Helping Children To Save

Saving money had never been one of my strong points.

From the moment I got my first job at the age of fourteen the money got my sweaty hands and I was off to get that much wanted…but never needed new dress or pair of shoes.

This is something that has been a real struggle through my adult life and I want to be able to pass on better skills to my children as regards to saving with the hopes that they don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

I have listed a few ideas here they I am going to be trying out to build good foundations for those future, and hopefully there will be some here that you may want to try:

Filling A Piggy Bank – Children are very visual and having something there that they can add to and watch grow will give them the encouragement to keep saving.

Saving For A Treat – We all love to have a goal in life, something to work towards and strive for. This will then  encourage  them to save for that much longed for toy of item of clothing.

Matching Their Saving Amd Building For Thier Future – To give them a bit of encouragement we can help them reach their saving  goals a little quicker by matching what they have saved when they reach a certain amount or thinking more long term we could take out a savings account such as a Junior ISA so they know through their hard work you have created a sum of money to help out with something bigger such as their first home or uni fees for when they are older.

Earning Their Money – It’s all very well for them to be saving up their pennies but they need to realise that these have to be earned and not just given to them. Simple chores around the house such as tidying their rooms or washing the car are a great place to start.

Lead By Example – This is probably one of the most important ones for me. I want to let the children know that all the days out, holidays and treats we have come at a cost and these things need saving for. Having a jar on the side to save up spending money for a holiday or letting them know that you are forgoing that lunch out so that other important things can be paid for is a great way for them to follow in your footsteps.

I would love to know if you have any top tips for saving with your little ones.
*collaborated post 

Father’s Day At Flower Farm

I have to say that when it comes to Father’s Day I am a little selfish with the plans I make!

My husband doesn’t really share the love for the great outdoors as much as me, so when I announced we were heading off to pick strawberries his face didn’t exactly light up at the prospect.

The children however were hugely excited as it is certainly a highlight of the summer for them.

Sadly it seems that PYO farms are few and far between these days but we are lucky enough to have one right on our doorstep.

Flower Farm in Godstone is a small farm that has very reasonably priced PYO strawberries  and raspberries come July, with the great addition of a well stocked farm shop and lovely tea room where you can grab light bites and of course a delicious afternoon tea.

The sun was beating down on us whilst picking but this didn’t put us off, even my husband got stuck in and said he was throughly enjoying it.

I love activities like this that cost very little money and bring us all together as a family.

It actually gave me time to reflect on the fact I am incredibly lucky to have my husband who always goes out of his way to make us all happy, and maybe this should be reflected in my choice of activity next year! 

Country Kids

Back To The Fun At Elderflower Fields

You know when you leave a place and you are already planning your next trip back next year that it is place to remember.

This is exactly how we feel about Elderflower Fields and why we have just had our third and equally as fantastic trip there.

Our first taste of Elderflower Fields was as day visitors and it captured our hearts the moment we set foot in the field…so much so that last year we returned for the whole weekend and had our first ever experience of camping as a family.

This year was set to be just as good…if not even better than the last and we were all itching to get there and start the fun.

We were lucky enough to be trying out Pitch this year that is a fabulous company that sets up luxury bell tents for you that are beautifully kitted out and ready for you on your arrival. 

I have lots more to tell you about this, but as they say a picture paints a thousand words so I will leave you with this picture of the most incredible tent I have ever had the opportunity to stay in!

With setting up being completely pain free we doned the glitter and sparkles and made our way down to the main field to see what was going on this year.

The familiar main stage was alive with fantastic music and a sea of families relaxing and taking it all in.

For us one of the big pulls of this festival is the food and the children all made their way to grab an ice cream before they got going on the activities.

What I love most about Elderflower Fields is its relaxed atmosphere.

You can slowly wander without any pressure to get to planned activities all the time. There are of course a few things that have timed slots, but the majority you just turn up and have a go.

This year there was the addition of the Woodland Tribe that was a huge hit with the boys.

It saw Daddy uncharacteristically put his DIY hat on and hammer and saw with them all to help create a super cool den.

Another activity the children returned to plenty of times was the trapeze workshop.

The boys had no fear at being twisted and spun in the silks and it left Izzy with a real want to take it up as an activity once we got home.

Circus skills were up next and they tried their hands at everything on offer. I however wasn’t so skilful!

Grabbing a bite to eat was on the agenda before the evening fun.

Food is a huge part of this festival with something for everyone from meat lovers to vegans, savoury fans or those with a sweet tooth all tastes are catered for.

The potato stall has us coming back every year without fail and this year the Thai stall was my favourite with its beautifully flavoursome dishes, in fact I didn’t visit anywhere else all weekend.

As the sun came down we settled on the main field to listen to more bands and have a few cheeky cocktails before heading back to the comfort of our beautiful tent.

Fully refreshed from a great nights sleep we made our way down to the campfire to take part in the Campfire Cookout.
This is new to Elderflower Fields this year and something the children all really enjoyed taking part in.

Alongside cooking up some yummy chocolate waffles on the campfire the children got to take part in a drawing lesson that saw them making their very own comic strip.

My all time favourite face painter Nam Nam’s were back creating their masterpieces so we couldn’t pass up this chance.

I always feel so sad when I have to take their wonderful creations off.

Still pretty full from the waffles it was time for the So Sussex Family picnic.

Last year this was something I felt a little worried about as the theory behind it is to get together with twelve people, friends or strangers and select one leader to go and collect your picnic of delicious local products to enjoy together.

 

This year we met up with one of my husband school friends and some others they were camping with and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous food and great company.

It was then time to get out of the sun and take a stroll through the Art Trail.


Some unbelievable sculptures had been created and there was something new and unique round every corner, including a lookout tower that the children played in happily trying to spot all sorts with their binoculars.

 

I simply can’t fit everything in that we got up to over the course of a few short days as there was just so much going on. 

For me this festival offers more than just music and dancing, although they are big parts of it to!

The activities offer the children new experiences they can take home and further if they wish to and gives them a real understanding of nature and the world around them through the fun of play.

This magical festival keeps us coming back time and time again and I would highly reccomend a visit to see the brilliance yourselves!

Movie Night With Toy Story

What memories does the year 1995 conjure up for you?

Well you may be surprised to know that it was the year both Yahoo and EBay hit the World Wide Web, the biggest hit of the year  was Unchained Melody by Robson and Jerome and amazingly the cult classic Toy Story graced the big screen.

Even as a stroppy teen the story of Andy and his much loved toys grabbed my heart and is a film that I will never tire of watching.

I have passed my love of these films down to my children and over the years the characters have filled our home time and time again.

At the moment it is Frankie and Oscar that are the biggest fans and we often drag our moth eaten Woody around from place to place…in fact that little cowboy has certainly had a fair share of adventures with us over the years.

It’s not only the films that get watched and toys that are played with. Oscar’s favourite shoes are his Buzz Lightyear Vans that have ‘Andy’ embleshed on the sole.

When we were asked by B&M Stores and Thinkway Toys to keep the love of Toy Story alive by having a movie night complete with cosy blankets, popcorn and retro sweets with Woody and Buzz as company I knew the boys would be over the moon.

Sadly our Buzz went to the toy hospital in the sky a while ago now and as I said Woody is looking a little worse for wear so we were very happy to get the chance to play with some new characters.

The boys sat chomping on their goodies transfixed to the original Toy Story just as if it was the first time they had watched it.

It was in fact 2010 since Toy Story 3 was released and with the upcoming release of the fourth movie in 2019 it is lovely to be able to reach for the DVD and keep the love for this movie going and the anticipation for the next one high!

If you love Toy Story as much as us then you can’t miss our Twitter party that is taking place on 27th June from 1-2.30pm where there will be plenty of Toy Story chat and the chance to win some B&M vouchers.

So put the date in your diary and I look forward to tweeting you soon.

Prezzo #LaFamiglia Challenge 

Meals times are a battlefield in this house and there is always some sort  of issue that turns what should be happy family time into something less than enjoyable.

If we are eating at home or out there are no exceptions and the only difference to being out is that my stress levels increase as I am all to aware of everyone else around us.

For me the biggest problem is waiting. I have the most impatient children and having to wait between courses is something they are not to keen on.

This is where the La Famiglia from Prezzo is a fantastic option and something we could wait to try out for ourselves.

We were asked to take up the #LaFamiglia challenge with Britmums and were more than happy to take up the challenge.

We headed of to our local Prezzo in Reigate and were settled by out super friendly waitress who immediately kept the little ones amused with a spot of colouring.

 

While the little ones were busy creating I looked over what La Famiglia had to offer.

The set meal consists a large sharing bowl of pasta and there is the choice of the classic spaghetti bolognese, spicy penne arrabbiata or a penne alla rusticana.

Two mouthwatering garlic breads, two side dishes of either fries, oils infused fries, mixed salad or rocket salad.

And lastly four soft drinks with the option to swap for house wine for an extra £7 and not forgetting pudding, there is either the choice of ice cream or sorbet.

The meal is aimed to feed two adults and two children so even with a large family such as mine at the great price of £30 for  everything if we order double it would still work out a great deal cheaper then a meal out ordinary costs us.

Whist we chatted over our drinks it wasn’t long before our pasta arrabbiata and garlic bread arrived.


The children loved that they were able to help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted and to me this saved the whole argument about everything being eaten.

Pretty full there was of obviously sill room for desert.

There was a great selection of ice creams and sorbets to choose from but the salted chocolate sounded way to tempting for any of us to pass up on.

I would highly recommend trying out this great addition to Prezzo’s already fantastic menu.

The relaxed atmosphere and family friendly vibe put me at ease whilst we were there and I think tun would find it hard to beat the quality of food at such areasonable price. 

We Are Camp Bestival Offical Rock Stars!

For anyone that reads my blog I’m sure that it hasn’t gone unnoticed that we are huge fans of Camp Bestival.

I have been getting so excited over all the fantastic acts that are set to hit this fantastic festival this year and with it being their 10th birthday it is sure to be even bigger and better than last year.

Last year I was asked to be an offical blogger at Camp Bestival and it was honestly the absolute highlight of our summer for so many reasons.

This is why I am delighted to announce that this year we have been chosen as Offical Rock Stars and can’t wait to get covered in glitter and rock out with everyone else at the best festival around!

Keep an eye out for updates on the ever growing acts that are coming through thick and fast and hopefully if you like what you see you can come along and join in the fun with us too!

           

Learning To Cook With Jamie Oliver’s Hotpoint Teaching Kitchen

How many of you cook your evening meal from scratch every night?

I would hazard a guess that it won’t be many of you and as research from Jamie’s Ministry Of Food shows this sadly the case for many of us.

In fact a huge 1 in 5 adults rely on takeaways and convenience food due to a lack of knowledge in cooking skills and a whopping 1 in 10 have never cooked from scratch.

For me one of my favourite lessons at school was home economics and was actually the only A I got at GCSE.

It was an outlet away from the more academic subjects that I never thrived in and it certainly gave me a great knowledge of food preparation and nutrition that has always stayed with me.

Sadly in many schools this is not on the timetable at all now and 7 in 10 people feel the rise in takeaways and convience food has been greatly affected by this.

This makes for a vicious cycle of parents then not having the knowledge to pass down to their children creating a nation with little knowledge on food at all.

I was shocked to find that 1 in 5 can’t boil an egg, a quarter struggle to cook rice and a third of the people asked lack the skills to correctly cut an onion.

For these reasons Jamie’s Ministry Of Food has got together with Hotpoint to create a fantastic teaching kitchen that is setting up in the towns where obesity and diet related illnesses are at a high.

I was asked along to have a lesson at the truck earlier this week in Selhurst, South London.

I arrived in the car park of Crystal Palace Football Club which seemed like a pretty strange place to be learning to cook.

The truck was nothing liked I expected and was in fact a spectacularly kitted out set up with high tech appliances from Hopoint and plenty of natural light to make for a fantastic area to learn new skills.


Although I would say I’m a pretty confident cook my repertoire has become pretty limited due to cooking for a large family with limited time.

To be honest the majority of my meals are prepared from scratch but I’m a bit of a one pot fan and I was hoping this lesson would open my eyes to creating something new for the family.

Any nerves I had about starting the session were soon quashed when the super friendly chefs introduced themselves and started the afternoon.

Our mission was to prepare a beautiful dish of salmon teriyaki from scratch which is one of my favourite meals but something I’ve not tried to create mysel.

Each step was shown to us and then as we went through the process ourselves there was plenty of experts on hand to help out at any stage.


I learned some great tips on food wastage and an entirely new way to cook rice that I will be trying out at home!



Children as young as 7 can go along to take part and I think this would be the perfect way to introduce little ones to the exciting world of cooking and sparking off something that could turn into a real passion for them.

The truck is in Selhurst until 16th June and you can book your slot HERE for free.

It is then moving onto Bristol, Middlesborough, Sunderland and Liverpool.

There is then an exciting opportunity for one community to win the chance to have the truck come to your town.

All you need to do is post a picture on social media showing members of your local community such as a youth group or scout troop holding wooden spoons.

Simply let them know the name of your town and why they are deserving and is the hashtag #cookforchange.

I would love to know if you decide to visit the truck and if you do what you think!