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Giving Up Sugar and My Constant Cravings

Giving Up Sugar!

I’m going to find this really hard. While breastfeeding my youngest last year I developed a real sugar craving. It was fine while I was breastfeeding him I was burning a lot of those calories. Besides I told myself to listen to my body it must be missing something. Except now I’m not breastfeeding him anymore and I haven’t for six months and I’m still struggling to control my sugar cravings. Today after dipping into a Starburst packet for the third time as I went passed I decided I have to be giving up sugar.

I can’t lecture my children on healthy eating if they are catching me stuffing a Topic bar in my gob. Can I really tell them how too many sweets and puddings will rot their teeth if I don’t pay attention to that myself?


I have tried cutting down but realistically it hasn’t worked. I have to try cold turkey. Tonight I’ve made a raspberry coulis and we’re having ice cream for pudding. That will be the last sugary thing I eat for the rest of this month.

I have turned to my favourite idea playground Pinterest for non-artificial treats that might trick my mind into believing it is the sameness as chocolate.


Hell no! Have you read them? They’re savage. Besides I can’t stop serving sweet corn ( an example of what you’re not allowed it is about the only veg my kids eat without moaning).

I am giving up:

  • Processed sugar.
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Readymade sauces with shitloads of sugar in them (yes Dolmio I’m looking at you!)
  • Biscuits – especially Stroop waffles.

I’ve now written it down I have to do it. Although I am now regretting my choice of timing since we have a birthday in the house soon. But you won’t tell on me if I sneak a piece of birthday cake will you.


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Life’s Too short for a Pinterest Lunch

Getting a Fussy Eater to Eat

The Pinterest way… Or the other way? I would love to say I have tried to get my children to eat by giving them dinosaur shaped sandwiches or the The Hungry Caterpillar made out of veg but I’m just too lazy. Sandwiches are either triangles or squares in our house. I don’t mind cutting the crusts off but that’s about as far as I’ll go. Want a funny face? Here have two tomatoes for eyes, a grape for a nose and raisins to make a mouth with. Ta dah. I don’t think I’m alone in this thinking. At least I hope I’m not…

But if I was to morph into a Mum with more culinary patience and take the time to present their food Masterchef stylee here are some ideas that I would definitely use. Click the pictures for links through to the Pinterest pins.

Pinterest Lunch Inspiration


I absolutely love this! Unfortunately I would never get my kids to put an olive in their mouth so using blueberries is an inspired idea, but how gorgeous does it look? I feel guilty for never making an effort already and we’re only one picture in.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

You can thank Annabel Karmel for this one. I love the caterpillar’s face. Perfect for more than one child because he could be any length that you wanted him to be.

Or how about this one? Notice I’ve stuck with healthy foods. There are so many amazing looking Hungry Caterpillar cakes on Pinterest; but in the interests of parenting I’m trying to make boring food look fun. Well I’m not, the creative people behind the pins are. Don’t forget I’m the lazy parent…

Fruit Turtles

OMG how sweet are these? Even I’m so overwhelmed I made these myself this morning for the one year old! That feels like a confession that on my third child I’m finally making an effort. Notice  I’m only doing it when the others aren’t around. I don’t want any guilt trips over why didn’t I do this when they were small.

Fruit Spiders

I’m getting into this now! I love this spider what a breakfast it would make. I once tried to do faces in pancakes while I made them after seeing a YouTube video showing you how on Facebook. It didn’t go well. Letters didn’t either because I forgot they would be the wrong way round. This? I reckon I could do this.


It doesn’t have to be animals. I love this plane. My eldest is a plane geek and has been since he was three. He loves them, for his birthday treat two years ago he asked to go plane spotting at Heathrow airport. Bless him. He’s nine now. I’m not sure he’d go for fruit shaped planes anymore but maybe I should try it.


I’m getting too into this now. If I’m not careful our breakfast on Saturday might look like this. What a lovely idea. How do people plan these things? Do they do them or just post a picture to Pinterest? I’d love to know if you do this stuff at mealtimes. One of my favourite shows as a child was Flipper. If you grew up in the 1980’s I bet just the mention of the word Flipper gets you singing the theme tune.

So There You Have It

I’ve deliberately picked easy ideas. I am not at all artistic so I definitely can’t do some of the amazing creations you can find on Pinterest. Each photo has a link to the original pin, click them if you want visit and save them to your own board. Alternatively I have created a Pinterest Packed Lunch board with them all saved in the same place to save you endlessly clicking. I’ll be adding more pins to that board as I find them. If you see part two to this blog post you’ll know that I’ve succumbed to creative food. Good luck with your fussy eaters – we all feel that pain.


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Who Decided to Invent Glitter?

Bloody Glitter

This will be a short but light hearted rant about probably my daughter’s favourite craft supply. I hate glitter. I like glittery things but I do not like the mess a five year old leaves after being let loose with a pot of glitter.

There are some things I don’t understand…

  1. Why do they always have glitter stuck in their hair from school? Many times on a nit check I’ve felt my heart sink only to realise it was glitter.
  2. Why does so much fall off after you have glued it on?
  3. Half the pots have lids that are too hard to take off. Plus when you do manage it the force sends the stuff flying everywhere.
  4. What sadist buys your child glitter for their birthday? Yes, you know who you are lol.
  5. Glitter glue. It’s even worse than glitter on its own. And it’s not even sticky. Even if it was you hide the sparkly bits in it sticking stuff down.

Glitter Free Zone

I’m not mean enough to enforce a glitter free zone but maybe I should be. You know it has been spread far and wide when you find it in your baby’s hair and he hasn’t been near it.

This was my Victor Meldrew moment caused by the dropping of a pot of red glitter from that birthday craft set. I will have my revenge! Take a look at my top craft items not to buy. You have been warned people.

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Mud Kitchens Wales

Mud Kitchens Wales

Mud Kitchens Wales are a firm local to me in Cardiff. I knew they produced excellent mud kitchens because our school had one installed from them. My in-laws like to buy a main present and this year combined it for all three children. As soon as they mentioned needing ideas I thought of Mud Kitchens Wales straight away. There are reasons why I love mud kitchens.

  • It gets them playing outside.
  • It is excellent sensory play and makes getting dirty hands fun.
  • It teaches basic maths skills like measuring using jugs and spoons.
  • Getting a mud kitchen means the birds get the bird bath back because for the last twelve months it has been used as a kitchen bowl by my children.

Let me be clear this was no freebie! I’m writing this review having been a paying customer….

Our Mud Kitchen

We ordered a deluxe dirt mud kitchen, which has two stainless steel bowl stations, a four ring hob design and oven complete with door (for hours of opening and shutting). There is also a shelf and storage either side of the oven. Do you know what I liked best about it? The delivery. Craig delivered it and added glitter and a bow on it so it looked the part for Christmas morning (huge thanks to our neighbour for letting us hide it in their garage). He clearly loves what he does and takes a lot of pride in the handmade kitchens. The photos were taken before it got used on a lovely sunny Boxing Day. It doesn’t look like this anymore! There are no prizes for spotting my shadow taking the photo lol.

Mud Kitchens Cardiff Photographs

The deluxe dirt kitchen is L120cm x D40cm x H45cm (to the worktop) with a total height of 90cm. We didn’t order any optional extras but you can have it personalised or have a functioning hose fed tap added. My daughter would have loved the tap but my water bill wouldn’t (we’re on a meter). I’m kind of stingy with the water from the tap too much to her dismay. But we have a lot of mud, sand, leaves, grass, stones and plants she can use to her heart’s content.

Mud Kitchen Measuring!

One of the biggest advantages is the messy play being kept outside. I got both my older children measuring water to the volume I wanted and adding spoonfuls of mud to my recipe. They then got to change it to their own recipe, thinking about did they want it thicker or thinner? How would they make it the consistency they wanted? What dissolved better? Mud or sand? The utensils that came with it are bright and colourful and add to the game; rather than just using a boring spoon. Outdoor education has a big part in primary school education and it’s something I like to encourage at home, without getting muddy myself!

Mud Kitchen With Utensils


Has it Been a Success?

Yes on the days it hasn’t rained – which aren’t very many so far this year unfortunately. But since the kitchen is made with treated wood and galvanised screws I’m not worried about it falling apart anytime soon. Craig suggested a coat of decking oil in a years time to re-weather proof it and if we did that regularly it would last a lifetime.

I would recommend Mud Kitchens Wales whole heartedly. If you live in Cardiff they personally deliver for free too! Although they do courier nationwide as well. Check out their website to look at their mud kitchens and other carefully crafted wood products.

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What No-one Tells You About Birth and Your Pelvic Floor

Birth Simple Right?

After all, it’s shelling peas, women in Africa do it alone all the time. We’ve all heard the old fashioned patter. Usually said by people who haven’t given birth. Sometimes birth isn’t simple and it leaves you with a knackered pelvic floor. Jumping? Forget it. This is what they don’t tell you about your pelvic floor.


Pelvic floor exercises aren’t just for after birth. Do them before! I had no idea how important they were. In fact when pregnant with my first I had no idea about anything to do with my pelvic floor.


A pretty disasterous tear and my pelvic floor is knackered. I’m the one in circuits ducking out of doing jumping jacks! But a modified burpee is awesome and much easier lol. Nobody talks about pelvic health. It’s almost like we’re too ashamed. If I put my biologist head on, the human body’s biggest weakness is birth and standing upright. All that gravity isn’t kind, particularly to us women.

I bet you heard that urinary incontinence is “expected”. After all we’ve all heard of Tena Lady. But what about bowel incontinence? Or is that a huge shock? A vaginal birth can result in damage to your anal sphincter. I certainly never heard of that in my ante-Natal classes – did you?

Do you know what to do if you don’t return to normal?

Women’s Health Physio

Go see them! Seriously no-one likes being examined or the dilemma of where you crumple up your clothes – on the bed or on the floor? They have a whole range of treatment options to get your pelvic floor back to strength.

Women’s health physio can help to reduce incontinence symptoms!

If you’re have just had a baby, or maybe you delivered years ago. Don’t struggle in silence with any incontinence. Visit your GP and get some advice. Pelvic health is important.

I swear by the Squeezy app. You can download it from the App Store and the Google Store. It is backed by the NHS and times the exercises so you do them correctly.

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Nostalgia My Top 10 Sweetshop Sweets

Good Old Sweetshop Sweets

I’m in a nostalgic mood. I saw an old faded ice cream sign on a bin and it had Funny Feet on it. Remember those? I used to love those nearly as much as a screwball. I’d usually lie about having s screwball, they were the same price and I wasn’t allowed chewing gum….

It led onto a discussion of penny chews and 10p would buy you 10 sweets. You don’t get that these days. Except you do. There aren’t many dedicated sweet shops any more but if I found one this is what I would love to see. And I don’t care if they cost me more than 10p!

Kola Kubes

OMG I love these. I don’t care if they cost more than a penny either! I can’t buy them I eat them too quickly.

Rhubarb and Custard

The rest of the family think they’re gross. Result all the more for me then

Wham Bars

A favourite in my school tuck shop. Now there’s an eighties child I could buy sweets in school!

Lemon Bon Bons

Although I am suspicious of anyone who buys the white ones.

Cola Bottles

Big or small I don’t care, but I’m not fussed on the fizzy kind. I’ll eat them if there’s nothing else.

The Foam Shrimps and Bananas

Another one my family hate. Just another sweet variety I can’t buy because I eat them too quickly.

Lemon Sherbets

Although these have been ruined for me slightly by a friend’s story of nearly choking on one. I’m now paranoid every time I eat one.

Pear Drops

These are so good but I hardly see them anymore.

Candy Sticks

I always bought these and I always pretended to smoke them. I spent hours watching my Dad with his 20 a Day habit to see how real smokers did it.

Acid Drops

I think it was Boots that did the best ones. My friend’s mum always had a packet in her car that we could steal one from.

I’m now craving sugar after writing this. Hopefully I will wander past a sweet shop and get to fill my boots. I always feel a bit sad that family sized bags are the norm these days instead of the old portion sizes.

I think my teeth would be a lot worse off if they existed when I was a kid. And yes I am that kill joy Mum that won’t let them eat the whole bag at once.

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Easter Holiday Activity Planner Free Downloadable Printable

Easter Holiday Planner

I have three children. Sometimes, well most of the time I find it hard to keep up with what they all want to do. Especially the days I’m solo parenting. The youngest doesn’t get any choice but Boy1 and The Girl like to have complete control (or so it feels) over what they do. I’m a great believer in making life easy for myself, and trying to encourage some independence from relying on me for suggestions. I’ve created my Easter Holiday Planner. It’s a boring title, but I couldn’t think of a way to make it seem more exciting than it is.


I know I quite often get to the end of a day and remember something I meant to do but didn’t. It is also very common getting to the end of a day and having heard “I’m bored” or “I’ve got nothing to do” or “what can I do?” a million times. This simple sheet will get them to focus on what they could do for a whole 24 hours. This isn’t something I’d do everyday – my printer doesn’t have enough ink – but they need to see that they control the fun they have, not me. They use the notes section to brainstorm what they think would like to do. The things to do to list any activities and the schedule to put those activities in order.

It goes without saying to make sure they put solo activities in before you end up with more than one planner and tantrums over whose gets used first.

If you want to try it then you can download your own Easter holiday planner by following this link. It should open a printable pdf file for you to use. For more holiday activity inspiration try the Lego photo challenge or the holiday challenge ideas.

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My Favourite Easter Bonnet Ideas From Pinterest

Pinterest Inspiration for Easter Bonnet Ideas

This year I’m not buying a bonnet specifically to make an Easter bonnet. Yes I know they’re only £1 in most pound stores but every year it either gets lost or trashed. This year we’re making our bonnet out of cardboard. My daughter loves craft and she’s very good at it, I think if she finds an idea she likes she will run with it and it will look awesome. These are my favourite ideas I spotted on Pinterest for Easter bonnet ideas. All of them don’t involve a shop bought hat and if I can avoid using those little chickens with the freaky feet I’ll be a happy Mum.

I’ve linked each image to the Pinterest page I found it so you can re-pin them into your own account. Toy Infinity is also on Pinterest! I have a lot of other ideas saved to my boards.

The Carrot

This is one of the best bonnets I saw. I love the idea of making a giant carrot and plonking it on your head. The best thing is they could do this with very little adult input. Nothing irritates me more than a splendid Easter bonnet winning that has Mum did this written all over it. And how cheap could you do this? A big piece of orange card, some green paper and a black felt tip pen. I’m wondering where on earth I could find a piece of orange card that large though…

Carrot Easter Bonnet Idea

The Rabbit

Religion aside nothing shouts Easter more than the Easter bunny. I love the simplicity of this hat – it looks easy to make and looks like a rabbit once you’re finished. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity as well – pom poms, glitter, stickers – anything goes. Like the carrot, all you need is cardboard and whatever crafting items you might have in your craft stash. (If you need inspiration my recommendations are here).

Bunny Ears

I bought some bunny ears years ago in Sainsbury’s and they have been kicking around in the toy room ever since. I love this idea of actually using the ears as your Easter bonnet by adding paper flowers. We have mountains of tissue paper in our house that would make perfect flowers.

Batman Easter Bonnet

This one made me chuckle. What an amazing and creative way to combine Batman with an Easter bonnet. You would think that those two words shouldn’t belong in the same sentence. But look at it. It’s genius! Like before, I love the use of just cardboard and paper to construct it.


Lego Easter Bonnet

If just using cardboard and paper isn’t challenging enough for you then why not use Lego? I absolutely love this Easter bonnet idea. You could add any characters you have onto it. If you used all grey blocks you would have an Easter Death Star. I know that this is by far my favourite hat idea, it is so simple but so creative. My favourite part has to be the chicken character on the top. I remember those coming in the Lego blind bags my kids used to be obsessed with.


So there are just a couple of my favourite Easter bonnet ideas. Click the image to link directly to the Pinterest pins. Over the last couple of years I have got lazy with the Easter bonnet. I’ve bought the bonnet and they have stuck bunnies and chicks all over it. There has been very little thought and it was more of a chore than a chance to get creative. This year The Girl will be constructing her own. Boy1 gets away with it because Juniors only decorate an egg; although I’m wondering if the Batman hat might make him want to make one too. I’m letting her loose on Pinterest later to find something she wants to try out.

Happy Easter everyone. Good luck keeping the glitter in the cupboard x

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Children’s Craft: Mess Free Painting For All Ages

Children’s Craft and Painting But Mess Free!

The problem with having a fairly large age gap between all your children is that the youngest always wants to do what the elder two are doing. I’ve had to come up with some way of entertaining him while they are crafting. No way on earth I’m letting him loose with glue and pens yet. I hate clearing up craft as it is without trying to scrub felt pen off Boy2. This is the technique I resort to. My mess free painting for babies. It helps even young children feel like they are doing children’s craft and painting.

You will need:

  • Zip lock plastic bag
  • Paint – whatever you have in the house
  • Baby oil (purely optional)

What do you do?

It’s as simple as squirting your paint into the zip lock bag and sealing it. You want enough paint so that it’s really squidgy. If there is too little I find Boy2 gets bored quicker. This is also where the baby oil comes in; by adding it everything becomes more sloppy and oily. Just make sure you have sealed the bag properly or everything isn’t as mess free. Trust me; I’ve learnt the hard way. Even if the bag gets thrown onto the floor everything is contained. Boy2 is a year old and I use a fairly small bag for him but as he grows bigger I will size up to a bigger zip lock bag. The bigger the bag the more paint you need!

To create more interest I also use glitter and sequins. Boy2 loves running his fingers over the different textures. Just try to avoid using something with sharp edges that might pierce the bag.

Adult supervision is still necessary; little curious fingers might find the opening at the top and create one hell of a mess. Also be sure that only small parts are securely sealed inside before you give it to your child. Give it a try and let me know if your child enjoyed it. Even 10 minutes of activity is time enough for a cup of tea. If you like this children’s craft idea try my favourite paints or favourite craft idea.

 Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

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My Shopkins List at Shopkins World

My Shopkins List

My daughter loves Shopkins. I must admit I don’t know the names of many of them. One rainy afternoon we decided to try and find out the names of them. Let me assure you googling is no help at all. That was until we came across the website Shopkins World.

My Shopkins World Guide

Shopkins World

If you register for an account you can take advantage of My Shopkins List. We used the technique of searching for the type of Shopkins like cake, cookie or shampoo for example and see what images popped up. My daughter ticked we have this one if her Shopkins showed up. To check what you have just click on the My List tab.

This isn’t a foolproof technique. It depends on whether the object you have searched for is in the Shopkins name. If it’s not, nothing appears. We spent ages searching for all kinds of variations on microphone. Nothing. We found the character was called Mike Rophone just by accident; while searching for another character.

All nine series of Shopkins are catalogued. You can search by series, but I’m guessing if you don’t know the name you might not know the series either. By clicking on each character you get some information on them. I remember being obsessed by this kind of stuff when I was a child!

The website is simple enough to use that my six year old can do it by herself. However, six year old phonetic spelling is not the best way of searching for unknown Shopkins so some adult help is necessary.

Just don’t ask me to remember the names of them. I can barely call my children the right name!