40 Years since the release of Star Wars – A New Hope!

Over the years the joys of motherhood have ensured I’ve become well equipped with certain things which passed me by in my own childhood. Computer games (I’m talking the early Atari type thing) Choppers and Star Wars being a few. Whilst I was knee deep in Cabbage Patch dolls and Snoopy, I can only vaguely remember watching a snippet of Star Wars at a friends house before we resumed practising for our own version of Thriller.

The ironic thing is I CAN tell you where I was and the exact scene I watched ( Trash Compactor moment in A New Hope if you’re wondering at a girl called Gemma’s house )

So I guess that’s my earliest Star Wars moment, funny how you remember these things, isn’t it?

Fast forward 20 something years and my children are still loving the films, and with each one we watch and every book they read, I learnt more and more about the epic which never seems to age. There was a time when Star Wars consumed every room in our house as the Lego mini figures and sets lurked in every corner along with various other paraphernalia.

And while it’s not so much the case these days, I know my boys will look back on their childhood and that the iconic movies will be a part of it, as will my Star Wars mad nephew. My youngest teenager is ploughing his way through the books right now. Historically a reluctant reader, he’s decided that maybe my suggestion of reading before bed isn’t completely bonkers after all.

The set he’s got are aimed at younger readers of approximately 8 and up, my 13 year old is more than happy to get stuck in as it’s not an intimidating size. He knows he can get through it relatively quickly and not bore or get bombarded with words. In short, it’s an easy read for a reluctant reader, it’s familiar and still captures the imagination. Plus his mates think it’s really cool!

 

The set includes the A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back,   Return of the Jedi as well as the The Force Awakens so he’s got plenty to keep him occupied for the summer.  He’s also got the Galactic Atlas, an impressive keepsake in his Star Wars collection no doubt!

And to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of A New Hope Egmont UK Ltd are offering a set of the junior novels consisting of all 4 mentioned above.

 

Star Wars Book Set
Disclaimer

This post is sponsored and all prizes are provided by Egmont UK Ltd 

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Clean Eating Made Easy With Everdine

I first dabbled with clean eating last year, inspired by the Ella’s Kitchen cookbook recommended by a friend who had overcome some health problems thanks to a change in diet, it was a welcome lifestyle adjustment. I’d already given up meat (not fish) and felt better, I had more energy for starters. My sugar intake was through the roof though and I was rubbish at getting my recommended 5 a day.

So clean eating was the way forward. Everything cooked from fresh with oodles of fresh veg and introducing ingredients I’d never heard of, chia seeds were thrown in and on everything and breakfast began with overnight oats and granola. The only problem was time. I was a busy mum running 2 businesses and trying to prepare and find recipes which I knew the whole family would eat.

Luckily the older boys are quite good at trying new foods, getting them to always finish was a chore though. Clean eating soon became a chore and while I remained vegetarian and endeavoured to cook healthy meals from scratch, it was still too easy to pop a frozen pizza in the oven on days when I wasn’t in the mood for cooking.

My eldest son is now a keen health foodie though and when asked to try out a clean eating delivery  service called Everyone where clean eating is made simple we both agreed. No more mum guilt, except the whole frozen meals thing concerned me a little, surely it was cheating a little?

None the less, I picked out my favourites from the 8 meal section, that’d be 2 family meals of our choosing where everyone gets what they want. I could see this working out quite well for the boys and I! It meant I could stick to my meat free diet but the boys got their fill.

It arrived in an insulated cardboard box with icepacks (really useful to keep in the freezer and reuse for picnics as you can throw them away afterwards) I then stored them away in the freezer ready for the next day when time was of the essence.

The meals are microwaved and ready to eat in under 10 minutes and smelt as good as they tasted. The portions are a good size, enough for my older teenager and I managed to share some of mine with my toddler without feeling I’d sacrificed a meal. There’s a really great range to make your choices from on the website too, I went for a mixture of fish, lamb and vegetarian so we were all happy.


The lamb chops with feta cous cous and beetroot was a huge hit with the boys, theres no expense spared on taste and seeing them try foods they’d never had before was awesome. My favourite was the harissa & king prawn tabbouleh, a nicely spiced dish with a just right balance of vegetables. The convenience of having healthy meals ready in the freezer was priceless and while I don’t think I’d use it solely for regular family meals, I can see this being perfect for working couples and singletons. (and for my child free days when I tend to just have a sandwich rather than cook a whole meal.) The only downside was not being able to serve the meals in one go, although some you could cook in the oven.

If you’d like to try them out for yourself, Click here for your Everdine offer giving you £25 off your first box

Disclaimer 

I have been invited to test Everdine‘s service thanks to a company called Tornado.

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5 Family Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following 

I’m a huge fan of Instagram, it’s like a quick snippet into people’s lives in picture form.

While reading blogs helps gives a real insight in people’s lives and ideas, Instagram is the quick fix when you haven’t got time to read a full post. Whether you just want to oooo and arrhhhh at the photos or stop and read the captions you still get that nosey parker fix. Perfect for a busy mum like Yours Truly, where time is of the essence.

I’ve been playing around with my own account lately, it was always a mini tribute to my camera loving toddler but I finding I write less and less about kids on here nowadays so have started showcasing my Instagram as more of lifestyle account. But I’m still drawn to the family Instagrammers out there and I’m in the mood for sharing my current favourites.

There’s quite a few I check on regularly but these are the ones which I love snooping on, they don’t all have huge followings but that means nothing to be fair. I love them for their no frills take on Instagram and each for differing reasons.

 Little paper swan

It’s the fresh, perfectly composed photography and variety of images which draw me in every time. Take a look at Cathryn’s life through a lens and you’ll see what I mean.

A post shared by Cathryn Wood (@littlepaperswan) on

 

Grace and Blaze Yoga

I’m a yoga newbie and absolutely love it and while Jo’s account is primarily about pregnancy and post natal yoga, you also get to see a little snippet of an ex pat’s life in Barcelona. It’s like a 2-4-1 deal in Instagram where you feel instantly calmer just by being a passive observer.

Life Unexpected

Fellow West Country blogger and Instagrammer, Chloe, gives you travel, Cornwall, quotes and stunning photos in one manageable lump sum. As a single mum with a toddler she’s quite an inspiration, nothing seems to hold her back!

A post shared by Chloe (@lifeunexpectedblog) on

Sparkles & Stretch Marks

Who wouldn’t be inspired by Devon blogger Hayley and mum to 3 boys under 4! I know I’m biased also being a mum to 3 boys, but her photos show life at its rawest yet cutest at the same time. You really get the sense that your seeing the real Hayley and not the perfectly primed Instagram mum.

This Enchanted Pixie

My final share is Polly at Enchanted Pixie. Aside from the amazing multi coloured hair which I adore but would never be brave enough for,  she also shares a life as it is. We have quite a similar ethos on parenting and I always take time to stop and read how life’s treating her which accompanies her posts each time.

Bonus! 

Busy Mom Hungry Boys

I’m sneaking one more in as a bonus one…….. love food? Busy mum? Then check this fab account which shares snippets of family life alongside her digital campaign combining delicious meals family meals and family life. Her quotes show real sisterhood of mum’s / moms (in keeping with Margo’s Irish tones.) 

So there you have it, please do share any of your favourites in the comments. I’m always on the look out for people to follow.

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Today I’m choosing not to be a shouty mum

Choosing is the most important action in that title. I should probably start by explains that it’s not that I never get cross or live on a bubble of zen with my legs crossed and rose-tinted spectacles, ignoring EVERY misdemeanour with a smile and a nod

 they’re just expressing themselves

type thing. I know when my kids have stepped out of line and that they do things which need pulling up and stopping. I just choose not to shout.

It’s a parenting style which evolved through understanding and looking at things from their point of view rather than my own. Once I realised that life can be just as complex and downright wobbly for them, the light bulb moment came that yelling (and smacking) was more about releasing my frustrations than teaching them right from wrong.

Need that clarifying? Here goes;

When I’m stressed my brain and my patience goes gaga. Little irritating things turn into big irritating things. All that cortisol and adrenalin rushing round my body stops my rational thoughts like a huge boulder on the track. for example, when I’m stressed and my toddler’s wiping my favourite hand cream all over the bathroom wall instead of washing his hands. That really pisses me off. I WANT to shout and ask him wtf does he think he’s doing? Does he not think I’ve got enough to do. (of course he doesn’t, he’s 2 and it’s perfectly natural to be egocentric)

But I know that’s my fight response taking charge. I’m cross and I feel like shouting to release that frustration. You still with me?

Sure it’ll make him realise that I’m fuming, it was wrong and maybe he shouldn’t NEVER do it again.

But here’s the problem.

I need to be showing my kids how to show some self-restraint

By nature I’m not that shouty, stressed person. Most of the time I’m rational and would talk to my son in a calm but stern voice when he’s done something wrong. Explain why it’s wrong and give him an understanding not do it again (not just an it’ll make Mummy scary) Those moments when I want to yell are the hardest by far. Those are moments are the ones when I’m exercising every level of restraint not to lose my parenting cool.

But those are also the moments when I’m modelling to my sponge-of-a-son how not to loose your cool and alienate people. When I yell (it has happened in the past, I’m not Mary Poppins!) my kids glaze over, they shut down OR they get angry back. THEIR brain stops working as it should & they go into a fight or flight situation, where any chance of rational understanding goes out the window. In short, they stop listening, instead consumed by their own feelings rather than understanding what they did wrong.

I need to be showing my kids how to show some self-restraint, so they can do the same when faced with similar situations. By not shouting at every annoying or naughty thing they do, they also know that if they do do something horrendous, then they’ve really crossed the line. But even those moments when I have to whip out the big Mummy voice, we still regroup and talk about why it was wrong. Like I said, I’m not perfect but I am the role model and trying my arm hardest to raise level-headed kids.

But the no shouting thing, that’s normal me, that’s what my kids expect and that’s how my kids learn right from wrong and go out into the world with little inner voices reminding them how best life works. Don’t always jump in with both fists.

That’s why today I’m choosing not to be a shouty mum.


 

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Toddler Lunch box Ideas For A Toddler-Sized Challenge

Having worked in a school in the past, it was astonishing to see the difference in the sizes of what the kids brought in for packed lunch. I remember saying at the time that there needs to be some more information giving clear examples of what is a suitable portion size. The parents were getting the healthy message (the majority were at least) but there were a few children who came in with more food than an average adult could eat in one sitting.

I guess I wasn’t alone in thinking that there was a gap in information as the Infant & Toddler Forum launched the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign to help raise awareness of it’s not just what we put on toddlers’ plates it’s also how much last year.

I not alone in thinking that there should be a clearer message that it's not just what we put in a toddlers’ lunch box it’s also how much

And they’re back with a challenge for parents, grandparents and guardians to see how can you take all the ITF’s guidance and make it PRACTICAL and easy for all parents to follow every day at every meal?

Curious? Why not visit Toddler Sized Challenge to find out more, join in and share, comment, vote and have the chance to win £1000 and two £500 runners-up prizes as well as spot cash prizes of £100 for commenting and engaging.

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge

I’m weighing in with my tuppence and submitted a suggestion to the challenge already. too with some lunch box ideas on how to help parents ensure they’re getting their toddler lunch boxes spot on.

There are some great menu ideas on the website a but I’ve purposed an idea for downloadable sheets of menu planners with suggestions for toddler lunch boxes  Taking inspiration from the Think Toddler Sized website and creating a go to sheet for lunch boxes which can be printed off and placed on your fridge, or saved as a photo of your photo along with a quick read shopping list section of items to buy.

The idea is about simplifying life for parents, grandparents and carers and taking the stress out of thinking what to buy.

Now I’ve shared mine, what’s would your idea to help parents to Think Toddler Sized be? Why not visit the website (links here if you missed it earlier http://bit.ly/ToddlerSizedChallenge ) to see what’s already been suggested and see if you can come up with something new then upload your idea to the website. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Think about:

  • The 4 different food groups: carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables
  • How often different types food should be offered every day
  • How much should be on the plate – think toddler portions

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge



Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post

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