3rd Birthday Celebrations

It’s amazing to me that I am now Mummy to a 3 year old! Where did the time go? We’ve had a fabulous day today and the birthday girl has had loads of fun!

As its half term we have had my sister and her family staying with us, and my parents have come down to visit too. So this morning we went to the Donkey Santuary at Sidmouth for a few hours. It was a bit wet so we had to keep popping into the barns to keep dry, but we still had a great time. They had a Halloween treasure hunt running so we were in search of wooden pumpkins so we could write down the 10 names. We managed 9 pretty easily but then had lots of trouble finding number 10! When we had finished we took our answers to the shop to exchange for a certificate, magnet, badge and packet of carrot seeds! The kids loved it!

We also had a yummy lunch at the Donkey Sanctuary before heading back home for more presents.

All the family came over for a tea party and L had a Peppa Pig cake which she loved! Her presents included a new big girl bed (a proper single) and bedding which she absolutely loved! She’s fast asleep in it now at the end of a busy day!

Forest Fun with Yeo Valley and the Woodland Trust

A couple of weeks ago we were invited down to Yeo Valley in Somerset for a fun woodland day to learn more about Yeo Valley and their collaboration with the Woodland Trust.

Together, they are offering shoppers the chance to win your own Woodland Trust tree through its organic yeogurt range. Trees can be either donated to a friend or a good cause, or even entrusted to the Woodland Trust to plant on your behalf.

I was very excited to finally get to visit Yeo Valley as I had heard so many great things about their farm, and had been working with them for a while! I also knew there would be lots of other local bloggers in attendance and I was looking forward to meeting them!Bloggers at Yeo Valley

We were welcomed in true Yeo Valley style with tea and biscuits for the mums and yummy fruit smoothies made with Yeo Valley yogurt for the children. We had a chance to chat and meet people before jumping on a bus and heading down to the farm for our Woodland Adventure day!P1050056The days activities were great fun and had us out exploring the stunning countryside around Yeo Valley.  We did leaf spotting, bug identification, fairy wand making and mini den building. leaf spottingWe also had the benefit of the team from Yeo Valley who were full of knowledge. Here is Les teaching the children about the history of the valley and its wildlife. He was great with the children and they really learnt a lot. Learning from LesL’s favourite activity was definitely the wand making and she is very proud of what she made! We also learnt about the Woodland Trust and L was given her very own Nature Detectives membership so we can enjoy more fun in our local woods looking for wildlife! Wand Making at Yeo Valley

We want to say a huge thank you to Yeo Valley and the Woodland Trust for inviting us to spend the day with them.

Disclosure: We were invited for a lovely day out, expenses were paid and we were given a lovely goodie bag of yogurt and Woodland Trust bits for L. I was not paid for  this post

Coke and Wimbledon with Collective Bias

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

I’m not a big sport watcher normally, but always make an exception for Wimbledon. For those two weeks I find myself tied to the telly or internet, keeping an eye on the progress of our Brits, and thoroughly enjoying the excitement! Little Lady is only 30 months so I wondered how successful I would be in sharing the excitement with her. Oh well, there’s only one way to find out I suppose!

All good telly watching requires snacks, so off we headed to our local Tesco to pick up supplies. You can see how we got on here.

All the basics were covered, from strawberries and cream, chips and dips and some Diet Coke to wash it all down! I usually rush to the supermarket while Little Lady is at nursery, so it was fun to go together, and allow her to choose some treats too! Breadsticks and strawberry milk were her contributions to the trolley!

Wimbledon Coke lunch

photo 3 photo 2

Back home, and we set out the snacks (well as it was practically lunchtime this became lunch!) and filled our plates. Little Lady was very excited to know that we had found a bottle of Coke with Daddy’s name on it!

Daddy's personalised Coke bottle

We settled down to catch up on Laura Robson’s progress. Little Lady was taken in by the movement, colour and noise.

Watching Laura Robson

 

We managed about 20 minutes of Wimbledon watching before the toddler attention span ended and we had a request for something else. I was quite impressed that the request was for a specific episode of our favourite CBeebies show, Sarah and Duck. The episode is called ‘Doubles’ and features, you guessed it, a tennis match! Good linking of ideas Little Lady!

Sarah and Duck 'Doubles'

After a marathon of Sarah and Duck episodes (its not possible to watch just one!) we needed to let off some steam. So out into the garden to let off some steam. Little Lady loves to be outside in our garden, and we are really lucky to have a lovely space to play. We’d picked up a tennis set a while ago and this seemed to be the perfect time to get it out and have a play!

Tennis in the garden

 

Tennis close up

Its so important for children (and adults!) to be active in their everyday life. I know that we can be guilty of spending too much time on computers and phones, and Little Lady is an expert on the iPad, but as long as we balance that with plenty of running around and time spent outside I don’t thinks its too much of a problem!

Golf in the garden

The following day Little Lady put in a request to watch some ‘big tennis’ (as opposed to ‘little tennis’ which is a request for Sarah and Duck!) so I think it must have made an impact on her! Maybe I’ll impart my love of Wimbledon on her yet :)

me&i Ladieswear Review

One of my favourite things about writing this blog is the chance to discover and work with brands that I may otherwise not have come across. One of these is me&i, a fantastic clothing company specialising in Swedish design. Little Lady was lucky enough to be able to review a dress from them a while ago and so I was very excited to be given the chance to review an item for myself this time!

Yes as well as the fantastic range of childrens clothing, me&i have an increasing range of ladies clothing too. What was originally a complimentary range to the childrens collection, is now a gorgeous complete ladies collection.

I chose to review the Big Flowers Foldover Dress which is from the Spring/Summer range and is priced at £50.

photo (4)

I love the bold bright print of this dress, and find the A-line shape very flattering over big hips! The tie at the waist allows the dress to really show off your shape. I wore this for a meal out on Fathers Day. Thanks to the terrible weather at the time I teamed it with thick tights. I couldn’t bring myself to wear knee length boots in June, but when winter rolls around thats how I will wear it. It is however, a spring/summer piece and when the weather allows I’ll be wearing it in the sun with leggings!

The Autumn 2013 range of ladies and kidswear will launch on 14th August. I’ll be popping onto the website to have a look at whats new!

me&i has a team of sales representatives across the country and you can hold a party or order directly from them. Why not visit their website to find out more! They are also on the look out for new people to join the sales team across the country. More details on the website if you might be interested.

Disclosure: I was sent a dress worth £50 for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Giveaway with Sainsbury’s Bank Car Insurance

Today I’ve got a fabulous giveaway for you. I am delighted to offer one lucky reader a £25 Sainsbury’s voucher, on behalf of Sainsbury’s Bank Car Insurance

Over on their Money Matters blog there is an interesting Infographic about Drving on the Continent which is an eye opening guide to exploring Western Europe by vehicle. They want to know what you ideas are for a favourite driving holiday destination. For me, I’d love to drive across France, stopping in small towns to sample the food and drinks on offer. Ending up in the South of France for some well deserved sunshine and relaxation! What about you?

How to Enter:

Log in to Rafflecopter and enter the draw by leaving a blog post comment with your ideas for: favourite driving holiday destination? You can also enter by tweeting about the giveaway.

The more times you enter, the better your chance of winning the £25 Sainsbury’s voucher!

Whether or not you’re our prize winner, your favourite driving holiday destination ideas could also potentially appear in a future Money Matters Blog post.

The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses random.org) and announced on this page.

The deadline for entering the giveaway is Wednesday 5th June. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Quick Creamy Blue Cheese Mushrooms

This is a speedy lunch idea which I had today using half of the mushrooms in my Riverford box.

Yup – the blue cheese comes in the form of Blue Cheese flavour cheese triangles. Classy I know ;)

Wipe the mushrooms over with damp kitchen towel to clean and then slice. Slowly cook them in a little butter until they soften. Then stir in 2 cheese triangles and a drop of milk to thin it out. Season with plenty of black pepper and serve when piping hot. Perfect on a thick slice of toast!

Yummy!

 

Riverford Veg Box week 1

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets stuck in a rut with meals. We seem to end up eating the same old standards week in week out. These meals are chosen not for their deliciousness, but for their ease, and the fact that (usually) I can guarantee they get eaten! In a bid to mix things up a bit, we decided to order a veg box from Riverford and see what difference that would make to our diet.

The content of todays veg box looked like this!

How yummy does that look?

  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Red Peppers
  • Salad bag
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Beetroot
  • Butternut Squash

The challenge now is how to use it all! Some ideas for the week:

  • Creamy mushrooms on toast
  • Roasted veg (BNS, beetroot, carrots, onion)
  • Salad (leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper)
  • Roasted onions (recipe from Riverford)

Stay tuned to find out what I do!

Do you get a veg box? If so what are your favourite recipes? Any ideas for beetroot? Please comment :)

30 ways to save £1

I’ve seen lots of fun posts recently about ways to save £1. These are full of great ideas so I thought I’d take my turn. Money Supermarket have asked bloggers to share their money saving tips and one lucky blogger will win £2000!! Find out more here.

So, I present 30 ways to save £1!

  1. Always write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket. This is probably my number 1 money saving tip and saves me loads of money each week!
  2. Plan your meals for the week to make sure you only buy what you need and minimise waste!
  3. Batch cook things like bolognaise and curries so you can stash a couple of portions away for nights when you don’t want to cook.
  4. When eating out with small children, don’t waste money ordering them a seperate meal which they probably won’t eat. Just ask for an extra plate and create a toddler dinner from whatever the grown ups are eating.
  5. For a cheap way to decorate your house, keep pretty cards or postcards and frame them. No-one will know its not a proper picture!
  6. Close curtains early to keep the heat in your home.
  7. Buy a water bottle, fill it and take it out whenever you go out. Saves buying one out and about for at least £1 per bottle.
  8. Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  9. Learn how to do some basic repairs to your clothes so you can get more wear from them.
  10. Bake cakes and biscuits for the tin – much cheaper than buying them!
  11. Buy second hand toys and books for your kids. They don’t know the difference!
  12. Have a present box or cupboard so you can pick up bargains when you see them and never have to panic buy a gift!
  13. Sign up to cashback sites like Quidco.
  14. Take a packed lunch when you go out for the day rather than buying food.
  15. Shop around before all purchases, you can save a lot of money!
  16. Learn how to get better fuel economy from your car and make your petrol go further!
  17. Don’t park in the town centre, there’s usually a cheaper car park if you are prepared to walk 5-10 minutes.
  18. Get organised and make sure you always pay your bills and credit card off on time so you don’t get any fines.
  19. Deal in cash not cards. It really makes you think twice about unnecessary spending.
  20. Get a piggy bank and chuck in your spare change once a week. It will soon add up.
  21. Let your kids get creative and make cards and presents for relatives. The kids will have fun and the gifts will mean a lot more.
  22. Keep a price book so you can check when your favourite products are on a great offer and stock up!
  23. But don’t stock up on more than you need. Its not a bargain if you end up chucking it away!
  24. Cut coupons from magazines to save a few pennies on your shop.
  25. Use your local library. Free books and cheap DVD rentals.
  26. Stop buying magazines and do your reading online instead.
  27. Days out don’t need to be expensive. Head to the seaside or the park with a picnic and enjoy the fresh air.
  28. Pick up a reward card from any shops that offer them.
  29. Check you have the best deals on all your bills. Sometimes it pays to switch.
  30. PIck up pennies that you find on the street – keep looking and eventually you might find £1!! :)

So that was my 30 ideas. Have you got some of your own? Why not do a post yourself if you are a blogger, or leave a comment if you’re not!

Disclosure: Money Supermarket have kindly offered to pay £1 for each tip up to £30

 

Washingpool Farm Shop with Ice

Last Friday I was delighted to be invited to Washingpool Farm Shop with Tots 100 to find out a bit more about Ice. I wrote about using Ice when shopping online last week, but I didn’t understand how it worked in local farm shops until Friday!

Little Lady and I headed off in the car on Friday afternoon and drove over to Washingpool Farm Shop near Bridport. When we arrived we were treated to a lovely tea party complete with freshly baked cakes and cups of tea. While we ate (and ate) and drank we were able to find out a lot more about the Ice Loyalty scheme and how it works. We discovered that if you want to use Ice at these shops you need to pick up an Ice card (these were readily available at the shop) and then hand it over when you shop to get your points. You can then spend points in the same way, by handing over the card at the till. I was able to get a lovely selection of farm shop veggies and cakes with my points.

This is what makes Ice unique among loyalty schemes. The fact that it can be used in these small retailers is a fantastic plus. It helps bring customers to smaller local businesses which is a brilliant thing. We love to support local farm shops and the quality of the food you can buy is so much better than the supermarkets.

To find local retailers in your area you can visit this page on the Ice website and put in your postcode to find out what is in your area. We also heard a lot about Ice’s environmental slant. All the companies that Ice works with are selected for their environmental credentials. So by shopping with Ice you know you are supporting green companies.

Thank you to Ice, Tots 100 and Washingpool Farm Shop for a lovely afternoon :)

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