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Friday, 31 January 2014

Hallway Update

We are very lucky to have quite a large entrance hall, well for an average UK house it is! However this does mean that it ends up as a dumping ground for all sorts! We bought the wardrobe about a year ago hoping that would help with the storage, it has 2 hanging rails in 1 half & 4 shelves in the other. Next to the wardrobe is our large rat cage, which we bought when we got rats under the advice to buy the biggest we could. I love my 4 ratties to bits but they are very lazy & didn't ever use the bottom half of the cage so we decided to downsize them. When Joseph (5) started school in September the daily bags & shoes got worse & it was hard to find everything to get out the door on time. 
Our mess of a hallway before...

We decided to go with an IKEA Expedit bookcase on its side, as it would fit the rat cage on top & storage underneath for all of their bits & pieces. In order to do this we had to clear out the corner next to the wardrobe, so it could move along, most of this was done prior to the before picture as it was stacked nearly to the ceiling with boxes!! We were left with the cat litter to home, they don't use it often but was keep them in when its dark outside so in the winter they sometimes need to use it. As we didn't have another room it could live in, we opted to put it inside the wardrobe on the shelf side, with a 'flapless' cat flap in the door for entry. 

We still had half the expedit spare & we decided that these would be the boys 'cubbies'. Each boy using the top for their school bag, swim bag, gloves & hats, & in the bottom their shoes. We have been using the cubbies for a couple of months now & they are really helping to keep the boys mess at boy, as they each have a designated area. 

So when Fast Motorcare asked if I would like to test out some of their chrome letters I knew exactly how we would use them - to label the boys cubbies. The chrome letters are very versatile, being self-adhesive, they can stick to any smooth flat surface, not just a car. Though if you do want to add a name or e-mail address to your car they are perfect. They don't just have capital letters they also have numbers, @ signs, & sings, full stops & the cutest love hearts! The letters are just 85p each, or just 75p each when you buy 10 or more. Postage is calculated by weight & starts at just 75p, with free delivery on all orders over £40.

One lucky reader can win a set of 10 chrome letters, numbers or signs of their choice, with free postage on any additional letters. Fast Motorcare will also offer free postage (on chrome letters) for 5 runners up. Giveaway is open to UK residants only.

Good Luck

x Jo x

P.s. My Heroes Of The City competition is still open until 7th Feb.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, 24 January 2014

Heroes Of The City App - Review & Competition

I was very excited when we were asked to review a children's app, as I'd just got a new android phone before Christmas & had yet to download any apps for the boys. Heroes of the city is an app aimed at children age 2-6 & is available for both android on the google play store & apple devices from the app store . It's free to download with additional content available at a cost. Other than the shop section to buy the extra games & movies there are no annoying adverts for kids to click on by mistake!

Both Joseph(5) & Daniel(3.5) love all the 9 games & have enjoyed getting to know the characters in the movie clips (3 games & one movie are free). They both love the train track puzzle game best & Joseph loves the fact that you get a trophy when completing each part & is working towards getting all of them!

So both boys were over the moon when we were sent a goodie pack to help us with our review. We received a book, DVD (which is asked for daily!) & 2 die cast character cars. Daniel's was Fiona The Fire Engine & Joseph's Harry Hot Rod. They are lovely little chunky cars which are cute & really different from those we already have. 

Would your children like to win a goodie pack of their own (contents will be similar but might vary from the ones we received & those in the picture below). Enter using the rafflecopter below, the giveaway is open worldwide (goodie pack is in English). The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter,  I will then pass the winners details to the Heroes of the City creators. The goody pack will be sent directly to the winner from Heroes of the City team to the address specified.
Good Luck!

x Jo x

P.s. we have another competition coming up soon... Now open click here to be in with the chance of winning some cool chrome letters.

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Left Over Fried Rice - Slimming World Style

Well I'm still plugging away at loosing those extra pounds I gained at Christmas! I managed to gain 4lbs over the festive period, had a really good 100% on plan week & lost 2.5lbs, then I wasn't very good last week & managed to gain another pound. So this week I need to be on the ball again, so time to share another recipe. We really do love our rice round here, its probably part of our main meal 2-3 times per week, good job its free food on the slimming world plan.

My husbands favourite food from the Chinese is chicken fried rice, so I often make my own version without all the fat for him, or we have egg fried rice along with another dish. So at the weekend we had a gammon joint for dinner, Daniel (3.5) fund it a little tough & didn't eat much of the meat so I was reluctant to serve it cold with slimming world chips on Monday. I decided to turn it in to gammon fried rice, but you could use whatever you have left over, we have used ham, chicken, & turkey in the past, same with the veg use what you have in.

Left Over Fried Rice - Slimming World Style


Left over meat trimmed of all visible fat diced
1-3 spring onions or 1 medium onion diced
1 pepper diced (or equivalent of frozen pepper)
6 mushrooms sliced or 1 tin of mushrooms drained
100g frozen peas defrosted or cooked & drained
250g (dry weight) of cooked white rice cooked with a veg or chicken stock cube
2 eggs
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil (optional adds 2 syns, but tastes more authentic)


Heat the sesame oil in pan or spray with fry light. Cook onion until soft, add pepper, mushrooms, peas & diced meat & stir fry for 2-3mins. Crack the eggs in to a jug, whisk & season. I then scramble them in the microwave, as when I have done it in the same pan it sticks & burns. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce & egg (broken up small), stir fry until heated through & serve.

Everyone loved this meal, especially Daniel who said it was delicious & we needed to eat it everyday! Clean bowls all round....

x Jo x 
This post  is an entry into the Tots 100 Co-operative Electrical competition.

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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Our Perfect Center Parks Day

View from our room - taken @ Longleat 2007
 We have only been lucky enough to holiday at a center parks village once. It was back in 2007 exactly a year before Joseph was born. We went to Longleat with our friends on bonfire night week. We had an amazing time and I remember seeing lots of children enjoying themselves and hoping we could take our kids one day.  So when the tots 100 January centre parks challenge was to describe our perfect day at centre parks, I knew exactly what we would do.

Daniel (3) loves riding his bike.
 It would be amazing if we were there on Joseph's birthday meaning that the boys could experience the fantastic fireworks display over the lake. We would start our day with a cooked breakfast in our lodge. Then take a leisurely bike ride to the swimming pool, where we could take the boys on the outside rapids river & practise their swimming in the pool.It has to be the best swimming pool I've been too & seeing the new center parks advert reminded me how much fun it was.

View of the outside raids at night (2007)
We would then let Joseph choose somewhere to have some lunch. After that I would take Joseph (& Daniel if he was old enough) horse riding, which I loved when we stayed. time a bit more bike riding and exploring, then we would all go to the pancake house (my favourite)for tea, before the fireworks! After the boys were in bed my husband & I would be able to relax in the lodge, possibly a hot tub if we were lucky!
That really does sound like a perfect day, on a perfect family holiday. I really look forward to introducing the boys to centre parks.
This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 January challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Village’

x Jo x

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Quick Polar Small World Box

I realised that I hadn't made the boys a small world box since our Halloween one! We have been so wrapped up in Christmas since then that the time has flown by. So I decided to put something together quickly after school for the boys to play with. As I had a new pot of white play dough to hand we decided on a snowy polar theme. I do often make play dough but Joseph (5) was given a really big set a couple of years ago & I keep finding new pots at the back of the cupboard! If I'd had chance I would have added some silver glitter to make it even more snowy like the play dough i made for our Arctic Week, Group Messy Play.

So at the bottom of one of our sensory boxes I taped a piece of silver rip stop fabric I had, (but silver foil would also work well) to represent the frozen water. Put the snowy play dough on one side & some white decorative stones on the other side. I also have a piece of foam packaging that looks like an iceberg.

We grabbed a few of our polar animals (polar bears & penguins) so they could have a play in our showy world. The play dough was perfect for they animals to make footprints in. And if any of the animals needed rescuing Joseph made sure that Spiderman was on hand!

It didn't hold their attention as long as some of our more messy boxes as but it was quick & mess free. Just before tea was ready I put the play dough back in its pot so we can easily get this box out again soon & add some more of our animals.

(Please only use age appropriate materials for your child, as small items could be a choking hazard)

x Jo x

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Winter Walk

Well, after trying to get out for a walk during the Christmas holidays, today was the first time we managed it, due to a combination of busy days & the weather! So after school we gave the boys the option of either going to the park or taking Daddy to the beach we visited with Nanny during the summer (I posted a picture here for Silent Sunday).

It was very cold today, but at least it was dry & sunny, though by the time we got to the beach it was in the shade! Even so we had a lovely 1/2 hour of exploring & fresh air.
We found some shells, sea glass & collected small pebbles, will definitely be back in the summer to have a good hunt for more sea glass....

The boys loved this rock!

& we found some footprints!

x Jo x

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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Slimming World - Spanish Rice Recipe

Well I think that nearly everyone's new years resolutions I've read have involved either loosing weight or eating more healthily. I have been at my target weight with slimming world for over a year now, having lost 2.5 stone, well at least I hope I still am as I haven't weighed since before Christmas! I've found it much harder to be 'good' since i got to target & don't seam to be able to have a meal or 2 off plan, the whole week seams to go & then I end up having to have an extra good week to get back down to target again! Slimming World give me a 3lb leeway either side of my target & a weeks grace before I have to start paying class fees again & so far I haven't had to pay since I hit target in October 2012. I'm really glad slimming world encourage target members to weigh regularly as if I didn't I'm sure I'd have easily have gained a stone again!

Anyway to give everyone a kick start (especially me) to a healthy new year here is one of my favourite recipes that I found on pintrest & converted to UK measurements & adapted to slimming world. Both boys love it & even daddy who has 'gone off' bolognese likes it!

Slimming World - Syn Free Spanish Rice


400-500g extra lean minced beef
1 medium onion diced
1 pepper diced (or equivalent of frozen pepper)
1 tin of chopped tomatos
250ml passata
250g (dry weight) of cooked white rice
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove of fresh)
1 tbsp granulated sweetener
Salt & pepper to taste.


Spray a large saucepan with plenty of fry light, add minced beef, onion & pepper. Cook over a medium heat until beef is browned. Add remaining ingredients, stir until combined & cook until heated throughout. 

Serves 4-5 people, can be re-heated. It can also be frozen however the rice never comes out quite as good as when eaten fresh, but if you have an extra portion it makes a nice easy lunch.
Syn Free on  Extra Easy & a healthy low fat meal if your not following slimming world.

x Jo x

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