Meal Plan – the oh crap I need to go shopping edition

In the words of my 13 year old, “Oooft”.

I have seriously lost my mojo when it comes to food. January is meant to give you this boost and make you want to ‘be the best you’ or some gubbins. All it gave me was the desire to hide under a big blanket until either some order enquiries appeared in my inbox (self employment, eh!) or it stopped being too damn cold to concentrate on anything.

With that in mind this month has basically carried on the December trend of replacing many meals with just handfuls of cheese and meat whenever I passed the fridge. I pass the fridge often.

However, this cannot last forever and thankfully we are down to our last box of shortbread so I have to concede that it’s definitely time to start eating green stuff again. I know that meal planning helps with this. So here we go!

Actually, before we begin you should probably be aware that January is not a month where the hoards flock to begin steadfast wedding planning so funds are low and this week will feature a lot of “yeah that’ll probably taste alright together” type meals. Please note, I am offering no apology for this. Neither should you.

vegetables in a pan

This week in food 

Friday: Everyone else is having Pizza. I am off to my Stepmums for dinner which will be a surprise!

Saturday: Going to go fridge diving for this one and use what we have. Jack Monroe made a sausage and bean casserole type meal on This Morning the other day so will use what we have to make something similar. Yes, I will be rinsing the sauce off my baked beans. I can stick this in the slow cooker oven in the morning and it will stop me calling for a takeaway.

Sunday: Off to a trade show with my sister so either I will pack some lunch and take it with us or, and lets face it this is more likely, we will just grab something en route. Everyone else has pasta and meatballs.

Monday: Ramen bowl. The kids love this one. Cheap instant noodles, Chopped chicken, Mange tout (aldi super 6 this week), grated carrot, sweetcorn, peas, a little bit of chilli and ginger and a peeled boiled egg. You can add whatever you have to this one and it is really quick. Can also cut down on the salt content by not using the little noodle seasoning sachet and substituting with a better stock.

Tuesday: Chicken casserole with dressed greens and crusty bread and butter – I try to make sure we have those part baked rolls in the cupboard.

Wednesday: Chicken and veg pesto pasta

Thursday:  Toasties night (ham and cheese or beans or my personal fave pilchards in tomato sauce)



Is There Still a Gender Bias with Car Insurance?

This is a collaborative post

Historically if you were a female driver, you could expect to pay less in car insurance than your male counterparts. This was seen as something of a bonus because insuring your car was, and still is, massively expensive and something we have to do but probably with bad grace. Things have got so expensive that one million drivers are risking prosecution by taking to the roads without insurance. Now, this is not recommended at all, but we do understand the desire to bring down the cost where possible. So, is it true that women get a better deal today?

woman driving a car

Fewer Accidents

The reason women had access to lower premiums was based on statistical evidence that proved female drivers have fewer accidents than men. It really was that simple. Data collected showed that 73% of road traffic deaths were male, which is nearly three quarters, but why is there such a difference. One of the reasons is because men actually drive more, over 80% of men hold a driving licence compared to only 67% of women and men have an average mileage of over 4000 miles a year whereas women only rack up just over 2200 miles. With more men on the roads, it makes sense that they are statistically ranking higher in accidents but is this fair?

Road Attitudes

Well, on top of this studies were carried out as to the attitude of drivers, and again there was a definite gender split. When asked to rate driving ability men almost always say they are better than average, whereas women do not. Women express more concern about family and loved ones being killed in a crash which in turn seems to make them more considered drivers. When asked to rate speed limits men almost all say speed limits are too low whereas women conversely suggest they are too high. So, there does seem to be differences in how we consider safety on the road. Finally, and contentiously it is said you can tell the gender of a driver by watching the vehicle with men tending to have more aggressive behaviour such as sudden acceleration and breaking. 

Law Changes

However, today there is no reason to think that women get cheaper car insurance. Gender cannot be used as part of the premium calculation, age and experience can be but not gender. This was a change that was enforced in 2012 by the European Court of Justice, which means that technically two identical applications with only gender as the difference would equate to identical premiums. Some people feel that there is still a difference, but this is hard to prove, it was thought to be £300 or more in favour of women and now it seems that men may pay £50 more but with so many factors in the algorithm it is hard to prove. When the UK leaves the EU, there is a chance this directive would be scrapped, but no one can say for sure at this stage. For now, there is no difference in premiums for male or female drivers.

Krispie Cakes and Curly Locks – Living Arrows week 3 2020

“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

boy making chocolate cakes

Moose has to wear a patch over his good eye everyday at the moment. It’s only for a couple of hours and we try to get it out of the way by applying it in the morning but it can be difficult. He dislikes having it on and of course not being able to see well really limits the kinds of things he can do.

Last weekend I decided we should go old school and make some rice krispie cakes. Moose loved making them and it was a great way to fill his patch time.


teenage girl close up with very curly hair

Also this week, Bess turned 14. This is not the best photo I have ever taken, the lighting is terrible. However, it makes me smile. The night before, Bess had asked me to curl her hair using one of those chopstick style hair curlers. It looked really cute when she went to bed!

This was what she woke up to. In fact, this was after I had tried to tame it a little! As you can see from her gorgeous smile, I wasn’t the only one who found it amusing. That’s why I like this pic, it is a proper snapshot and one I am sure I will enjoy when it pops up on timehop every year for the next decade.



Living Arrows

A Short Checklist on Essential Equipment for Toddlers

small boy and parent holding hands

Raising a toddler is one of life’s simplest yet greatest joys, as you witness them reach milestones like learning how to talk and walk. But this stage of their development can also be quite tiring. Your tiny tots are still figuring out how to properly do things and will need just as much (if not more) help than they did as babies. Thankfully, life with your toddler can be much easier when you have all the essential equipment with you. So read on to find out more about what will make your life easier.

Safety essentials

baby and yellow blanket

Curious toddlers can get themselves in trouble when you take your eyes off them even for just a second! That’s why toddler-proofing your house is an important step to prevent accidents like electric shocks, and bumps and bruises from happening. You can do this by putting electrical covers on all outlets, placing soft table padding on sharp edges, and adding a safety lock on all drawers with hazardous objects inside.

And if there is one thing that all mums with toddlers can agree on, it’s a fact shared in our ‘Babies Are Overrated’ post: Mums need more sleep. If your tot is ready to transition to a bed from their crib, installing a bed rail is a win-win for the two of you. This way, you can have a good night’s rest knowing they’re protected even if they’re rocking and rolling in their sleep.

On-the-go needs

woman with pram

Being out and about is an exciting thing for toddlers, as they start mastering the use of their legs and learning more about the world around them — even if it’s just you taking them to the supermarket or the pharmacy. But we all know that their little bodies can get tired fairly quickly. And when that happens, it’s important to have a pram that can let them rest wherever your days take you. This is why the various prams featured on iCandy are designed to be sturdy and compact enough to use wherever you go. Look for thoughtful features like drink holders, shopping baskets, and parasols that can make carry out chores with your little one a breeze.

Another thing you’ll need when you’re on-the-go is a handy backpack that can store items like sippy cups or their favourite toy to help ease the waking up process. And be sure to have a car seat that meets government safety guidelines like the Every Stage unit from Joie.

Tools for fun

child holding crayons

Of course, you can’t forget to have fun with your toddler. This precious stage of their life can go rather fast (especially when they love to run around!). With such an array available, it’s easy to get confused about which toys are the best ones for your toddler. A report from Tech Times may just help you streamline your selection. shares a study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology that found that early stimulation can boost their brain development.

With this in mind, you can stuff their toy chest with crayons and building blocks, which can help enhance both their motor skills and creativity. Additionally, letting them play with puzzles is a great way to improve their hand-eye coordination, while also helping them recognise shapes. Plus, you can have a trusty play mat in your home, as it will help stimulate your little one’s brain with its lights and music.

Foam Alive – No mess sensory fun

We were sent this product for the purposes of writing this post. All opinions remain honest and our own. 

Foam is a massive improvement on slime.

Spoiler alert. That is going to be your take away from this review. Honestly, I was so excited when I was asked if Moose would like to have a go at playing with the foam JUST BECAUSE IT WAS NOT SLIME! 

Although I’m not massively fond of spending hours clearing away mess I am the first to say that sensory play is incredibly important. It not only helps concentration, memory and imagination but I have certainly noticed that if Moose is having a difficult day I can really see a difference when I sit him down with a sensory style play sesh in mind. It almost always gets rid of anxiety and melts away any feelings of frustration.

However, none of this is massively helpful when you are tried to clean slimey gunk off your lovely lounge rug though, is it.

With this in mind, Foam Alive is the answer. 

foam alive

What is it?

Foam Alive is presented in clear hourglass plastic packaging. It looks nice but my God it was a challenge to get into! In the end it took this 38 yr old Mother of 3 nearly 10 minutes to open – I ended up jimmying it open with a butter knife and a fair amount of force. On the upside at least you know that the lid is secure, this definitely won’t spill if you pack it for a holiday for example. 

When you eventually get into the packaging you will be greeted by 2 colours of foam. We had green and purple. The colours were incredibly bright but lost a bit of their vibrancy once they were (inevitably) mixed together. I would love to see other colours added to the range. 

What did we think?

I recorded Moose playing with the foam for a few minutes to show you what he thought.

As I said previously, I was just relieved that it wasn’t gunky! This stuff feels nice to the touch. There’s no noticeable smell. It’s not wet or sticky.

The foam doesn’t attach itself to fibres so no having to wash it out of clothing or off toys. This pack is less than £10 which makes it a really affordable treat for a rainy day. It would make a great birthday party gift too! 

Foam Alive is available to buy from Smyths