Sunday, 28 February 2016

The questions kids ask?

My children ask me questions every day. Some easy, some difficult and some plain wierd.

Here's a sample of this week's questions. Thank God for Google and patience.

What's the difference between jungle & rainforest?

When does  formula one start?

When is a storm a storm & not just lots of wind?

Can you fix my minecraft controls?

Do you know where my kindle/brush/shoes/pen/pj's are?

Why is Alfie Deyes on Saturday Night Takeaway?

Can we have a dog?

Can you make a kangaroo?

How do you make honeycomb?

Is it summer yet?

Why are some people fat and some people thin?

What's a dwarf?

Is if Friday?  (Asked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)

Emma xxx


Monday, 22 February 2016

School holiday price hike - Would you take your children out of school?

For the last couple of years there's been much said about taking children out of school for family holidays and the price hikes.

My children have brilliant attendance & have had minimal time off. My daughter has had a couple of Friday & Mondays which were for holiday purposes and were prior to the changes (my son was not at school at the time) and these were authorised by the school.   These were for a family wedding & a trip to DisneylandParis . I've never taken them out for a whole week but am this year.

I've ummed & ahhed & deliberated but have made the decision to do it largely based on cost as we wanted to go abroad.

I also believe my children will benefit from the break and it will not impact on their education.  I have tagged it onto a half term break so they will not be starting anything new & will be winding down anyway.

The old system of upto 10 days a year based on child's overall attendance worked well and I can't understand why they needed to change it.

I strongly believe quality family time is important and the price hikes can mean some families can never take a break. As we are travelling in May the children's auntie & uncle are also coming which is brilliant and was part of the reason for choosing to do it.

I've browsed some breaks abroad & at home for price comparison purposes and although I knew it was ridiculous I was shocked by the percentage increase. Maths is not my strong suit but my other half assisted.

Centre parcs has a whopping 173% price difference in the week before half term and May 2016 half term week!!!!

23rd May £439 30th May £1199 (Monday to Friday) that is £760 more almost triple the price.

It really is incredible.

First choice Lanzarote had 45% on one break and 69% on another.

22nd May £2335 29th May £3401 that is £1066 more.
22nd May £1897 29th May £3213 a whopping £1316 more!!!
Amazingly the example above still had child free places so if you can travel on the 22nd you may still get a good deal.

These prices are all based on 2 adults 2 children and May 2016 half term dates.

I couldn't compare Haven or Butlins as many May dates were already sold out but summer breaks show similar price hikes.
Example Haven Wild Duck Great Yarmouth 16th July 2016 £544 23rd July £981 which is 80% increase!!!

I am concerned about a potential fine but my holiday is booked and paid for.  I would not take my children out once at secondary school but really do feel at primary school it is acceptable if upto 10 days per year.

Interestingly Wales do not operate the same policy as England & Scotland have different summer breaks so can benefit from the cheaper prices.

What are your thoughts?
Were you shocked by the price differences?
Have you taken your children out of school?

Emma xxx

Update: We did not receive a fine and I didn't do it again partly because I'm just too much of a rule sticker tooer and also because in January 2017 I began a job working in a primary school.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Carrot cake recipe

I love carrot cake & this one is super easy.  The actual recipe includes frosting & fancy candied peel but I don't bother with these ( less hassle & calories).  This is a great recipe to do with the kids.
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 medium carrots approx 200g peeled  (I just guess)
  • 100mls sunflower oil although vegetable also works
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 100g sultanas (I used dried mixed fruit)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Beat eggs with whisk in large bowl
Add oil and sugar and whisk
Stir in grated carrot, flour, sultanas, cinnamon and baking powder.

Pour into greased loose based cake tin. Recommends 23cm but I have no idea how big mine is! You can tell I'm not a professional baker.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180c
Once baked let cool in tin for 5 minutes and then cool fully on a rack.

This will make 10 servings. Enjoy.

Can also be put into individual cake cases in a muffin tray and will take approx 15 mins to cook.

As part of my indoor afternoon tea


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Internet safety for children

My children had an Internet safety week at school.

They had discussions about using the Internet & stranger danger.

A large part of the Internet safety was aimed at the 5-7 year old.  Our children are using the Internet at much younger ages so need to be aware.  My own children are 5 and 9 and use the Internet almost daily. They both love YouTube and minecraft.

The school showed them a video and for us parents a useful website.  The link is below

Think you Know - Internet Safety

Some top tips to share with your children are -

Always ask a grown up before you use the internet so they can make sure you are accessing proper sites.

Don’t tell strangers where you live, your phone number or where you go to school. This is very important.

Don’t send pictures. Your grown up can do this if you are sharing with friends or family.

Tell a grown up if you feel unhappy about anything you see whilst online. 

My 5 year old loved the song available on the website and it encouraged a good discussion about Internet safety. I'd already discussed it but this reinforced the issue.

It might be worth having a browse if you have primary school age children.

Emma xxx


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Mini egg challenge

Recently I've been shopping more often at Aldi my partner is certain it saves us money but I'm not convinced yet although I have been impressed with some products.

This week I saw mini eggs on the shelf and with Easter fast approaching I decided to grab a packet. They were only £0.59 so I decided to get a packet to do a taste test.

I bought a pack of regular Cadburys mini eggs which were £1.00 & blind tested the family.

All four of us did prefer the Cadburys mini eggs but the Aldi version were OK & £0.41 cheaper which is a large saving.

Have you tried the Aldi version? What was your verdict?

Emma xxx