For those of you who are new to this, this is where we get to share with each other our favourite finds – things we’ve discovered that make life more tasty, fun, easy, enriching, or even challenging (as you’ll see this month I had one of those!). I start by sharing mine, and then you share yours either by linking up your post, or replying in a comment if you don’t have a blog.
So without any further ado….
Eat: Warburton’s Square wraps
These are the best thing since sliced bread. Literally. So much quicker and easier than making sandwiches, these are a fantastic way of making packed lunches more interesting, quick to make, whilst also cutting out the fat (replace butter with mayo or tomato paste). Now that has to be good! If you bung in some ready-made tuna & sweetcorn sandwich filler (which I’ve worked out is cheaper than buying ingredients separately) you have packed lunch for a family done in minutes. They also freeze really well and are fantastically quick at de-frosting (seriously handy on those mornings when you’ve run out of bread and forgotten somebody has packed lunches that day – familiar anyone?). They’re delicious plain or as a pizza base. Costing £1 for 6, they’re not that cheap but I think are worth it – crikey, do you think they’d do the washing up too?!
Play/Travel: Andy Stanton reading any of his Mr Gum books
You maybe wondering why I haven’t put this under Read section. It’s because listening to Andy Stanton read his Mr Gum books are so hilarious it is simply the best way to keep your kids entertained whilst travelling. And yourselves, for that matter. Especially on a long distance train ride. You’ll keep the whole carriage entertained as you cry with laughter and giggle with your kids at the ridiculous scenarios and voices he uses. In fact, his audiobooks should probably come with a public health warning – WARNING: do not use in public if you care about your reputation as a Serious Po-Faced Adult on a Train. (We listened to Mr Gum and the Goblins. Chapter 7 was my undoing).
Places: Aviemore, Scottish Highlands
This half term we treated ourselves to a break away in the Scottish Highlands which we adored. I used to go to Scotland in October half term as a child and so have fond memories of it (apart from going for interminable long walks and getting stuck in bogs on said long walks). And we have friends whose parents have a house in the holiday town of Aviemore.
What a stunning, out of the way, yet not in the middle of no where place! We were treated to mountains and lochs that we walked or cycled around, fresh highland air, in-door swimming and out door high ropes (not for the faint hearted mother), fantastic cuisine and friendly people. Being 400 miles away from home, it wasn’t the cheapest place to get to, even by car, but it was worth it.
Travel: East Coast Train to Edinburgh
Going by train when you’ve got a long distance to cover has to be the best thing when your kids reach a certain age. Not only are you no longer required to be Main Source of Entertainment, Dispenser of Regular Refreshment, and High Priestess of Navigation, you actually get to read a newspaper, or even play a game of cards with your kids. Now that is what I call travel. Add to this the wonderful scenery that blasts past your window and a fantastic live geography lesson of the British Isles, and you can see why we decided to take the train to Scotland rather than drive or fly.
If you buy a Family Railcard, its cheaper than flying. And you get to see the island of Lindisfarne and “the seaside village near Hogwarts from Harry Potter”.
Life Lesson: Always check the roads before you travel / Never use your mobile phone in a car, even if when stationary
Yes, this was the month I discovered what it’s like to be pulled over by the police and given a fine. Yes I know, of course you should never make a phone call whilst driving. But I was stuck in traffic lights and lost and thought I’d make a very quick emergency call to my friend whilst not moving. To be precise, I was on a wild goose chase in the depths of Essex trying to find an alternative route to Ipswich because a lorry full of fruit had just crashed on the main road to that town and the road has been closed (and breathe!). But it’s still not a good idea. Especially when you’re right next to a traffic police HQ near the M11. And even if the reason you’re headed there is to see your oldest friend who’s recently discovered she has breast cancer and about to start a course of radiotherapy.
I might have been desperate but I’ve learnt it’s better to wait till I can pull over. Not just for the ‘Educational Course’ I’ll have to do, or for being £100 the poorer, but for the potential accident should the call have gone on for longer than I’d planned. The police show you a promo video on an ipad of guy who checked his text whilst driving, hit an oncoming car with a child in it who died. Gulp. Hard hitting stuff. I felt very small and stupid.
The police were very courteous but I felt a right idiot. I was wrong. Full stop. And to be honest, I’m kind of glad this happened as it’ll stop me from ever even thinking of picking up my phone whilst in the car again. I hope. Let that be a lesson to me…
BTW I never did make it to Ipswich but my friend met me half way in a village appointed by her Tom Tom that neither of us had ever heard of. We found the only pub serving lunch that day, The Bird in Hand, which was ominously totally empty. But we had a fantastic meal of fish and chips, with a very nice publican serving us, a lot of laughs and the odd tear. She’s my best friend and it was worth it.
So, what great finds have you discovered this month? (or before – don’t worry, nobody will know when you actually discovered it!). Pop it in a comment below, or link up your post using this linky tool.
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