IMG_0041.JPGLike many families one activity on our Summer To Do list was a trip to the cinema to see the BFG.

First of all a top tip to get cheap tickets- cinema going is an expensive business…

and as is usual for our cinema trips I made them their own bags of pick-a-mix / popcorn to take with us to save a few more pennies too!

So the film…

In my opinion it’s a great adaptation of the book  – it’s quite scary at times even when you know the story but there are some funny moments too. I think I was most impressed with the computer editing that would have had be done to account for the size differences of Sophie and the BFG given that most of the story is between them!

I think the boys enjoyed it although the critique in the car on the way home was all about all the times the plot differs from the book – will have to watch the old cartoon film to see which one they feel is a better representation of the story!


Word of the Week: Adventures


This week has been week one of the school holidays and we’ve been planning our adventures – the list from the boys isn’t particularly adventurous but it is fun to have time without the bind of school timetables and activities. This week was a bit odd as we still had ballet (Miss Littlesheep), tennis squads (Biggest Littlesheep) and swimming lesson (Littlest Littlesheep) so with that time table and Biggest taking part in two tennis tournaments there wasn’t much week for adventuring.

This was also the week we pretended to own a dog – my mum did a London-Paris cycle ride (very proud of her on her adventures) and when my dad went out to join her for a mini-break in Paris we looked after their dog so we had lots of dog outings.


We bought a fire pit, had a fire and made smores…

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We caught some Pokemon (and some like this little beastie got away)…

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The middle two signed up for the summer library reading challenge (and Little Miss got a card for the mini challenge).


and we had a day out at Worcester Country Park (the phone ran out of battery from Pokemon-hunting so no photos of the park) but it was a great day out meeting up with NCT volunteers from Worcestershire to campaign to save their children’s centres before milkshakes and toasted teacakes in the cafe, a play in the park and a walk in the woods.

Meal Planning: The Children’s Edition

So the children planned the summer holidays and said they wanted to do cooking – I got the impression when I started talking to them about what they were going to cook us for dinner it was more about cooking cakes but we did get a few recipe books out of the library and there are a few main meals from ‘We Can Cook: Kids in the Kitchen‘ that I hope to try out over the holidays.

  • Spicy Sausage Tortilla
  • Presto Pesto Pasta
  • Sticky Chicken
  • Honey Mustard Chicken
  • Turkey Patties
  • Ham and Mozzarella Calzone
  • Quick and Easy Risotto
  • Mini Toads-in-the-Hole
  • Thai Pork Patties
  • Cheesy Burgers

Watch this space for the outcomes (and tweaks we will undoubtedly make when I forget some of the ingredients!

Summer Holiday Plans

So here we are at the start of the school holidays!

For the first time ever I’ve got to juggle work with the long summer holidays – luckily I only do 9 hours a week and my employer is very flexible so I’ve worked out a timetable with a mix of time in the office, working from home and annual leave.

Biggest Littlesheep will be spending part of it playing tennis (naturally!), Middle Littlesheep is doing a sailing course (hopefully getting his RYA level 1), Littlest Littlesheep is going to go snowboarding and Miss Littlesheep wants a sleepover at grandma’s with her girly cousins.

I asked the children what they wanted to do and here’s a list (including some of the things that featured in the ‘Things we want to do this year’) of things we might do this summer…

  • watch the Harry Potter movies
  • watch Star Wars films
  • watch Minions Movie seen 24.8.16
  • watch Angry Birds Movie seen by Bigglest Littlesheep 21.8.16
  • watch Despicable Me films
  • watch The BFG seen 30.7.16
  • hunt Pokemon done every day so far…
  • do some cooking
  • have a waterfight
  • play on Wii
  • play on DS
  • play on computer
  • play tennis done 21.8.16
  • icebucket challenge
  • have a fire fire pit bought 24.7.16 first fire had 27.7.16
  • go cycling done on holiday 18.8.16
  • go swimming done on holiday 18.8.16
  • go the Wimbledon museum
  • find the BFG dream jars in London
  • go to Legoland Windsor
  • go to Drayton Manor
  • do science experiments
  • complete craft / science kits
  • go to the seaside
  • go the zoo
  • do a Where’s Wally jigsaw completed 22.8.16
  • go on a steam train

We have a holiday booked with my parents and all my siblings and their children so that should be a filled week too – wonder if we can tick of any of the above with them? Sadly the holiday cottage we ended up with isn’t near the sea so we’ll have to try that one somewhere else.

I’ll also sign the younger three up to the library summer reading scheme – I’ve suggested that they look for recipe books and science books to tick off some of the things above… I fancy going to Roald Dahl Museum as we haven’t been there and the Stick Man Trail at Salcey Forest should be good if the weather stays nice… There is also Brick Wonders exhibition at Herbert Art Gallery visited 10.8.16 which they might like.

What are your summer holiday plans?




Word of the Week: HOT

page01For someone who is supposedly intelligent my first two words of the week are both three letter words – hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something lengthier next week.

The Reading ResidenceI haven’t yet looked across at the linky but I’m pretty sure that amongst UK bloggers there will be a fair few who have picked words like hot, sunshine, summer and melting because it does appear that this week summer has arrived in the UK and we’ve all been pretty hot and sticky. There didn’t seem to be much warning before this heatwave the temperatures of which are great if you are lying by a pool or on a beach on holiday but not so fabulous to have to work in or do the school run in.

As you may know I’m standing in the elections to be a NCT Trustee so here are some links to useful tips about the heat if you are pregnant, or have babies / small children.

Today is the end of term – hopefully the summer won’t end now school has and we’ll get to do lots of fun things outside.


175 words is not enough…

As you may already know I’m standing in the election to be a NCT Trustee and as part of the process you get to answer three questions that are put on the website for the public to read…

  • 150 words for a biography,
  • 175 words to say why you want to be elected
  • and a list of NCT roles held (past or current).

So 150 words for a biography is a challenge – but if you want to know more about my background you can read it on LinkedIn  which tells you a lot more about what I have done.

If that is a challenge 175 words for why you want to be a trustee is attempting the impossible – I hope I wrote enough to get people interest… So without the word restrictions that mean every word has to be carefully crafted here are some more reasons:

  1. I love NCT – I’ve been involved as a volunteer for over 12 years and I’m not a practitioner or employee so every minute of my time has been given for FREE and lets face it you wouldn’t do that for a charity you didn’t love would you?
  2. I’m proud of NCT’s work to increase reach – of course we still have a way to go but if you look at our annual conference now and compare it to 10 years ago we are a much more varied bunch (even at the most simple level the number of dads there reminding us that we are for all parents not just mums) and I want to be part of making sure we extend this even further.
  3. I’ve had a fantastic time as a Regional Coordinator and whilst I’d happily continue for longer I think that after nearly eight years in the role it’s about time to hand it over to someone else to let them have that fun and experience –  so I’m looking for a new challenge
  4. I’m passionate about supporting new parents to make the choices that are right for them and want all parents to have access to the evidence based information they need without commercial pressure (read the Politics of Breastfeeding if you need some examples)
  5. I know the NCT branch and region structure inside out and upside down and I feel that this knowledge base will be an asset to the board to balance the professional skills that our trustees have.
  6. I love papers, reports, policies and procedures – it’s what I do when I go out to work, it’s why I ended up on the Steering Committee of the British Youth Council (which was my volunteering before I had a baby!) and it’s why I have learnt so much about NCT as I’ve read ever piece of information I can get my hands on!
  7. I have understanding of the issues in Wales – the Nominations and Governance committee were particularly asking for candidates from Wales and I nearly didn’t apply because I strongly believe that the board should represent all of the nations that make up the UK but as their isn’t a candidate from Wales one who has longstanding links with volunteers from across Wales (and the other devolved nations) I know some of the challenges NCT being seen as an ‘English’ charity causes.

And as for the roles I’ve held.. I kept it simple with “I am currently the West Midlands Regional Coordinator and Chair of NCT’s Regional Volunteer Support Network as well as volunteering in my local branch as a NCT Breastfeeding Peer Supporter / Bumps and Babies host. I have held a variety of other branch roles across three different branches over the last 12 years.”

The real list of NCT voluntary experience:

  • Open House Host
  • Nearly New Sale Volunteer
  • Open House Coordinator
  • Branch Secretary
  • Branch Chair (as it was back then) Coventry branch
  • NCT Rep (at a Children’s Centre Parents Forum)
  • Branch Volunteer
  • Interim Branch Coordinator (after the role title changed) Warwickshire Central branch
  • Branch Treasurer (of a brand new branch) Southam & Villages branch
  • Branch Newsletter Editor
  • Interim Branch Coordinator
  • Breastfeeding Peer Supporter
  • Branch Webmaster
  • Bumps and Babies host

Sorry I can’t remember the exact dates – some of them e.g. Nearly New Sale Volunteer are ‘ongoing since 2004’ and some of them are roles I held and passed on. I was definitely a Rep in 2009 as I went to Rep’s forum in Swansea and the new Southam & Villages branch started in 2010.

You can read more about #mynctstory here.



Too Hot for Monday Meal Planning

I’m pretty rubbish at keeping up with meal planning at the best of times but today is just too hot to think about food – can they live on sandwiches for the week? Its’s a funny sort of week as well as being hot as the end of term has happened for a lot of activities so we have less running around to do but we have lots of tired children!

Monday: Pasta and sauce

Tuesday: Pizza for them, Tuna salad for me

Wednesday: Chicken salad?

Thursday: Omelette and salad?

meat-1440105_1280Friday: Fish fingers and chips (well it’s tradition!) or may Fish and Chips takeaway as it is the end of term

Saturday / Sunday: BBQ if the children get their way and it stays hot

Next week it’s school holidays!