Sunday, 31 March 2013

Project 365: Days 83 - 89

Day 83: Party time - The boys went to a birthday party today.  We tend to have at least one most weekends since the oldest two started school.  They had a great time on the bouncy castle and in the ball pit, and my oldest was very pleased when he managed to throw a ball through the basketball hoop.

Day 84: Feed the birds - The first day of the Easter holiday and luckily the weather was dry, though very cold.  The boys decided to take some leftover bread out into the garden to feed the birds.  

Day 85: Photo opportunity - Here are my younger two laughing at being able to see themselves on my phone screen. They love having their photo taken.

Day 86: Coughing boy - Just 24 hours later and my baby boy is poorly again.  We had a bit of a rough night with coughing fits that ended with vomit.  There were lots of changes of clothes and we were all covered with towels.

Day 87: Biscuits - My little one was feeling a lot better today and he enjoyed his Easter Bunny biscuit.  I wish I could say that I'd made it myself but it came courtesy of Greggs.

Day 88: Hotel - Today we travelled to Slough to stay in the Premier Inn ready for our adventure in Legoland.  I was very impressed with the room and we all had a great night.  There were also the friendliest hotel staff that I have ever met.

Day 89: Legoland! - We spent the day at Legoland and had the most amazing time.  I'm going to write a post about it this week but here is a photo of the oldest two with Darth Vader.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Living frugally

When I had my first child, almost seven years ago now, I decided that I only wanted to work part time.  Of course, in an ideal world I wouldn’t have to work at all, but life is never that easy.  I went back to work for two days a week and even though it was hard to start out I soon grew to love it.  I get five days at home looking after my children, and two days in work where I get to have a cup of coffee in peace. 

Working part time does have its downfalls though.  Finances have been a bit of a struggle, particularly since the recession hit and after a few years of struggling to maintain our lifestyle, I’ve realised that it’s time to take control.  I’ve learned the hard way that budgets are there for a reason and I’ve had to change the way I do nearly everything to try to make sure that my children have a decent future.  I’ve changed from a person who would buy what I wanted without a second thought to someone who meal plans and sells clothes for cash.

I have always been worried that living frugally would mean that I didn’t enjoy life so much, but strangely I quite enjoy it.  I love trying to beat my weekly shopping budget, and finding the best and cheapest places to shop.  I love selling things and seeing my savings account with money in it for a change.  Sometimes I wish that I could go and blow it all on a new handbag and a pair of shoes, but I’ve put so much effort into doing all this that I couldn’t spoil it now.

There are probably lots more I could do but I’m trying to take it one step at a time.  Whoever would have thought that I could do this?  I think I might be finally growing up. 

Do you do anything to help you budget?  

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Monday, 25 March 2013

Day One of the Easter holiday

I've survived the first day of the Easter holidays!  I stupidly booked the day off work, forgetting that I had all three boys at home and was unable to go out due to having my bathroom tiled.  I've got to admit I wasn't looking forward to it, especially as I haven’t been feeling very well lately, but it actually wasn't too bad.  I did get nagged a lot, and had to break up a few fights, plus the boys seem to want to constantly eat!  If they keep going at this rate I’m going to have to get one of those huge American fridge freezers to be able to house all the food they’ll need for the fortnight.

I have realised that I need to have a bit of a plan for the rest of the holidays if we’re all going to get through it in one piece.

Today, we did some arts and crafts and the boys enjoyed making cards and gluing shapes onto them.
We also had some left over bread so we decided to break it all up and put it out for the birds as they must be struggling in this cold weather.

They played a few car games, and then I did allow the older two an hour on the Wii while I did my ironing and watched Thomas the Tank Engine ‘Misty Island Rescue’ with the little one.  I quite enjoyed it, and it was very funny watching him sing and dance along to the music.

Their behaviour only really deteriorated close to bedtime, as it usually does, but thankfully their father came home and took over the bedtime routine.

I am working a couple of days over the holidays but I've still got a fair few to fill.  We’re off to LegoLand on Saturday, and will have an Easter egg hunt on Sunday, but I need ideas for the rest of the time.  Maybe a trip to the local adventure farm, and the park is an easy (and free) option.  I could probably do with a list of rainy day activities, as the forecast isn't looking too good for the week ahead. 

Have you got any plans for the Easter break?  

This is a sponsored post, but the content is my own.

Giveaway: Win a £25 Sainsbury's voucher

The winner is.... Emily Jane Ann Nelson.  I have sent you a message on Facebook.  Congratulations.

As part of the Sainsbury’s Bank Family Blogger Network, I am offering this giveaway courtesy of Sainsbury's Bank loans.


  • Log in to Rafflecopter and enter the draw by leaving a blog post comment with your ideas for affordable family activities to do during the school holidays. You can also enter by tweeting about the giveaway, using the hashtag #SBschoolholidays, and by referring a friend to enter 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 affordable family activity ideas could also potentially appear in a future Money Matters Blog post.
  • The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses and announced on this page.
  • The deadline for entering the giveaway is Wednesday 3 April.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all readers in the UK.
Entrants must have a UK address to enter. No bulk or third party entrants.
The prize is non-transferable, and will be sent out from Sainsbury’s Bank.
The name and address of the winner will be passed to Sainsbury’s Bank, but will not be used for marketing purposes
All entries may be featured on the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog post without further payment.
The winner will be contacted by e-mail, if they do not respond within 7 days another winner may be chosen.
The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses and announced on this page.
Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Project 365: Days 76 - 82

Day 76: Fireman Sam - O is going through a dressing up phase and is loving his Fireman Sam sleepsuit at the moment. I just adore the toddler phase.

Day 77: My three boys - it's next to impossible to get a decent photo of the boys together but I came home from work today and they were all in a cooperative mood.  It was only when I looked back at the photo that I realised my oldest doesn't look too happy.  I think it was because his little brothers were messing around a little bit.

Day 78: Rock Star - E was trying to develop his rock star slide with the guitar.  He didn't quite get it though and just ended up lying flat on the floor!

Day 79: Thomas fan - O spent most of the day playing with his trains.  He's lined up all of his Thomas trains to go around the track.

Day 80: Driving in his car - the weather was a bit nicer today so we dusted off the battery operated Lighning McQueen car for O. He loved it!

Day 81: Puddle jumping - O took great delight in jumping in every puddle in our driveway. He soaked himself (and me) but it was great fun.  

Day 82: A new belt - My oldest two boys had their kickboxing grading today and they both got new belts.  They are doing so well at kickboxing and I am so proud of them.  They are both little stars.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Project 365: Days 69 - 75

Day 69: A family get together - As it was mother's Day we all went to my sisters for food.  The boys had great fun playing with their cousins and I enjoyed a good chat with my mother and sisters.  O decided that he wanted to try on some 3D glasses and was delighted when everyone laughed at him.  He is quite the little joker.

Day 70: Jigsaw marathon - I got home from work to find that the boys had filled the floor with jigsaws. They had a lovely time putting together as many jigsaws as they could find, but what I loved was that they worked together really well.  Hardly any fighting, crying or screaming for once.

Day 71: Hungry Hippos - I've been to work today but managed to catch this photo of the three boys playing Hungry Hippos.  I love it when they play games together.

Day 72: Flower - My Mothers Day flowers are still going well.  I'm going to try to learn how to take the perfect shot of a flower.  That's my mission for the next few weeks.

Day 73: Swings - O managed to talk me into taking him to the park after the school run even though it was freezing.  It was great to see him running around and getting some fresh air, and he particularly loved the swing.  

Day 74: Finger painting - O asked to do some painting this morning so we got the finger paints out and covered the floor.  I enjoyed getting mucky and dabbing paint everywhere; including all over himself.  We now have a series of dots over numerous pieces of paper :-)

Day 75: Snow! - It wasn't forecast but we've just had a really heavy downfall of snow.  It's all white outside.  It looks very pretty but I'm starting to get desperate for some warmer weather.  Will I ever be able to get my sandals out from the back of the wardrobe?

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Project 365: Days 62 - 68

Day 62: Seaside fun - well, at least it was supposed to be.  We decided to drive down to the Gower in Swansea and stopped at Oxwich Bay.  The sun was (almost) shining so we got a ball from the car and headed down the beach.  It was so cold and windy that the little one refused to walk and the older two complained bitterly.  We lasted about 15 minutes before heading back to the car.  Hubby was told in work the next day that Oxwich is renowned for being windy, hence all the surfing action there.  Hmm, I never knew that....

Day 63: Toddler tantrums - I worked today so not much opportunity to take photos, but I took this one of the toddler after he threw his duvet out of the cot, no doubt complaining about going to bed.

Day 64: Fast asleep -  Again, another day in work so another bedtime photo.  This is my middle boy surrounded by his toys.  He loves all his cuddly toys and can't sleep unless he has them all in bed with him.  One of his favourites at the moment is Luigi (because he's green).

Day 65: Show me the rabbit -  The little one and I spent the afternoon at my mum's and my sister took O out to show him the bunny rabbit.  He enjoyed stroking him for all of 30 seconds before a football caught his attention.  I think the rabbit was quite pleased though as the poor thing was petrified.

Day 66: Poorly boy - O has come down with a cough and cold so asked to sleep in my bed.  I do love having cuddles with him and could spend hours just watching him sleep. 

Day 67: Train-time - Oliver insists on having a train track built for him every day.  He loves nothing more than attaching all the trains together and running them around the track.

Day 68: School work - I had parents evening for my oldest son this week and I was so proud to be told how well he is doing in school.  He really enjoys learning and does a bit of work every day at home.  He's got this book where he writes stories and draws pictures to go with them.  He's my little budding author.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Lost keys!

Do you ever get a feeling that someone's trying to tell you something?

We were on our way out today when we realised that my car keys were missing.  Hubby used my car yesterday so I'm accepting no responsibility for this.  We searched and searched to no avail, so eventually gave up and got my spare set of keys.  That's not a problem right?  Keys go missing all the time.

We drove down to the coast and decided to go for a walk down the beach.  It was bitterly cold and windy and the children started to complain straight away so we didn't stay long before deciding to head back to the car.  But, hang on... hubby can't find my keys.  He searches his pockets but they're not there, plus we both realise that we haven't got our mobile phones with us.  The boys are freezing so I walk back to the car with them, leaving hubby to walk back down the beach in search of the lost keys.

I get to the car and notice that the keys are in the ignition and the car had obviously been left unlocked.  Both our mobile phones were in the car and the hand brake had been left off.  Wow, I was amazed that the car was still there!  It must have been our lucky day!

Maybe when the keys went missing this morning, someone was trying to tell us to stay at home!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Project 365: Days 55 - 61

Day 55: Mmmm - Not a lot to say about this; a well deserved drink after a busy weekend.
Day 56: Jigsaws: My 5 year old loves doing jigsaws. No-one is allowed to help him, and we can't interrupt him until he's finished. 
Day 57: Bath-time tantrums - my two year old does not like being told what to do.  He is going through a very independent phase and likes to make all the decisions.  This is the result of being told he has to get dressed after his bath.
Day 58: Milk monster: I'm not sure if he can get any closer to that cup!  He just loves his milk and will drink it hot, cold, from a cup, beaker or glass - he's not fussy.  As long as he gets some of the white stuff he's happy.
Day 59: Techo-boy - I'm always amazed at how little ones can work all things technological.  My two year old is watching Dora on Netflix on the iPad and he did it all himself.  In fact, I'm not allowed to do it for him (see day 57)
Day 60: Toddler Day at Techniquest - I took my youngest to Techiquest for their toddler day.  As it was St. Davids Day he's wearing his Welsh rugby top and has had the Welsh dragon painted on his face (on both cheeks at his insistence).  He didn't stand still in Techniquest and ran from one thing to another, until he found this mirror.  It had him in fits of giggles as he saw his large, stretched image. It was very cute to watch.
Day 61: A rarity - here is a photo of my oldest son at bedtime.  I don't seem to get as many photos of him any more as he's either at school or out playing so I thought I'd take the opportunity of taking one while he's sat still. He's growing up so quickly.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky