Monday, 22 July 2019

Living Arrows 2019 29/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week! 

Its the summer holidays! At last!

Both boys had a lovely last week at school and playgroup. We had fantastic weather on Tuesday so the Key Stage One sports day actually went ahead! James had a fantastic time competing for his house, which is named after Alnwick Castle!

We got Freddie's learning journal from playgroup this week and it was so lovely to look back at all he has achieved since he started a year past January when he was just two. Freddie also had a party on the very last day. Its so strange to think he has now finished in the playgroup and moved on to his next chapter aka the school foundation unit. 





Living Arrows

Friday, 19 July 2019

How To Manage Your Money With A Family

**Collaborative Post**


It can be a challenge keeping your finances on track with a young family. There always
seems to be something that crops up and before you know it, you have spent a couple
of hundred pounds that you had not planned to be spending when pay day rolled around.
It can be painful! So today we want to share with you a few tips on how to manage your
money with a family. 



Whether it be Mercedes Servicing or a broken down washing machine, something always seems to come up every month, doesn’t it? This is why it’s so important when you are planning your monthly budget to look at your annual expenses rather than just note down those monthly direct debits. 

Take into account every single expense

Along with your normal monthly bills, you should also take into account birthdays and Christmas spending, holidays, emergencies, and then those things that you know will crop up from time to time such as buying school uniform and shoes, swimming lesson fees, car servicing and so on. It can be hard to think of everything, so don’t rush this process, do take a look back over around a year’s worth of bank statements as they will remind you of all that you need to spend.



Work with a weekly figure 

The next step is one that people rarely take, but trust us, as it is well worth doing. Get yourself a weekly budget figure. 

You need to work out a weekly amount of money that you have available after all of the necessities have been paid. Weekly is a lot easier to work with and stick to than monthly. Weekly might only allow you to make one or two purchases, which will make you stop and think before you pop to the shops and buy a few bits and bobs. Monthly will be a greater amount and you are more likely to ignore it as one spend in a month’s worth of spending can easily get swallowed up and ignored. 

Spread out the cost

Now that you are getting used to looking at your finances across the year, then the month and then weekly, it’s time to start working on spreading the cost.

You should now be taking typically expensive times into account, such as Christmas and holidays. We would suggest that as well we putting money aside monthly for everything like this you also shop throughout the year for them.

Buy clothes for the next size up when the sales are on, avoid paying full price wherever possible. If you see a great deal on a toy that you know your little one would love, but Christmas isn't for another three months, buy it and put it away ready for them. Similarly, buy bargain toys and gifts that you spot ready for those birthday parties that you just know your children are going to be going to. This way you won’t be caught on the hop at any point and you will have bought a lovely gift without breaking the bank. 


The End of Playgroup

Its Friday the 19th of July 2019 and today was Freddie's last day at his playgroup before he moves into the school nursery in September.

There is so much I want to say to all the staff, but the biggest is Thank You!

Thank you for looking after my little boy,
Thank you for taking his allergies seriously,
Thank you for comforting him,
and Thank you for helping him become the little boy is he today!


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Why Do The Boys Wear Allergy Bracelets

So both James and Freddie wear allergy bracelets.

For James this is to remind people that he is asthmatic. We received James bracelet last year as part of a review with Butler and Grace

His has the international allergy symbol on one side and on the inside it is engraved with Asthma. James wears this everyday when he goes to school as a reminder for his teaching staff and also the dinner staff that he is asthmatic. 

We have been very lucky that James has not had any major issues with his asthma at school. I think year one and year two have been the first years where we have not had any send homes through asthma related illness. In nursery and reception I think we were on weekly send homes at one point.


For Freddie, his is a little bit different, his came from allergy buddies. His has a round charm on the middle that says No Dairy, Soya or Wheat Please. Freddie has been diagnosed as Non Ige Allergic to Dairy, Soya and Wheat. 

His allergies are quite serious, although it is not an instant reaction, like hives or his breathing being effected, Freddie's reactions are delayed and they upset his stomach and his quickest reaction had been around 30 minutes after he has ingested the allergen. 

It can also take up to three days for the allergen to be fully out of his system. It is not just food that sets off Freddie's allergies. Our biggest trigger has actually been playdoh, as it contains wheat! He doesn't even need to be playing with it for it to cause a reaction. All he needs to do is actually touch something that has it on and then put his hands in his mouth, then within a few hours he is actually really poorly. 

Freddie wears his bracelet to playgroup and he will also be wearing it to nursery to remind the staff that he needs to be kept safe from his allergens. 

I hope this helps someone who is in the same boat as we are. 

Monday, 15 July 2019

Living Arrows 2019 28/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week! 


Its been such a busy week for James! On Monday and Tuesday he had school, then Tuesday night we had parents evening which went well. Then on Wednesday He had a school trip to Walker Activity Dome for some school sports afternoon, and just like last year they were late back to school. The bus didn't arrive back till after quarter past three, so by time the kids got off the bus then into school, then they had to get changed out of their pe kits it was nearly twenty to four when we got in the house! James then had to go and get changed out of his school kit as daddy was taking him for a hair cut!

Freddie has had a lovely week in playgroup, ending the week with a visit to his new school nursery! He was so excited to visit. He absolutely loved it!

We also went to stay with nana and gaga for the night on Saturday as it was gaga's birthday and they had arranged a party.




Living Arrows

Siblings July

Welcome to the July Edition of The Siblings Project!
We are now into the seventh month of 2019! 
James is now days away from finishing Year Two! And Freddie is days away from finishing playgroup before he transfers into the nursery at James Primary School in September!

James has been loving
*Beavers
* His tablet
* His Scooter

Freddie has been loving
* Playgroup
* His Moo
* His scooter





This months photographs were taken before we had a family day out the other weekend! Both boys decided to have their hats on backwards and demanded photos to be taken! 


Friday, 12 July 2019

Freddie's Allergy Issues

Over the last few years, well since around May 2016, we began to realise Freddie had issues with some foods. 

When he was weaning, we followed all the guidelines and introduced him to full fat cows milk in his foods. Then when it came to swapping him from formula to cows milk we realised there was definitely a problem. The first day we tried he had around 4oz of full fat cows milk over around 12 hours and that night he was a nightmare! He was grumbly, he had a gassy stomach, he was only sleeping for around an hour or two at the most. He then got very bunged up and didn't go for a number two for three days! We thought he wasn't ready for full fat milk, so stopped giving it to him. When we tried again a couple of months later the same things happened.

We then approached out GP who suggested as mummy cannot tolerate full fat dairy products maybe Freddie was the same, so they suggested keeping him on the 1-2 years toddler formula and then moving him to green top cows milk when he was 18 months old. 

So 18 months came and we slowly started swapping an ounce for an ounce, so replaced an ounce of formula for an ounce of green top. By the time James birthday arrived in the August, Freddie was fully on green top and we saw there was definitely a problem still. His sleep was horrendous and he wasn't going to the toilet for number twos very often and when he did he would be screaming his head off. So it was back to the GP who prescribed him movicol. Even with that he was still struggling.

Then he reached his second birthday and he was ill. He spent the whole night before his birthday vomiting, yet he was still crying for his milk. So we mixed his milk with some water. We kept giving it to him like that for a few days to make sure the bug was out of his system.

We soon noticed that he wasn't needing the movicol in is milk, so it was back to the GP who referred him to the hospital. This was when we started to suspect that he was having an issues with all things dairy, so we decided to take him dairy free to see if it helped! And it did! We moved Freddie onto almond milk to see if it helped in and after a couple of weeks he was starting to sleep a whole lot better. 

After a few months on the almond milk we decided to try him on Soya milk as we knew this could be bought in individual sized cartons, the idea was that if he settled on it we would purchase the cartons and he could take them with him once he started nursery. The day after he first tried soya milk we noticed he was having a lot of runny nappies one after another. We didn't think much of it till a few days later when he started to be very wheezy and coughing a lot. He was still having really bad nappies so I started to look online and found that the symptoms he was having matched soya allergy. So we immediately put him back onto almond milk. 

When his hospital appointment finally arrived he was in and out and told he had intolerance to dairy and soya. He was then referred to the dietitians. 

We saw the dietitian in the November who basically said keep him as he was and we would see her again a few months later. By the time he saw the dietitian again in the February we had taken him wheat free as we suspected wheat was the cause of the issues he was still having. And he was so much better! The dietitian team then referred him back to hospital where he was officially diagnosed as Non Ige Allergic to Dairy, Soya and Wheat. 

It is still very much a learning curve for us as the diagnosis is still very new, and finding things Freddie can and can't eat. If you have any tips please leave them in comments below or email us!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

(AD) Night Zookeeper Review

James is just about to finish Year Two at school and to be honest Year Two has not been the best for James. As he is so young he is actually working at levels below what he should be.

When we were approached by the people behind the website Night Zookeeper we were thrilled.The Night Zookeeper website is An educational platform that helps children learn new words, understand them in sentences and create amazing stories shared around the world. Children draw their own magical zoo creatures that go through the zoo to help 
them to develop their creative writing skills. This is something that James is definitely going to 
need to improve on for going into Year Three in September. 

The Night Zookeeper website says "The foundation of all great writers is their broad and rich vocabulary. We help your children learn thousands of new words through exciting, personalised activities and games." 

It also states "Children are then challenged to put their learning into action, producing stories, reports, poems and other styles of writing. Their work will live in a personal portfolio that can be shared with family, friends and a global audience

James has absolutely been loving the challenges he has done so far! He has been loving designing his own characters and writing about them

What I love the most is the fact that children get instant feed back on what they have wrote. For example on one of the challenges James has already done, he forgot to add punctuation in at the end of his sentence and once he pressed enter it reminded him.

I can see us using this with James over the summer holidays a lot to get him ready for the challenges he is going to face once he moves into Key Stage Two in September. 

**We were gifted a 3 month subscription to Night Zookeeper and also sent a copy of one of the books in exchange for this review!**

Monday, 8 July 2019

(AD) Win a Swimfin!


The boys have really been loving their Swimfins and today we have an exciting competition for you over on on our Instagram page where you can win your very own Swimfin!!

Visit https://www.instagram.com/mrshockallz/ and like the photo, follow us and also follow https://www.instagram.com/swimfingb/

You have until midnight on 14th July to enter
Terms & Conditions: No cash alternative, Colours are subject to availability, Decision is final. 

Living Arrows 2019 27/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week! 

This week has been quite a busy one for James. On Wednesday they had Decathlete David Guest in school to do a sponsored sports event in school, Then Thursday he had the school's annual singing picnic where his class sang Witch Doctor by the Cartoons. Then also on Thursday he had a trip to the local Apple Store with Beavers to do one of their badges for this term! So by the time we got home on Thursday night he was shattered!

Freddie had a great week at playgroup, its sad to think he only has 9 sessions left after today. I know he will miss all the staff so much and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for him since he started a year past January. 






Living Arrows

Friday, 5 July 2019

Review of Milkshake Live

As a parent, kids TV shows, especially in the mornings are a life saver! My two boys love Milkshake on Channel 5 in the mornings before they go to school and playgroup!

The team behind Milkshake, over the last few years, have started to put on live theatre shows using some of the characters from the programmes they show. We first saw one of the live productions when James was two and he's now almost 7!

The latest offering is Milkshake Monkey's Musical, based around the channel's mascot - Milkshake Monkey! 


When we saw the show was coming to Sage at Gateshead we knew we would have to take the boys! We missed the last theatre show they did as we were away when they were here, so we knew we had to take them to this one!

So mummy booked the tickets to take the boys to see the show!

We booked to see the 11am show on 30th June as we knew seeing the earlier show would allow us more time afterwards for getting back home!


This tour they have two different types of ticket, the standard ticket and the VIP ticket which allows you to meet some of the characters from the show! We decided to get the VIP tickets this time, so after the show we got to meet Milkshake Monkey and Shimmer and Shine which both the boys loved!

The show features characters from shows that are on Milkshake including Digby Dragon, Fireman Sam, Nella the princess knight, Shimmer and Shine, Whisper, Noddy and the Floogals! There are also two of the Milkshake presenters. The show we were at had Derek and Olivia. 

In the show Milkshake Monkey wants to put on his very own musical and so the show is based around him getting everything ready for the show, even though he has a bout of stage fright! I won't go into too much detail about the show as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not seen it! But what I will say is it was fantastic!


The show had a prompt start and including the interval it ran for just over an hour and a half which I think was a perfect length for small children. Even thought Freddie had his own seat, he actually chose to sit on my knee so he could see even more! He only started to get ants in his pants right at the very end!

The tour runs till the start of Novermber 2019, when it breaks for panto season, so check out https://www.milkshake.tv/milkshakelive for dates!

**We were not asked to write this review and we paid for our own tickets! We just wanted to tell everyone what a great family show it is!**

**Images are courtesy of Mark Thompson Productions on Instagram**

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

My Top 3 Spotify Most Played!

Music has always been a big part of my life, but since we bought the Google Home Mini back in January I always have music on in the kitchen when I am cooking or sorting washing out. I will also have music on while I am working on the laptop! In fact I have music on while I am writing this post! 

We have got my Spotify account attached to the Home Mini So today's post is all about what are my most played albums on Spotify!

Album Number One is Disney Lullaby Album. This album has been a godsend for getting Freddie to sleep on a night. 

Freddie is one of those kids that needs music to go to sleep. Where as James would use his Baby Tad, Freddie seems to need music to get to sleep!

 Normally the album only needs playing once and then he is asleep, but a few times it has had to be played two or three times!


Album Two is Stronger Together by D-Side. Now this band was a huge part of my teenage years and my early twenties. 

This album was the only one released in the UK, but another three were released in Japan, which I actually ordered online and imported! 

I am always playing this in the house as it is one of my favourite albums! I still keep in touch with some of the guys online. In fact Derek actually presents on Milkshake on Channel 5 which the boys love!


And finally Album Number Three is Elliot Minor by you guessed it Elliot Minor! I first saw this band when they were called The Academy and they supported McFly in Newcastle. 

After that I was hooked on them! I saw them do small shows on their own tours, They also did a full tour supporting McFly and I saw them in Manchester when I was at university and then I came home to see them play in Newcastle as we were front row! They released two albums, but this one is my favourite and I have it on virtually every day!

So there you go these are my Top Three Spotify most played albums! If you can suggest any music to listen too or if you have listened to these three let me know what you think of them!

Monday, 1 July 2019

Living Arrows 2019 26/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week! 

This week has seen the return of the sunshine! We started the week with daddy having two days off work, so he was able to do some of the school drop offs and pick ups for James which James was thrilled about! James as normal had Beavers which mummy was a parent helper this week!

Freddie has had a lovely week at playgroup and we even managed to finally get him to let Gaga cut his hair! He looks so much more grown up with short hair! Mummy kept saying when it was long he looked like a member of a 90s boyband!!

The best part of the weekend was on Sunday mummy and the boys went to see Milkshake live with Derek and Olivia at Sage in Gateshead! The boys had a wonderful time and mummy was glad to see Derek after a few years! Derek used to be in a band that mummy loved when she was growing up and she still listens to them now!





Living Arrows

Monday, 24 June 2019

Living Arrows 2019 25/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week! 

This week James came home with his sponsor form for a sponsored event that is taking part in school in a few weeks time along side the GB Decathlete David Guest! The kids are also practising for the annual singing picnic. James class are singing Witch Doctor by the Cartoons this year and James has been playing it none stop to learn the words meaning Freddie is now totally obsessed with it!

Freddie has been having a great time with playgroup. He bounces in every day! Quite often as soon as the gate is opened he runs in ahead of mummy!


We also had a lovely family day out to Intu Metrocentre so gaga could get on with doing some of the work in the boys bedroom without little fingers trying to help!


Its hard to believe we only have a few weeks left of term before the boys finish for the summer!




Living Arrows

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Saving Money On Your Summer Family Fun

Juggling your family’s expenses can be difficult at the best of times. Faced with
he summer holidays, however, the pressures of managing your money can become
even tighter.

That being said, you can enjoy your summer holidays on a budget. From finding activities
you can do at home to saving money on days out and activities, you can make sure you
give your family the best summer yet.

Here are some easy ways to save money on your summer family fun.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

Do some film/book/game swaps

Watching a film or reading a good book can be a good way to spend a summer day,
but even your little one can tire of the same ones over and over again. Why not suggest
a swap with some other parents where you exchange books, games, and films for a few
weeks? It means you don’t have to spend money on easy entertainment and other families
will benefit too!

You can always pick up some great bargains on games, DVDs and books in local charity
shops, as well as donate items that you no longer need.

Keep an eye out for day out deals

Day trips like theme parks, zoos, etc., can come at a high price, especially if you’ve
got more than one child. But what you should know is that many of these destinations
have good deals on tickets if you know where to find them. A little search online for
discounts on family activities could help you save some pennies. You can pick up
some deals in advance as well to help you spread the cost over the summer months.

Plan some fun rainy day activities

With the British weather as unpredictable as it is, you’re not always going to be able to
go out and do things in the sun. But that’s ok, as there are plenty of fun activities you can
do indoors this summer. Get baking, make a den and or have a film day - there’s a lot you
can get up to when you need to think of ideas.

It also helps to have some sort of ‘rainy day kit’ to hand so that you can do things like
making crafts or colour in. Essential supplies like pens, crayons, paper, and card are a
must, and you can make more advanced crafts using things like hot melt glue guns,
soldering irons and others. You can easily find fun tutorials online to help you think of
some amazing craft ideas.

Look for a last-minute holiday

Going on holiday can be out of the question when money is tight, but you might just find
some ways of scoring a very cheap deal. There are options for short breaks, holidays
you pay monthly for, UK breaks and more. Airbnb can be a good idea to get away for
an evening just for a change of scene and to visit a different city or the countryside. You
can pick up a cheap last-minute deal if you have some flexibility over when you can travel.

Enjoy picnics in the park

Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most enjoyable. So why not spend some
summer days enjoying picnics in the park? As long as you’ve got a blanket, something to
read and some toys with you, you can spend a lovely afternoon just enjoying the sun.
Take a look at some healthy picnic ideas you can take with you to make sure you sneak
some fruit and vegetables in there too.

Go to the beach

The beach is always a classic destination for the summer holidays. If you live near
enough to make it a day trip, you can make it a regular thing on those sunny days.
With the sea and sand providing a lot of entertainment for little ones, you can make
it a super affordable day out. Take a packed lunch and plenty of sun cream and enjoy
a day at the seaside.

Camp in the garden

Camping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s much more enjoyable from your back garden
and in walking distance of the kettle! Instead of heading out into the wilderness
(or your nearest camping spot), you can still help your little one have an adventure outside.
Get plenty of fairy lights and something comfy to sleep on for a great night in the garden.

Camping in the garden also makes a great sleepover idea if you’re short on affordable ideas.
The kids can always come back inside if it’s too cold or it starts to rain.

Make the most of free visitor attractions

Have you taken advantage of all of the free activities your local area has to offer?
Museums and different visitor attractions can make excellent free days out. TripAdvisor
is the place to go for recommendations of free attractions near you, and you can check
out some of the message boards too to get even more ideas for things to do!

See what’s on in your local area

Summer is a great time for local events and things to do. A quick glance at your local
listings will tell you when different events are taking place like food festivals or family
fun days, which will be great for finding things to do across the summer. Facebook and
Eventbrite are also some great ways to see what’s taking place and how you can get
involved. It’s also worth finding out from other families what they’re getting up to in case
you find something you miss.

It can be a struggle to afford everything when you’re a full-time mum, but it’s surprising what
you can come up with on a tight budget, especially over the holiday. So with a few good ideas
and a bit of planning, you can help your kids have a great summer that you can enjoy too.
Now, let’s cross fingers for some good weather this summer so that you can get out and about
and make the most of that sunshine.

**Collaborative Post**