today was good, today was fun

E full of life
“Today was good.
Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.”
Dr Seuss

(phone cameras – capturing those precious moments one fuzzy shot at a time!)

March 27, 2015 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

The Giant Wiggle at St Catharine’s Under Fives

Hungry caterpillar fruit
”Off the top of my head we could watch the DVD of the hungry caterpillar, do some art and craft, be the Hungry Caterpillar at lunch and munch through some fruit together and afterwards “wiggle” off on a nature walk”.

That’s how they roll at St Catharine’s Under Fives … planning fun and creative activities for the kids as a matter of course and always welcoming opportunities for ‘‘off the top of my head’‘ ideas.  Kate, the playleader, hadn’t heard of the Giant Wiggle before I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago but her response was an immediate ”sounds wonderful, what is it?”.  At St Catharine’s today it looked like this
Giant Wiggle - Kai drawing 4BGiant Wiggle - Jude and Levi drawing 4B Giant Wiggle - E wearing crown 4B
The children had a wonderful time crafting and playing and re-telling the story of the Hungry Caterpillar. At lunch time they munched through piles of caterpillar nibbled fruit (and not a single person asked where the chocolate cake was!).
Giant Wiggle - plate of fruit 4B

Giant Wiggle - bowl of strawberries 4B

”On Thursday he ate through 4 strawberries…”

The Giant Wiggle is a sponsored walk organised by Action for Children, a national charity that supports the most vulnerable children and young people in the heart of communities throughout the UK. Last year more than 32,000 children in 800 schools and nurseries took part in the Giant Wiggle raising £80,000 for Action for Children.
At St Catharine’s the children wiggled their way around the grounds of the church next door (after a bit of indoor practice wriggling about on their tummies).
Collage - giant wiggle
All the children received certificates and parents kindly made donations. Every penny counts when put into the right hands.
– £5 provides emergency overnight support for a young person living on the street
– £10 will pay for swimming and hydrotherapy sessions for a disabled child
– £20 pays for 15 children to have breakfast at an Action for Children’s breakfast club
Giant Wiggle - fundraising 4B
Wiggling is thirsty work and the kids re-energised with some delicious juice boxes from our friends at Cawston Press (you may recall how much E loves Cawston Press Kids Blends).  To celebrate their partnership with Action for Children and The Giant Wiggle they’re giving away The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ gift hampers every week until 3rd May.  Weren’t we lucky – free drinks and the chance to enter the unique codes from our promotional triple packs (you can enter as many times as the juice boxes you drink!).
Giant Wiggle - juice boxes 4B
how wiggling helps children in Gloucestershire
Action for Children provide services in the community that support children and young people to fulfil their potential and address the problems they face at the earliest opportunity.  In Gloucestershire, through a partnership with the 2gether Trust, an innovative mental health service is available to children and young people facing extreme emotional difficulties.  By receiving home based support they’re developing the self-esteem, resilience and social skills to participate in normal day to day activities that most of us take for granted.  In Stroud a supported housing project enables young adults with learning disabilities  to develop a broad range life skills and experience to enable them to live independently in their own homes with minimal support.

March 19, 2015 at 8:42 pm 1 comment

bimbling about at Broad Haven South

Broad Haven beach_E and G taking picture 4BThere was no better excuse for a break away last month than a special birthday to celebrate.  Add in a beach, my gorgeous boys and a new camera and these lovely memories of a terrific time in Pembrokeshire were made.
Broad Haven beach_E big smile 4BBroad Haven beach_E on steps 4B
Broad Haven beach_George 4B
Broad Haven South beach on a bright sunny wintery day.
Broad Haven beach - E paddling 4B
Broad Haven beach - Mummy and E 4B
Out takes directed by E ‘‘pull a face Mummy, like this, grrrrrrrrr”.
Collage - Pembrokeshire_pulling faces 4B

March 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm 2 comments

the perfect cake decorating kit

E’s birthday last month offered the perfect opportunity for a spot of cake decorating (an entirely annual event these days). Once we’d decided on a sticky chocolate Wonka bar cake however it became apparent the new cake decorating kit I’d intended to write on the birthday cake with would need to be used in some other way.  We mixed up some blue icing and had a trial run writing on oat biscuits instead.
E was in licking heaven especially nomming at least three silver balls for every one that made it to the top of the biscuits!Collage icing biscuits
I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and found all sorts of fab ideas to go with our jungle themed party food. It turns out icing biscuits is not as easy as it looks!  Having well designed tools is all well and good but it can’t compensate for a lack of creative flair, runny icing and the potential splodgy and unrecognisable result.

I hoped to make something like these iced-to-perfection biscuits available on Etsy. Iced biscuits on Etsy 4B
What I ended up making after a few unrecognisable attempts at a lion were these snail biscuits.  Much loved by the kids and beautifully simple to decorate a whole packet of rich tea biscuits once I got into my groove with this OXO Good Grips Bakers 8 piece silicone decorating bottle kit 18-1-15 - food_snail biscuits close up 4B
Although I wasn’t hugely creative with my first attempt (I like to think that will come with practice) it was so easy to use.  Simple to fill thanks to the large opening which holds up to 120ml of icing and the kit includes two squeezy bottles so you could have one filled with a slightly thicker outlining icing and one with a thinner colouring in icing (or two different colours).  The soft silicone bottle is designed for consistent, controlled decorating and fits so comfortably in your hand it feels just like you’re writing with a fat pen!  The bottles are a breeze to clean as they turn inside out for washing and all parts including the 6 stainless steel tips are dishwasher safe. cake decorating designs
Our latest product trial certainly lives up to the high standard we’ve come to expect from the Oxo Good Grips range. I was amazed really having only used pre-filled icing tubes before where I’ve either ended up with blobby ends to my letters or missing middles.  It’ll be fun practicing again and we’ll look forward to creating some interesting toppings like these for cup cakes. I hope to have mastered using my new camera by then too for better indoor shots during my early morning kitchen sessions with my little helper!
Cake decorating set with cakes
Disclaimer: I was sent this Oxo Good Grips decorating kit. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

March 8, 2015 at 9:51 pm 1 comment


The best thing about turning 40 has been the gift of a new camera from G.
E’s very comfortable with a lens pointed at him as long as he can look and laugh straight away at funny face he’s pulled! What a lovely surprise to discover these playful photos of E taken by G during one of their Daddy days when I eventually downloaded my birthday photos this week.
Smile_E 4B
Smile_E puckering up 4B
Smile_E looking down 4B

February 22, 2015 at 10:33 pm 1 comment

Nom Nom Kids food pouches

Nom nom smoothies_E close up 4B
When E was small and starting to try food we didn’t really go in for much pureeing. We’d give him pieces of fruit to suck or mashed up vegetables and if we were going to be out and about we sometimes bought pouches of pureed fruit.  I used to wonder why no one had thought to make a re-usable food pouch and I’m sure I wasn’t the only parent who would have preferred to pour home-made fillings into reusable pouches.  An environmentally friendly option seemed so obvious I thought as I recycled my shop bought pouches to raise funds for a local charity I volunteer with.
It turns out another Gloucestershire Mum was able to turn her wishful thinking into a fantastic reusable food pouch.  Nom Nom Kids food pouches, devized by Mum-of-two Suzanne Moore, provide a savvy feeding solution for mums-on-the-go and a convenient and cost-effective way of storing home-made baby food, smoothies or yoghurts.  I was so excited when I read about Nom Nom Kids pouches in the local paper  and even more so when I contacted Suzanne and she gave an enthusiastic yes to my request to let my smoothie loving toddler review them.  Nom Nom pouches 4 pack
Suzanne kindly sent us some pouches last summer and despite being reminded every time I use them that I owe her a review time has marched on (as you can see from the changing hair length and T-shirts of my chief taster).  It turns out Suzannes’s been somewhat busy with the explosion of interest in her product over the last year too, winning 3 innovative baby and toddler product awards and attending baby shows.  Suzanne developed her food pouch to meet her own families needs and it’s now available worldwide via the Nom Nom Kids website or Amazon.

“As a busy mum of a fussy toddler and a weaning baby I found myself using a lot of pre-packaged food pouches while I was out and about.  They’re an expensive way to feed your baby and millions are thrown away each year a fact that really bothers me.  The re-usable pouches I found on-line weren’t very baby friendly, had small openings or needed a filling station to pour the food in.  There was nothing on the market that I felt did the job well so I set about developing my own brand of food pouch that babies and toddlers would enjoy feeding from and mums would enjoy using”.

Collage nom nom 4B
The great thing about using Nom Nom Kid pouches with a toddler is that E loves the process of making the filling almost as much as eating it.  Mostly we mix up smoothies with whatever fruit we have in the house and with the wide opening on the side of the pouch, and a little help, E can pour it in himself. The pouch seals easily using a double zip lock closure that claims ‘‘even the most determined toddler cannot open” (true!).  They’re perfectly sized for little hands and tummies and ideal for playgroup lunch boxes or mess-free eating in the car, stroller or around the house.  We find them really easy to clean and extremely durable having been turned inside out to wash by hand countless times now.  They’re dishwasher safe if you have one, can be frozen and are free from chemical nasties (BPA, PVC and phthalate free). After cleaning the pouches we now store them with the tops screwed on after making the mistake of filling them with an open spout too many times!
If I’d had the pouches when E was a baby I would have used them for all sorts of savoury food as well as smoothies. Suzanne has a whole page on her website devoted to recipe ideas and quirky ideas on the blog like Weetabix on the go.
The weaning pack of 10 pouches plus spare caps and marker pen is a fabulous investment at £20.  Alternatively a pack of 3 pouches costs £6.95 (both packs can be ordered from
Nom Nom kids 4 pack
2015 is set to be an exciting year for Nom Nom Kids with the launch of this new 4 pack of food pouches exclusively available from Amazon.  To celebrate Suzanne has kindly donated a 4 pack to Gloucestershire Bundles, the charity I volunteer with, to host a giveaway and raise awareness of the work they do to support families in need in Gloucestershire.  To be in with a chance of winning pop over to the Gloucestershire Bundles Facebook page and leave a comment about what delicious filling you’d use in your food pouch.  E’s current favourite is banana, frozen berries, peanut butter and cocoa powder (and a handful of spinach leaves you can’t see or taste!Collage smoothie 4B)

Disclosure:  I was sent some Nom Nom Kids food pouches to sample.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

© Tropical Green smoothie by The Food Teacher image from the inspirational Nom Nom Kids recipe page

February 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

Gloucester Scrapstore

Bliss on a rainy day for a would-be-crafter and a curious boy. 
Gloucester Scrapstore, a treasure trove of scrappy delights which we raided for a craft table at E’s birthday party. Families can pay £7 for an annual membership and fill up a Tesco bag with materials for £5 each time they visit (community groups can fill a trolley for £12). It’s a much more creative (not to mention cheaper) way of crafting with kids. E was easily occupied with buckets full of bottle tops while I had a rummage through fabrics and rolls of paper.

If you’re short on ideas there’s a whole page of downloadable craft leaflets on their website. The Scraptstore is open Tuesdays 10 – 7pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 – 5pm and occasional Saturdays.

February 14, 2015 at 9:08 am 11 comments

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