Living Arrows Week 48 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to get a snap of Bess so for now I thought I would include 2 of Moose!

The first pic this week was actually requested by Moose for once. He usually requires a bit of persuasion to pose for a photo but he was pleased as punch to have chosen something to spend his birthday money from August on.

We happened to spot this scooter in a local shop. It has a backpack on the front which is very handy because Moose can use it to carry things while he scoots and then when he gets tired of scooting (scootering?) I can fold the scooter up and wear it over my shoulder. Moose has asked to go out on it every day since he bought it. He loves it. I love that he loves it. Also he is wearing his eye patch every day without complaint.

The second photo this week was taken while Moose was home from school with Chickenpox. I thought since we were stuck indoors we may as well get the xmas decs down from the loft and get cracking! I was very good and didn’t even reorganise the tree (much) after Moose had finished hanging the baubles!

 

Living Arrows

[Ad] Spice Up Your December With Schwartz. 3 Ways With Cinnamon and Christmas Stollen Cookies Recipe

This is a paid post in collaboration with Schwartz.

I don’t know about you but even though I love the pretty lights and the decorations at Christmas, it is the smells and tastes that make me feel festive. Nothing beats cinnamon when it comes to christmassy smells! 

Food is such a huge part of our festive season. Whether it’s curling up with the Supermarket food catalogues and planning out our food selection – just me? or perusing the Christmas markets. It really is all about the smell and the taste at this time of year!

3 ways with Schwartz cinnamon 

The king of the cinnamon recipes is of course, the cinnamon roll. They always feel like an indulgent treat. I love them with a nice frothy coffee. Admittedly I eat these all year round but I do like to make them too! My favourite recipe can be found here at This Farm Girl Cooks

Cinnamon can be used in savoury recipes too – and it is beyond great! Not your usual festive fare but you can only eat so many roast dinners, right? I love these Moroccan Lemon and Cardamom Meatballs. So good for warming you up on cold nights! 

My Mum did lots of baking when I was a child. With 5 children to look after (plus all of our friends of course) I suppose it must have worked out lots cheaper to make rather than buy our snacks. Sadly I don’t bake very often but when I do, I like to involve Moose. It’s usually good fun and keeps him busy.

So, last but not least and one of our favourites to make at this time of year is Stollen Cookies. They are really yummy and definitely make my house smell wonderfully Christmassy while they are baking. Double win! 

stollen cookies

Makes approx 24 

Ingredients

150g salted butter
80g light soft brown sugar
80g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
180g plain flour
60g ground almonds
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp (or a big pinch) salt
80g marzipan (chopped)
50g sultanas
50g dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice

Method

  1. Heat your oven to Gas 4/350F/180C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl pr using a mixer, cream together the butter and both types of sugar. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg.
  3. Sift in the flour and bicarb, add the salt, ground almonds, cinnamon and mixed spice, and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Fold in the cranberries, sultanas and marzipan.
  5. Put equal sized amounts on the baking trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.

 

How To Be A Savvy Christmas Shopper

I think most of us have been there. Despite knowing full well that Christmas is on the same day every year, we are simply not ready for it. 

Each year I promise myself that I will be prepared and therefore make the whole ordeal of being “the organiser” just a bit less stressful. Guess what, it doesn’t happen. Well. It does, but not as much as I would like ideally? I always manage to improve a little but ultimately I can only do that by not embracing the Christmas crazy

With a fairly large family to shop for I need to have a plan, and here it is. My guide to living your best Christmas shopping life.

shopping arcade

Make a list – and stick to it

This is the first and most important tip. Make sure that you are buying because you want to and not out of obligation. Nobody should be forcing this on you. If your financial situation would be improved by having a shorter list then it’s time to talk to the people on your list – they may well be relieved that you did! 

Remember, it is only a bargain if you were going to buy it anyway

Join a community

There are loads of groups on facebook and websites like Latest Deals which are updated by their members with news of the best and newest bargains around. I love places such as this because it saves a LOT of legwork. 

Use Cashback sites

Just the other day I was reminded by KatyKicker to use one on a Fridge Freezer purchase I needed to make. It saved us nearly £100 and cost nothing but a minute of my time to login. You really cannot argue with a return like that! 

I always try to check 

  • Top Cash Back – Always check to see if the retailer your buying from is listed and take advantage of money back and promotional codes
  • Swagbucks – You can earn cashback on your shopping as well as taking part in short surveys.
  • Quidco – Again, another one to check out before making purchases to see if there are any savings to be had.

Use the 5 gift rule 

Something they..

  • eat
  • wear
  • read
  • want
  • need

Really simple and very effective. Use this to reign yourself in when you need to! 

Be Honest

If you are low on funds then perhaps there is a gift you could make or something you could do for the recipient instead? If you are going to offer babysitting though, do make sure you like the children in question because trust me, those babysitting vouchers WILL get used.. 

Most of all though, if it will hurt you to buy them a gift then you shouldn’t be doing it. The person you are buying for would much rather you be happy than be stressed out because of this (and if that’s not the case then you should have crossed them off your list years ago anyway) 

christmas gifts

 

Good luck with your shopping this Christmas and most of all remember that it is meant to be fun! Do what you can to take the pressure off and make sure you take time to enjoy the sights and smells all around you. 

I would love to know your tips for Christmas shopping?

 

 

Living Arrows Week 46 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

The first of this weeks photos is of Moose on Children In Need day. He had asked me for a t-shirt to wear for school. Moose was excited that they were allowed to take part and help raise a little money so off I went to Asda and this was the t-shirt I chose.

When I got home I noticed that the receipt said that it was a girls t-shirt and I just thought that it was a bit of a shame. There is nothing about this t-shirt that would make me think that it was particularly feminine. Just a grey t-shirt with kind and positive words on it – and don’t both boys and girls need those?

 

This photo of Bess needs a confession. It’s actually one I snapped last week in London but promptly forgot about until browsing my gallery today. I love that as soon as she saw the Yamaha sitting in the station she didn’t hesitate to go over and bash the keys.  I wish she had sung along too. Bess has a beautiful voice (I know I am biased). She didn’t know I had taken this photo but I couldn’t resist. She looks so happy.

 

Living Arrows

Pull My Finger Review

[AD Gifted] We were sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own

This game did not need the hard sell to appeal to 5 year old Moose. Large monkey, detachable bottoms and farting. Yup, pretty much a guaranteed hit as far as he is concerned. 

What’s in the box?

Inside the Pull My Finger box you will find 

  • a large(ish) plastic monkey called Mr Buster
  • a base board 
  • a banana spinner
  • 2 bottoms (snigger)
  • a tail
  • instructions on how to assemble and play

How do you play?

This is such a simple game to set up and play. Once you have attached the tail to the monkey and the monkey to the baseboard you are pretty much good to go. 

Play is aimed at age 4+ and you will need 2+ people to play.

The play starts when player 1 spins the banana. Whatever it lands on is what the player must do. If, for example, the banana lands on a 3 then the player must pull the Monkeys finger 3 times. As well as instructing how many times to pull the Monkeys finger, the spinner also might land on another option such as reverse the order of play or miss a turn or choose another play to take their turn. 

Which each pull of his finger the Monkey’s bottom inflates. When it becomes fully inflated it farts. The aim of the game is to not be the person who makes the Monkey fart! 

pull my finger

What did we think? 

The farting was, of course, absolutely hilarious to Moose. I can’t pretend that there was much educational value but you do have to count how many times you pull the finger, so there is that. Arguably though you are not buying this game for anything more than a bit of fun – and on that score it delivers. 

The only thing I wasn’t massively keen on about this game was that once you fix the Monkey to the base there is no way of disassembling it so it won’t fit back into it’s box. 

A great selling point is how fast this is to set up and play. Moose could easily play this with a friend without any adult help really which makes it quite unique in that sense. 

Pull My Finger retails at around £15 and is available from Smyths Toys