Monday, 2 March 2015

Chester's first Taekwondo grading.

As a Mother, I am always proud of my Children, they never cease to amaze me.

But yesterday, was a very special day for Chester. 

For the last few months he has been working towards his Orange belt in Taekwondo. You may remember me mentioning his Taekwondo before. Ever since he started it just a few months ago, he has been dedicated and enthusiastic about it. In short he absolutely loves it! I am so pleased that he has found something he enjoys to focus all of his energy on! 

He woke up early yesterday very excited about the day ahead. As none of us had ever attended a grading before, we were not really sure what to expect. So I made sure Chester had practised his counting in Korean. He seems to have memorised up to 10 so far, and just made him aware that he would have to listen carefully and do exactly as he was told. 

Chester, along with the other children went up in groups of 4. Chester was amongst the 2nd group, which I was pleased about, meaning he had time to observe what was expected of him! There was so much tension in the room and for the first time in a long time I saw a very nervous little boy! But he did an amazing job, showing he could do his kicks, high blocks, press ups, sit ups, squats and count to 5 in Korean. 

Here he is counting to 5....

So a super well done to Chester and all of the other Tygers for their achievement yesterday!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Who is responsible for my childrens health and attitude towards food?!

Last night, when the majority of people were probably watching Madonna stack it at The Brits, I was watching a programme on Channel 4 entitled 'Junk Food Kids: Who's to blame?'

I was so shocked by this weeks (and last weeks) programme, that I felt compelled to put my feelings down. here on my blog.

If you are not aware of the programme, so far, it has been about children who have had to have their baby teeth pulled out because they have decayed so much its hurting them. Plus about childrens weight and how they have managed to put so much of it on.

Now, I think its fair if I start by saying, that since having my children, I am NOT normally a judgemental type of person. If I walked down the street and saw an overweight child, who am I to judge? That particular child may well have a disability, something medically wrong with them. But when the facts are laid out in front of you, like they were last night, I have every right to have an opinion.

Last weeks episode had me in tears 5 minutes in. There was a little boy no older than my children, having 12, yes 12 teeth pulled out. Under General Anaesthetic. It was traumatising to watch and then to see how upset and in pain he was when he came round was heartbreaking.

In that same episode a 4 year old who was fitting into aged 8-9 clothes had to have some teeth out as well. As the story unfolded it was very clear to see that the Mother had not made her child brush her teeth if she would rather watch TV instead! She admitted that she would rather have a quiet life and just give her Children what they wanted! Now don't get me wrong, we all would love for a quiet life, but when it comes to your childrens health, surely you need to look at the bigger picture. I mean, if I gave Millie what she wanted every day, she would look like a chocolate bar!

As a parent I believe that you have got to do the best you can for your child. Sometimes that means you have to be cruel to be kind, when I was doing my weekly shop a few weeks ago, Millie practically screamed the whole way round all because I would not let her have a cake! People were staring at me, it was awful, I wanted the ground to swallow me up. But did I give in? No. I ignored her screams and carried on with what was the worst shopping trip ever. Did she resent me for it 10 minutes after we left the supermarket? No. It was all forgotten about as soon as she found her lost dolly in the the car!

In this weeks episode, I felt really sorry for a 13 year old girl. Her parents had basically given in and let her have what she wanted when she was younger, and now she was faced with the possibility of surgery to reduce the size of her stomach. At age 13?! Again, as the story progressed it was clear that the Doctors were doing all they could to encourage the whole family to loose weight together, to help encourage the teenager. But the Parents were giving up at the first hurdle, and rather than help her loose some weight they were continually saying surgery would be the better option! How can surgery, so drastic, be better for the poor girl? If that was me, I know I would do everything I could to prevent that surgery. I know that dieting is hard, I am rubbish at it to be honest. But if your childs life depended on it, you would do it wouldn't you? You would get rid of all the unhealthy temptations in the house and you would do the best you could to help. I proved last week that eating fresh healthy meals doesn't cost a fortune, in fact it costs far more to eat junk all the time! At the end of the programme they said that the child had the onset of Diabetes, no one wants that for their child, surely?

But what struck a cord the most in last nights episode, was the parent who, when his child was faced with having his teeth taken out, said this... 'If your child is happy then who cares if he has to have a few teeth out'?! This was said in reference to feeding them sweets. I was so shocked I had to rewind it! Then I thought, maybe that parent doesn't have all the facts, maybe they do not know how precious teeth are. Or is it that they are choosing to ignore the facts? I couldn't decide, but seeing how scared that little boy was, again, was heartbreaking.

I appreciate that some parents do not seem to be as clued up on something I find so easy to understand (my childs health), and I do honestly think that those parents should be offered some form of education towards it. Maybe it should be compulsory for all parents to attend classes related to childrens health? I dont know?

But what I do know, in answer to my title question, is that I consider myself (and my husband) responsible for our childrens health and their attitude towards food.

We are the ones who feed them, watch over them brushing their teeth, give them opportunity to get outside and have some 'exercise' and also to educate them as to what a balanced diet is. My children have sweets, chocolate, ice creams, and even puddings on occasion. But they have things like fruit, vegetables and fresh meat daily. We, as parents, hold ourselves responsible for our childrens health, it is our job as parents to make sure we give our children the best start we can in life. We by no means have lots of money, but we still manage to feed our children a good balanced diet. We have a choice of what foods we can feed our children, I think its very important to make the right choices.

Did you watch the programme, what are your thoughts?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Our day exploring and searching for The Gruffalo

Wow, half term is flying by isn't it? I have managed to keep my two entertained and so far the highlight has been our day out to Bedgebury Pinetum.

We woke up to beautiful sunshine on Tuesday, so I thought it was a great opportunity to get out and explore. A friend of mine had been to Bedgebury Pinetum the day before and looking at her pictures I could see that it was somewhere that we would all enjoy,

At the moment, until the 28th February, there is a Gruffalo trail so I really wanted to visit before that ended. Its about an hour away from us so we packed up a picnic and set off fairly early, but even so, the car park was fairly full when we got there. It is obviously a very popular place and after visiting I can see why!

We picked up our Gruffalo packs from the visitor centre and started our hunt for the Gruffalo.

The trail we took was just over a mile long, we were purely looking for the Gruffalo and reading the information boards. But I could see that there were plenty other paths and areas to explore too.

In the middle of the trail we found The Gruffalo!

We carried on searching for Gruffalo plaques hidden in the trees, because each one had a letter written on it, and at the end we were able to unscramble the letters to make a word. It was so much fun!

We then headed over to the play areas, I don't think I was quite expecting them to be so big. So much to climb and explore, the children were in their element! Water buckets to pull up and tip out, pirate ships to explore, swings to swing, beams to balance and trees to climb! We simply did not have time to do it all!

We had such a fantastic day out, there is no doubt that we will be returning again, next time I might even let the children bring their bikes and scooters!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Charlie Cook's favourite book: 10th Anniversary edition

Chester and Millie have been treated to yet another book from the award winning book duo, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler!

This one is called Charlie Cook's favourite book and this year it is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!

It has been a bedtime favourite for the past few weeks with all 4 of us!

The story is about a boy called Charlie Cook, who sits down to read his favourite book. Its about a pirate captain who is reading a book about goldilocks, who is reading a book about Knights. You can imagine how the rest of the story goes. Its a very unique story and very fun to read! The way the words rhyme means that its easy for Craig and I to read to the children regardless of how tired we are!

Its no surprise to me that this book has sold over a million copies since its release 10 years ago. Its a very clever book! I absolutely love the detail in the illustrations, every time we have read it, we have discovered something new!

In this 10th Anniversary edition, you are treated to some of Axel Scheffler's early sketches and a shiny badge on the front cover. The book has an RRP of £8.85 and I would say that is a fantastic investment. I can see this book being a big hit with both children for a very long time!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Ways to entertain your children this half term.

As I am sitting here typing this half term is just about to begin.

It can be a stressful time, keeping the children entertained for the whole week. I mean, when they are at School their minds are occupied on their learning, but at home they easily become bored. February half term is always a tricky one, because most people are still recovering from the Christmas period financially. So I like to find ways to keep the children entertained on a budget for this first half term of the year.

I recently contributed a tip to the Attractiontix blog, for a post entitled Things to do with the Kids in the School holidays. It well worth a read as there are 24 tips from other lovely mums with ideas to keep you busy all week and beyond!

I wanted to write a post to elaborate on my tip, which was;  'Spend the morning writing/drawing up a countryside checklist, then spend the afternoon exploring a local park ticking off your checklist as you find the items!'

This is actually something we do quite a lot, and the children never get bored of it! As I have said many times before we love to be outside, so any excuse to explore the countryside and we are there!

In the past we have had lots of fun looking for the things on our lists. The things included can range from a tree or a flower to something a bit more obscure like a baby Panda! I bet you can guess who wants us to look for that one?!

The afternoon quite often ends in a bear hunt, especially if we are going to local woodland. Chester will recite his favourite story to us 'We're going on a bear hunt' whilst we carefully look behind logs and bushes for the elusive bear! Craig claims to have spotted him several times, but the children and I are yet to see him!

If the Weather is nice, we pack a picnic too. A picnic is the icing on the cake to the children as they love a bit of alfresco dining on a blanket! It all adds to the excitement of the day, which in turn leads to a much easier bed time!

What are your plans for this half term?

Win a pair of tickets to the new BBC Good Food Eat Well Show

The exciting new BBC Good Food Eat Well Show (sponsored by Lexus) will premier on 27th February 2015 at Olympia West in Kensington! This new event, part of the BBC Good Food Show portfolio, is dedicated to showcasing healthy food brands, products and producers, and will demonstrate to visitors how they can achieve a balance between living a  healthy lifestyle and maintaining a passion for good food.Celebrity chef demonstrations, live dietary consultations, superfoods and more.

One of the highlights of the show is the Healthy Kitchen which will host an impressive line-up of celebrities, chefs and professionals demonstrating how easy it is to prepare healthy and good food.

The schedule includes personalities such as Davina McCall, Lorraine Pascale, Hemsley + Hemsley, Marcus Bean and Jenni Falconer. Another feature, the Eat Well Forum is dedicated to key diet and lifestyle challenges, and will play host to a range of vibrant discussions and informative talks on the
relationship between food, health and wellbeing.

Visitors can also enjoy the Eat Well Interview Stage, where they can have their questions answered by dietary specialists such as Natasha Corrett, Renee Maguire, Dale Pinnock and Rachel De Thample.

Visitors will also be given the opportunity to have their books signed at the WHSmith

In addition to the interview stage, they're delighted to be hosting 1-2-1 sessions with qualified dieticians throughout the show. The sessions offer a range of different advice and guidance, and will be held in a private room on the show floor.

The three day event will run until 1 March 2015, and showcase 100 exhibitors selling their range of products, including superfoods and delicacies.

Sounds amazing doesn't it?! Well I have a pair of tickets to give away! All you need to do is fill in the gleam form below.

Good luck!

A pair of Tickets to the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Win competitions at

How we feed our family of 4 for around £40 per week!

After watching Eat Well For Less last night, and seeing that a family of 4 was spending over £300 per week, I have been involved in two separate discussions on social media about how much people spend a week on their shop. Its been an interesting discussion, some have admitted they spend quite a lot (although not quite £300) and others, like me can manage it on less than £100 per week no problems.

This subject always interests me, as we manage to spend around £40 a week. People often ask me how we do it and also assume that we don't eat well, but in fact since being more savvy with our weekly shop we have eaten much better than we used too, all our meat is fresh and the majority of our meals are home cooked from scratch.

My secret....


At this point I think its worth me mentioning that Aldi have not asked me to write this post, I am merely giving you an insight into our Family life and how we shop.

3 years ago, when Millie was a baby, a friend advised me on the quality and value of the Aldi Nappies. I went in to grab a pack and came out with a trolley full of food. I have never looked back! Of course I would be lying if I said I only shop at Aldi, because on occasion I shop elsewhere, like us all, if I see a good deal I will be inclined to make an extra trip to another shop to purchase it.

But how do you manage to spend just £40 I hear you say?! Well let me explain....

This is this weeks shop, it came to £40.45p

I scour my cupboards, fridge and freezer before I go shopping and utilize what I already have to make meals and save on food waste (something you would never of heard me saying before the kids). This week I already had a pack of mince in my freezer and a Chicken and Asparagus pie, so this was the base part of 2 meals already. I then noticed that we still had some frozen veg left, plus store cupboard essentials such as crisps, porridge, pasta, tinned tomatoes, fruit, beans and some packet sauces/marinades. I also had 1 pepper, 3 onions, new potatoes, white potatoes, blueberries, 3 oranges and 5 apples as well.

I went in with a list of what I already had and a rough list of meal ideas (depending on meat offers and availability).

With what I brought, our meals this week will be...

Friday: (Children at a party) so Chicken and Asparagus pie with mash and fresh greens for Craig and I.

Saturday: Valentines day meal for Craig and I (more on that later) Pizza movie night tea for the kids.

Sunday: Toad in the hole with winter veg mix and sweet potato fries (homemade). Mixed Fruit Strudel.

Monday: Chicken Drumsticks and thighs marinated in BBQ marinade (or a lemon and herb one depending on my mood that day) with fresh greens and new potatoes.

Tuesday: Pancake day! My homemade savoury minced beef pancakes, followed by sweet pancakes.

Wednesday: Pork steaks with mixed veg and mashed potato.

Thursday: Beef Fajitas, served with white rice and mixed veg.

Obviously apart from Valentines day and Pancake day these meal days can be swapped around to suit our schedule. I have also brought enough for breakfast, snacks and lunches.

Of course shopping is not just about food, once or twice a month we need things like dishwasher tablets, shampoo, shower gel, toilet roll, cleaning products etc. I normally spread them out across the month, this week I have brought pack of 9 luxury toilet roll for £2.69 and Anti bac spray for 49p.

I didn't buy milk today as I tend to buy this from a local shop when we need it and I am almost certain we will need an extra loaf of bread by the end of the week because its half term!

This week is slightly different due to it being valentines day tomorrow. So I bought this for Craig and I's 3 course home cooked meal. I cost me just £8.65!

I pulled out my receipts from the last month, the total spend including the valentines meal was £149.85 which averages £37.46 per week!

For 4 of us I think thats amazing! Of course, I will admit that we have grabbed a chocolate bar or two when we are out, or treated ourselves to lunch whilst on a family day out. But when we are spending such a little amount on our weekly shop we can afford the odd luxury or too!

How do you do your weekly shop? Are you careful like me or do you just buy what takes your fancy that day?