. Perfect for school and fit for A4 paper, text book and Ipad
5. Inside come with a zipped security pocket and both mobile & key slip pouch pockets
6. Dimension: 
    Height 26cm
    Width 35cm
    Depth 11cm
   Adjustable Shoulder Strap: up to 132cm  








a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 23 August 2013

Dinner dilemmas ...... to Enchiladas or not!

I am not the worlds greatest of cooks, I struggle to bake even a simple cupcake.

So the night before we had this, which is OK and was eaten, but I didn't really enjoy it, the children did, which is something I guess.


So when a neighbour bought me over some Thai chicken curry she had made to try, I realised some of our food is pretty tasteless, like Pizza.

So I looked in my cupboards for inspiration and found this box
Now for someone like myself, who can cook, but isn't a great cook and certainly not adventurous, I will often cook things like Spaghetti bolognese, Cottage pie, Fish pie, Bacon risotto etc.
which is great staple food, food the children will eat, but I want to try different flavours, my taste-buds need more, eating food cooked by my lovely neighbours awakens my taste-buds, one neighbour is from Thailand and another from Jamaica and boy when they bring food for me to try, I love it and my taste-buds cry out in joy.


So I want to try my children with different kinds of flavours in food, I would like to eat food with more oomph, so last night I followed the instructions on the box for Enchiladas, perfect for someone like me

It was so easy, it suits me and the results, well gives me some satisfaction, yes I wish I could could it all from scratch, but the seperate ingredients are what put me off a lot of the time, living on a budget, I find this easier and cheaper than buying it all individually.




It didn't take long to prepare, and to cook in the oven was about 10 minutes, so all in all, this to me was great.


I picked the pack in the supermarket that said MILD as know my children well and I have to say although very tasty, I really enjoyed it, Izzy and Edward tried it and ate some, Anna point blank refused saying it was too spicy, which is a shame, but its good for them to try new tastes including ones with a little bit of a kick in them, which to me this has, its not hot spicy burn your mouth, but a little touch of spice, so after eating you do taste, feel that spicy sensation.

So if ever you fancy something different and are similar to me, though can't believe anyone else has the dinner time dilemma's then I would recommend this.

Now what else can I find to cook, that has flavour to awaken my taste-buds, if anyone can recommend something that I would be able to manage then that would be great, as I am limited with my dishes right now, but going to see what else is on offer, or new for me to try on the shelves of the supermarkets.


(This is just me, no one has asked me to review this product, I just wanted to share and also hopefully get others to give me idea's on trying new and different foods)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Less than 2 weeks to go and I haven't bought school uniform or shoes...

I wonder if I am the only one, the thought of shopping with my children is not filling me with joy I have to confess.

Last year I was so much more organised, I had most of the uniforms before they broke up for summer, but was on a deadline to get it done, as then Max's grandmother had kindly offered to label the clothes.
She was a star doing all 3 sets of clothes for me.
Max and Izzy's school uniform and Anna's pre-school clothes.


This year I have my second daughter Anna starting school, one of the reasons I am putting it off, is because Anna wants to wear boys uniform, my little tomboy wants shorts like her brother and shoes too, but debating on if I should let her, or worried she might get teased, so holding off as think it best she have a girls uniform, with maybe shorts in the summer.


Not sure if I am alone, but I simply loathe sewing on name labels, to the point I would end up scribbling in permanent pen as a last resort.
Over a year ago now I was extremely lucky to win, for a mum like me my dream prize, stamps with their names on that stay on from Stamptastic, I tried them and got a little carried away, but have to confess to being delighted that on the white shirts no matter how many washes, the stamps printed on did not wash off, unlike iron on labels, yes I have tried those too.
The photo is Max's shirt from last year, label still showing his name, faded but after many many hot washes.

This year I am going to try the stamps mixed with labels that are not sewn on but you can use rivvits, so that is my plan, but have not got around to buying the uniform, for we need so much and the expense is more than a little off putting, I have seen lots of uniform for sale, but really need quality that will last, that is rugged and yet a bargain too, so if anyone can recommend somewhere to buy bits that would be wonderful.













Shoes, yes my girls both need new school shoes, last year we went to Clarks and got the cheapest simplest school shoes they did, costing £24 & £25 and I have to say they amazingly lasted the whole school year, I like to get them measured and checked regularly, but those shoes were amazing and so we will go get measured and see what is available this time of year, hoping they haven't sold out of the ones we like.
We might try different shops too, as long as we get measured and then shop around.

I seriously would rather not go shopping, but can't keep putting it off, because in fact I have less than 2 weeks, scary ........ but I will get it done!

So where do I start, got the labeling covered, but the rest......

Monday, 19 August 2013

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Dilemma- Losing the 1st tooth and then what precedent does it set...

Isabella my gorgeous 5 year old daughter just lost her first tooth.


Now I do have a 9 year old son, the tooth fairy would visit and leave a shiny £2 coin for every tooth he lost, which became challenging, as she didn't always have one to hand.

So what will the tooth fairy leave for Izzy, bearing in mind she has two younger siblings, so this could at any one point get costly.

Izzy was initially scared to have a wobbly tooth, as she was brushing her teeth, she noticed it and said concerned that she hasn't been brushing them right as they are falling out.
I felt awful, for at some point I must of said that if you don't brush your teeth, then they will fall out and of course didn't think about the milk teeth coming out, making room for her adult teeth.

I made it all exciting, but unlike her older brother Max, Izzy doesn't really see any value in money, its just coins to her, but still its traditional and she will grow to understand about money soon enough.
So just helped to explain about growing up, baby teeth coming out is a fun thing and to wobble them even I remember loving the feeling.


The tooth fairy thought a little note would be a good idea, but when she was *cough cough* googling, she came across some certificates, so that is what was left for Izzy under her pillow in exchange for her tooth, along with a £1 coin.

In the morning we laminated it, as it wasn't going to last long, she wanted to show the world her lovely certificate, bless her.

Who knows when the next one will fall out, all I know is I have a very happy daughter, happy with a lovely certificate and she put her £1 in her piggy bank.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Silent Sunday


Visiting Mapledurham House for afternoon tea....

We have a friend from Italy visiting us and I thought it would be a lovely idea to show her something very British, so afternoon tea at a very old traditional Manor home locally was in order and thanks to a deal I saw on Groupon I booked for us to go to Mapledurham House.
For years I had driven along the Reading road, passing the signs for Mapledurham House, but had never even been down the road, and what a road it was.
I thought it would be just around the corner, but no it was deep into the countryside and along a long and twisting road, many areas only narrow enough for one car, but driving very slowly, we arrived safely at some gates that has a man sat in a little wooden shed is the best way to describe it, where as I had booked I told him my name and was handed a white envelope with our tickets inside.

The House and grounds were not overly huge, but still quite impressive, I just love the smell, look and atmospheres of old buildings, the stories they can tell the histories they have, Mapledurham being no exception.
We went for a walk about inside, they had a little quiz for visiting children to fill in, looking around & counting objects.

I really enjoyed it when my children asked questions, they laughed when I explained the tin bathes on display in a small room off the grand bedroom, Anna pointed out they didn't have taps, so I explained the water would be heated and poured in, or have cold baths, makes us realise how far we have come with technology, when you look back that it wasn't that long ago we didn't have electric showers and hot running taps. 


We walked around the well maintained lawns and gardens and enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings.
It truly is a beautiful part of the country that we live in.
They have a working Watermill still in use and we were able to go and explore and look around it, the stairs to climb the upper deck area to see the mill working, was very steep to say the least, very narrow steps, but thankfully the stairs on the otherside to come down, were more like steps.
They have a little gift shop in the watermill and you can buy flour, oats that have been ground at the watermill.
We all enjoyed the house, the grounds and the watermill, but there is one thing I feel I must be honest about, the cream teas.
For some reason I had it in my head it was to be afternoon tea, as served in the Ritz, you know the triple plates with sandwiches, cakes & scones with a pot of tea, well no I made a mistake it was cream tea, 2 good scones, with jam and cream, not clotted cream alas, in what can only be described as a cafe setting, no disrespect to cafe's, but I was so disappointed to see pub style benches, I did think it must just be a casual cafe, but then realised people were having cream teas outside.

I had to go and queue in a tiny little cafe, to collect my cream tea, carrying it outside, but there was wasps and flies about and it would of totally ruined the experienced for me. 

So we decided to eat inside, we were the only ones mind and it wasn't too bad, it had some history, it felt old worldly yet still very basic cheap cafe, such a let down on a beautiful area, though I realise it costs a lot to keep these old homes going, looking around the main building there were many areas crumbling and large cracks about.

Inside the old manor house there was some history, but to be honest a lot of tatty areas, the chairs and tables were like old school ones.
I would of thought we might of been served, but no we had to collect our own, then I had to go back for butter as its not given with the scones and also for knives to use.
It was a very basic, if maybe rustic, but a cheap version of tea, it made me appreciate even more that we actually didn't pay the full price and just the Groupon costs, as had I paid £45 for it all, I would of felt incredibly disappointed, but the fact that we paid £18 via Groupon made it slightly better.

We also noticed looking around, more areas to eat indoors, the stables and another room, totally shabby, also the garage had some tables, but it also housed 2 huge deep freezers, it looked really off putting and sad. 





Would I recommend a visit to Mapledurham House, yes if you can manage to get a good deal like I did with Groupon, if you like period houses, watermills, but if your going for an afternoon out to enjoy cream tea, then no I wouldn't recommend it, or be prepared that its a simple and basic eating areas.