So it seems that everyone loves a little challenge so why not try the #365daypennychallenge with me.
I’m hoping that 2022 will be the year that we finally buy a house, but I also think that we really need and deserve a family holiday after the last couple of years which have been pretty shitty for most of us.
So what is the #365daypennychallenge?
Essentially you save a small amount of money each day starting off with 1p and increasing it by a penny each day. The best way to do this is by buying one of those tins that you can only open with a tin opener to save you from dipping into it for car parking change or similar.
I’ve created a #365daypennychallenge tracker sheet which you can print off and mark the days as you save.
We don’t stick to the chart as such, we just pick an amount each day and cross it off. So, for example, one day I might add in £3.65 and the next I might choose 10p. This works also if you’re a bit short of cash say towards the end of the month.
Use up your leftover turkey to make this simple Turkey Cacciatore pasta dish. Hands up if you’re craving a ‘normal’ meal after the Christmas binge. I love turkey and all the trimmings as well as all the cheeses, crackers and stuffing but there has to come a point where normality makes an appearance. This is a great way to use up that last bit of turkey in a non-Christmassy way.
1 Large Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 x 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon Sugar
A splash of Red Wine Vinegar
Around 500g Leftover Turkey cut into chunks
2 Balls of fresh mozzarella
A handful of breadcrumbs
Chop the onion and garlic and fry in the olive oil until the onion is softened.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and oregano. Season and then simmer for around 20 minutes until the tomatoes thicken.
In an ovenproof dish, add the turkey and pour over the tomato sauce. Shred the mozzarella over the top and pour over the handful of breadcrumbs.
Put in the oven for around 20 mins on 200 degrees until the cheese is gooey and golden.
Serve with either pasta or jacket potato.
An easy way to make breadcrumbs is to toast a couple of slices of bread. Rub over a garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil before putting in the oven for around 15 mins. This should be easily crumbled with your hands or add to a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin.
*This post was originally posted in December 2019 but it’s a good one!
Looking for Kid’s Subscription Boxes? Have a look at the Best 4
Since sub-box market has skyrocketed you can always find a subscription box for everything. At the request of our beloved audience, we did some research and came up with the list of the best 4 kids’ subscription boxes. So without further ado let’s get started!
We all know that LEGO sets are quite expensive these days and especially those sets which are inspired by blockbuster movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars. No doubt that they are fun and exciting to build but once build, you are more likely to lose their pieces or lock them in a storeroom somewhere, now this is the moment where Build-Ur-Bricks plays its role and offers you the best option. They offer you to get your children LEGO sets without even purchasing them, you just need to return the set once you’re done with it. The interesting thing is that all of the pieces are cleaned professionally before their next delivery and their user-friendly website makes it easier to order yours now.
Pop in a Box
Pop in a Box is a subscription service that offers you a vast range of Funko Pops collectible figures, exclusive releases, and a lot more at a very reasonable price. They offer you multiple options to take a start such as you can receive 1 pop a month and it will cost you £8.49 + P&P. You can also upgrade your subscription plan to 12 pops a month. They guarantee you that there are no secret handshakes and you can pause or cancel your subscription anytime. This is one of the best subscriptions for all those collectors out there. The thing which we love about Pop in a Box is that their customer service is so friendly and are always there to help you.
Brainboost is a bit different from the above-mentioned subscription boxes as they approach you with different creative and educational boxes. They offer you boxes for children of all ages from 2 to 12 years old. They assure you that with their subscription you will see a noticeable difference in your child’s development and there’s no commitment so you can pause or cancel your subscription anytime you want.
This is a subscription box that was developed by some educational experts and each month they deliver a box right at your doorsteps and allow your kid to learn something new with the play. They present every single box beautifully and it’s full of books and materials that will surely help your children to build and develop curious and critical thinking. toucanBox helps you to build a strong bond with your children with their new projects every month.
This was pretty much it for today as we’ve shared 4 of the best kids subscription boxes you can try out. You can also share your thoughts with us by dropping a comment section below.
Are you set up for Working from Home? Let’s rewind to pre-pandemic times and it was my dream to work from home. Ditching the 9 – 5 and all the office drama behind was my dream, and so I started plotting and planning my own new way of working. I’d already started my blog which had evolved naturally from an online retail shop as selling was not my strong point (probably not great for the retail industry). My blog was making me a small amount of income, but not enough to replace the income that my employed job brings me.
However, my background is in admin having worked in the NHS for nineteen years, and that combined with my blogging skills which I’ve picked up along the way made me think about what I could use them for. That’s when I first heard the term Virtual Assistant. It seemed to tick all the boxes in terms of describing the skills that I could offer to people and so my research began. I found myself some Facebook Groups and a course and started asking ALL the questions.
Then the pandemic hit and I was just on the cusp of officially opening the doors of my new business. The world went slightly crazy and I put everything on hold. I didn’t know what to do for a few weeks, before realising that it still was my time to launch – a lot of people and businesses were adapting and much help was needed. So I took the plunge and announced it and the inquiries started to come through slowly. I also went from working part-time at the hospital to being given a laptop to continue my work from home, which I was really excited about. I’ve since started a 50/50 split between home and the office, but I enjoy being at home far more than at the office.
What do you need to Work from Home?
Well, how long is a piece of string? This is entirely dependent on what work you do. As a Virtual Assistant or even a Blogger, you can set up with pretty much a laptop and an internet connection. No specialist equipment is needed but there are other things that can make your life easier and much more proactive.
A Dedicated Work Space
This might seem like a no-brainer, but having your station set up with everything you need to do your work means less distraction and creates a working mindset. Even better if you have an office that you can go to during your usual office hours, so it still feels like ‘going to work’.
Make you have all the things you would usually have to complete your work in your dedicated workspace. So I have pens, notebook, pad, diary, and highlighters, and usually a cup of tea on the go at any given time.
A Laptop or Desktop computer
I have my beloved MacBook Pro and was given a laptop for my NHS work with all the relevant programmes that I would need to use. In the office I was used to using two screens so I had to adapt to working from just one screen which was a lot smaller.
You’re going to need an internet connection for remote working. Ours has its moments of being completely pants, but generally, we have a good connection and thankfully haven’t had any problems during the pandemic.
Working remotely can give you so much flexibility, but you do need to have core working hours whether these are your original office hours or new hours created to fit around family duties. My office hours for the NHS are 8 am – 4 pm and I get up and ready exactly how I would for a day in the office and start work as I would usually. I tend to take my breaks as I would at work as I’m in ‘Work Mode’ and this works for me. Don’t be tempted to work more hours that you’re being paid for, espcially those of us who maybe live alone.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to go through the day without having a break. Take regular breaks to top up your water bottle and stop to have lunch. Move away from where you’re working to eat so that you get a bit of a break. In an office environment, you’re likely to have colleagues to sit and have a chat with or people that you bump into on your way to and from the kitchen which you won’t at home.
Access to Plug Sockets
Wherever you set up your dedicated workspace, make sure that you have access to plug sockets to make sure you can charge your laptop and phone within reach. I’ve been using the Anker Nano II Fast Charger which will charge your phone, laptop, or tablet up to three times quicker than your usual charger.
Health and Safety
As you would in the office, it’s important that your setup supports you in terms of health and safety. If you’re working for an employer, they should provide you with the necessary equipment needed to complete your job. Obviously, as we were thrown into the pandemic, a lot of this was overlooked, but going forward if you continue to work from home this should be re-assessed.
A window seat in the office is usually the top spot for most people, but having good lighting at home is also important. Not just for the view or grabbing a bit of natural light, but also for the all-important zoom calls that you may have to do as part of your job. I do Teams meetings for my employed work and Zoom Calls for my Virtual Assistant business (networking and client calls) and it’s important that you present yourself as you would in person and that the recipients can see you. A nice light room just makes the experience much better.
Networking or Socialising
So we lost our social lives when the pandemic hit, and homeworking meant the loss of the coffee room chat and the presence of work colleagues. We all threw ourselves into zoom meetings both for work and to chat with family and friends. We’ve all done the huddling around laptops and phones whilst straining to join in family chats and quizzes. We’ve since been using the Anker Ultra Clear Portable Conference Speaker. It has amazing sound quality, enabling it to be used by a group of up to 8 people whilst blocking out additional background noise. You can hook it up to your laptop, tablet, or phone via Bluetooth or a USB cable. Its portable and lightweight and so easy to use, making your group chat or zoom experiences much better. You can also play music and podcasts through it so it’s my new best toy!
Not everybody is fortunate to have a home office so earphones have been a lifesaver for many. Whether these are wireless or corded, they can stop the distractions of homelife that may be going on in the background.
Are you going back to office? I’m hoping not as it fits in so much better with my family life.
*This is a collaborate post with Anker and items were gifted to me for the purpose of this post.
Tween Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas 10 – 13 Years Old
As well as the Pre-school Christmas Gift Guide I thought I would put together a Tween Christmas Gift Guide guide for parents of kids aged 10 – 13 years old. Belle has just turned 11 and considers herself not to be a child anymore, so here are some of the things that she is currently hankering after as well as some things I know she will love despite her being so ‘grown-up’!
Usborne Pencil & Paper Games
Great for the car or to take to a restaurant. This Pencil and Paper Games book has loads of pages that you can tear out with noughts and crosses, squares, and hangman. There are in fact 20 different games that you can play. She didn’t even mind putting her phone down for a bit to play these.
Fidget Toys Box
Fidget toys seem to be the craze and Belle still plays with hers, as does Freddie (3). This set has various fidget toys including poppers and cubes that they will sit and play with for ages.
Sharpie Markers Set
Belle is really into stationery and got has had this set a couple of times over the past year. She uses these at school and at home to make her work look all pretty and colour coordinated. They are also great for the adult-type colouring books as the colours are bright and easy to colour with (don’t leave lines).
L.O.L Surprise OMG Remix Super Surprise
Belle is still very much into L.O.L dolls and Barbie (her fave YouTuber is My Froggy Stuff) and so this set was at the top of her Christmas list last year. It’s quite pricey, but it does come with four OMG dolls and oodles of accessories. She took herself off to make her own YouTube video unboxing of this.
Sandwhirlz Kinetic Sand Set
This is quite a therapeutic set as you chop up the different kinetic sands using the various tools it comes with. Belle plays with this, but Freddie (3) also really enjoys playing with this set.
Happy Confident Me Life Skills Journal
I’ve heard good things about this journal so I’ve bought a copy for Belle for Christmas. Making sure that our kids have a way of expressing their feelings so they grow up confident, independent and happy is so important. Belle is already started to compare herself with others and has daily tantrums which are not fun for any of us. This has lots of colourful pages which she can use her favourite gel pens. I’m sure she’s going to love it.
A Bluetooth Speaker
Belle has this one which she has hooked up to her phone. She plays it far too loud, but she loves to make up dance routines and pretend TikTok videos (she doesn’t have the actual app) but she uses it almost daily. It keeps its charge for ages as well which is always a good thing.
Belle loves scrunchies and has a LOT. I’ve pointed out many times that she only has one head and there are only so many scrunchies she can wear at any one time, but apparently you need to have oodles of them. Be warned that you will find these things in all the places around your house.
Keep Calm and Colour Unicorns
There are various versions of this colouring book including mermaids and cats. These make a great present with a pack of fine line pens or gel pens.
These are just a few ideas of things we’ve either bought for our eleven year old daughter for Christmas or things she has had over the past couple of years. You can also see what we have in mind for our 3 year old in the Pre-school Gift Guide.
*This post may contain affiliate links which means that I receive a small payment should you click the link and make a purchase at no extra cost to yourself.
Pre-School Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for 2 – 4-year-olds
Freddie is currently three years old so this Pre-school gift guide is a selection of gifts based on things we have bought for him that he has enjoyed playing with and also some of the things we are looking to get him for Christmas.
Superwings Jett Supercharged
Freddie is a huge Superwings fan and we got him the supercharged transforming Jett as a little reward for starting pre-school as we knew it was going to be a huge change for him. This Jett not only transforms but it has lights and sounds. Jett is never far away from him and so if you have a Superwings fan this would be a huge hit.
Little Brian Paintsticks Art Station
We’re big fans of the Painsticks and have had a few of the sets. We’ve bought the Art Station and put it away for Freddie for Christmas. I don’t doubt that he will love this. You can have a look at out previous review which shows the Little Brian Painsticks in action.
Play kitchen Sink
We bought this Play Kitchen Sink for Freddie back in June for his third birthday and it was a total winner. It might not be quite the weather for it at the moment, but this is such a good toy. You lift up the sink and add water and then the tap has a pump that makes it into a working tap. Pull the plug and the water drains into the bottom to be pumped up again into the tap. It also comes with a lot of play accessories such as cups, plates, and play fruit and vegetables
Orchard Toys Bug Bingo
Freddie likes to play games now, but they have to be quick and able to keep his attention. This little bug bingo game only takes about five minutes to play and is definitely a good introduction to games. We have several Orchard Toys games and puzzles and this is currently Freddie’s favourite.
Paw Patrol Moto Pups HQ Playset
This playset comes with Chase and his motorbike which you put on the ramp and pull it back before it shoots out with accompanying sounds. You can of course buy the additional Paw Patrol Pups with their motorbikes (maybe a good idea for family and friends to buy).
Kindle Fire Kids Tablet
I was slightly reluctant to get Freddie a tablet, but during lockdown, he became a bit of a pro with my phone and so I was constantly losing it to him whilst I was helping Belle with her school work. In my opinion, the Kindle Kids tablet is the best as far as options for games, books, and shows to watch. It doesn’t have additional things to constantly buy and there are no ads. There are loads of educational games and activities and it comes encased in a case that prevents damage from bumps and drops.
If you have kids then there’s no escape from Playdoh. If you don’t buy a set yourself, someone at some point will buy one for your children. We are a messy play house so we have a LOT of playdoh and accessories which the kids never get bored off. Freddie got a Gold Mine set similar to this set which comes with gold (it’s sparkly) and black playdoh.
What is it with kids and hoovers! This Henry Hoover is quite cool and does actually pick up some crumbs which is always a bonus. I remember when I looked after my nephew when he was a toddler and he insisted on taking his hoover everywhere we went. We left it in the bank, and the look on the face of the lady behind the desk when I came back looking for it was priceless!
Baby Shark Fishing Game
This game is a lot of fun, but just a warning, the Baby Shark song plays endlessly!
Tuff Tray and Stand
You can buy a Tuff Tray with or without a stand, but this is the one that we bought for Freddie and he prefers to play standing up. You can make the use of a Tuff Tray as easy or as complicated as you like. Set them up with paints, playdoh, arts and crafts, jigsaws, water play, slime the possibilities are endless. The stand has different height settings so you can make it the perfect height for your child and can be used indoors or outdoors.
Magnetic Play Block Set
These magnetic sets are great as you can make loads of things with them. This is one of the sets that we bought to set up on Freddie’s Tuff Tray as a non-messy play idea. We got these when Freddie was two and it’s still one of our go-to quiet play activities.
Chicco Ducati Balance Bike
Freddie is our first child to have a balance bike and this one is perfect. Freddie was two when we got this for him and it was the perfect size and weight for him to be able to ride. These days he rides like a lunatic on it and is probably on the cusp of needing to upgrade to a bigger bike.
I hope these suggestions were helpful x
*This post may contain affiliate links which means that I receive a small payment should you click the link and make a purchase at no extra cost to yourself.
We’ve been through Peppa Pig with Isabelle, and now Freddie is a huge fan with George being his favourite character. It was such a treat to be sent a selection of Peppa Pig Fun Educational Toys from Trends UK and even more so that he now has his own little home office set up.
It’s great how fun characters are made into toys that have playability as well as having educational properties which ticks all the boxes from a parenting point of view.
Peppa Pig Count with Peppa – Available from Amazon
Peppa Pig Count with Peppa helps develop counting skills, colours, and picture recognition as each coin has a picture of a different character on it. The coins are a nice size for toddlers’ hands and easy to push into the purse and retrieve by themselves.
There are two modes of play which you can select by a switch on the side of Peppa.
Numbers – Pop one of the coins into Peppa’s purse and she will count the coins as you push them in. She also asks you to find different coins such as ‘find a coin with 8 birds on it’ and will tell you well done when you’ve posted it in.
Colours – Peppa will tell you the colours of the coins as you post them into her purse. She will tell you well done if you get it right or gives you an oops if it’s the wrong one.
There are two buttons above the coin slot. One is to activate the colours and numbers game and the other plays popular Peppa Pig songs that your little ones can join in with.
This toy is suitable from age 2 and is a great way to introduce them to numbers and colours. Freddie loves finding things so likes the option to find the character or the correct colours. There’s a volume control on the back of Peppa which Freddie of course likes to switch it to the loudest mode. This is a lovely toy that can be played with time again and gets a thumbs up from us.
Peppa Pig Laugh & Learn Laptop – Available from Amazon
What child doesn’t like their own laptop! This Peppa Pig Laugh & Learn laptop has lots of features including letters, numbers, objects, and musical instruments. The screen lights up and has fun sounds and music. It’s also got a carry handle so it’s a great option for out and about.
There are four option buttons on the righthand side.
Mystery – Peppa asks you to select any button and she will tell you what that is.
Quiz – She will ask you a question or ask you to find something, and you have to select the correct button for the answer.
What can you find – Peppa will ask you to find something such as the recorder or the birds and will make a twinkly sound when you get it right.
Music notes – The buttons turn into notes and funny sounds.
There are also two musical note buttons on the left which play little tunes.
The Peppa Pig Laugh & Learn Laptop is suitable from 2 years.
Freddie couldn’t wait to get this out of the box. He loves role play and was very excited about having a laptop just like Mummy. I think the music option and funny noises are his favourite activity. We initially thought that the screen was a touch screen as Peppa asked us to select the birds or the coins, but these are selectable through the shape and puddle buttons on the keyboard.
I set us up side by side which Freddie was very pleased with. He did a very funny impression of me working, although I’m sure I’m not as bossy as he was on the phone!
Peppa Pig Flip & Learn Phone – Available from Amazon
This easy to flip Peppa Pig Flip & Learn Phone has colourful buttons which can be pressed to talk to various Peppa Pig characters. There is also a little quiz and keys to answer the phone when it rings. They can even pretend to take photos just like a real phone.
The Peppa Pig Flip & Learn Phone is suitable from 2 years.
The phone paired with the laptop pleased Freddie very much as he pretended he was working alongside me. He was phoning people up to tell them that he was working including Nanny and Daddy. He loved it when it rang back at him and he had to answer his ‘work calls’.
It was funny to watch him pretend to be doing my job. I’m not really sure that my kids know what I do other than bash away on my laptop. As a Mum, overall these toys are what you would expect from toys for this age group. Fun but with an educational value. There are noise control buttons on the toys, but the options are loud and louder!
If you have a Peppa Pig fan, you can of course buy all of the above Peppa Pig Educational Toys from Amazon BUT you can also head on over to my Facebook Page where you can WIN a Peppa Laugh & Learn Laptop just in time for Christmas.
*We were sent the above-mentioned Peppa Pig toys for the purpose of review. All our thoughts and opinions are our own.
Now that we’re nearly at the end of October the weather has definitely taken a turn, it’s officially soup weather.
We always have tinned soup in the cupboard as it’s a great option to have when we’re rushing around with the kids and we want something warm and filling. My all-time favourite soup is tomato soup, preferably with a stack of bread but is also amazing with cheese on toast.
Sainsbury’s Lentil Dahl Soup
However, I also love beans and pulses so this Lentil Dahl soup ticks all the boxes.
Sainsbury’s Lentil Dahl Soup is packed with carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, lentils, and chickpeas with a blend of fragrant spices.
It’s a lovely chunky soup that didn’t need any extra seasoning.
The use-by date is always really good on these fresh soups but you can also freeze them.
I loved this soup.
It ticked all of the boxes in terms of texture and taste and was really filling having half the pot with a couple of mini naan breads.
This soup is only £1.60 and lasted for two lunchtime meals making it 80p per portion so very affordable.
I would definitely buy this soup again. Give the Lentil Dahl Soup a try yourself next time you pop into Sainsbury’s.
*This was a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
When you think of quiche, generally Quiche Lorraine or Cheese and Onion Quiche spring to mind but there are so many other fillings that can be added to a quiche that can be enjoyed as a lunch option or part of a hearty meal.
My eldest had a bit of a thing for broccoli quiche which had a tomato base when he was younger. He would have quite happily have eaten this every day if we’d let him.
Hot or Cold?
Which side of the fence do you sit? My Mum and Dad always used to put the quiche in the oven and have it with salad and all the trimmings (beetroot, coleslaw, and such likes) as my Mum used to call them.
I prefer mine cold and will happily have it with salad as part of a meal or as a quick and easy lunch option to take to work with me as it’s really filling. Having said that, the pastry crust is crispier if you put it in the oven.
Tesco Finest Maple Bacon & Extra Mature Cheddar Quiche
I’m expecting good things from this quiche as it’s part of the Tesco’s Finest range.
The quiche is topped with slices of streaky Maple Bacon and cooked with extra mature Cheddar Cheese.
It can be eaten hot (cook in 20 minutes) or cold and can also be frozen to eat at a later date.
The quiche looks yummy and was tested by myself and my eleven-year-old daughter, Isabelle.
It tasted as good as it looked. There wasn’t too much pastry or too much filling, it was just right. The bacon was evenly distributed and there was bacon in each bite. It’s quite naughty as it contains butter, cream, and cheese, but as a treat, this would be nice.
This would be delicious hot as well as cold.
I would definitely buy this quiche again and may get one and freeze it for our Boxing Day buffet.
*This was a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
When I was asked to review Find Your Why – Joanne Mallon I jumped at the chance. I’m not a particularly ‘Woo’ person, but I think there’s definitely something about positive thinking, setting goals, and a positive mindset.
If you look at people who you consider to be successful, they all have a very common attribute. They set goals and make them happen. What’s the saying “from small seeds grow big oak trees” or something along those lines. The gist of it being that the seed is the idea, and every step you take is watering and nurturing that tree until one day the tree is a flourishing oak.
Setting goals and then breaking that goal down into manageable pieces makes it more achievable. Your goal won’t be the same as the person sitting next to you, and your version of success in life and career won’t be the same either.
Find Your Why by Joanne Mallon is a very easy read which gives you much food for thought.
This book helps you discover ‘Your Why’ and is packed full of loads of tips and advice which will enable you to work out what these are and reach them. Knowing what you want in life is the driving force behind why we do the things we do.
Essentially we are in control of our lives and future lives, and setting goals and putting things in motion gives us a good sense of wellbeing and positivity.
This book makes you sit and think about what you want in life and how you can make it possible.
My first thought is how gorgeous the book looks and feels with the embossed front cover and nice thick white paper. The book is also full of inspirational quotes which I really like anyway, and they also make you stop and think about what they mean for you.
This book made me stop and think about a lot of things that I want to achieve both personally and professionally
I’ve got quite a few goals on the go at the moment with the top two being:
Buying a house – this is something we’ve been working towards for a while and hopefully, it won’t be too long before this box is ticked.
Scaling my business – I freelance as a Virtual Assistant and I love it but want to set up multiple income streams so that I can work flexibly around my kids whilst enjoying life.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and even better is that’s it’s not a one-time read. I know that I’ll be rereading this book time and again so that I can recap and refocus on whatever it is I want to achieve.