Fred's Bedroom Mood Board

Fred's Room - Mood Board

So when Fred gave me his brief (brief as it was… see what I did there #hilarious) I must admit I wasn’t surprised in the slightest and am pretty happy with the design ideas based around gaming etc.  However I was slightly disappointed with the colour choice.  It’s still basically the same colours as he has now and I kinda really want to change for him, make a real impact.  So I have a plan in my head that I really don’t think he will go for unless I present it to him in the right way.  So I think a ‘Fred’s Bedroom Mood Board’ is required, to give him a real feel for the room.

Mood Board

Fred's Bedroom Mood Board

I still have to break the news that I have completely ignored his colour choices.  I’m hoping he is so wowed by the mood board that he doesn’t care.

Fred wanted a gaming chair but actually I think the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair is a fab alternative.  Cool enough for the kids, but a timeless classic that will last!  Just need to find a slightly cheaper version…  And the colour changing light from B&Q is a bit of fun, that I know he will love.

Now when I decorated Samuel’s room I had wanted a blackboard wall but I was overruled by the OH.  He said it would be a nightmare to change.  However this time I am going to put my foot down as I really want his walls to be dark grey, I’ve just not decided if they should all be painted or not.

xbox

I’ve just discovered a fab shop on Etsy called ControlFreakGameArt.  I cannot wait to order a set of prints for his room, all hand painted and in the colours of my choosing.

I’ll be making some art work of my own (of course) along with some cushions.  But the rest will all be either from small independents or high street finds.  Can’t wait to get started, wish me luck in breaking the news to him…

Please check out my Pinterest board to check out my latest finds and ideas before I get started.  And feel free to tag any shops you think i’ll love.

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The reality of being a mum

A cough, Tena Lady and a lesson in pelvic floor exercises...

Good Morning Britain

So this was our first week back at work/school and I have to say it has been a rude awakening! When the alarm went off at 7am on Monday morning I have to say my heart sank.  Having to drag myself and then the boys out of bed was like absolute torture, pitch black outside and freezing cold.  Not something I relished I have to say!

It has got slightly (not much) easier as the days have gone on, but we’ve also ended up ill.  Fred & Hen had Wednesday off school complaining of headaches and stomach pains, luckily a day in bed seemed to sort.  I started with a cough literally from the get go on Monday and it has only got worse.

The reality of being a mum

Seriously…

Now I’m not normally one to complain and actually in terms of it I haven’t really been that bad.  Well except for Tuesday night when I felt dreadful, but again one good nights sleep seemed to get rid of the headache.  But the cough just won’t shift.  It’s one of those really dry coughs, that once you start you just can’t stop.  Unfortunately after 3 kids that means a plentiful supply of Tena Lady to hand; going to the loo at every opportunity just to be safe and wishing to god I’d listened to the experts and done my pelvic floor exercises….

Such fun!

Just picture me walking round Aldi and having to cover my mouth constantly whilst coughing but also cross my legs; to try and delay the inevitable. Ah well time to buy an extra bottle of Cava to dull the embarrassment LOL.

So whilst I consider buying shares in Tena Lady.  I would also be utterly grateful for any hints or tips to sort the old pelvic floor out (or am I past saving?  LOL) to help future ‘episodes’.

weak bladder joke

Anyway enough of that talk, it’s Friday and I have s**t to do…

Okay I have two loads of washing, a house to tidy, a tax return to complete, Judge Rinder to watch oh and yeah best nip to the loo, it’s been at least 10 mins since the last time I went.

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P.S Fancy seeing what my middle son Freddie is thinking for his room this year? It’s his turn for a redesign and he has some fairly strong ideas, click here…


Boys Bedroom Ideas

Come in No.2 your time is up!

Fred’s Room

So this year it’s all about Freddie and his room.  He has patiently waited whilst both Samuel and Henry had their rooms redesigned, and now finally it is his turn! Actually out of all the boys, Fred is the tidiest.  He’s a complete soap dodger, but keeps a tidy room (well apart from an inability to make a bed?!) LOL.

Boys Bedroom Ideas

The Story

Anyway I digress, back to Freddie and his room.  Now when we last decorated it was the time of great sporting success for Britain, we had just had the Olympics, then Andy Murray topped that and won Wimbledon, so Fred was completely swept up in this (he has always been massively sporty and was only 6) so everything was Union Jack.  Fred loved this and his bedroom became a homage to all things Great Britain and the Union Jack.  Now he’s (nearly) 11 and it’s all looking a little tired, with the others spare bedding and not v cool at all.  So what does he want…

boys bedroom desk

The Brief

Colour: Black, Red & Dark Blue

Style: Gaming

Requests: Double Bed (2 singles put together, tick), Desk (tick), Gaming Chair (no chance), TV (maybe)

Okay so it’s not the most inspiring brief I’ve ever been given, nor is it comprehensive, but… it does me a lot of scope, which is always a good thing in my eyes!

Pantone-Fashion-Color-Trend-Report-London-Spring-2018-Swatch-Cherry-Tomato
Pantone-dark-blue

The Plan

So it’s off to pinterest I go.  I’d love some recommendations of shops to look at on the web/insta for awesome items for his room!

Here’s a few ideas that have grabbed my attention so far…

I love these cushions! Definitely going to make a couple of my own for Fred’s room.  I use spoonflower to print all my fabric designs, fat quarters are the perfect size for a 18″ x 18″ cushion cover (x2).

I already had had a similar idea with the storage boxes that currently sit on Fred’s desk, by attaching to the wall and putting a flatscreen above.

If I could have a pound for all the times the boys have said this to me, along with ‘can i just finish my video’ or ‘just 5 more mins…’

Buy this print along with others on Etsy.

Already getting a plan in my mind, may have to work on his colour choices though…

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chocolate biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

As soon as Henry saw this recipe for Chocolate Biscotti, he decided we needed to bake for Christmas; and I have to say they were delicious!  So why not give everyone a taste of Italy with these delicious biscuits – perfect for baking with the kids, then dunking in hot chocolate!

Prep: 20 mins               Cook: 40 mins              Level: Easy

Ingredients

225g Plain Flour (extra for dusting)

1tsp Baking Powder

175g Caster Sugar

2 Eggs, beaten

150g whole Hazelnuts

75g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa at least) , chopped into small chunks

Chocolate Biscotti

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

henry baking

2. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the eggs and stir briefly, then use your hands to bring together the mixture, kneading till smooth.

3. Add the hazelnuts and dark chocolate and knead again.

biscotti ready to bake

4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a sausage shape, then flatten slightly.  Place both dough sausages on the lined baking sheet, leaving plenty space between the two.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden, then cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

6. Turn down the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Using a bread knife carefully cut the dough rolls diagonally into 1cm thick slices.  Lay flat on the same baking sheet.  Bake for another 15 mins, until dry and slightly golden.

7. Cool completely on a wire rack, they will harden as they cool.

 

Serve with the drink of your choice (hot chocolate or coffee are recommended!)

So easy and so very very tasty, these Chocolate Biscotti are a perfect introduction to baking for your kids.  Apart from a little extra kneading and transfer of ‘dough sausages’ to cool before cutting, Henry did the rest himself and he did a great job.

For more simple and fun recipes to cook with your kids, then check out my other recipes.

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P.S Henry’s fab grey kitten onesie is from the amazing @KiguCrew all the boys got one this year in their Christmas eve boxes.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, then get over there, they are awesome!


coding for kids

Coding for Kids

My boys have always been into computers and games, minecraft was a given along with school favourites such as Scratch.  So when I was approached by KidloLand to check out their new Coding for Kids app, I jumped at the chance.

Coding for Kids

Samuel has just turned 6 so was the perfect age to try this app.  I must admit it took a little persuasion, I had to use his big brothers to encourage him as I think he felt it was some kind of homework (purely my bad for how I introduced to him).  Once he saw the home screen, the bright colours and fun animation then he was only too happy to give the app a go!

kidloland

Initial Impressions

The home screen was really inviting for a small kid and Samuel really was spoilt for choice.  Initially he wasn’t quite sure what he had to do, but after a quick helping hand from his brothers, then he was on his way.

He choose ‘Smoothie Maker’ and it took him a few attempts to get to grips with how the game worked, but once he figured it out he was quick to move on.

Usage

This app is aimed at kids under 5 and I definitely think that pre-school kids could have some great fun, however there is still an element of reading and instruction that parents will need to go through with their children before they can play ‘solo’.

That said I feel that the app is really appealing to all ages from pre-school upwards.  Samuel enjoyed massively once we had gone through with him, and my older kids who ‘forced’ themselves to play (10 and 12 respectfully) really enjoyed too and were happy to move though the initial levels quickly to get to a level that tested them.

So…

All in all we have loved the app and Samuel is really enjoying.  It’s great fun but educational too, so I don’t have to feel like he is wasting time away watching inane videos on You Tube etc. (although he does love watching tractors so I can’t really complain!)

This is definitely one for keeping and I can’t wait to watch him progress.

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coding for kids

christmas gift ideas

Christmas is a coming - Gift Ideas

‘Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling’

Edna Ferber

So I’ve finally started my Christmas shopping.  Little bit late to the game but better late than never eh!  So what am I buying this year…

Well here are my best picks from my list:

Mummy

So the first purchase is a completely selfish purchase.  I’m a sucker for a Christmas jumper, but I also love a slogan tee, and what better than to combine both with this awesome tee from the masters that are Parent Apparel.

Daddy

I’m not sure about you guys but I always find it nigh on impossible to buy for my OH. Either he’s already got it or it’s way out of my price bracket. So Gift Wink is a brilliant new site that does the hard work for you.  Just type in who you are shopping for and they will do the rest…

For little peeps

Every year on Christmas Eve grandma always gives the boys new pj’s and we sit down to watch movies. So this year we decided to go for something a little special, from grandma and mummy! I have lusted after these Kigu Crew onesies for a long time, so many to choose from and the sizing means they will last them for years!

For the Family

I’ve only recently discovered this misting spray, but couldn’t be without it now.  It really does help all of us settle at night, especially after a busy day.  If you are quick there is 30% off over at Three Little Pandas, just quote BNWF30 and order before midnight tonight.  Otherwise use FAY10 for 10% OFF at any other time.

For the Home

I love christmas time and all the decs that go with it. Every year without fail we have to add something to the collection. This year I managed to bag some of these giant crackers from Sainsburys Home which I’m definitely not letting anyone pull (although the gifts look fab!) but haven’t quite decided where I’ll display yet.  They are approx. 2ft long and only £5 so excited to display them…

The other purchase I cannot do without at this time of the year (and a definite little luxury) is Molton Brown Christmas handwash. It’s for the downstairs WC only and I always feel the festive season is on the way when the hubby brings a bottle home.  Again if you are quick there is up to 25% OFF till midnight tonight.

Craft / D.I.Y

Last but not least is a FREE make which is gonna look beautiful around the home and such fun to make. Head over to Doodle Moo and check out their Christmas edition free printables. Can’t wait to give these a go this year! Not got access to a printer or some of the materials required, then keep an eye out for DIY kits to purchase, with everything you will need.  Coming soon…

So there we have it, just a couple of the things I’ll be buying/making this Christmas. How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?! Are you organised and start early, or are you like me and leave till the last minute and finish it by the skin of your teeth?

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Time to get s**t done

Time to get s**t done - For one week only!

So I have one week till the new job, one week till my baby turns 6 (when the frig did that happen!) and one week till I turn my house from hell hole to organised style, ready to get the Christmas shizzle up!  Time to get s**t done.  There are 2 out of 3 things that are definitely gonna happen, and one I’d like to, but hey ho we’ll see.

Time to get s**t done…

It’s a funny thing starting a new job, especially at this age; but who am I kidding for me it always was.  The not knowing simple things like where the toilet is, how to work the photocopier, when you can make tea, can you have a kettle in your office?  For me it goes even further, it’s that dread of the phone ringing and having to answer, what will they ask, will I know who it is, how do I transfer the call.  How do I find my way around the building, what if I get lost…

For people like me the anxiety never goes away, the self doubt is always there.  Is it admitting failure to ask how to work the photocopier, will people think I’m stupid if I get lost around the campus, how do I admit that I’m not quite sure.

Time to get s**t done

What’s changed…

I’m a lot better than I was when I was younger.  Age (and actually parenthood more so) gives you the confidence to be able to view things differently.  I am no longer afraid to admit when I’m not sure, it still burns like hell but I know that most of us go through it. I realise now that it’s actually a sign of strength to admit.

However there are still certain situations that I cannot control, situations that make me feel completely insecure and shove me right back to being that 10 year old girl that no one was talking to, and laughed at, and prodded, and fought with at any opportunity.  Even at 42, I can still be transported back to the classroom in a second. To that first moment of being picked out and made a target.  That feeling of everyone laughing at you; of going home knowing you have no friends, but have to return the very next day to do all over again.

Bullying and whispering school kids in uniform
Julia Wheeler and Veronika Laws via Getty Images

Maturity…

The difference that parenthood and age has brought to me is suddenly being able to accept that just because it didn’t work out right, does not mean it was bad/wrong.  Just because I made a wrong step as a parent or in my career, does not mean I failed, it means I’m human. It means I learned something!

So I will welcome next week with gusto, I really am so excited to start working there.  My new surroundings and colleagues immediately filled me with welcome and comfort, I have to take this and accept it.  I am bloody good at my job and the inconsequentials will be forgotten about before I even know it.  I’m gonna try and welcome those new job faux pas’ as just part of life.  Everyone goes through it, I’m no different and actually I don’t think anyone cares?! Do they?…

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Healthy Sausage Stew

Family Friendly Sausage Stew

Healthy Sausage Stew 

Finding meals and recipes that are suitable for hungry teens and men, fussy kids, and Mums who are trying to shift a bit of weight is every Mum’s challenge. 

Nobody wants to be cooking three separate meals every night, but how do you cater for everyone’s individual tastes and nutritional needs can be tricky. 

Thankfully it can be made much simpler with one small trick; rather than altering family favourite recipes completely, just serve them up differently 

Healthy Sausage Stew

For weight loss, reducing calories is key, so one way to do this is to just have a much smaller portion. But that leaves you hungry, and hunger is never fun.  

That’s where protein and fibre (vegetables) come in – protein is the most filling food type, while vegetables are high in satisfying fibre while being very low in calories. Basing meals primarily around protein such as meat, fish, eggs or tofu plus lots of vegetables or salad is an easy way to make all of your meals and recipes lower calorie while being just as filling. 

Then for growing kids, active teens and hungry men you can add starchier foods to fulfil their higher energy needs, such as a side of potatoes, rice, bread or similar. That’s not to say you need to abstain from carbs, but cutting back to a couple of tablespoonful’s rather than a big pile is a very easy way to cut calories without having to learn or make completely new recipes. Win! 

This healthy sausage stew is a favourite with kids, because which kids don’t like sausages?! They could easily be swapped for Quorn sausages and the meat for firm tofu or Quorn pieces for vegetarians. And don’t feel tied down by the vegetables – if your family prefer, say, broccoli and courgettes then that’s fine with me! It freezes really well too, so make a batch and have some to hand for next time you’re in a hurry for a hearty meal. 

Ingredients

1 litres beef or chicken broth 

225g lean pork steak, cut into small chunks 

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped 

1 stick celery, coarsely chopped 

1 carrot, coarsely chopped 

1 leek, sliced 

225g sausages, cut into 1 inch pieces 

2 cloves garlic, chopped 

1 tbsp. rosemary 

1 tbsp. oregano 

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Potatoes or rice, to serve, for people with higher energy needs. 

Extra veg (just some extra carrots or leeks will do, or your choice of vegetables), to serve, to make the meal more weight loss friendly.  

Method

Chop and prep all your ingredients, you want everything roughly the same size. 

Some people like to seal the meat first – flash fry the chopped pork in a tsp. oil before adding to the slow cooker if you want to do this (it doesn’t have to be cooked through as it will cook with the rest of the ingredients). I generally don’t bother with this step! 

Add all the chopped ingredients to your slow cooker along with the stock. 

Turn on your slow cooker according to how long you’ll be leaving it for. If you’re putting it on first thing and will be eating it for your evening meal, a ‘low’ heat setting will be fine. If you’ve left it to mid afternoon or are serving it for lunch, you’ll need a higher heat setting.

Before eating cook your potatoes or rice – simple jacket potatoes go really well. It’s at this point I’ll bring in the nutritional recommendations. As a weight loss coach, for Mums wanting to lose weight the stew as it is, with plenty of (extra) veg dished up, is perfect; with lots of filling protein and high fibre vegetables. Growing kids, teenagers or hungry men will likely want some extra starch, which is where the potatoes and rice fill the tummy-gaps! 

Serve the stew alone in bowls or on a bed of rice or alongside a jacket potato or extra vegetables.  

Pollyanna Hale helps busy and tired Mums lose weight, tone up and have more energy without compromising family life, making separate meals to the family, or struggling with hunger and cravings. You can find out more and download a free Quickstart Fatloss Guide at http://www.thefitmumformula.com/