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As usual, with half term, it seems to disappear in a frenzy of a mix of trying to keep the small ones amused, occupied and exercised.

Some days we spend not doing much, as I think it’s good to have some ‘down’ days too.

Whatever type of day we have, with two boisterous boys we have to include some exercise in the day as well otherwise they end up going crazy.

Not to mention me as they drive me slightly mad with their arguing if they get cooped up for too long.

Great activities we’ve done so far are…

– playing football

– collecting conkers

– running races

– letting off steam in the park.

One of my favourite autumnal pastimes always used to be finding lots of fallen leaves and wading through them, especially if they were lovely and crunchy.

With all this running around, though, they seem to get hungry all the time. I’m not surprised, though, with the amount of charging about they do – I get tired just watching them! :-)

Which is why I always make sure there’s plenty of snack type things to eat to keep their energy levels up, whether it be fruit such as bananas, toast, breadsticks or yoghurt.

It’s important to keep them refuelled what with expending so much energy, so I’m always keen to try new snack ideas to keep their interest.

As they’re big yoghurt fans, I was very eager to try out a new product which we hadn’t come across before, called Yollies.

For those of you who don’t know, Yollies are yoghurts in the shape of lollies on a stick. The novelty characters,such as a pirate, added even more fun to the product.

Much hilarity can be had by saying “arrrr!” pirate style as you crack into it!

yollies

The strawberry and the raspberry flavours were the firm favourites, and along with our usual portable dairy snack of Cheestrings, which we also love, would both make a great lunch box addition when school starts back next week.

I always like to include a dairy item in the packed lunches, and Yollies will definitely be featuring in packed lunches from now on, along with Cheestrings which we have had, and enjoyed, in the past.

Cheestrings and Yollies have a great website too called the Brave Bones Club which children can visit, collect online badges and play.

Netmums also has a page dedicated to more snack inspiration and ideas.

 

We were given some Cheestrings and Yollies in order to do this review. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are completely our own true ones.

 

 

As a huge Back To The Future fan, today is an exciting day for fellow geeks such as myself as we finally hit October 21st, 2015.

Yes, today is the day that Marty McFly and his friend Doc Brown arrived in after they stepped into the flying De’Lorean and travelled 30 years into the future.

“Great Scott!”

So, how far have we actually come in the last thirty years, and has the futuristic vision of 2015 materialised?

I’m still waiting for my hoverboard. Or my Pitbull. They’d be even better.

“Hey, McFly, you bozo, those boards don’t work on water! Unless you got POWER”! :-)

We may still be waiting for hoverboards, and flying cars, but in other aspects I think we’re doing pretty well.

So what have we got now that we didn’t have in 1985?

video calls

Marty McFly talking to Needles via video phone. A phone? That’s a video call? Stuff from Science Fiction Theatre back then. We can do it now though.

TV’s on the wall

a pretty ‘far out’ notion when they used to be big clunky things  in the corner of your living room.

Marty McFly Junior’s glasses

Don’t they look and sound remarkably like Google Glass?!

We’re getting there, people, we’re getting there. Sure, we’re still waiting for the Skyways to open to traffic, and hoverboards to become our favourite mode of transport, but we have made progress in the last thirty years.

At one point we laughed at the thought of video calls. Maybe in 2045 our children and grandchildren will be laughing about our past selves and lack of hoverboards.

How did we ever get about?!

I’ve always loved reading, and one of my all time favourite authors when I was small was the brilliant Roald Dahl.

Whereas other people wrote about adventures, fairies, or nice and fluffy things, Roald had a darker, more scary side.

From giants stealing sleeping children out of their beds and eating them up (then leaving a pile of bones underneath the window sill), to little girls getting trapped in paintings and never being able to get out – whilst living their life in the constraints of the picture frame instead, there was always some sinister elements to his tales.

So, in celebration of Roald Dahl Day, here’s 5 lessons from Roald Dahl.

Treat animals and birds the way you would want to be treated yourself

Oh, what fun, going out shooting ducks as a family! Bet you wouldn’t find it half as much fun though if the tables were turned and you woke up one morning and you’d traded places, would you?!

How would YOU like it if it was now the ducks who lived in your house, and you were tiny people with wings forced to build nests and dodge the bullets?

Not so much fun now, is it?!

The family in The Magic Finger found this out pretty quickly. Treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself, as you never know when it might turn round and get you instead…

Don’t be a spoilt little brat

I’m sure all kids have their moments, and stamp their feet when they don’t get their own way.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a monumental brat in the shape of Veruca Salt.

“I want an Oompa Loompa NOW, Daddy!”

What happens to the children who are perpetually spoilt though? Always wanting more, and never appreciating what they have?

Yup. They end up in the garbage chute where they belong.

Don’t p*ss off the grandkids

Are you a cantankerous old lady with a mouth like a dog’s bottom? Let’s hope you don’t have a grandson like George then, or he might make you some of his marvellous (or not so marvellous) medicine.

Hide the hair cream. The bleach. The toothpaste. Anything the cheeky little upstart could try and mix up for you and pass off as medicine.

A lesson to remember in future…..

kids – washing too much is bad for you

One of the lessons I’m sure most soap dodging kids are the most delighted to hear. I mean, you don’t want too many baths, do you?

If you have too many baths then the witches can smell you more easily. Leave the dirt on, as freshly washed children smell of dogs droppings….

parents aren’t just parents, you know…

What do you mean, parents aren’t just parents? Surely their sole purpose is to be there for the child, watch endless Cbeebies with you and whatnot –  they came into the world as ready made parents without having a life of their own first, right?!

Something that Danny in Danny the Champion of The World found out when his Dad disappeared in the dead of the night and he found out he’d been sneaking out to poach pheasants…..

So much wisdom.

So much fun.

Tell us via the comments if you’ve got any more lessons to add….

There’s a few places in this world I’d love to see, and this got me thinking what my bucket list of places to go would be.

What would be on your list?

I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 although there’ll probably be a lot more.

New York

From watching Home Alone as a child, to being a fan of Friends as a teenager, to reading Lindsey Kelk’s I love New York as an adult and re-igniting my need to go there upon reading.

Central Perk, where you can run free Phoebe style, to Kevin McCallister sticking his head out of the taxi window whilst zooming along the Brooklyn Bridge, to Angela Clark visiting Max Brenner’s chocolate place.

Yes.

Prince Edward Island

As any Anne of Green Gables fan will know, this was the setting for the mini series of the book by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

On visiting, you can just imagine having your hair pulled by Gilbert and being called “carrots!” or Marilla chastising you over some misdemeanour… or Matthew being his lovely self.

Anne of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island

The Ice Hotel, Sweden.

Yes, I like summer, but I’ve always coped much better in cold temperatures than hot ones. Winter will always be the best time of year for me. Can you beat a load of snow? No. I think not.

The Northern lights would be amazing to see, too. Apparently certain parts of the UK were supposed to see them last year, including here, but it never materialized. Hopefully soon…

The log cabins and champagne bars sound great… easily warm you up!

Ice Hotel

Sydney, Australia

It’s the other side of the world, and I’d love to go visit someday. See Sydney Opera House up close, instead of in Australian soaps or my favourite teen programme The Girl From Tomorrow.

Japan

Completely different culture to here, and one I’d love to experience. I already think I’d love the diet as well. LOVE  green tea, sushi, rice, noodles and tempura.

If you could choose anywhere to visit, where would you choose? Would anywhere on here feature? Or would it be somewhere completely different? Would love to know!

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….

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! :-)

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.

Result!

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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