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Dear fussy kids

I remember a time when you happily sat in your highchair, eating lovingly pureed parsnips and tomatoes were eaten instead of eyed with suspicion.

A time when you ate near enough whatever was put in front of you.

So what happened? Eh!?! You tell me.

As the years have rolled by, there’s been a steady adding to the list of something or other.

Onions, cabbage, spinach, have all been ditched.

Not to mention the fact that what one likes, the other steadfastly refuses to acknowledge which narrows down the teatime dishes some what.

One likes cottage pie, one doesn’t.

One likes chilli con carne, one doesn’t.

I suppose I should be grateful for the fact there is some mutually respected dishes such as fish pie, Sunday roasts, and pasta bake.

Carrots, broccoli, peas, sweetcorn, cauliflower.

We’ve made a small breakthrough in the fact that youngest now loves mushrooms and sprouts after trying them.

Now if we can get the eldest to actually try new foods instead of looking like you’re trying to poison him, or doing the dying swan act if by some small miracle he actually gets it from fork to mouth.

THEN we can get the bunting out and have a party. Or something.

You know what?

Tonight we’re having pearl barley and vegetable casserole. I can pretty much guarantee that there’ll be at least one ingredient in  there that someone will decide to moan over.

Well, tough boobles.

We had Mcdonalds last night, tonight I’m bringing on the home cooking.

Take it or leave it.

Just remember to leave your whines at the door of Café Hard Cheese before you enter.

As you were….

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We’re about three weeks into the school summer holidays here, and if you asked the small people, they’d say the holidays weren’t nearly long enough and should be double.

In reality, though, they’d moan they were bored if they were any longer.

It’s great to have days out, but it’s not feasible to go on days out every day – not only money wise, but it’s GOOD for them to be ‘bored’ every now and again and have unstructured time to think up things to do themselves.

So far this holiday, we’ve had a lovely day out  at the seaside when we went to Whitby, and ate fish and chips at The Magpie Café.

We’ve been swimming.

We’ve been to the local soft play.

We’ve been to a trampoline park and had fun with lots of bouncing.

We’re going on holiday for a few days soon.

We’ve spent today at the local playday activity session, which included a miniature petting farm, with cute alpacas, goats, and pigs.

Not to mention playing giant versions of snakes and ladders, Connect 4, and hopscotch there.

We’re still only halfway through the holidays, and as lovely as they are they can get expensive trying to think up new things to do every day.

So far, the wallet hasn’t been crying too much though as we’ve managed to have fun and find local activities for not much pence.

I wonder where the rest of the holidays will take us? Hopefully not me round the bend…..

Do you think the holidays are too long? Or just right? Do they work out expensive or have you come up with cheap ways to keep them amused?

Let me know your thoughts via the comments box! :-)

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Being intolerant to cow’s milk, you kind of miss things like yoghurts, and big hunks of cheese on bread.

Yes, there’s soya yoghurts and what have you, and whilst they are great in their own way, they’re no substitute for a nice, creamy texture.

Which is why when I got the chance to review some goats milk products from St Helen’s Farm I was more than willing to give it a try.

Goats milk is apparently easier to digest than cows milk for some people, so can be a better alternative to cows milk for some people who are intolerant.  (You can read more about that on the website.)

A lovely hamper of different goats milk products arrived to try, including goats milk, butter, cheeses, and yoghurts.

goats cheese

With two fussy children, and as a mum always on the lookout for a healthy variety of foods to feed them, I was keen to see what they thought of goats milk as well as they had never tried it before.

Would they be able to tell the difference?!

The happy answer was no, they couldn’t and they especially loved the yoghurts. The raspberry and elderflower flavour and Sicilian lemon ones were the outright favourites, they both liked them.

To get them both liking the same thing at the same time is an achievement in itself lately!

The 8 year old enjoyed the goats milk on his cereal, and said he really couldn’t tell the difference between his usual cows milk that he has on there.


My personal favourite had to be the cheese. The children weren’t so keen, as it was quite a strong taste compared to what they’re used to – I suppose if your favourite is mild cheddar it could be thought of as a bit strong.

Me, on the other hand adore all kinds of cheese and textures, and it’s the one thing I miss most about not being able to have milk.

The mature goats cheese was gorgeous, a kind of nutty taste and crumbly texture.

I’ll definitely be getting more goats milk products in future, especially as it’s something me, the Dad, AND both kids like and can eat all at the same time!

I received a hamper of goats milk products in order to do this review. All thoughts, words and opinions completely true and my own.

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When your children are small, it’s easy to shield from the news as all you have to do is turn Cbeebies on and a bit of Mr Tumble or whatever will distract them.

By the time they get to high school age, and 11 going on 12, it’s a bit harder to police.

Take the atrocities by murdering terrorist groups in the news this week.

“People got shot on a beach in Tunisia. Why?” is what I was asked.

How do you answer why when you can’t fathom the motive yourself?

People went on holiday, and never came home.

A blogger excitedly tweeted “Definitely leaving in like three hours and definitely am not finished packing.”

All excited for her upcoming getaway, only to never return home on a madman’s actions.

It could have been anyone of us, sending out an unwitting final tweet before going and sunning ourselves on our holidays.

I don’t know why it happened. Does any sane person capable of rational thinking?

The only answer you can give, which is what I did is this…

11 year old: “People got shot on a beach in Tunisia. Why?”

“I don’t know. Anyone normal and thinking right can’t understand either. It’s a case of “this is what I believe in. If you don’t believe in the same thing then you’re getting shot. It’s stupid.”

11 year old – “Exactly. Completely stupid.”

Think that says it all really.

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When you read an article in a national newspaper about how children can’t be shouted at, or praised, you start to despair a little bit.

Why the hell not? If they’re being little shites, then they need to be pulled up on it. How else are they going to learn?!

Likewise when they’re achieving, and doing well. Shouldn’t they be told so that they’re proud of what they’ve been doing?

Not much of an incentive to behave if they don’t get recognised for it anyway.

I take umbrage with this, too. “Discipline is not the only unusual policy at the school. In 2012 it broke with the tradition of having playtime and lunch at fixed times. Instead the pupils and staff decide among themselves when to take a break. And in some weeks pupils are given hot chocolate and bacon butties for breakfast as part of Mrs Tomlinson’s drive to create a ‘comfortable’ environment.”

Who’s running the show? The teachers or the pupils?! Balls to whether they want their break time earlier or not, or  fancy a bacon butty. They’re there to LEARN.

There’s no wonder there’s such terrible incidents hitting the mainstream media lately about teachers being attacked if there’s crap like this going on.

No boundaries, no sense of consequence. No wonder they feel like they can do what the hell they like.

Children NEED safe, secure boundaries and to know right from wrong. Not be shielded from any consequences to actions and to go through life doing whatever the chuff they like as they’ve never know any different.

Schools that think otherwise need to buck up and sort themselves out.

What do you think?

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Schooldays have always been brightened up by the thought of a class day out, or if you’re lucky, a residential trip for a few nights away.

I have fond memories of going on a week long residential the first year of high school to an outdoor pursuits centre, which involved activities such as abseiling off viaducts, caving, and canoeing.

There was also a year trip to France for a lucky few in the third year (drawn out of a hat so not everyone got to go.)

So far, so good. France is far away enough to feel like a proper holiday, and you get to visit a different country without being too far from home.

Now, though? Like everything else, (proms, anyone?! ) schools seem to be having to go one better, one bigger, and more ostentatious.

Not content with jaunts to France, some schools are laying out trips to places like Barbados.

Barbados. I ask you. Nothing wrong with Barbados, I’d love to go there – but since when did school trips start to go halfway across the world and cost more than a family holiday?!

Trip of a lifetime, that. Not a school jaunt.

Ours can go to Australia in one of the years.  Literally the other side of the world. On what planet is that a reasonable school trip?! I dread to think how much that would cost.

They’re busy fundraising for it right now. Tip – if the place you want to go to costs so bloody much that you have to fundraise for it, maybe you’re going a tad too far. Back up a bit and have a think.

Flying high school kids nearly 11,000 miles is a little bit very excessive.

Maybe they need more parents to stand up and say “hang on, do you think we go into the garden and pluck money off the money tree, or produce it from our arse?!”

Maybe then we might get a semblance of normality in all the craziness.

What do you think? Excessive, or fun?

Let us know via the comments and tell us where the furthest place your school goes for school trips!

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Summer’s getting nearer, and as a result our thoughts are turning to places to visit with the children on a summer holiday.

Holidays here are usually UK campsite type ones with entertainment on tap (we personally love a bit of Haven. Can’t beat a bit of Rory the Tiger to entertain you!)

These come with huge static caravans with their own bedrooms, bathrooms etc.

For some unfathomable reason though, the Dad’s thoughts have started to turn towards the idea of camping.

With a tent. Between the four of us. Would they settle down? Would they chuff.

A separate tent just for them? Even worse.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of camping.

I have many a fun memory of Guides camping trips where we all sang “Ging Gang Goolie” round the campfire, and “Oh you’ll never get to heaven in a baked bean tin, as a baked bean tin’s got baked beans in….”

(I’m mindfully ignoring the fact I got splattered with pee once having to cart the portable toilet across the field to be emptied. How to traumatise an 8 year old. I’ll keep my rose tinted specs on and forget that bit.)

I also remember sniggering and running across to other tents in the middle of the night and pulling out tent pegs just for the laugh of it with some others.

Then running back to the tent, diving into the sleeping bags and sending up fake pretend snores and waiting for the shouts when it twigged what we’d done.

Oh, the japes.

Which is why it pains me to think that camping with our two would be a ballache.

We may harbour thoughts of singing songs round a campfire, toasting marshmallows in the embers and waking up refreshed to the sounds of birdsong.

When the harsh reality is the fact that they’re related to ME and might turn out to be little camping s***s who run feral at night time, and we’re so deranged from lack of sleep we want to shoot the blasted birds for daring to sing and wake us up when we’ve only just nodded off.

Do you camp? Do yours behave and I’m worrying unnecessarily?! Or would yours be likely to run amok too….

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