Category Archives: Children

One of those evenings..

It’s been one of those evenings.
Nothing particularly wrong with it, just a simple case of trying to cram too much in while caring for children too.

Finally both children were in bed. I headed downstairs to make packed lunches for the next day and do the dishes.
Feeling peckish I put some bread under the grill while I finished my chores.

Cue repeated interruptions from both children.
All I want to do is tidy the kitchen, and collapse on the sofa with some nutella on today and a cup of tea!

I’ll get there eventually.. But aaargh.. Why is it always on night’s when I feel like this that they play up?!

Lego Storage

Lego is a fantastic toy. I loved it as a child and I love it still.
I love how it encourages imaginative play and fosters independence by letting children create their own games or follow instructions alone if they wish.

We have a vast amount of Lego! I had lots from when I was a child and then as soon as my children were old enough, I have bought lots and lots more.
Storage was a problem though.
I’d tried all sorts. Boxes, tubs, an old sideboard, chest of drawers, toy chest etc.
Nothing worked.
Then I had a lightbulb moment. They don’t WANT to put it away, out of sight. These are their previous creations.
But… I don’t want the playroom floor to be a perpetual sea of Lego.

So, after much thought, I headed to IKEA with the lovely Dan from DannyUK for heavy lifting purposes 😉
I bought a large, white Kallax unit with two drawer inserts and two cupboard inserts.

It’s currently partially assembled (still need to put the cupboard inserts in) but the children have already filled it with some of their Lego. I’m thrilled with it, and am now naturally itching to sort out the rest of the playroom!

The children are delighted too. They can set up little scenes on each shelf, easily see what they have and reach everything themselves.


Troutbeck Cottage B&B

For my family holiday this summer I’m going up to Northumberland, but as it’s rather a long way (especially with two travel-sick prone children) I’m breaking the journey part way near Carlisle.

Me and my parent’s looked at various options to break the journey before we stumbled across the details for Troutbeck Cottage B&B in Warwick Bridge. It’s not far from the M6, just off the A69.

The prices were reasonable and it seemed ideal for our needs, so we booked a double room for my parents and a family room for me, E and M.

We arrived and were shown around by the welcoming proprietor, Sally. We enquired about places to eat nearby that were child friendly and Sally produced menu’s from local pubs that were suitable. We chose the Lane End Inn about 2 miles further along the A69.

The food there was excellent, and the staff were welcoming and friendly. The food is prepared on the premises and it really shows! My mum and I managed to slurp our way through a bottle of the house red (well priced at £12 a bottle). We all enjoyed our meals, and the children loved theirs too. Sometimes when I eat out with my children, I feel like the children’s menu is just an assortment of crap from the bottom of the freezer. This was definitely not the case at Lane End Inn. The fish fingers E had were huge and clearly homemade. M had pizza slices and chips which again, were all homemade. The pizza slice was possibly the nicest tasting I’ve had in years! (I was forced to sample it 😉 not that I minded) Children’s meals were a good price ( £5 for a main with chips, peas or beans, a glass of cordial and two scoops of ice cream) and really generous portions. My mum and I shared a dessert of Eton Mess which was delicious and packed with fresh strawberries. E swiped a fair old amount of our dessert too!

After our meal, I gave the children a lesson in playing pool in the adjoining room as we finished our drinks. The pool table was free to play on, which was a nice surprise.  Then we headed back to Troutbeck Cottage for the night.

The family room that I had booked is spacious and well laid out. There are two single beds and one double, a television, wardrobe, dressing table and tea making facilities. I especially love that actual decent sized glasses and cups are provided. Not just that…. Actual wine glasses too! Although I don’t need them on this occasion, the number of times I’ve ended up drinking wine out of a tea cup in hotels, this seems very civilised indeed!

Troutbeck Cottage - they think of everything!
Troutbeck Cottage – they think of everything!

There is also an en suite shower room, which is spotlessly clean and contains fluffy towels, shower gel and shampoo, soap and flannels etc.




I’m writing this post while tucked up in bed drinking camomile tea, and I have to say, it’s a very comfortable bed! Both children are now sound asleep. The room has a blackout blind and thick curtains which is great if your children struggle to settle while it’s still light. There is some traffic noise, but I’d be astonished if there wasn’t as the B&B is situated well for just hopping off the A69. I can confidently say that the traffic hasn’t bothered E & M and I’m positive it won’t bother me.

I’ve filled out a form for each of us regarding what we would like for breakfast and I’m already expecting fabulous things!

So on that note.. Goodnight all



Sexism in School Shoes

This is some thing that really makes me see red with the rage.

Why is there such a huge disparity in the quality of children’s school shoes? School shoes for boys and girls commonly cost around £30 a pair.

I have a son and a daughter. When choosing shoes for my son I am treated to a variety of sturdy school shoes. Most have rubberised toes to allow him to scrabble about on the floor, climb walls and kick balls without wrecking the shoes instantly. They have thick, sturdy soles and reinforced stitching.

Compare this to the shoes on offer for my daughter; they are thinner, there is no reinforcement on the toes, they are designed to be “pretty”. Her last pair came with a small doll in the heel! The sole is weakly glued on. She has had pairs fall apart in less than three weeks. These were Clark’s shoes. When I returned them, the assistant said she would exchange them “a a gesture of goodwill”. Goodwill my arse, they were clearly unfit for purpose!

My sexism theory comes in when you consider the age of the child and what their shoes are designed for them to be able to DO in them. Is there really that much difference between children under 10 or 11 and the things they enjoy doing?
Both my six year old son and my eight year old daughter enjoy the same running, jumping, scootering, climbing up walls, kicking stones, climbing trees and general scuffing around. That’s normal.

What isn’t normal is shoe manufacturers designing shoes for girls that are not functional. Why can’t their shoes have reinforced rubberised toes? Why can’t their shoes be fit for purpose?

Come on Clark’s and Startrite. Stop the school shoe discrimination!