29/06/2016

An Uphill Juggle!

Ever wondered why life is full of ups and downs and an up-hill juggle? I know it's 'uphill struggle' but right now my life is one big juggle! 
Photo credit: Pixabay.com
Same for everyone right? It just feels like there are so many balls being juggled right now, that I really don't know at times if I'm coming or going and this comes from an ordinarily very organised person! Since becoming a parent I really have learnt how tough it must have been for my own parents and often just Mum on her own whilst Dad was away in the Navy! She had twins to look after and luckily her parents helped. With a part time job too I think she did brilliantly but I'm finding it all a struggle. 

Of course I count my blessings as really I have nothing to moan about but juggling home life, family, three jobs and a blog is tricky! I can't keep up with the household chores, the various clubs and activities the monkeys have, along with events and meetings at two schools, my work and blogging. Throw into the mix the desire and need to exercise and use the gym for my own sanity, this Mumma is run off her toes! My brain is in constant overload. Off course I've not mentioned meeting up with friends. Hubby, the poor soul is last on the list and of course rightly so the monkeys are first. Oh to not being needed or wanted for just one day, but then there would be guilt....



 

28/06/2016

Making Plans For The Future with Insure With Max

Wow, with the news that we will be leaving the EU I'm even more concerned about making financial plans for the future! Having two young children gives me more reason to save for the future, ensure we have a Will (which we've yet to sort out) and have the relevant insurance policies for their future financial security.
I've been looking at various options for critical illness cover and life cover. When doing so I came across what I believe is a great insurance for peace of mind and stability if the worst were to happen and instead of one of us becoming ill, our children! ChildMax.....from the founder of Insure With Max.
Here's a video briefly outlining how it works! 
 
Now I like this! How torn would you feel if you felt you couldn't afford to take time off work if your child became ill and you couldn't be with them 24/7? I know I would feel wretched and would just take the time off anyway....but what about the financial consequences? Max knows first hand how having an ill child can cause financially difficulty. His own father asked him to create an insurance package to help families when his half sister sadly died from a rare illness. 
Luckily most children rarely get very ill but you just never know do you? 
 Here's a reminder why to buy ChildMax!
  • Peace of mind, as ChildMax will pay your take home salary within 30 days of your claim being agreed.
  • Prepared, as ChildMax will pay 12 months’ take home salary while you’re on unpaid leave.
  • Renews annually, so you are not tied in for many years.
  • Flexible, so if needed you can return to work on a full-time, part-time or other basis.
  • The sale is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and insured by an Au rated insurance company.

I think you'll agree covering ourselves for this sickening eventually could help families in the worst of times. I know I'll be looking more into signing up. I will get that Will sorted soon too. Family comes first and looking after them is 100% the top priority for me.
We're taking part in a Twitter Chat on Friday and you could #win high street vouchers. Use hash tag #ChildMax to join the fun! Pop over, we're @sitstillmonkeys and also follow Insure With Max @InsureWithMax 

Collaborative post


27/06/2016

Real Handful - Review & Giveaway!

I have to say firstly that I've been a bit naughty of late and the healthy snacks have been replaced with not so healthy one....whoops! Best give myself a talking to and get back on it. I'm always keen to try new healthy snacks as I like to eat little and often and eating the same thing all the time gets pretty boring! 
During Blog On back in May I came across one such healthy snack....Real Handful (A tastier way to fuel your day). Along with receiving some in our epic goody bags at Blog On I was kindly sent a Real Handful Ration Box to review.
There's a great mission statement on the box that reads "some tasty snack maths. Chewy fruit plus crunchy nuts plus yummy stuff equals a tastier way to fuel your day". Founded by Carly & Joe after Joe tried trail mix whilst on holiday at The Grand Canyon.
Real Handful comes in six flavours. Each 40g. The ration box comes packed with four different flavour packs. Ours came with:  

Mochaccino. Yumminess in a pouch! A blend of coffee sultanas, cranberries, whole cashew nuts, dark chocolate coffee beans and coffee flavour chocolate drops. So delicious!  

Blueberry Bliz. A blend of blueberries, blueberry flavoured cranberries, jumbo flame raisins and whole cashews. 

Blood Orange and Dark Chocolate. A fabulous blend of blood orange flavoured sultanas, orange flavoured cranberries, dark chocolate and peanuts. The best in the box in my opinion! 

Go-Go-Goji Berries. A blend of nuts, raisins and seeds with goji berries and dark chocolate. 

Each pouch has the calories on the front. Ideal as snacks for home, work or play.....I keep a pack in my work bag to dip into! 
Currently available at Holland & Barrettt for £1.29 per packet and at Ocado, Real Handful will soon be available on the website. There's something for all tastes and for people from all walks of life! The perfect sized healthy snack for a laptop bag, handbag, coat pocket and more.

GIVEAWAY
We've been given a Real Handful ration box to giveaway for one lucky reader to try! Just complete the form below before Midnight July 3rd 2016. T&C's apply. Open to UK residents only. Good Luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Win prizes with theprizefinder.com

“SuperLucky



24/06/2016

Have a Fab Time this Summer!

With the recent weather being somewhat better it's got me day-dreaming about our days out at the beach with the monkeys! Believe it or not we've got some great beaches near us on the Essex coast, and we particularly love going to Frinton On Sea. A friend and her husband have a beach hut there which is Fab! We've used it a few time and love it. We love nothing more than packing the beach stuff into the car along with two excited monkeys and going in search of the sea. Who remembers outings as kids when you would chorus from the back seat of the car "I can see the sea"! Awesome memories, that I'll cherish forever.
Frinton is less than an hour from us on a good day and when the sun is shining, borrowing the beach hut is great for unloading all the beach paraphernalia that comes with beaches and taking the kids. The kettle is a godsend and shelter from the sun, an added bonus when it all gets a little too much! 
The monkeys make patterns in the sand with sticks or their spades, they have sand castle competitions and run into the sea up to their knees to see who turns and runs back quickest and loudest (with Daddy keeping a close eye of course). I take the photo's and enjoy the fun we are having as a family whilst making those life long memories like the ones we made as children.
We take a picnic, the sun cream, buckets and spades and make the most of the fun that can be had on the beach completely free. All except for the car parking of course, the odd portion of chips and an ice cream! Who dares to go to the beach without getting chips and ice cream! (Not together, now that would be disgusting!)

The cliff top at Frinton offers a great place to sit and consume the aforementioned goodies, whilst the monkeys play ball and us adults (or maybe just me) relax in the sun on a blanket. The monkeys love a Fab Ice Lolly. They take the sprinkles off first (I've no idea who taught them to do that!) and then the next layer until the whole thing has been gobbled. 
Fab Ice Lolly’s Sprinkles of Summer Fun campaign on facebook looks set to be a great way of having some fun and winning prizes this summer. You could even win your ultimate summer of fun and other great smaller prizes too. 
Now I'm off to take a look at their page and day dream some more about our summer day's out at Frinton, whilst the rain drops dry on the windows and the grey sky hides the sunset that should adorn us this evening! 

Lolly anyone? Who can beat a family day at the beach for great summer fun?! Of course any beach is good as long as the sun is shining and we are together.

*Collaborative post




23/06/2016

Family Picnics and Frolicks Outside!

We've been taking a leaf out of Oona and Baba's book and have been making the most of the outdoors. Getting active with the kids and having fun times as a family. Creating family values and making memories.
The weather has been somewhat spring like of late with April showers in June, storms and now floods. We have had some warmth and sunshine though. On these occasions we've got into the car and done what we like to do best! A family picnic, exploring new parks and Stickman trails!
On our travels we've been in search of ants and bugs in giant tree trunks, dodged and jumped in puddles (with the ducks) and squelched across sodden grass! As well as dodging rain clouds!
We've searched for rubbings and saw this awesome leaf carved into a tree trunk and also made some 'new friends' along the way.
The monkeys have had great fun running around with the freedom to roam, climb and explore. You may even spot a little monkey in the distance in the last photo! Balancing on a tree trunk seat! 
If you want to be inspired by Puffin Rock characters Oona and Baba then don't forget you can watch series 2 on Nick Jr. every weekday at 3.10pm with episodes repeated the following day at 8am and 8pm. Don't forget to have lots of fun along the way when out and about exploring the great outdoors! 





22/06/2016

New Wheels?

Now a few years ago if I posted anything about new wheels people who know me would have automatically assumed I would be talking pushchairs! They wouldn't have been wrong! I was a bit obsessed! These days any talk of wheels refer to the monkeys bikes, their toy cars, scooters, roller skates or of course the family car! 
We replaced our car at the end of last year and are very happy with it! Now the time is approaching to consider changing our second car. We need two cars as we both work. With the school runs, work and other things to consider like the food shop, we really could not manage so easily if we only had the one car! This second car purchase is purely for a run around as the other one bought last year is our family car. However there are some important factors to consider when looking for another car as both monkeys will still ride in it from time to time! 

Safety Features
Will a new (to us) car have isofix fittings in the back for the high backed booster seat little monkey still needs? How many airbags does it have and is there an option to turn off the front passenger airbag? The isofix option is really important to us and has been since big monkey was born 8 years ago. It's one of the reasons we chose the car we had prior to his arrival.

Seating Space
Is the back seat wide enough to sit both monkeys and another small adult or child in the middle? A big consideration when buying a new car for us due to the monkeys friends sometimes needing a lift home from school or for my Mum when she visits!

Car Insurance Premium
Is the car going to be reasonably cheap to insure? Some cars are so expensive to insure. This would be a complete no no for us.

Finance
How will we purchase the car? With a personal loan, cash or car finance? Leasing a car is obviously an option nowadays too. Maybe better for those who have a poor car credit rating? There are many options to consider when financing such a big purcahse! These can often depeand too on whether the car is brand new or used.

New or used?
Do you buy new with all the offers and incentives to buy new or go for a used car? It's a tough one! Used cars with low milage are often a good idea but some brand new cars have such great offers on them. Often including free breakdown cover and free insurance. Such a tough decision to make! 

Boot Space
How big is the boot? Hubby needs a relatively spacious boot for his car as he needs to put equipment in it for work. Obviously children travel with lots of luggage so it needs to accomodate that too. A roomy boot is a must for us! 

Seatbelt Options
Does the car have three full seatbelts at the back or is the middle one just a lap belt? Our family car has three full ones but often older cars only have a lap belt in the middle space. How important is that to someone looking for another car?! We prefer three full seatbelts.

Obviously there are lots of things to consider. It's no wonder we are hanging onto our second car for as long as we can. It's covered in excess of 100,000 miles but is still going strong! We spent a long time researching our family car before getting it and I think that's the key! When family safety is a consideration researching is vital. 

What's important to you when buying a new car? 

Collaborative post


 

18/06/2016

Project 366 - Week 25

More rain showers this week. Are we in April or June? Worrying what the weather will be like in August now?! Usual stuff going on this week with work, school and more time than normal at home for me. It's been nice to catch up on jobs around the house and with blogging! Here's our offering for week 25.
Day 165. We found the Stickman!
Day 166. Lunch made for me by hubby.
Day 167. My new outfit bought by hubby. Notice a theme here?! I wonder what he is after!
Day 168. Some great finds in Aldi's that I am delighted with! I know, it's the small things! 
Day 169. These Easter Bonnets smell so lovely...of vanilla. I bought the plant today when a friend and I went for lunch at a nearby garden center.
Day 170. A busy day ahead with work from 09.30-21.30 so a quick stop on the way for a hot chocolate to take with me! Look at all those yummy cakes!
Day 171. A haircut for big monkey and new sunnies for the two of them. What cool dudes.

We hope you have a great Father's Day tomorrow if you are celebrating and doing something special. Have a good week until next time!
TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky





17/06/2016

Fun and Frolicks with Butterkist & The Stickman!

Well how mad has the weather been lately? The sun has been cracking the flags one minute and the heavens have opened the next. Last week we had to abort an attempt to go to Weald Park on the new Stickman Trail when on the way there we had a massive downpour. We turned round to drive home the sun was shining! 

We did however manage a afternoon there this past Sunday. As you know we love nothing more than the great outdoors. It's something I've personally embraced so much more since having the monkeys. I think as a parent you see things more through your child's eyes and that opens up a whole new world. Sadly for many this isn't the case! In February, Natural England issued a government-funded study which found that more than 10% of English children have not been to a natural environment (beach, park, forest etc.) in the last 12 months. I would say I'm shocked but sadly I'm not. Just sad for those families and children.

Butterkist recently challenged us to get out and about in the great outdoors and explore! How could we say no....we're always up for a challenge.
Armed with a fab pack to help us on our way we set about looking for the Stickman at Weald Park. Since our last visit there the Stickman Trail has been erected for families and children to enjoy. Encouraging them to get active, explore, exercise and most of all have fun! 

We had our Stickman Trail packs tucked into our Butterkist backpack along with other handy items needed on an exploration! Suncream (for when the sun came out from behind the rain clouds, wipes for those sticky fingers (after eating our delicious new Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn) and much much more! 
Butterkist’s Yogurt Coated popcorn is a lighter snack choice that’s hitting the shelves this year. It's delicious...I'm not sure the monkeys will get a look in! 
We had a wander and followed our noses until we saw signs of the Stickman and thanks to our perseverance and skills we found the him. An awesome play area has been built for children to enjoy with wildlife there to share the delights too.
We saw ducks, birds and even deer. We could have stayed so much longer but the skies had other idea's. It got very grey at times! Whatever you do over the summer I beg you to get outdoors with the kids and #getcoated. Run about, explore, have fun, eat popcorn. Do whatever takes your fancy but enjoy the great outdoors! 
Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn is available in Asda now. A 160g bag is £1.49 and the multipack containing 6x20g is £1.69! Do try it. You won't be disappointed.




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