In Case Of Emergency

When it comes to money things don’t always go to plan and often you need a back-up, in case of an emergency perhaps. That’s often when using credit cards can help you out. Maybe something sudden has happened like the car has broken down and as they always say “ooooh that’s gonna cost ya!” and you hear your wallet whimper. That’s when we often use our credit card, plus the extra bonus of it being a secure way of payment for something rather expensive and knowing we can pay it off when pay day arrives so we’re all back on our merry way! We also took out a loan to pay the last of the car off a while ago as it was cheaper for us to pay the loan off.

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It is nearing the C word (by that I mean Christmas – eeep!) and there have been moments where we have spotted a present that we’d like but cannot afford right now. For example we saw a great deal on an Xbox One. So we used out credit card to pay for it. And it means I still have money for our usual weekly food shopping.

We only have the single income in the household and that’s often the case for many families as one parent opts to stay at home due to the rising cost of childcare and that can make buying birthday gifts a little tricky and currently our vacuum cleaner is making a rather odd sound so looks like we’ll have to buy a new one fairly soon which of course isn’t cheap, but we need to keep the house clean.

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Check out Santander and their options of credit cards or loans. And with so many branches in the UK and the choice of telephone and online banking you can easily check your limit and be sure to pay everything on time too. Easy and simple, the way I like my banking. When do you use your credit card?

 

Useful Japanese Terms for Bento Users

I picked up some Japanese as a kid when I watched anime. I remember my first Japanese anime, not translated into English. It took days to watch due to being on a dial-up modem and it was Rockman.EXE or as we know him… Megaman. Anyway my love of Japanese anime soon became a love for their culture and I began making my own Bento meals, sometimes bringing a few extra to take to the anime club I ran for my friends. Here are a few useful words for those seeking to give Bento a try.

Baran – Originally Japanese used a type of plant known as “baran” to divide food in their bentos from one another. These days you'll find plastic dividers that look like grass, this is a modern twist of the baran. You can get them in all sorts of styles now but grass is the most common.

Onigiri – Rice ball made using Japanese rice. I say that because this rice is required to make a proper Onigiri as it is stickier than the rice we normally use in the Western side of the world. Often inside is a Umeboshi (a dried fruit in Japan), salmon or something else though these are most common. The rice ball is then wrapped in dry seaweed, most common way is in the style of a napkin for the person to hold as they eat the rice ball.

Nori – dry seaweed used for sushi and onigiri. You can eat it as it's edible and can be bought as a sheet usually square in shape. You can often find it in Asian supermarkets. Some mothers or wives also use it to cut cute shapes, faces, animals or words out and place ontop of rice to give a cute effect.

Kyaraben – Short for “character bento” and means just that. A bento made to look like popular TV characters or cartoon shows, often for young children to enjoy. Can also be video game or comic book (manga) related.

Makisu – a mat made of bamboo and string holding the bamboo sticks together which you use to make sushi on and then roll the sushi with it. Also used to squeeze excess liquid out of food.

I was going to put sushi on the list but realised there's so many varieties of sushi that perhaps that would be best for another blog post. I personally rather like the California roll it's rather tasty and fairly easy to pick up with chopsticks.

Know any other Japanese words that could be useful for Bento users? Love to hear them!

 

Alphabet Lunches – Letter B

This weeks’ Alphabet Lunches is the letter B and again was trickier then I thought it would be but I got my creative hat on and came up with a few ideas and of course used a few B-related food picks. I am however kicking myself as I totally forgot the Bee food picks I have. Doh!

This is the first time we have used the Yumbox Classic and it was rather tricky for me to get use to a box with small compartments, but it was nice to come up with something without sandwiches. I used an old Tortilla Wrap which was due to go off soon and cut out the letter B and cooked them in the oven for a bit to make crisps. You can find where I got the idea from over at Eat’s Amazing where you can also think about using poppy seeds or similar sprinkled on top. I had recently bought some Banana rice cakes for Petit Girl and my son still loves Rice Cakes by Organix so he’s been treated to a few for lunch. Meatballs with Bones look like drumsticks, dried apricots with a Boat and for a little treat we have some mixed chocolate Buttons.  And then we have the usual yoghurt, he would never forgive me if I had forgotten the yoghurt! And in the small container a few raisins.

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What else can you think of that could be used in a B themed lunchbox? I considered Banana Loaf instead of the rice cakes at first but I knew the rice cakes would be a winner. Banana chips were on my shopping list but I forgot them, whoops!

Daddy’s Lunch – Ham Wrap

I love wraps. You can make all sorts of food with them, Petit Girl will happily eat any leftover bits when I cut them to make crisps, they are filling and makes a difference to having a sandwich. Daddy’s lunch was in the Panino Yumbox, Petit Boy got to use the Yumbox Classic so was nice to have both Yumboxes out and in use.

yumbox-mondayInside: Ham wrap with lettuce and peppers, cherry tomatoes, raisins, mixed chocolate buttons, orange slices.

I don’t usually pack him a drink as often he will be somewhere that means he’ll have a drink, though if I know he’s going to be on site working most of the day (he’s an IT Engineer so he often spends on-site time inside walls, under desks or in server rooms) I’ll pack him a drink.

It was lucky that the last 5 cherry tomatoes fitted so perfectly next to the wrap. Also I so need to get better at wrapping wraps. It’s like an origami or something! Any tips, please send them my way so my lunches start to look a little bit less like a random parcel in a box.

 

It’s Not Just A Buggy Walk

Doing the Buggy Walk for charity wasn’t exactly my first choice. So many amazing people will climb mountains, skydive, run marathons, all of these people inspire me and make me want to do something for charity as well. But I can’t do those things.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I had the idea that it’ll be smooth sailing, after all my son’s pregnancy and birth was a breeze so why would this be any different? At 8 weeks pregnant I was barely able to get out of bed due to severe back pains. I was crying, I couldn’t care for my son and even laying in my bed was painful. My midwife told me to get to A&E and after I threw pain killers down me to ease the pain a little, got a friend to watch over my son for a few hours I called for a taxi and got to the A&E department. I remember sitting on the most uncomfortable chairs ever, but then again all chairs were uncomfortable for me at that moment. Thankfully I was only waiting for no more than 15 minutes when my name was called.

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They ruled out ectopic pregnancy but found I had a severe urine and kidney infection that was getting out of hand. Because I was pregnant the doctor only gave me a low antibiotic dose, which didn’t work. The second time round it was put up and it still didn’t work. Finally third time lucky and the highest dose they could give me without fear of hurting the baby it cleared up but it took 3 months of being in pain, barely able to do basic stuff around the house or look after my son and do things mums do with 3 year old boys.

Pregnancy continued and the back pain didn’t subside. Urine infection was ruled out several times and it got to the point where nothing over the counter could work and I took trips to the hospital to make sure baby was okay and to get given pain relief that actually worked. I remember my first overnight stay was an odd one as I was on the ward where women waited to be induced or to have a c-section. There’s no “pregnancy pain ward” and as there was 6 beds in this room and never any more than 1 mother waiting to be induced or have a planned c-section I pretty much had a whole room to myself and the TV remote was within my grasps all the time. My last overnight stay ended up being a long one as I gave birth a few days later.

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But now my daughter is 13 months old and my back is still in pain. I exercise gently but enough to help with the pains, but still I can’t go buy food from the supermarket, I can’t load and unload the washing machine, I can’t vacuum the carpet, I can’t hold my children and running is just not doable. I’m still trying to find an answer as to why I’m suffering but I didn’t want it to stop me from at least helping raise money for charity.

And that charity is Lullaby Trust. With my son I could barely sleep as I was so scared of SIDS. I remember waking every 30 minutes to check on him, I would put my hand on him to check he was breathing. And with my daughter I was paranoid too. With the smell of drugs coming through our walls from next door I was freaking out (and sometimes vomiting – the smell was awful!) and she was such a silent sleeper so I was even more paranoid not hearing a peep from her.

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I know a Buggy Walk doesn’t seem like much but 5 miles pushing a pushchair is my mountain, my marathon. I’m sitting at my computer trying to ignore my back pain and holding back tears because although it hurts I mostly cry because I’m sick of it holding me back from doing things I want to do. So no I won’t let it stop me, even though it’s just 5 miles and it’s just a walk, I’ll do it. For Lullaby Trust and for Matilda Mae.

Please donate as little or as much as you can to The Lullaby Trust via my JustGiving page. If you’re unable to donate then please can you share this post or my JustGiving page. I want to help reduce the number of babies who die suddenly in their sleep in the UK, but Lullaby Trust needs your help to make it possible. Thank you.

Back to Basics Lunch

If there's one thing I know my son will eat at school it's a good old fashion ham sandwich. I decided to give the Warburton's sandwich thins which seem good as less waste and the ham sandwich slices we normally buy at the same size as the pre-sliced sandwich bread. But it's a bit expensive so more a fun try out.

The Box: Yumbox Panino

Inside: Ham sandwich, orange slices, mini banana loaf, apricot fromage frais, mini gingerbread man

Drink: Coconut water with mango and pineapple flavour

Today I finally got given the school's lunch menu. All children up until Year 3 will get a free meal at school now. Normally these meals cost at my son's school £1.90 which sounds too cheap if you ask me, or least too cheap for it to be any more than frozen and tinned garbage. Also a lot of the meals seem to be spicy which I know Petit Boy will not each. About the only 2 meals I know he will eat are the cheese and tomato pizzas (bit boring I know) and every Friday has a fish option which I know he'll like. So yeah pretty disappointing to be honest. But what should I be expecting for £1.90?

How much are meals at your child's school? Will you be taking the free meal option or making packed lunches? Or perhaps a bit of both?

 

Competition – TumTum Ladybird Lunchbag

If you are making packed lunches for your child to take to school then you’ll need a bag that keeps the food fresh, cool and safe. TumTum make some lovely products for young ones going to nursery, childcare or are just starting out at school and are the perfect size for little ones as well. With matching lunch boxes, lunch bags, snack pots and water bottles you can match things up or have fun mixing things up a little.

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What I like about the TumTum lunchboxes is that they’re easy to open for little tots and small children, have great portion control but also the lovely little divider doubles up as a small pot as well! And with all of TumTum plastic products you’ll find they are BPA free as well.

Today we’re going dotty for this lunchbag… a Ladybird themed bag to be exact! Great for boys and for girls starting school at reception or year 1 as it’s the right size for them to carry, will hold everything they need and will be sure to make them stand out from all the other lunchbags.

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I was wondering what a suitable name would be for such a dashing looking Ladybird. Maybe if it’s a girl I’d call her Lucy Ladybird but if a boy I’d call him Lex Ladybird. What do you think? Can you think of a good name for a boy or girl ladybird?

TumTum Ladybird Lunchbag

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate link can be found in this blog post. Any sales made through this link means I will receive a small percent from the sale.

Alphabet Lunch – Letter A

Once a week I will be making a packed lunch for my son that is themed, the alphabet lunch. I got the idea after reading and being inspired by Eats Amazing’s Alphabet Lunches so I figured it would help me be a bit creative and blog a few ideas out to any other parents who are lacking with packed lunch ideas. This week we start off with the letter A as we begin our school and packed lunch journey.

I thought A would be easy but it was actually pretty tricky. My son loves fruit so instantly I got Apples and Dried Apricot and even an Apricot Fromage Frais. But then I got to thinking of what to do with the main meal. I drew blanks for some time and then I remembered what I had bought just a few days ago that the kids both loved.. Animal shaped pasta! I also included a bit of decoration with Angry Birds, the letter A and an Aeroplane. And for drink he had a Coconut Water with Apple and Blackcurrant flavour drink.

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Here I have used our lovely Yumbox Panino which you can buy on their website. It certainly is one of my son’s favourite lunchboxes and I too love it, being easy to use, leakproof and simple to wash out afterwards.

What other food starts with the letter A can you think of for your child’s packed lunch or perhaps for an adult to take to lunch just to make them smile. Asparagus? Almonds? Anchoves?  Love to hear your ideas!

Competition – Personalised First Day at School Book

We have teamed up with Born Gifted for my lovely readers to be in to win their little one a lovely personalised First Day at School book, a lovely gift for a child, grandchild or to parents who have a child starting school for the first time.

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This charming personalised book tells the story of bunny’s first day at school – perfect for reassuring pre-school children before their big day!

Bunny is understandably nervous the night before the first day of school, but this book shows that there is nothing to worry about. Bunny ends up having a wonderful first day and can’t wait to go back!

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Now all you have to do is enter the competition by telling me if you have got everything ready for your child’s first day at school yet. Please use the Gleam application to enter and comment with your answer. Good luck!

Personalised First Day at School Book

First Day of School Lunchbox

I gave my son an option between two lunchboxes and he decided on the Munchkin Bento Box which he hadn’t used yet so I was a bit wary of his decision. But he was sure of it so it was packed and taken to school with him. I think what swayed him was knowing what was inside it. So here’s Petit Boy’s first school lunchbox.

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Inside: Ham wraps, dried apricots, pineapple, mini sausages.

Drink: Innocent Smoothie Strawberries, Blackberries & Raspberries.

He has taken a real shine to pineapple slices and these are fresh slices, not from a tin. Dried Apricot is only usually given in small amounts as we were recommended these for when he was a toddler with bowel related problems and dried apricot sure helped fix any problems he once had! But if we ever give him too many slices he gets very upset. And sausages… if he was told to do something in exchange for sausages he’ll do it at super speed… proved he doesn’t get distracted by Hot Wheels or TV.

And now on to my fiancé’s packed lunch. I kinda rushed making his lunch yesterday as was trying to do too many things at once but I know he’ll enjoy it and as he’s trying to lose some weight I hope these lunches help him feel good about himself but also fill him up as well.

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Inside: Sausages, cheese crackers, grapes, raisins, strawberry fromage frais

This is using an Addis Clip and Close Rectangular Food Storage Container with Inserts which seems not to be advertised as a lunch box and yet makes a great job of being a lunch box.