Meal Planning Monday {18th May}


What a soggy start to the week! The forecast is not looking great for the week, hopes of salads and BBQ’s are out of the window.

This is what we are having this week.

Meal Planning 18th May

The Chicken, Bacon & Mushroom pasta bake it one of our favourite meals to use up leftover roast chicken.

We are also using leftover slow cooked pork to make pulled pork pizza’s this Friday, its a new one for us.

On Sunday instead of a full roast we are going to have chicken tray bake. We throw in chicken legs, baby potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash and rosemary and bake for 45-50 mins and it is delicious.

What are you having?

For more inspiration pop on over to At Home With Mrs M and checkout the other meal planning Monday posts.

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5 Fantastic Things to do May Half Term


May half term is almost here so it’s time to plan a few days out.

Don’t worry if you are stuck for ideas, we have you covered.

Kentwell

What: Storybook Trail and Heffalump Hunt Welly Walks and Family Activity Days

When: Tuesday 26th to Friday 29th May

Where:  Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9BA

How Much:  Adult £11.90/£10.70* Child 5-15 years £8.40/£7.50* OAP £10.90/£9.80* Family £35.00*

* Online price

Museum Of London Docklands

A child puts his hand into a paper theatre

What: Craft, drama, storytelling and art workshops

When:  Saturday 23rd to Sunday 21st May

Where:   Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL – How

How Much:  FREE

The Museum of London situated at 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN is also running many free workshops through the half term holiday.

Roald Dahl Museum

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What:  Craft workshops, trails and story time.

When:  Saturday 23rd to Sunday 21st May

Where:   81 to 83 High Street, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 0AL

How Much:  Adults £6.60, Children 5 to 18 £4.40, Children under 5 Free , Concessions £4.40 ,Family ticket £21.00(For 2 adults and up to 3 children.) plus workshop fee which varies from fee to £3.

Ightham Mote

View of Ightham Mote from Mote Road © Roy Garrett

What:  50 things spring estate trail

Get outside in the gardens and estate to complete some of your 50 things as you follow this self-guided trail.

When:  Runs from now until the 31st May

Where:   Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0NT

How Much:  Standard – Adult: £10.80, Child: £5.40, Family: £27.00, Group adult: £9.00, Group child: £4.60 plus 50p for trail sheet.

World Horse Welfare Penny Farm

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What:  Spring Bank Holiday Weekend Fun and Family Fun Day with quizzes, face painting, bouncy castle and a look around the farm.

When:  23rd, 24th & 25th May. Family Fun Day is the 27th May

Where:   World Horse Welfare Penny Farm, Preston New Road, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY4 5JS

How Much: FREE

Meal Planning Monday {11th May}


Last week really got away from us what with the bank holiday and our school was closed as a polling station on Thursday.

The next two weeks are really busy for us as we get ahead for the May Half Term, trying to find that elusive work/life balance!

Anyway this is what we are having this week.

Meal Planning 11th May

What are you having?

For more inspiration pop on over to At Home With Mrs M and checkout the other meal planning Monday posts. 

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Let’s Talk Work/Children/Life Balance


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As mums whether you are a SAHM, Working Mum or WAHM finding balance is tough.

Can a work/children/life balance really be achieved?

Carol our Community Manager works from home part time and has two children aged 6 and 2; she tells us how she manages to have a work/life balance 80% of the time.

It is hard to find a consistent balance as life is so unpredictable. Last year I had two days a week to work. My Mother in Law would have my youngest on a Friday and my partner has Wednesdays off so I would work then while he kept her entertained and took over the running of the house.  My MIL has been very ill since before Christmas so I lost a whole day and had to re arrange my working week. It involved a lot of nights until Little Miss started playgroup in February. I now get two hours on a Monday and school hours on a Wednesday and then I tend to do two evenings.

I have to be really organised and motivated. We get clothes ready the night before on school nights and we meal plan. I am incredibly lucky that my other half shares the housework and cooking with me.  It’s not all left to me, we are a team. This means I can take my youngest out and enjoy the baby groups and coffee mornings. 

I try not to work after 9pm so we can have some time together and I don’t work at all on Saturday’s so I can unwind.

I am very fortunate to be able to freelance and work from home.  It wasn’t the original plan, I was going to go back to work part time but company wouldn’t agree to it so I left. 

Some months I have a great balance and others I am up working until midnight!

We asked some Mum’s if they achieved a balance and how they did this:

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Has only been achieved since I left teaching and started working for myself as self-employed. Before that I struggled and my children were in hospital frequently and I was not giving enough to my students.  Emma Bradley

Balance? What is this balance you speak of? I find I am more on a see saw between work, kids, home and me, yes I know see saws have either an up or a down and are balanced in the middle, so maybe a see saw wasn’t a good example. When the kids are at school I focus on me, work and housework stuff, which works when the kids are well but when one is ill it tends to shift the focus to them and then I have to play catch up and work to silly hours which then leaves me feeling frazzled which has an impact on my supermum skills. I suppose juggling or spinning plates is a better example. You would have thought after 12 years and 2 kids I would be good at it, but I just take it day by day really.  Jackie Elton

Tbh…I have found it much easier now my are teens and one is in Australia!!!… throughout my career I have prioritised the things that matter most and have days where i sit and tackle the jobs i tend to avoid to get them done and out of the way! Jane Smith

We get it, for the most part – we both work from home, for ourselves (well, for a multitude of individual clients, of course, but we are our own bosses). We share childcare and housework very much equally, including splitting the school runs. We have things that are just ours (washing is mine, gardening is his) but mostly it’s taking turns or who has the spare time at that point. We also do not have massively high standards when it comes to housework

We do the bulk of our work while the girls are at school, but both now and then fit in some evening or weekend work, too. We both have our own things we do for ourselves (art, computer games, cycle rides, being on committees) and we try to go out for lunch just the two of us once a week and also we like to have one or two TV shows (on DVD or Netflix, etc. – not scheduled TV, because that just doesn’t work!) that we watch together, as well.

Weekends we vary – sometimes one of us needs to do loads of work, sometimes we each do one day of working and one day of doing something with the children, and sometimes we manage to do something together as a whole family.

When I was working in-house, I was only able to do so because Chris did almost everything – all school runs, most of the shopping, all school events, all after-school clubs, all weekday cooking. But then I spent the whole weekend with the girls and would usually do some housework then, while he worked, because he couldn’t fit all his work in during school hours with all the other things he had to do. I missed out on school events and school runs and missed out on a lot of those little after-school chats and so on, so I didn’t like it.

So… yes, but only if you both have really flexible working conditions or work from home, I think. Tasha Goddard

At some point, I have been all 3 (not at the same time of course!) and I found part time / self-employed to be the best of both worlds. But it depends on everyone’s situation for the money wise which way it is best. I actually get more money as a WAHM earning absolutely nothing as a blogger as I did a SAHM on Income Support. Gemma Louise

The only way of achieving this balance was to go self employed and I work either early morning or very late at night. Then is a case of multi-tasking during the day between replying to emails, snapping photos, house work and child care. But I am 100% flexible, I can take holidays when we please and it suits our life with young kids. Elaine Croft

I really struggle with the work/life balance. I find that I am torn and feel guilty about leaving my family, but know they are looked after well, so I shouldn’t, but I do. And when I’m at work, I struggle to leave there. I’ve worked in the place I am in for 15 years and they are flexible, because I am with them and can be due to child care. It is hard when on your days off, you need to do chores, spend time with the kids, homework, school stuff, etc. I find it harder since they have started school. Meeting their friend’s mums at the school gate, having kids over, etc is harder. However, I don’t think I could give up my career; I’ve worked hard to get to where I am as a manager. Susan K Mann

I started working as a carer last year, after a 10 year break to bring up my children, but only lasted 6 months as I was spending so much time travelling between clients (and getting paid only for the hours I was actually at client’s houses, not the travelling) and I was losing so much time with my family. It just wasn’t worth it. I now work as an MSA (Dinner Lady to you & I!) at my eldest children’s’ school so I have weekends and all school holidays off. It works much better for us all. Heidi Boast

There is no work life/home balance. Every decision you make comes at the cost of something else Snaffles Mummy

I went back to work when my daughter was 6 months old and I worked 4 days a week, 1 of those at home. I’ve always had a really good work/life balance. My job is Regional so I need to be away from home at least twice a month. I’m very lucky to have a husband who can work flexibly and a good support network with my Mum and sisters who have helped us out over the years. My daughter has never missed out on anything, there has always been at least one of us at all nursery/school events and my husband and I have always been able to work our diaries around her needs. Clare Baillie

Antonia Chitty from Family Friendly Working top tip is:

Pick a small number of priorities – you can’t do everything, but focus on the things that you want.

Have you got any tips to help achieve that balance?

How do you do it?

15 Baby Shower Gift Ideas


Baby showers are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Mums to be are thrown a party to celebrate the new arrival, receive gifts and play games.

Its a nice way to wind down and see friends before baby arrives. But what gifts do you take to a baby shower? Something for mum or baby?

Here at Kids One Stop Shop we have a great selection of gifts for both mum and baby.

The Mummy Bracelet has many uses for all Mums, from pregnancy, birth to beyond. Use it as a Record keeper, Breastfeeding Reminder Bracelet, Medicine reminder, Appointment keeper and combat forgetful baby brain! £19.95

Mixed Gemstones bracelet

Spring Bunny Nappy Cake in Yellow, Pink or Blue. Featuring the very cute and fluffy soft bunny in ivory. £45.99

Easter/Spring Bunny Nappy Cake in Yellow, Pink or Blue

Sleepy Little Bear 1 Tier Nappy Cake. What a perfectly cute little nappy cake to give to a little baby girl. Or a perfect baby shower centre piece. All gift wrapped with colour coordinated cellophane, pull bow and curling ribbon.  £40.99

New Mummy Sock & Soap Gift Set. A lovely gift box for a new mummy who has just had a gorgeous bundle of joy. £24.99

Stunning sleepy stars design, this swaddling blanket is a favourite!

Made from 100% organic cotton soft interlock jersey, its perfect for a new baby present. These swaddling blankets can be used as a pram blanket, cot blanket, swaddling shawl or laid on the floor for baby to play on. £12

Luxury Lavender 3 Tier Nappy Cake. A stunning baby gift for any little boy or girl. This extravagant luxurious baby gift would be a perfect baby shower centrepiece or a wonderful gift if you are collecting money at work for a colleague or client. £85.99

Personalised Yummy Mummy to be mug. This mug can be personalised in anyway. Either with your own picture and text or just the text! £7.50

These lovely sheep fairy lights are made up of 7 handmade felt boy and girl sheep motifs, with double satin grey blue coloured ribbons are twisted around the lights to hang the shapes. £26

A hand tied stem containing a Bib and a Pair of Socks in White. Beautifully finished with Rose petals and a Mulberry paper flower, wrapped in white floristry wrap, tied with a neutral curling ribbon. £8.95

We are sure a lot of people will remember the wonderful Hungry Caterpillar story from their childhood. This bouquet gift set will bring back memories and makes a perfect gift for a beautiful baby girl or baby boy £60.99

Animal Alphabet Nursery Print. Bright and fun animal alphabet poster for the nursery or child’s room. £15

This beautiful Gumidrop necklace inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge with plenty of bits for baby to enjoy. £15.95

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Beautiful Personalised Large Wooden Keepsake Memory Box with Polka Dot Star £25

Personalised Large Wooden Keepsake Memory Box with Polka Dot Star

The Cotton Nap Sack is an ideal baby sleeping bag for those daytime naps. Lightweight and with a vent in the back that fits car seats and push chair 5-point travel harnesses £25

Our Selection of Nap sacks

The Nappy Purse with Travel Change Mat is a Mini Changing Bag that can hold 3 disposable nappies and a handy wipes case. Perfect for just nipping out or travelling light. £20

Nappy Purse with Travel Change MatA Mini Changing Bag that makes any bag a changing bag

Visit our Pinterest board for more Baby Shower inspiration.

Follow Wendy’s board Baby Shower on Pinterest.

Family Days Out: The Roald Dahl Museum


We were recently invited along to the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire and what fun we had!

The exterior of the Roald Dahl Museum

We took along 6 children and they all thoroughly enjoyed the day.

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The Roald Dahl museum have three interactive galleries:

The Boy gallery which is all about Roald’s childhood.

The Solo gallery where you learn all about his adult life including his RAF career and you get to visit his writing hut.

The Story Centre where you get the chance to be creative.

They loved sitting in Roald Dahl ‘s chair at his actual writing table, imagining what it must have been like to come up with all those ideas!

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They loved finding out the facts they didn’t know about him during the quiz!

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Our friends said:

Jack constructed his own story on a special board; they loved looking at themselves through a mirror to see what would look like with a beard!! It’s all very well done.

The children said:

“Wow – I’m really sitting in Roald Dahl’s chair – I feel inspired to write a story” (Ellie age 11)

“I love the fact that I can create my own movies this is so fun!” (Jack aged 7)

“solo is so fun I am looking at Roald Dahl`s writing den there is a random golfball on a string! What is that for?” (Ellie Aged 11)

“I love creating these funny faces for the story ideas book!” (Jack aged 7)

We found the museum clean, tidy with informative small rooms crammed with memorabilia and facts!

A must visit for lovers of his books and for parents keen to inspire their kids!

The Roald Dahl museum run many free crafts and storytelling sessions or you can book yourself on a workshop for a small fee.

The museum is open:

Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm

Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm

Museum admission:

Adults £6.60

Children 5 to 18 £4.40

Children under 5 Free

Concessions £4.40

(Concessions are for students, people aged 60 or over or for those with disabilities)

Family ticket £21.00

(For 2 adults and up to 3 children.)

A real bargain for a great day out!

It won’t be long before the May half term is here, book a workshop now.

Penguins of Madagascar at Chessington World of Adventure


We were kindly invited to Chessington World of Adventure to review the new Penguins of Madagascar.

We absolutely loved the new rooms that were on offer. It was really nice as we could see the fab playground from our room. We really enjoyed it.

First we had a great show in the hotel showing us some groovy moves and meeting the Penguins which we thought was fun! We also loved the penguin made of ice.

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Following this we went and watched the new show which was very cheesy! We loved the new show which the kids thought was very funny! It is a great place where you get to see lots of groovy moves and I look forward to going back again!

Chessington World of Adventure

The children loved the rides especially the roller coaster.

Chessington

You can find full details on the year of the Penguin at Chessington World of Adventures on their website.

There is still time to book for the Easter Holidays and they have some great offers on.