Getting together safely with the help of Jacks supermarket

Ad – Payment was received in return for writing this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

If there has been one thing I have missed during the whole Coronavirus debacle, it has been the opportunity to spend time with family. Nothing flash, just having people over and enjoying the time together. What better way to do this than with a BBQ!?

Aside from the obvious (wasps), the downside of a BBQ is that it can get pretty expensive. Unless you are a fan of a cheapo sausage – and I am not – then by the time you have forked out for meat, buns, drinks and all of the sides… Well, you could be headed for a bit of a dent in the weekly food budget let’s put it that way.

Jacks supermarket challenged me to get together with family and have a BBQ on a budget. Honestly, I wasn’t convinced that it could be done without forgoing the BBQ food I like but I took their challenge and here  is what happened.

So, where was the BBQ?!

First steps in putting together a lovely BBQ afternoon with family is to make sure you actually own a BBQ. When I announced the plan at 11:30am on a sunny Sunday, I was quickly reminded by MrG that we did not, in fact, own a BBQ because I dislike sharing my meal with wasps and the cheap barrel BBQ we bought 10 years ago had long since rusted away. Not an ideal start to be honest.

Luckily Jacks has an awesome middle aisle where I found a decent sized BBQ for less than £60! That was 1 box ticked! I was also able to grab a BBQ cleaning brush and some tongs and a burger flipper. I presented these items to MrG who was less excited to receive my gift than you might imagine. Guess who is on cleaning duty..

The grub

A quick trip to Jacks and we were loaded up with goodies. Managing to get all of the food I needed to feed 7 people (plus leftovers) for less than £40 was a great feeling.

I picked up packs of quarter pounders and sausages for the kids. I was really surprised by the quality of the burgers for the price especially as they were 86% beef!

The Firepit range at Jacks is awesome. Priced at just £2.99 per pack there was a range of tasty sounding products including kebabs, maple pork loin steaks and even flavoured cheeses!

I chose the salt and pepper thin cut beef steaks which were every bit as tasty as they looked. Also, the peri peri chicken which I used to make chicken, pepper and chorizo kebabs. Everyone loved these!

The kids wolfed down the sausages and burgers and to be honest so did the grown ups! We all agreed that the Jacks brand ketchup and mustard were really lovely especially for less than £2 for both bottles!

2 boys eating burgers

For our side dishes I made a lovely green salad using fresh ingredients from Jacks veg aisle and a rice salad which was just a couple of packs of Jacks golden savoury rice (35p per pack) which I cooked and then quickly cooled in cold water.

We all thought that the bottles of pop were great value at 45p each.

The veggie option

My niece has been a vegetarian for quite a while now and thankfully meat free options are becoming more and more widely available and the choice better and better!

Jacks stocked meat free sausages and burgers and I was also able to keep to veg for the side dishes. Coleslaw was just 38p for a tub and the Jacks potato salad was 55p. I even knocked up a veg kebab which my niece refused to share…

As well as the savouries we also found some delicious sweet options. Of course we had to have some marshmallows for toasting but we also chose the double chocolate gateaux and the toffee and pecan roulade. It was decided pretty early on that the kids would have the gateaux and the grown ups would get to share the roulade. This worked out very well on all counts and I even saved on washing up as you can see…

We loved the chance to spend time together and Jacks was an excellent choice when it came to keeping the costs low without compromising on quality or taste. We bought all of the food and drinks shown in this post for under £40 and Jacks also offer a BBQ bundle which comes in at less than £20!

What is your favourite BBQ food? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Meal plan – The now we are 5 (again) edition

We are all back at school and work now. I was really pleased to have been able to take a bit of time off over half term – in fact I only ended up working for one day of it! I’m feeling a bit anxious about how I will juggle childcare and work over the Summer though. I am running out of holiday days and fast and 6 weeks is a long time..

Col (the eldest) is back at home with us for a little while. It’s awesome having him at home but my word the cost of food has just soared. It’s not like he is Pac-Manning his way through the fridge.. Simply put, things come in 4’s, not 5’s!

Because of this more than slight leap in the cost of the groceries I am having to be a bit careful so we are back to planning. On the upside, Col is pretty good in the kitchen so he will be cooking once or twice a week which will be a nice break for me.

I have tried to plan meals which can be padded out with vegetables or which don’t really come in packs so we are at least eating pretty healthily I think!

This week in food 

Monday: Col’s Lasagne and salad

Tuesday: Jambalaya and Crusty bread

Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognese

Thursday: Caramel sesame chicken and egg fried rice

Friday: Jerk chicken, potato salad and green beans

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Roast chicken and vegetables.




How to keep your baby cool in summer  

We all know how vital it is to keep cool and spend some time out of the sun in summer. But this can be a challenge when you have a little one to think of. Follow these steps for some of the best ways to look after your baby and keep them from overheating.


Hydration is essential

Preventing dehydration is so important for babies and young infants as they do not sweat or perspire the same as we do. This means they can have temperature spikes and suffer heat stroke very quickly and easily. Follow guidelines to what liquids you can offer your baby depending on their age, as they should not be drinking water before 6 months.


Clothing to wear

Dress your baby in light weight clothes that are made from natural fibres such as organic cotton and bamboo. These materials are more ‘breathable’, meaning they can absorb perspiration well compared to synthetic fabrics. You might find it useful to have to hand plenty of items that provide shade, such as a sunhat, sunglasses, visor, umbrella, mesh screen and a canopy. You can even find parasol’s that can be attached to your baby’s pushchair.

At night, avoid blankets and use a baby zip sleepsuit made of breathable cotton fabric which can help regulate body temperature. If it is a very hot night and your baby seems restless, consider putting them to sleep in just a nappy.

Keeping cool in the sun

As well as shading your baby from the sun for protection, it is also important to use SPF. Again, use this with caution depending on your baby’s age.

Less than 6 months – when they are so young, their skin doesn’t produce enough of the pigment melanin for protection. For this reason, you should keep your baby out of direct sunlight. On occasion you can thinly apply sun cream if they are, for example, going in the swimming pool with you.

Above 6 months – the guideline is more relaxed and you can apply sun cream more liberally. This should protect against UVA and UVB rays, and be a minimum of SPF 30. Opt for a brand that makes sun cream for children with less additives and ingredients that might irritate the skin.


How to cool down

In the event that your baby is overheating, uncomfortable or even getting a heat rash, run a cool bath to help them cool down. Create shade in the room and keep the blinds or curtain closed during the hottest time of the day, and use a fan to circulate. If all else fails, you should NEVER feel like you are overreacting. If you are worried about your little one call 111 for further help and advice.

What to do in Portsmouth for the weekend

We absolutely love the south coast. When we aren’t stuck indoors during the holidays we like nothing more than taking a trip to the coast! Where better than the historic city of Portsmouth! Here are a few ideas for anyone wanting to fill a weekend.

What to do in Portsmouth for the weekend

Situated on the south coast, Portsmouth is one of the UK’s oldest harbour city. With a proud naval history, it’s home to the wooden warship HMS Victory, upon which Nelson died in the Battle of Trafalgar, as well as being the port from which the Mayflower set sail for the New World back in 1620.

It’s fair to say we all need a weekend away, and what better way to enjoy a weekend in Portsmouth than hopping on the train. With 37% of people of looking forward to exploring the UK and 31% enjoying travelling by train thanks to the beautiful views on offer, it’s time you planned your trip.

Whether you’re travelling by train to Portsmouth from London or Leeds, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in the pretty maritime city.


Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Standing proud on the entrance to Portsmouth harbour is the impressive Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Modelled to reflect the city’s maritime history, it’s the perfect observation tower to explore the landscape of the city.

Standing two and a half times the size of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square it’s the tallest climbable structure outside the capital.

Canoe Lake

For a spot of old world glamour head to the Canoe Lake. With swan-shaped pedalos, Art Deco angel statue it’s the epitome of a Victorian seaside postcard picture.

For some good old fashioned fun, grab a bucket and fishing line and spend the morning catching crabs in the lake.

Gunwharf Quays

Shop ’til you drop in the designer outlet on the waterfront. Enjoy some al fresco dining by the sea and watch the glamorous yachts in the marina. With big names at small prices, it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours come rain or shine.


D-Day Museum

Discover the personal stories behind the Allied Invasion at the moving D-Day Museum. Telling the story from both a civilian and military point of view. It’s a moving museum that all the family will find interesting.

Recently enjoying a £5 million revamp, there are an additional three exhibition galleries, a café, and of course a gift shop.

Clarence Pier Amusement Park

One of the largest amusement parks on the south coast and boasting rides and amusements of all shapes and sizes the whole family can enjoy.

With traditional Arcades and a Pirate and Princesses Indoor Adventure Playground. As well as aerial high ropes, and spinning roller coasters, and of course plenty of places to eat and drink, it’s a great way to spend the day.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

A weekend in Portsmouth wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. A visit to the dockyard takes you on a journey through time, allowing you to step on board some of the most world-famous ships.

There are multiple things to see and do so there’s something to suit the whole family.

Click and Construct with K’Nex – Rad Rides and Battle Bow Building Set

This product was sent for inclusion in this post in exchange for our honest review. All opinions are our own.

Moose has always loved STEAM toys which encourage building but up until now we have never really played with K’nex. He was absolutely thrilled then when 2 awesome K’nex sets were sent to us to try out.

Founded in 1992, K’NEX, part of the Basic Fun! family of brands, did not set out to become an educational toy company, all we wanted to do was show kids that the only limit to building was the size of their imagination! More than 25 years later, K’NEX prides itself on connecting Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math with imagination. K’NEX product line has building toys specially designed for every age group and skill level.

Rad Rides

The K’Nex Rad Rides set is aimed at children aged 7-12. There are a lot of small fiddly bits so I can completely understand this being the target age group. Moose is not 7 yet but he had no trouble fitting the parts together – there were a few exceptions but not as many as I thought there might be if I’m honest!

In the K’Nex Rad Rides set there are over 200 pieces and instructions to build 3 vehicles – there are 9 more to find on

The first thing Moose did was to choose which vehicle he wanted to make, he chose one from the set of instructions supplied with the set. The vehicle Moose chose had only 7 steps. Aside from assembling the wheels and axels he pretty much just got on with the rest of it himself. Result!

Battle Bow Building Set

Moose was so excited when he saw the Battle Bow Building Set.

The Battle Bow Building Set has a choice of 4 different models to make but Moose knew straight away that he was going to make the bow. I mean, it’s a working bow and he’s 6 so..

Other model instructions included in the set were a crossbow and a blaster!

This was a bit more intense than the previous set. Moose really had to concentrate in places to be able to follow the instructions. It didn’t help that the colours of the pieces were not always the same colour in the instructions so we had to change tact and look at the shapes rather than the colours.

Once we got the hang of it though it was easy enough and actually turned out to be a lovely activity to do together.

After you put the bow together you need to pull back the spring part and insert 1 of the 5 darts into the barrel. Then just pull the trigger and it fires a surprising distance.

What did we think?

K’nex has been a bit of a revelation for us. As I mentioned earlier it had never been on our RADAR before but Moose absolutely LOVED it. The instructions were tricky to follow in places. However, as well as building the supplied instructions. Part of the fun of this kind of toy is using your imagination to build bigger than the box!

The K’nex sets are compatible with each other and with K’nex classic so you could potentially build your collection to be huge! I love STEAM toys and anything which encourages kids to use their imagination so this was right up my street!

K’nex is available from John Lewis and all other good toy shops.