Monday, 16 October 2017

No Spend October : Poundland broke me

I wrote my plans for No spend October and so I wanted to give you an update and unfortunately I only lasted 13 days before breaking the ban and giving up. Poundland broke me, Poundland have really been upping their game recently and after seeing loads of people sharing their Christmas bargains online I couldn't resist much longer. 

However even though I have given up the no spend month I did manage to save around £400 during the 13 days which I have put into savings. Usually as soon as I got paid I would have just splurged on Amazon. 

During the 13 days I managed to stick at it I did learn some things: 

1. That I actually enjoy saving more than I do spending
2. Its made me think more before buying something
3. That it's worth saving for something I want as it would make me appreciate it a bit more
4. That I need to think of my money/finances long term 
5. I spend too much on things not needed especially things for Blake
6. That we need to cut down on takeaways 

I also feel that some of the ideas that I mentioned in my previous post are easy to stick at such as using up what we have in, borrow books/films,walk rather than getting the local bus, enjoy free days out. 

When it comes to No spend months I don't think I'll try it again however I do feel that I can cut down my spending and at least once a month do a no spend week or weekend. 

Have you done a no spend month? How did you get on?

Living Arrows 42/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth by Kahlil Gibran

This week Blake has been more of himself although he still has a cough it isn't as bad thanks goodness. This week at Pre-School he has spent of the time outside which is where he is the happiest. Luckily the weather hasn't been too bad which has meant that they were able to let him be outside for the majority of the 2 hours each day. 

This weeks photo was taken on Sunday when we went to a little park and was trying to get him use to playing on his scooter. He has taken interest with the ones at Pre-School so we decided to try again with him on his one although he does keep sitting on it .

Living Arrows

Friday, 13 October 2017

How to get the Whole Family in the Kitchen

*This is a collaborative post

Knowing how to cook yourself a wholesome, tasty and nutritious meal in, in my opinion, pretty important. I’m not exactly Jamie Oliver myself but I do think that the importance of basic cooking skills and a knowledge of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods is highlighted more and more in today’s society. Getting the whole family in the kitchen can not only be beneficial to family life in general but can also mean your kids are taught to nourish themselves properly (the occasional microwave meal never did anyone any harm, but it’s probably best not to make these meals habitual). Granted, it can be hard to make every mealtime ‘fun’ by involving the kids in the cooking process (particularly when there’s about a million and one things to do before bedtime and you only have two arms and two hands) but on the odd occasion, you can follow these tips to show the family that you truly are what you eat and that eating healthily can be delicious.
Set a Goal
Having something to work towards often means motivation is higher and so setting a goal is recommended. Whether that’s a weight loss goal (maybe you want to lose a total number of pounds collectively as a family), a goal to eat your five a day every day or a goal to reach 10, 000 steps before 8pm. Write down the goal and stick it on the kitchen wall – maybe plan a fun day out for when the goal is reached.
Mix up meals
Trying to eat five a day everyday doesn’t just have to be meat and pile of veg at every meal, you can incorporate vegetables into all kinds of recipes and even trick the kids into thinking they’re something else! Once you get busy in the kitchen you will see how easy it is to cook with a lot of veg – note that five a day doesn’t just mean fresh veg and you can use tinned, frozen and even dried fruit. Whilst a green spinach smoothie for breakfast might not appeal to your little ones, why not try baking oats, eggs, mashed banana and peanut butter for delicious banana muffins, adding warm chopped apple and apricots to Weetabix or blending frozen fruit with yoghurt for a healthy ice cream alternative. For dinner, why not try a tomato based curry using spices such as Garam Masala, cumin and turmeric and a tin of tomatoes. You can spice the curry up with any veg you like (onions, garlic, fresh chilli, tomatoes and peppers all work really well) and you can fill it out either with meat or chickpeas/cannellini beans. Serve with wholegrains. Need something a little quicker? Replace your usual baked potato with a sweet potato, mash avocado, red onion and tomato to make a quick guacamole and pile it on the top. So tasty. By making your meals exciting and full of flavour, you’ll be showing everyone just how delicious healthy, nutritious eating can be.
Splash out on the Basics
Whilst you don’t need a state of the art Nutri Ninja or an all singing all, all dancing food processor and induction hob, there are a few things that are worth splashing out on to make life easier when it comes to cooking. A slow cooker is a great investment and can be bought second hand if you can’t afford a shiny new one. Simply throw your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning (great for making stews or even slow cooking meat) and it will be ready by the time everyone is home for tea. In an ideal home, everyone eats dinner around the table together and chats about what they’ve achieved that day – in a realistic home, dinnertimes are just as hectic as the morning rush and with everything going on its usually impossible to sit down and eat together. The slow cooker is great for dishing out a bit at a time as most of them have a ‘warm’ setting to keep the rest heated for any latecomers.
Tidy up your Kitchen
I’m sure many of us would love to totally renovate our kitchen, make it bigger with fancy islands and workspaces so we can cook without struggling for space or working around mess. However, even if you can’t afford to transform your kitchen totally, there are a few changes you can make which will make cooking less of a chore and more therapeutic (maybe!). Firstly, tidy and clear out your draws, find out what cooking utensils you need and bin any you don’t use. Get rid of the 10 year old tea towels you’re hoarding in the draw and the tins that expired in 2015 and start completely from scratch. You might want to think about installing some new lighting as this can make even the smallest of spaces seem bigger. Undercabinet lighting is great for those that do a lot of cooking as it illuminates the work surfaces, not only adding an extra dimension to the room but also making the use of knives/scissors/tin openers a bit safer as you can see exactly what you’re doing.
The sooner people realise that eating healthily doesn’t mean you need a degree in culinary cuisine, the better. I hope my tips have inspired you to get the family in the kitchen to cook quick, fresh and exciting meals - even when you’re a little stretched for time!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

One month of Pre-School

It's been 4 weeks since Blake started Pre-School. Summer seemed to fly by and before long we were having to get into the swing of a new routine. After having Blake with me for near enough 24/7 since he was born, it was a new experience for me not having him around for 2 hours a day Monday - Friday. 

I had been feeling very anxious about Blake starting Pre-School, especially with his friends going to a different one from him and so he would not know anyone. I knew though that he would love it there and benefit from it in many ways. 

The Pre-School he goes to is attached to the school that we are hoping to put him in when the time comes It also happens to be the Pre-School that Stuart and his siblings went to when they were little too.  

Day one arrived and both Stuart and I dropped him off and met his key worker who on here I will call J. I don't think he really understood what was going on and was very surprised when we left that there were no tears and on pick up was told he hadn't been upset but had looked around for us which we thought was such a great start!

The rest of the week though was a different cup of tea unfortunately. Day two I ended up having to pick him up early as he was tired (bless him) and they were unable to settle him. The rest of the week we left him in tears, however we were told that he stopped crying pretty quickly. 

Since then we have some days where he is fine and so excited to go in and see J and other days he doesn't want to and we leave him either in tears or fake crying (by that we mean just wanting attention/cuddles). Luckily he seems to be settling pretty quickly although since last Thursday he hasn't been himself with a cough and cold. 

The Pre-School has a website where we can access photos of what Blake has been up to which I really love as we can see what he has been up to and it's reassuring too. In the 4 weeks that Blake has been in Pre-School we have noticed a few changes in him, for example; although he still isn't really talking he does seem to know a few colours and has an understanding of more things. We have also come home with some art work which is lovely too as he hasn't really been into painting at home. It looks like that may be set to change. 

Sleep-wise, we have tried getting him to nap in the morning which just isn't happening so we are waiting til he gets in from Pre-School and still putting him to bed at his usual time. It seems to be what is working well for us at this moment in time though so we will be sticking with it for now.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Importance of Vitamin D

One of the important things when it comes to diet is getting the right vitamins and minerals into ours and our children's diet. However Vitamin D which is essential for helping adsorb calcium from food is more difficult to obtain this time of year as the main source is from the sun. 

With the evenings getting darker earlier and the sun not being out as often its important to get vitamin D from other sources. A vitamin D supplement like Fultium daily is a good way to do so. Fultium daily come in both tablet (for adults) and drops (for children and adults) forms. This makes it so much easier to get vitamin D into your body. 

Why do our bones need vitamin D?
The sunshine vitamin is important because when your vitamin D levels are low, you absorb less calcium from your diet. That means your bones may not get the calcium they depend on. This is why it is important for children and adults alike have the right amount of vitamin D. 

Why can't I get enough vitamin D from the sun?
Getting the right amount of vitamin D all year round, is very tricky. The UK sun just isn't strong enough for our skin to make the vitamin D we need. There are also certain types of people who need more vitamin D than others. 

What about getting enough vitamin D from diet?
It's hard to get enough vitamin D from diet alone as most foods contain very little. Only 10% of the vitamin D you need comes from your diet Oily fish is the best source; eggs yolks are also a useful way to get some vitamin D. 

I'm certainly starting to take more care into making sure the 3 of us have enough vitamin D.