Archive for May, 2013

We were all sat round the table tonight, as you do, eating our dinner when 9 year old piped up ‘You’ve got your elbows on the table!”

He was right. I did. So. suitably chastened, I removed my offending elbows from the dinner table.

He had a point.

Which spurred me on to give him an impromptu  quiz on dining etiquette to see if he was as up to speed as he made out.

-What side should the knife and fork go on at the side of your plate, and where should the dessert spoon go?!

Which side should you pass the salt or whatever to?!

– If you want to leave the table before everyone else has finished, how could you politely excuse yourself?

How would you have answered?

I’m proud to say he knew all the answers. (See, he does know how to behave like a gentleman at the table even if half of the time he wants to pretend he’s at a chimp’s tea party…. 🙂 )

He even learnt something new in this spot quiz, and that was if presented with an array of knives and forks at a formal dinner setting, work from the outside in.

Hey, we should all show our table manners. Do you think they’re irrelevant and on the decline nowadays, or do you think it’s important to  teach your children how to be all posh and “proper”?! After all who knows what social situations they’ll find themselves in in later life….

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It’s the half term holidays next week, and if you’re anything like me you’re going to be wondering how to keep your little darlings occupied for not much money.

When the holidays roll around again, I inwardly groan as I know they’re going to whine they’re bored about two minutes after the school bell finishing on Friday.

With not much money spare for stuff like soft play or adventure theme parks, I’m going to have to get a bit more creative.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to keep them quiet. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Eat outside and pretend you’re on a camping adventure

If you’ve got a play tent, take it outside for them to sit in. If not, improvise with blankets and sheets thrown over kitchen chairs!

Making daisy chains in the garden

Sometimes the simplest, oldest things are the best. I have fond memories of sitting on the grass as a child and making a necklace out of daisies or dandelions.

Pass the skill on!

Buy a water gun

They can cost under a tenner. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll get hours of fun from soaking each other with a sonic blaster type thingy, especially on a hot day.

have a BBQ

Get them to help and prep the salad. Get them lettuce leaves tossing, or grated cheese sprinkling. They might actually EAT the salad on offer if they’ve had a hand in helping make it! 🙂

Put out colourful jugs of squash or fruit juice as well with ice and slices of lemon/orange in.

If you’ve any more ideas, share them in the comments box…

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With the passing of time, comes change and there has been a lot of changes over the years since I was a knee high little ankle biter.

Things you take for granted disappear and come back re-named as something else.

Opal Fruits and Snickers bars

I don’t care if it shows my age, they’re always going to be Opal Fruits to me. None of this Starburst nonsense, thank you very much. The same goes for you, so called Snickers bars.

What on earth is a Snickers supposed to BE, anyway? Naming it Marathon at least made some kind of sense from an advertising point of view.

“Hey, guys, eat this delicious chocolate bar packed full of nuts and chocolate and YOU TOO can run for miles.”

With a Snickers bar, though? Hmm, not so much.

my waist

Yeah, I used to have one. A skinny one. Now it seems to have disappeared, along with my last remaining shred of willpower.

Maybe I should eat a Marathon and then go for a run…….

my caffeine intake

Needed to prise my eyes open in a morning. With no vat of tea inside me in a morning and copious top up throughout the day, they’d remain firmly shut and my head would be permanently filled with cotton wool.

Actually, that sounds the same regardless of tea intake.


What’s changed since you were small?

This post has been added to the all things nostalgia link up

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Spring must finally be on it’s way (yes, I know it’s May, but try telling the weather that) as the sun is out and I’m having a spring clean of the house.

So far this morning, I’ve tidied up the back garden and done a bit of weeding, sorted out the bookcases and put toys away in their bedroom as I was starting to forget there was a carpet under there somewhere.

I’m going to have to have a sort out of of their old toys at some point. We’ve got Ninky Nonks and Noo Noos, and all kinds of stuff they’ve grown out of.

How do you begin to have a sort out though when you’ve watched all the Toy Story films?

Watch this song and listen to the lyrics and THEN tell me you could quite happily get rid of old toys. You’d have no HEART. No heart at all, I tell you.


They may just have to stay in the toy box for a while yet.

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With two small children aged 5 and 9, I’ve had my fair share of  organising children’s birthday parties over the last ten years.

Most parties now seem to be held in soft play areas, but this year we’ve seen a rise in invites to the traditional children’s birthday party at home, which is a welcome change and a hark back to simpler times as birthday parties when little were always about fun instead of big affairs.

As much as I love soft play parties (hey, they do all the hard work for you!) it’s lovely to see a return to the old school fun and games.

A typical party table wasn’t complete without:

– jam sandwiches

– bowls of multi flavoured crisps. It was like a lucky dip. One bite might be cheese and onion, the next prawn cocktail….

– cheese and pineapple on sticks hedgehog. Remember those?!

– Iced gems biscuits

– and cups of brightly coloured squash.


Party games were pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel, and sleeping lions.

The latter being utter genius on the grown ups part, and one I try to incorporate into parties now if I can. Hyperactive kids high on e-numbers doing your head in? Lie them all down on the floor and get them to pretend to be asleep and stock still.

Bribe them into staying like that by promising a prize to the one who stays still the longest.

As I said, genius.

What are your memories of your birthday parties when you were little?

This post has been added to the weekly blog  nostalgia link up on Save Every Step

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At an age where you’re barely taller than your parent’s knee it seems a strange idea to market phones for children as young as the age of four, which is what the makers of ‘”1stfone” are doing.

For the princely sum of £55, you can get a pay as you go, or sign up to a contract to tie yourself to the bugger.

At the age of 4, who the heck would you be wanting to call anyway?!

At that age, you’re not even away from your parents/guardian anyway, so there’s no need to be phoning anyone.

There’s the good old fashioned landline they could use if they needed to ring up while at a sleepover or whatever, rather than frying their tiny brains.

I don’t get the obsession with fancy, expensive gadgets for kids.

What’s wrong with a toy phone, anyway?! A lot cheaper, and they can pretend they’ve got a phone.

Your wallet will thank you, they’ll have their ‘phone’ and the real thing can wait until they’re old enough to appreciate it as well as look after it.

Most 4 years old will drop it down the toilet or leave it on the sofa to be sat on by someone’s bum anyway. (Or maybe that’s just my kids….)

What do you think? Phones for 4 year old’s a stupid idea, or genius?!


Phones for 4 year old’s article

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bear in the woods H W Park

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When I was 11 and three quarters, I was well adversed in climbing trees and outdoorsy type activities, and could often be found swinging upside down from one.

Which is why it’s such a shame that children nowadays just don’t seem to get the opportunity like we did and there is the need to bring out lists of 50 Things you Need to Do by the time you’re 11 and 3 quarters,” which is what the National Trust have brought out in the past couple of weeks.

I was lucky though, in the fact that I was brought up in a village and countryside surrounding (even though if you’d have asked me back then I’d have told you it was crap and boring and I’d rather watch paint dry than live there.)

By the age of 11 and 3 quarters I regularly:

– climbed trees

– built a den in the farmers fields

– went on cycle rides round the village and tractor fields

– made daisy chains

– and played conkers.

– I also used to regularly go blackberry picking , which is another thing on the list.

We had our own Enid Blyton Secret Seven type club that needed a password to get into the shed – if you didn’t know the password then you weren’t allowed in…..

We live in a big town now, and there’s not as much chance of doing this type of thing now. My two are lucky in the fact that all their relatives still live in the countryside and villages, so they’ve ticked off things on the list there.

Tree climbing? Yes, the 9 year old has done that on Grandma’s farm when he’s shimmied up to the top of one of the trees there.

Fishing? Not yet. Although with Grandad being a keen fisherman if I bribe them to stay quiet long enough (you have to be QUIET, when fishing something my two know nothing about 🙂 ) then he might take them one day. Albeit separately  as they’re little so and so’s together.)

Hill rolling? Yes, they’ve been to the top of a very large hill and rolled to the bottom to the tune of “3, 2, 1, GO!”

Now, what else can we tick off the list, and how many have your little one’s done?!

Let me know in the comments box…

50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3 quarters list

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