Fabulous by name, fabulous by nature!

cooking, Reviews, school
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Here’s a story any working Mum (or Dad if he does the cooking!) will identify with… a letter comes home from school asking for home made cake or biscuit donations to sell at the school fete. For a guilt ridden moment, you toss up the thought of sweating over a hot oven to bake some masterpiece and prove that being a working parent means you are some kind of superhuman being versus taking the easy option and popping down the shops to buy some to pass off as your own. Then common sense takes hold and you are off to the supermarket to get some Fabulous Bakin Boys cup cakes.

Imagine my horror when I got home to find that the icing on my yummy cakes was defective and not of a suitable standard to palm off as a ‘fake bake’. Then I came up with an idea. Read the rest…

Shake it up

food, kids, Reviews, Thrifty
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Getting the boys to drink enough milk is always a struggle. They’ve never been big milk fans. But when they started to get split nails, something had to be done. So I relented and bought some milkshake concentrate in an attempt to make it more palatable for them.

Inevitably, it was more appealing with some artificial flavours added, but it still seemed to have something missing. Then I stumbled upon the perfect gadget in the kitchen drawer.

IKEA milk frotherA while ago I went though a cappuccino stage and purchased an incredibly cheap battery operated milk frother from IKEA. It was just 99p, but was rubbish at making frothy coffee. However, it is just the ticket for making frothy milkshakes. Fill the glass about 3/4 full with milk, dip the frother in the glass, but make sure you don’t switch it on till it’s on there and switch it off before it comes out or you’ll have one hell of a mess! Agitate it up and down near the surface of the milk and very soon, you’ll have the perfect milkshake. Add a straw and in no time, the kids calcium levels will be inversely proportional to the amount of milk left in the glass!

Taken at face value

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After a simply dreadful day, I forgot that children are so innocent and sometimes when you least expect it, actually do exactly what you say.

Picture the scene – rotten day at work, no.1 son got the wrong shoes at after school club and the other child parents threw ours out as they were too small (so an unnecessary £30+ expense to buy a new pair), no.1 son smears the insides of a creme egg all over his face and school jumper, then tries to help me wipe the dregs that got caught in my hair with the hand he smeared it on with in the first place…..you know the kind of thing.

It’s the one day a week that the kitchen floor has been cleaned and so I like to try and keep it that way as long as possible (not usually for very long) so when no.2 son was reaching the end of a gingerbread man in my thoroughly cheesed off mood, I rather despairingly said ‘Please be careful with all those crumbs because the last thing I need is for them to be all over the floor.’ Then imagine if you will my horror when he finished the biscuit and swept the crumbs off the table, scattering them across the floor. On questioning him, he innocently answered ‘but you said the last thing you needed was the crumbs all over the floor, so that’s the last thing that I did Mummy!’

That’ll teach me! :-/

Trading up to a Dyson?

Crafty, food, kids, Thrifty
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As word of my wacky ideas sweeps the nation*, a friend sent me the fo article. I thought it’d be great at this time of year when people are snapping up bagless vacuum cleaners in the sales. What do you do with all those vacuum cleaner bags stacked up in the cupboard that will be useless now?

Simple! Follow the pictures below. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words…

Ice cream holder instructions
Read the rest…

Wipe the slate clean

games, kids, Thrifty
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Another thrifty tip if you are in possession of a magnetic drawing board (a Magna Doodle type effort).

They are brilliant when you have a child just learning to play hangman – easy to reuse and save having to scrabble around for paper. Also great for adults who like to play Pictionary.

You could use an etch-a-sketch, but that really would be hard work!

Jigsaw puzzles solved

games, kids
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Was your household one of the ones lucky enough to receive a plethora of jigsaws on Christmas Day?

My kids love them. We have boxes which contain several jigsaws (one even has 10 in it) and I got fed up of them all getting muddled together. The solution? Easy! A felt pen and some self seal plastic bags.

Next time the jigsaws are made up, flip ’em over and number the pieces (each piece in the same jigsaw needs the same number!). Then write the number of pieces in the jigsaw and the number that you wrote on the reverse of the pieces on the front of the bag, put the pieces in and seal it up.

As long as you teach the children that getting the right pieces in the right bag is all part of the game, you (and the jigsaws) will be sorted!

You’re not on my Christmas Card list

Christmas, kids
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It’s funny how little one determines who they would like to send a card to and who they don’t.

Number 2 son was asked about a particular child (who to protect their identity will remain nameless!). His immediate response was ‘She has a snotty nose. I don’t want to send her a card.’

So now you know.  Always keep a tissue handy if you’d like to be on the list next year 😉

All I want for Christmas….

Crafty, games, kids, let's pretend
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….is a cardboard box.

Honestly, we sit watching advert after cheesy advert for ridiculously expensive toys (I’m not mean, but I consider anything over £30 for a child to be outrageous and a waste), and I know that despite all the ‘I would like that one please Mummy’ ‘I’d play with it loads’ etc etc that after at best, a week, it would be gathering dust in a corner.

But, bring home a cardboard box (free from work or a supermarket) which is large enough to fit a child in and you have a multi purpose toy. We’ve had it as a toy box, a garage, space city, a space rocket, a fire station, a house, a dog basket, a den….the list goes on and on.

It’s recyclable, reused and reeeeeeeeet great 😉

Bob the Builder would be proud (hmmm…it hasn’t been Sunflower Valley yet!)

Say it with flowers


Well there’s nothing more a lady likes more than flowers, so here’s a way to surprise and delight at little expense. We used them to say thank you to all the staff at nursery (the novelty had worn off after making the 20th flower!).

Single bloom

So, you’ll need:-

  • lollipop sticks (or I’ve found posh coffee shop wooden stirrers are a cheaper alternative!)
  • tissue paper (assorted colours)
  • sticky tape/glue stick
  • small yoghurt drink bottle (for the vase)
  • green paper
  • foam shapes for decoration

Read the rest…

Santa cam

Christmas, Crafty, kids, let's pretend
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You’ll like this one – it’s a crafty idea. That’s crafty, as in ever so slightly sneaky 😉

I know it’s depressing to think of Christmas in October, but let’s face it, the toy manufacturers are already plugging this years ‘must have’ toy during the commercial breaks.  If, like me, you’re increasingly fed up of ‘Mummy, I want one of those’, then here’s a tip from a colleague of mine (I can’t take the credit for this one, even though it’s sheer genuis!)

The only thing you’ll need is a house alarm motion sensor – the kind a lot of new builds have installed as part of the integral house alarm where the red light comes on if it detects movement within range.  In the scenario above, when faced with the 3rd ‘I really need one of those’ within the last 5 minutes, point to the sensor and say ‘That’s Santa cam – when the red light is on, he’s watching.’ Then it’s up to you to embellish the story to suit your circumstances.

I just live in fear of coming home to find no.1 son up a ladder dismantling the sensor to try and find Santa…….

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