Sunday 31 October 2010

An Alternative to Hallowe'en

In a follow up to my Trick or Treat post here's what we actually did!

I had every intention of taking the children for their first ever trick or treating (despite the fact I've never been a fan!). However I decided instead to take up my church's offer of a Bright Lights party for primary aged children. It was a great way of avoiding having the entire neighbourhood knocking on your door whilst the kids have fun.

With Hallowe'en being an overtly pagan festival it's also a way of keeping to our Christian principles and celebrating All Saints Eve to remember those who have gone before. So as well as fun and games, food and fireworks there was a Christian message. Not sure how much my two children took in of this - although my daughter at 7 was upset she couldn't dress as a witch or devil for the party!

Saturday 30 October 2010

Saturday Review: Moes Grill, K Village

The only full restaurant at K Village, the management of Moes Grill are obviously trying to attract local residents to supplement the tourists who come in by coach to take advantage of all the discount shops available in the newly opened complex.

Today there was a well publicised event to attract in parents and their children. We were tempted in by offers of all sorts of freebies: food tasting, bouncy castle and face painting. At the end of half term this was very tempting with over stretched purses and bored children. My kids were excited by the thought of "paint face" and bouncy castle. I was interested in the free food for a hungry family! We duly drove up to the car park at 3PM to check out what was on offer.

A minor hiccup occurred as we arrived just as the car park barrier had a funny 5 minutes and initially refused to issue tickets causing a huge tail back. The car park is a work in progress and having only been open a couple of months is obviously experiencing teething problems! When we finally parked up my kids rushed straight upstairs to the face painting area outside the restaurant. 

Thursday 28 October 2010

Trick or Treat?

Do you find the thought of children knocking on your door on the 31st of October a pleasure or a frightening thought?

I have been known to either go elsewhere on the night or turn off all the lights and pretend I'm not in!

On my estate we have been issued with a poster we can put up in our window if we are willing to receive door knockers. Advice has been issued warning youngsters that throwing flour and water at houses is potentially a criminal offence.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

A Family Hike up Gowbarrow and Aira Force

With suitably attired children (walking boots, waterproofs and lots of layers), a mum who knows the route and an aunt to drive us we headed up to Aira Force at the edge of Ullswater. We were carrying a picnic and bribes snacks in our rucksacks. My 3 year old chose to do the full route which is approximately 3.5 miles and about the limit he can do at the moment. For a detailed route check here

The walk is considered moderate hence the need for proper footwear. At times the path was extremely boggy with wet rocks to scramble over and small streams to cross. My 7 year old found these easy to cope with but the 3 year old struggled at some points and was a lot slower than her. They both needed an emergency snack about half way up the fell. We were taking the slightly more circuitous but child friendly route and its quicker to take a more direct route.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Long Distance Train Travel with Kids

For a change this last weekend I decided to try out travelling back down south on the train instead of driving. I do enjoy driving but it can take all day with stops to do a 250 mile drive and this can be tiring for all of us especially me! My children do have DVD players they can take in the car to entertain them whatever scare stories the Daily Mail may publish. There is no way I can concentrate on driving and trying to entertain 2 young children and referee fights!

Armed with a Family and Friends Railcard I advanced booked our return tickets and reserved us a table and three seats (as my nearly 4 year old is a bit big to sit on my knee I purchased him a ticket even though he could have travelled for nothing without a seat). Virgin gives options of quiet or normal carriages and asks whether you want a power socket. I obviously didn't choose a quiet carriage and opted for the power socket for charging my mobile phone!

Monday 25 October 2010

Wikio Shopping

This is a sponsored post.

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Friday 22 October 2010

Half Term: heaven or hell?

Schools in Scotland are coming to the end of theirs, Northern Ireland are half way through a fortnight break and English schools are about to start a week off (what is happening in Wales?). Is this Autumn break a heaven or hell for parents?

The children certainly need a break from school after being back at school since the end of the summer holidays. They are tired and need to recharge their batteries. But what about parents?

For those of us currently not working its a chance to have a few lie ins and not have the craziness of the school run for 5 days. More time to spend with our children enjoying the pleasures that Autumn can bring:

Thursday 21 October 2010

Boys in shorts

My son has been getting some strange looks the last few days as he has chosen to wear shorts even though the temperature has been close to zero. I did persuade him to wear knee high socks to keep most of his skin covered but all the other children were well wrapped up:

He looked very old fashioned from the days when boys wore shorts all year round whatever the weather. My dad grew up in the 50s and remembers not having long trousers until he was older. Putting boys in shorts was probably practical as it reduced the number of knees that needed patching! Boys had a right of passage at 13 - 14 when they were finally allowed to wear long trousers.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Secret Post Club: October 2010

I missed last month's Secret Post Club with the complications of moving house so was delighted to join in again this time. Today I received a mystery padded envelope with the following contents:

A lovely girly notepad and pen, a beautiful bookmark and a postcard of Livvy from Sara at Walking With Angels. We are both regular readers and commenters on each others blogs so she has chosen ideal things for me.

Another happy Secret Post Club recipient :-)

Monday 18 October 2010

The YES jar - early days

After comparing notes on stroppy primary age girls with the lovely Cheryl at MommyPants I have decided to try and follow her paediatrician's suggestion of a Yes Jar for my 7 year old. She likes to do things her way and doesn't always like to do what I need her to do - not always good for mummy/daughter relations!

The Yes Jar is a simple concept:

  • when child is doing what you asked / exhibiting good behaviour a slip of paper with YES on it goes in the jar
  • when the child doesn't do what you asked / exhibits bad behaviour a slip of paper with NO on it goes in the jar, no other sanction given
  • when the child wants a treat - TV, computer time, naughty snack a slip of paper is picked from the jar. The more YES's in the jar the more likely they are to get their treat!

Sunday 17 October 2010

How to cheat at children's birthday cakes!

I had considered making a cake from scratch this year having bought them last year, but knew it would be quite stressful to do 2 for the one party, so I bought a couple of Victoria Sponge mixes from Morrisons. It's a simple case of adding egg and whisking.... 25 minutes in the oven later I had some reasonable looking sponge cakes:

A quick spread of the included raspberry jam:

Grab some Betty Crocker chocolate coating, stir and apply:

Add some toppings to suit kids choice:


Finally add the candles, light and sing Happy Birthday:

It did taste pretty good too ;-)

Friday 15 October 2010

International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today has been the International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and is the 8th year it has been running with the following aims:

  • Promote October 15th as National Baby Loss Awareness Day within the UK. 
  • Promote the annual “Global Wave of Light” events and services where parents can acknowledge their losses. 
  • Promote awareness and understanding of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss among health and social care workers and the community at large.

Thursday 14 October 2010

A passion for Playmobil

When I was the age my daughter is now I got hooked on Playmobil. Back in the late 1970s the sets weren't anywhere near as fancy as they are today and there wasn't as much choice but they provided hours of pleasure.

My brother and I had builders, firemen, nurses, US cavalry men, knights and even Robin Hood with a longbow. We played with them so much that quite a bit of damage was inflicted on them. The ones that survived were saved by my parents and are now providing fun for our children.

My step-daughter was bought some small sets of family and house related Playmobil but she didn't play with them much on her visits to us. When my daughter was quite little my parents bought her the Noah's Ark set with all its animals. This was a great introduction to the fun that Playmobil can be. 

Tuesday 12 October 2010

How Not To: Be A Domestic Goddess

This is a follow up to my successful post about How Not To Cook Like My Daddy Cooks. Today I am once again demonstrating my ability to not do well in the kitchen (though sometimes I do get it right!)

So today I will show you how cause chaos making a birthday starts well then goes down hill....

Step one bake cake

The easy part is to take a Morrisons Eat Smart cake mix and follow the instructions on the back.. After 15-20 minutes of cooking time you get some lovely looking cakes:

Monday 11 October 2010

Desert Island Discs [Meme]

As I haven't done a meme for a while when Him Up North was asking for victims volunteers to be tagged on his post I stepped up to the plate. Since then I've been wondering what I've let myself in for! Sounds simple enough:

choose 8 tracks that you would have when stuck on a desert island 

then you realise that it's only 8 tracks and what would you really like to be stuck listening to for potentially years....

OK then let's start with something to sing along to:

1) Shania Twain - Man I Feel Like a Woman

Sunday 10 October 2010

Another lovely Lakes day

A perfect Autumn day on Windermere, I waved my daughter off on a steamer from Bowness with Beavers to the Lakes Aquarium:

Saturday 9 October 2010

Where do they go?

This post is partly inspired by a Twitter and Facebook conversation I had this morning and partly by a blog post by Laura. It's basically about the day to day things that go missing around the house.

In Laura's case it was teaspoons (read her post to find out how she solved her mystery!). With me it was tupperware. I posted a photograph of my plastic pot cupboard and started quite a conversation:

Friday 8 October 2010

Is the honeymoon over?

Since I came back from my enforced divorce trip down south my daughter has not been herself at all. She has:

  • been more bolshy, 
  • been attention seeking at school, 
  • been in trouble at school for hitting other children, 
  • has had to be dragged out from under my bed to go to school
  • has had major temper tantrums
  • told me she was lying about liking her new school she "hates it"
Her teacher has asked me to have a meeting about her to discuss the issue. This is more like she was behaving before we moved.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Tuesday 5 October 2010

In Memoriam Hastings Pier

It was shocking news to wake up to that some idiots had set fire to Hastings Pier over night and that the fire brigade couldn't put it out. The pier was an iconic part of the Hastings sea front since 1872 and even though it had been closed for safety in 2006 it still dominated the view.

The terrible thing is that the council were about to compulsorily purchase it and money was being raised to restore public access by making it safe. The night before the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust had held a meeting to call for plans on what to do with the pier once the council had bought it! Maybe that is why some young men thought it would be a good idea to throw a spanner in the works and burn it down? As they have been arrested it will be interesting to see why they did it.

This is how I will remember the pier:

Hoping and praying that the Phoenix can rise from the ashes and that Hastings can once again have a pier for locals and tourists alike to enjoy

Monday 4 October 2010

The Gallery: Here come the girls

This week Tara has challenged us to show photographs of the girls in our lives for week 30 of the Gallery so here are a few of the fabulous girls in my life (some may have been on here before!)

my daughter wearing my hat!

My school mates and I on a hen night

my granny, me and my mum

My mate Aoife always good for a laugh

Sunday 3 October 2010

Sunday Review: Asda and Morrisons Cafes

Being the disorganised person I am I've had to sample both the Asda and Morrisons cafes in Kendal during the last month. I have to admit they were a big contrast and I will only be choosing to eat in one of them again! Coffee is fine in both but hot meals were a different matter.

So first up Asda, my initial impression was that the menu looked good and the hot food on display appeared delicious. There was a small menu on the way in that gave the children's options as well as the main menu. The food on offer was child friendly with a choice of potato accompaniment and vegetable plus a drink but this was not fruit juice.

On ordering I was told that the adult food was served immediately but children's food was cooked to order. This is really not an ideal combination as your hungry child has to watch you eat whilst waiting for theirs. The fact that my food had been sitting on the hot food counter meant that it didn't taste as good as it having been cooked fresh. 

Why they don't have children's food ready to go and adult done fresh I don't know as that would be a better way round or do both the same. Basically not impressed and will only go for coffee and cake in future.

Next up Morrisons, the cafe was larger than at Asda and had several large menus on the way in. As it was Sunday lunch time there was a long queue but the Morrisons' solution to this is to have a Hot Food Order point at the entrance. 

My children again had a choice of kiddie friendly food with options on potato accompaniment and peas or beans. The meal came with a Capri Sun drink, a Freddo chocolate bar, fruit snack pack and an activity pack. (There were also a couple of adult meals offered as half portions for kids with no extras). As soon as they had been handed the Freddo and activity park my children headed off for a table and were quite happy waiting for me to finish queuing to pay. 

The food was all cooked to order so there was quite a wait but the children managed to eat their chocolate bars as a starter and drew in their activity books. The freshly cooked food tasted better than being prepared in advance. We all enjoyed our meal though the kids didn't want their fruit snack packs (safely taken home for another day). My daughter even managed to get a member of staff to provide her with a glass of tap water.

So on the whole I would go back to Morrisons but not Asda for a hot meal. It was healthier, nicer and if you don't go on a Sunday lunch time it's probably not too long a wait!

Saturday 2 October 2010

Generation Game

I spent a lot of today with my mum and grandmother. Its great being 4 generations within a couple of mile radius!

For the first time my grandmother was able to take part in an event for my daughter's school. A coffee morning and book sale which was a great way to allow all ages to enjoy themselves and raise money for the school.

Then my granny came back for the afternoon to my house. It was lovely to watch my daughter and her great grandmother enjoy a game of cards together:

My daughter is 6 and my granny 97 but they were very equal when it came to Knockout Whist and Go Fish!

What kind of things work across the generations in your family?

Friday 1 October 2010

I'm a winner!

I am feeling very lucky to have been one of the 2 lucky first prize winners of a draw over at the lovely Beckicklesie

This means I'm now the proud owner of a customised mug from

Thanks lovely ladies!