Saturday, 15 June 2019

Siblings Project 2019 - June

Welcome back to the 2019 Siblings Project!
We are now into June and the boys have been so loving towards each other lately!

This month James has been loving
* Swimming
* Dippy the Diplodocus
* Being at Nana and Gaga's house

Freddie has been loving
* Swimming
* Borris the Fingerling Hug
* Dippy the Diplodocus

The boys had a fantastic time going to see Dippy at Great North Museum at the start of the half term holidays! They then spent a brilliant week at Nana and Gaga's house!

In this months photographs the boys were pretending to be Dinosaurs while we were visiting Dippy! 

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Freddie's Free From Top Three!

Over the last few months we have been cooking more meals from scratch with are "Free From" meals. Freddie has finally been diagnosed as Non Ige Allergic to Dairy, Soya, Wheat and Bananas. For us this means his reaction is not an instant reaction like a rash or breathing problems, his are a gradual reaction meaning they develop over a few a few hours or days. His quickest reaction has been around half an hour and his longest has been around 6-12 hours. 

Because of this we keep a cupboard of "safe" snacks. So in this post I'm going to show you are top 3 go to snacks for Freddie that can be eaten in and out of the house!

First off we have the Tesco Free from Digestive Biscuits. These are our main go to when Freddie wants a quick snack. You get ten in a packet so you can imagine how many packets we go through in a week (normally its around 3!). 

I have tried these and I cannot really tell the difference between them and the wheat variety! These are free from all Freddie's allergens so they are the perfect snack for him to  have when he comes in from playgroup. He also takes them in his pack lunch to playgroup.

Second we have Bear Yoyo's. Now these are brilliant! Both Freddie and James love them and we get through at least two boxes of these a week! Freddie again takes these in his lunch box for playgroup 

Finally we have the Free From Flapjacks. Again these are free from all Freddie's main allergens, so are perfectly safe for him to eat! You get five in a packet so Freddie can get through quiet a few of them each week. 

If you can suggest any more super snacks which are free from Wheat, Banana, Dairy and Soya then please drop us an email as we are still navigating the world of free from and always looking for things that we can buy for both boys!!

Monday, 10 June 2019

Living Arrows 2019 23/52

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! 

The boys have been back to school now for one week and we have six weeks left till the school break up for the summer holiday and Freddie has six weeks left at playgroup before he moves to the school nursery in September. 

James has had a great week with school and Beavers! He came home with a letter for his first school residential trip which is taking place in October at Kielder! Its only for one night but I think he will have a ball and he is already so excited! We are also completing a number of Beaver badges this term and mummy is waiting for a parcel coming to make his camp blanket!

Freddie has had a great time at playgroup! He is now calling everyone a saurus as he is dinosaur crazy so its been mummysaurus, daddysaurus, Jamesysaurus all weekend! 

Living Arrows

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

(AD) Swimming with Swimfin

Welcome to our next post on Swimfin! 

We've just had our school half term holidays and mummy and nana thought what better time to get the boys swimming! As mentioned in our previous post as James is going into Year Three in September, he will be starting to go swimming weekly and up until now the only real experience with swimming that the boys had was on holiday last year when they would splash around in the pools at the hotel and at the water park!

The pool we were going to originally take the kids to was closed for refurbishment, so we had to have a search around the local council website to see what other pools would be suitable for the boys. We eventually decided to take the boys to the new leisure centre in Ashington. The leisure centre was opened in November 2015, in fact it opened just a few days before Freddie was actually born. 

Sadly the leisure centre has a no photography in the pool area policy so we were unable to take photos of the boys in the pool using the fins.

Freddie was very unsure of his and kept asking to take it off, but we left it on til he had left the pool. In fact Freddie spent most of the 45 minutes we were there sat on the side playing with pool toys and throwing them for mummy and nana to go fetch!

James on the other hand was fantastic! We found some arm floats on the side of the pool and he had one under each arm and by the time we left the pool he was actually swimming full widths of the small pool! The Swimfin was keeping his body in the right position!

The Swimfin is suitable for children from 18 months old and it is so easy to put on with two elasticated velcro straps that fit around the body. Larger straps can be bought to use the fin with older children, The standard straps that come with the fin are a perfect size for both James who is almost 7 and Freddie who will be 4 in November. 

Swimfin say on their website "The most important thing about SwimFin is this: the more submerged it is, the more support it is giving. This means when the child is vertical, doggy paddling through the water, SwimFin will be almost completely submerged, giving maximum support. As the child’s body position becomes more horizontal, SwimFin comes out of the water giving less support. This means the child is swimming more for themselves with less and less assistance."

The boys had a brilliant time at the pool and actually asked if we could go back a few days later, which we did! We are now aiming to take them at least every other weekend if not every weekend!

We were also sent some of the Swimfin Funky Floaties pool toys, but on this occasion we forgot to take them with us, but next time they will be first thing in our swimming bag, although I think James has them earmarked for bath time!

I will keep everyone updated on James progress using his Swimfin in the run in to starting swimming lessons with the school in September!

**We were sent two blue Swimfin's and a set of Funky Floaties free of charge in exchange for this review! All views are our own!**

Monday, 3 June 2019

Living Arrows 2019 22/52

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! 

The boys are back to school and playgroup today after the half term holiday! We went and spent a few days at nana and gaga's house like we always do in the school holidays. The boys had a fantastic time, they really enjoy visiting nana and gaga's house and both especially like going for walks by the river to see the ducks!

While we were staying with Nana and Gaga, mummy and the boys went for a walk across to Amble and also a walk down into the village. James had a lot of fun chasing the sea gulls away from the ducks, who were sitting on the grass by the river. 

We also went swimming twice, which was really good fun! James really took to it and by the end of the time in the water the first day we went he was swimming across the pool using arm floats and his Swimfin!

Freddie wasn't too keen on the pool the first day we went but by the time we left the second time he was loving it!! We are now looking to go back in the next couple of weeks on a weekend! While we were at Nana and Gaga's Freddie was such a bed hog! Poor mummy had to keep moving him so that I could get in on one side and James could get in on the other side!

Living Arrows

Friday, 31 May 2019

Dippy the Diplodocus at Great North Museum

Dippy the Diplodocus has gone on tour! Having been a focal feature at the National History Museum in London for many years he is now on the road visiting museums all over the United Kingdom, he's already visited Dorset County MuseumBirmingham Museum and Art GalleryUlster Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow and he has recently taken up residence at Great North Museum in Newcastle!

When we first heard Dippy was going to be visiting Newcastle we got really excited as we had never managed to get to see him at his home of the National History Museum before and with two boys who are crazy about dinosaur's we knew we had to visit!

Great North Museum knew that Dippy coming would be a huge attraction for the museum, so for safety they decided to issue free tickets for time slots to prevent over crowding. Tickets were released at the end of January and we booked ours the day they were released! We managed to get tickets for the weekend after he arrived!!

In the days leading up to our visit, James was very excited! He was asking us some really funny questions such as "How did Dippy actually die?" and "Is Dippy a boy dinosaur or a girl dinosaur?"

Our time slot was booked for 1045, so we had to be up pretty early to get the bus into town to meet Nana and Gaga before walking up to the Museum. We actually ended up leaving for town much earlier than planned as both boys were up by six am and very excited!

When we got to the museum, the first place we went was to see the T-Rex, James always wants to go to see the T-Rex as soon as we get into the museum. Then it was off upstairs to have a quick look around before we went into see Dippy.

When we first walked into the room, it was amazing! Dippy was so much bigger than I thought he was going to be. James was totally entranced and couldn't believe how big Dippy was!! Mummy got very snap happy with the camera as you can see below!

Dippy is on show till Sunday 6th October 2019 and there are still many tickets available for the summer holidays! We already have our second set booked for the start of August and that was even before we had our first visit! 

After Dippy leaves Newcastle in October he will visit: National Museum Cardiff, 19 October 2019 - 26 January 2020, Number One Riverside, Rochdale, 10 February - 28 June 2020 and Norwich Cathedral, 11 July - 31 October 2020

**We were not asked to write this post, We just decided to document Dippy so the boys would always have the memories and photos**

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

What Does Freddie Take To Playgroup

Last year I wrote a post about what Freddie would take to playgroup with him for two 3 hour sessions a week and now a year on, he is doing more hours so I am doing an update!

The first thing Freddie takes is his bag! This is his new Estarer backpack that we recently reviewed! We decided to use this for Freddie due to the fact it has plenty of space inside, plus it has a bottle pocket and a chest clip for then the bag is on his back! Not that the bag is actually ever on Freddie's back! Its either clipped onto the pram with our hook or mummy is carrying it!!

Inside we have two separate bags. One contains full sets of spare clothes (vest, socks, t-shirt, trousers or shorts & a long sleeved top)and the second contains his changing kit of 4 or 5 pull ups, baby wipes and nappy bags.

On a Monday as he is only there for the morning he will also have a bottle of water in the bottle pocket of his bag!

On a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Freddie has his lunch at playgroup so he will take his Blaze and the Monster Machines lunch bag. 

For his lunch he will normally have some gluten free crackers, some vegan cheese, some oat cakes, an oat bar, a flapjack, a fruit bar and some ready salted crisps or some snack a jack rice cakes. He will also take a bottle of water.

Come September he will be in the school nursery so won't need to take as much with him, i.e he wont need to take lunch with him as he will only be there 9-12, but he will still be taking a spare set of clothes and his water bottle!

Monday, 27 May 2019

Living Arrows 2019 21/52

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 last weekend has been so exciting for the boys as it was the first weekend of the school half term holiday and we got to go see Dippy the Diplodocus who is currently at Great North Museum on his tour of the UK! The boys, especially James, has been counting down the days till our visit for the last couple of weeks and he'd been looking at photographs on mummy's instagram that friends had posted of their visits before ours! James also finally finished his Year Two SATs and the class had a party to celebrate.

Freddie has had a great week at playgroup! He literally runs in as soon as they open the gate! A few times he has actually gone running straight into the classroom totally forgetting to say goodbye to mummy. 

Living Arrows

Thursday, 23 May 2019

How Can You Afford Everything As A Full Time Mum

Being a full time mum is one of the best things in the world, but sometimes it can feel as
though everything is against you and affording all the things you need becomes a challenge.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way and in this article we are going to show you how to do this.
There are ways to take a lot of the stress out of this situation and if you are interested in
finding out more on this topic, keep reading on down below!

Budgeting Is Key
Credit Link

We know that you have likely already tried it and thrown it out the window, but
budgeting really is the best way to make sure that you can afford everything. So,
how would you go about budgeting the right way? Well, there are a number of
guides that you can find online that will be useful, but the simple version is as follows.
Write down a list of everything that comes into your home finance wise and then add
up the total. Once you have done this, go through everything that you have to spend
such as rent, food, bills and so on then work out the total cost of this. When you are
doing this, if you don’t know the exact cost, you will find that overestimating is always
going to be better for you than underestimating. After you have got both lists, take
the total cost of what goes out away from the amount that comes in, and then you’ve
got your leftovers to spend on whatever you want.

Sticking to the budget is a lot harder than creating it, and we are well aware of this,
but you need to learn to be strict on yourself if you want to be able to afford everything.
Do your best to work out what you are going to spend your spare money on in advanced
to avoid dipping into other money.

Don’t Overspend

It happens to the best of us, we overspend in certain areas and leave ourselves short
in others. This is similar to what we were just talking about above, and it is very important
that you manage to not do this. If you know that your kids need something that wasn’t in
the budget, then you need to work this out beforehand and take it out of what is left at the
end of the month. Or, work out if you can take it from somewhere else and replace it before
it is missed. This is a dangerous game to be playing with your finances, though, and if you
can avoid it, we would highly recommend that you do.

Consider Second Hand

Something else that we suggest is that you buy some of your stuff second hand if
possible. The good thing about this is that it is cheaper, which saves you money, and
a lot of the time the quality is not bad either. This will help a lot when it comes to trying
to save money and still get everything that you need. When you have kids, trying to get
everything can be a nightmare, but you don’t have to tell them that some of the items are
second hand if you don’t want to because it is likely that no one will notice. There are
plenty of stores out there that can provide you with the items that you need, at a price
you are going to love.

Get A Little Help

Have you ever thought about getting a little bit of help if you are struggling to afford
some of the things that you need? The first option that you could consider is asking
your friends and family for help. As these are the people who are closest to you, if
they can help, they likely will. It is a lot less pressure on you to borrow or receive
money from those who love you, as they might not demand it back in a set amount of
time, rather giving you the aid that you need until you are fully on your feet.

However, for some people, this is not an option, and they need to look at other methods
such as securing a loan. There are many different methods of doing this, you can go to
your bank, use an online source, or whatever you think is best for you. Something that
you should consider, and you will come across quite often when looking at this is
guarantor loans. This means that someone will sign the contract with you, agreeing
to pay back the loan should you fail to do so. The only issue with these is that a lot of
people are not willing to be a guarantor so you might find it tricky to find someone who
has the correct credit, and who will sign on with you.

Just make sure that if you do choose to get a loan, you read the full terms and
conditions, so you are fully aware of what you are getting into. You don’t want any
surprises coming back to bite you in the future.


The final thing that we are going to look at is learning to prioritize certain things over others.
So, if you have a whole list of things that you need to buy, but some are slightly more pressing
than others, you need to get these first. Work out what is essential, or at least what is going to
be more beneficial, and put these items above purchasing those that can wait. You will find
this makes a big difference to the way you spend money, and significantly reduce the
amount of stress you experience.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see that there are ways that
you can afford everything as a full-time mum. If you take the advice that we have set out
above, you are going to be able to afford everything that you need, without racking your
brain for new ideas every month!

*Collaborative Post*

(AD) Swimfin - First impressions

We are absolutely thrilled to be working with the fantastic swim aid company Swimfin in our quest to get the boys swimming!

Last year when we went on holiday, the boys loved being in the pool either at the hotel or at the water park next door to our hotel! We used either armbands or flotation jackets last year but neither James or Freddie got on with them very well. 

As James will be in year three next year at school (eek when did he get so grown up), he will be starting to go swimming weekly with his class. So between now and September we are on a quest for James to learn the basics so once he starts going with the school he is confident in the water

The parcel arrived not long after we got home from the school run and both boys were really excited to open it! 

James got so excited and he cannot wait to go swimming next week in the school holidays! Now all we need to do is find a pool we can go to as the one we were going to visit is currently closed for refurbishment!

Check back soon to see how our first time using the Swimfin goes!

Monday, 20 May 2019

Living Arrows 2019 20/52

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 good for the boys. James got to hold a Hen at Beavers, when a group came in to help them with their Disability awareness badge. He also had to make his own bed as part of his skills badge!

Freddie had his appointment at the hospital last week where he was diagnosed with non Ige allergies to Dairy, Soya, Wheat and Banana. He's also reacted to something in baked beans so its now try and avoid them or give him a small amount and see if it happens again. We are also trying to source an allergy bracelet for him to wear that he won't try and take off or that another child can't get off him. 

This is the last week of the school half term before we go into the last few weeks of year two for James and the last few weeks of playgroup for Freddie before he moves into the school nursery in September. 

Living Arrows

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Siblings Project 2019 - May

Welcome to the May 2019 edition of The Siblings Project!
How can it be May already! It really does not seem five minutes since we were celebrating New Year and now its the fifth month of the year!

This month James has been loving:
* Beavers. He went on a trip to a local Sikh Temple for part of their Faith Badge and also took part in JOTT 2019. He walked from Newburn Leisure Centre to Baltic Square in Gateshead along the river Tyne. 
* Dreamworks Dragon. James found this show on Netflix and has been watching it on repeat! 
*Pipe art. James was playing this game on my phone when we were sat in a&e waiting to get his hand looked at the other week.

Freddie has been loving:
*Playgroup. He has been really enjoying his 15 hours a week and he has a lovely little group of friends.
*Moo. He is still totally obsessed with his cuddly cow and will not go to bed without him!
*Megabloks. Freddie is still crazy about his block and building lots of towers!

This months photos were taken in the Rugby fan zone on Newcastle Quayside after James finished JOTT 2019

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Living Arrows 2019 19/52

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 last week has been pretty good for the boys. James had a brilliant week at school and ended it by doing an 8 mile hike with Beavers for Jamboree On The Trail or JOTT as it was known. If you check the hashtag JOTT on instagram you will see photos of Beaver, Cubs and Scouts all over the world taking part in JOTT!

Freddie had a great week at playgroup. He's a totally different child to the lite boy that started a year past January. Even since he started his 15 hours in January hes come on so much! He is going to love the school nursery in September!

Living Arrows

Monday, 6 May 2019

Living Arrows 2019 18/52

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.

It was the first full week of term and both boys went bouncing into school and playgroup, excited to see all their friends!

James came home from school on the Monday with the Star of the Week sticker on his jumper. He was so thrilled to be awarded it and told me he got it for being brave on his school trip around the bee's as he is terrified of them.  He also had a trip with Beavers this week to a local Temple as part of the Faith badge they are doing this term. 

Freddie had a great week at playgroup! He is literally running in now and not looking back to see where mummy is! He has come on so much since he started there when he was two! I think he will really miss the place when he moves across into the school nursery in September. We also finally got Freddie's appointment through for the allergy clinic!

Living Arrows