Put some wobble into your children’s lunch boxes with Hartley’s Jelly Pots

It’s that time of year where you are back to rummaging through your food cupboards attempting to put together some healthy, nutritious snacks ready to put into your children’s lunch box. Yes it’s back to school for the little ones and back to the shops for us.

If your children are like mine then they would like a variety of different types of food.

I always try to keep the lunch box filled with a balanced type of food, a sandwich, item of fruit, raisins, yoghurt / jelly and a snack. I don’t think the items of food have to be a work of art just as long the children eat it, that’s all that matters. Keeping it fun for them is a good idea but there is no need to go overboard.

What I do like to do is add in little messages or stickers for the children to read and use, a little surprise for them. They love to receive little messages amongst their wrap and fruit. Little words of wisdom, good luck messages if they have a test that day or just a little note to say how much I love them. I love seeing their little faces at the end of the day when i pick them up and they tell me that they got their message. Sometimes they reply back on the message so that i get to read it when I’m emptying their lunch box.

 

My boys are more snackers during the day rather than eating one meal. I think I most probably go over the top and add in too much for them but I like to know that they have a variety to eat from.

What I like to put into their lunch boxes:

Sandwich or a wrap – These are normally ham or cheese salad

Egg or pasta – I found these cute little egg moulders. They are shaped little cases that you place the boiled egg into and close it up to mould into the shape.

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Fruit – I normally put in a fresh piece of fruit and some dried fruit too. If I put in berries then i use a tupperware tub to put them in.

Snack – A packet of crisps, a pot of dried cereal or some rice cakes

Yoghurt/ Jelly – My boys love these in their lunch boxes, it is probably the first thing that they eat from it. I like to put both in for them, the small pots are ideal. Fruit in a jelly is an ideal way to introduce fruit into every day eating.

Fruit bars – Although my boys would rather eat a peanut bar they are not allowed them in school. I add in the raw bars, mostly made by myself from dates and coconut.

I also like to keep the added sugar in their lunches to a minimum. As a family we are keen on eating food with little refined sugar added in to them. Not only is it good for their health but good on the teeth too.

Hartley’s is a jam and jelly brand that has been feeding the nation from breakfast to after dinner snack for over 140 years, they offer Standard & No Added Sugar jelly pots which provide a quick and convenient snack. The Hartley’s No Added Sugar jelly pots have no artificial colours and flavours and are fat and gluten free. Stocked in all major retailers from only 49p, they are a tasty treat that will be sure to raise a smile.

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Get ‘Back to School’ ready with Hartley’s No Added Sugar jelly pots and put some fun into your kids’ lunchbox. There are five flavours to choose from including Strawberry, Raspberry, Orange, Tropical, Apple and Blackcurrant. They contain only naturally occuring sugars.

The No Added Sugar blackcurrant and tropical pots are vegetarian and vegan. They are the perfect size to add into lunch boxes or even into a bag for that little snack when out and about. My children find them very tasty and say that they taste like jelly made from home. They are strong in flavour and not watery like some pots you can get. I think they are ideal to add onto a party table too. I find that they are best kept in the fridge for keeping that fresh cold taste.

Hartley’s are gearing up for the Back to School season with an on pack collector scheme offer for our consumers. By collecting 12 promotional Hartley’s Jelly Pot lids, consumers can redeem a special edition Hartley’s lunchbox along with an assortment of fabulously fun stickers.

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The lunch box is a good size and as you can see from the photographs you can fit in quite a bit to fill those hungry little stomachs. Once you’ve collected the lids, claim your lunchbox here

I was provided with the lunch box and jelly pots for the purpose of this post.

My Unconditional Love

When I found out I was pregnant with all three of my boys, I never had that instant feeling of love for them. It sounds wrong doesn’t it? It wasn’t until I felt that first little flutter in my tummy (that could have easily been passed for wind) that I wanted to protect them. As the boys grew and my tummy started to expand I began to feel and see their little feet and hands pushing against my skin, I knew then that the love I had for them was unconditional. I knew that no-one would come even close to the love I had for them. A parents love and need for their children is strong.

The first time I held my boys and looked into there eyes, I only felt love. I didn’t want to let them go, put them down or leave them with anyone. I wanted to cherish as much of them as possible. I was selfish in a way, as I didn’t want anyone else to be with them. They were mine, all mine. I breathed in their sweet sweaty smell of their skin, I stroked their cute little wrinkled face, I watched as they wrapped their tiny little fingers around mine, I felt their tiny heart beat against my skin and I held them tight. As tight as I could. Motherly love instantly kicking in. No time for tiredness just time for them.

Since giving birth to my first son some 13 years ago, I havent really left them with anyone. My life changed. I became a stay at home Mum and spent my days hugging and holding my boys. It’s not that I don’t trust anyone with them but I need to be near them, I need to be close to them. I am their protector, their guide through life. We do everything together, obviously they do their own things with friends but when they are at home we are always together.

My boys are certainly Mummy boys. Where ever I go they go too. I can’t even go to the toilet without them waiting outside of the door for me. It’s me who they confide in when having troubles at school or with friends. It’s me who they come to when they are upset. It’s me who they cry for when they are hurt. It’s me who kisses all their hurt away. It’s me who they sit and watch TV with and cuddle up to on the sofa. Dad is around but it has always been Mummy. My fault entirely for being over protective of them. But I wouldn’t change it. They are independent boys, they don’t need me for anything but I am always near by if and when they need me.

From the first moment I held my boys to now my love has not faltered. I have the same fluttery feeling, my heart aches and I get a lump in my throat.

As I have said before, my boys are my life. They are the reason why I fight every day. They are the reason why I am so strong. They are the reason why I have hope.

Recently with the bad news that I received, my heart ripped in two. I know it sounds weird but I felt it. My heart ached. It pained. It was hard to breathe. My throat was dry. My boys showed me that Love will conquer. Love is strong. My heart is nothing without them. The love I receive from them is full on, mighty and energetic.

We are a team.

My love may be unconditional for them but It certainly isn’t blinded by their behaviour. My boys are no saints. They fight, shout, scream, their lazy and messy. They can push me to the limit and I may shout at them but we all know that this is part of growing up, they know that I love them and I only want the best for them.

I love how my eldest has a strong passion for running and swimming. He is caring and thoughtful. He is very clever, being a member of mensa at the age of 11. His brain is like a sponge and when he talks its like he has swallowed a dictionary/thesaurus.

I love the middle ones sensitivity. He is very caring and loving. He loves his lego and has a creative imagination. He loves to spend time with family and be close to them. He is witty and charming.

I love the shear strength of the youngest. He is strong willed and very determined. I can see him being very clever when he is older but hopefully not get side tracked by peers. He is loving and bubbly. He is shy but also determined.

All three of them put their heart into everything and always want to achieve at their utmost.

All three are my unconditional love.

 

A weekend of achievements and Personal Bests

Living in a London borough gives the children a very good chance of competing in the London Mini Marathon for their borough. Children that live else where in GB have to be within the top four runners of their region/nation.

Each London borough, region and home nation has a team manager who is responsible for selecting a team to take part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, which also doubles as the British Athletics three-mile road championship race. Boys and girls race in 3 age categories and there are 6 races in total.

We are lucky to live in a London Borough and back in February my eldest boy who is 13 years old, attended the trials for a chance to win a place on the boroughs team. For the third year in a row, he managed to get through.

Unlike previous years, he has tried hard with his training. He hasn’t managed to run every evening but attended the training sessions each week that was run by a local running club and went out for local runs after school. Not only has he been running but he has also been attending his swimming sessions at his club three times a week. This has really helped with his stamina. He had more drive this year wanting to achieve and try his hardest.

He was dropped off early Sunday morning, along with his other team mates, to catch the coach into the City. He wasn’t nervous but eager to get running. Not long after dropping him off, we set off ourselves as a family to go and cheer him on.

I was in pain from an op I had the day before but i needed to see him. I needed him to know that I was there supporting and cheering him on.

It wasn’t long before we saw him running past us along the embankment, he was looking strong and doing so well. As we called out his name, he got a burst of energy and it must have spurred him along. He looked over to us and smiled and carried on running.

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The boy in red shorts

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Dad and little brother went off to collect him from the finish, whilst I found a cafe to sit in and wait for my big hero to come.

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He was so proud of himself .

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When the results come through he was in complete shock. Couldn’t believe the time that he had got. Said it must have been a fluke. I say that it was determination. I have always told him that if he puts effort and time into something he will acheive.

Jaks time 17:56 Placed 23rd for the borough challenge.

Now, I have 3 boys and they all run. On Saturday saw my middle boy who is 8 years old run in a local 5k parkrun.

He had asked his big brother to take him along to the park to join in with adults and other children to run 5k. His brother ran along his side all the way, they didn’t stop and he managed to pass over the finish line in an amazing 25:47. A personal best for him.

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I love to see my boys enjoying the outdoors and feeling the freedom of running.

I love watching them grow with determination and dedication.

Little brother can not wait to follow in his big brothers footsteps and compete in the London Mini Marathon himself. I am sure big brother will be cheering him along all the way.

Den building

What better way to spend a sunny, spring morning than gathering sticks and building a den.

We spent a couple of days at Nanny’s house last week, she lives out in Essex, surrounded by fields and little woods to explore. The boys love to get and about and go on adventures. Nanny had told us about a public walk way that runs along side a golf club, surrounded by trees. She often walks the dog down there and we had previously gone for walk along there but it was so overgrown that we couldn’t get far. The trees have now been cut down and the muddy pathway is now clear of any bramble and lovely to walk along (provided you walk around the muddy patches that is)

The boys found an area that was obviously a meeting area for the local children, they had built their own little house on a hill from branches, it even had a rule sheet attached to it. It gave the boys an idea of building their own den. There were lots of fallen down branches from the recent windy weather that we had.

The boys gathered together some branches and began to lean them up against a tree. They worked together as a team, negotiating where to place the branches, using their imagination and creativity to build a home outside. The tree was at the bottom of a little hill.DSC_4019-opt

They experimented using branches of all sizes, small twigs, leaves, stones and mud.

den building

den

 

The boys really enjoyed being one with nature and it was lovely to see them enjoying themselves and not arguing for once. They were kind to each other and listened to each others reasoning of what to do next.

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They really enjoyed working together and was really pleased with what they had built.

Have you built a den before?
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Raving with the young ones at Rave-A-Roo

Ever fancied cutting some moves in an iconic nightclub with your children?

Back in February I did something that I didn’t think I would be doing any time soon. I went raving with my boys at Ministry of Sound. Ok not quite raving but there was a DJ and there were lots of flashing neon lights along with extremely loud music.

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Rave-A-Roo is a clubbing mash-up of festival fun for the whole family. It’s the ultimate party with a festival-style program of big names, top DJs, the disco ball games, LIVE stage performances, confetti mayhem, neon craft, Glow Chill Room, PlayGlow toys, UV tattoo station and the chance for mini-clubbers and their adults to take on the dance floor with Rave-A-Roo resident artists Go! Go! Go! (Dance Set) as seen on Nick Jr.

I couldn’t believe I was inside such an iconic place of my younger years with my young children, dancing away to the tunes whilst my boys were kicking a football about and playing with play dough. It was quite unreal.

As we arrived to the Ministry of Sound we was greeted by a queue that went around the corner, nothing new there. As we joined the back of the line, we was entertained the whole time by Rave A Roo entertainers, telling jokes, blowing bubbles at us and getting the children really excited prior to entering. After queueing for about 15 minutes we were eventually inside.

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We had a quick look around, checking out each area. The main room had live entertainment on stage with a DJ playing tunes to boogie along to in between sets. The bar area had a UV Tattoo station, a UV playdough table and an inflatable ball machine. There was a soft play area for the little ones to go mad in and music playing throughout the rooms.

Playing with his glow stick

Playing with his glow stick

The toilet areas were well equipped for the little ones too, steps were placed in the cubicles and around the sink areas and changing mats was placed on a low down table along with a few items to use.

The atmosphere was very chilled and quite surreal. Children were running around, laughing and dancing, enjoying themselves whilst parents looked on and watched them have fun. I felt safe to allow my 8-year-old to roam between rooms, whilst I kept an eye on the 4-year-old.

We spent some time in the main room, cutting some moves but the music was a little too loud for my middle boy, who is quite sensitive to noise. The room was quickly becoming packed out with little ravers enjoying the music. Big balls were being thrown throughout the crowd and everyone was having a ball 😉

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My boys enjoyed the bar area where they played with playdough and the ball machine.

Along with all the entertainment to keep the little ones busy, there was a licensed bar.

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I am happy to announce that I did relax a little and enjoy a glass of bubbles, well it was a launch after all.

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The eldest and the youngest one found a blow up ball to kick about, I can’t take them anywhere without them finding a ball to play football with. Even a couple of adults joined in with their little game of footy, they had tucked themselves into the corner of the room so that they wouldn’t bother anyone. The middle boy spent most of his time playing with the neon playdough, creating little animals.

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We had a wonderful time at Rave-A-Roo and would definitely recommend it to any family. There is something to keep all ages entertained. As you can see from the video, even the teenager managed to put a smile on his face.

 

Nationwide dates will be released soon for 2016. Take a look here for more information

We was invited along for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received.

Geocaching in London with the children

Geocaching is a real life outdoor treasure hunt. A hunt that you need to use GPS to track down a geocache (container), following specific coordinates to find the cache hidden in a location. A geocache is a container that will contain a log book and sometimes little trinkets for you to swap with, if you take one you must replace it with something else. Geocaches are located all over the world, hidden in locations that are of interest or beauty. Locations are quite diverse, they could be under water, in a city centre or in the middle of a field.

We have found caches on street signs, in church grounds, under park benches and even abroad whilst we was in holiday to Malta.

Using an app that I have downloaded to my phone, we search for caches that are local to where we are. The only rules are to replace the cache back to where you found it and to have enjoy and have fun.

Living so close to London, made me think of having an adventure with the children. Searching for geocaches and looking at the sights that the Big City has to offer. I did a little research the night before, looking for an area that contains a few caches to find. Along the Thames looked like a good spot. I didn’t want to walk too far between caches as I didn’t want the children to tire too quickly and I wanted to keep them entertained as much as possible.

We made our way to Embankment station, which only took us 40 minutes by tube. We had packed some food and drink in a bag, made sure that my phone had a full battery and we was ready for our little London treasure hunt.

The children were excited and couldn’t wait to find the first cache. It was located very close to the station but as we neared the spot we noticed a homeless person sleeping, We decided to halt our search and waked away, we didn’t want to disturb them in any way.

Victoria gardens runs along side the Thames in between Embankment and Temple station. It’s a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle, beautiful flower beds and statues to look at. The eldest boys brought along their scooters, so the children enjoyed scooting around whilst us adults topped up on some caffeine intake from the nearest coffee shop. We knew that there were a couple of table tennis tables spotted in the gardens so we had gone prepared and had packed our paddles for a game.

Scooting around

Scooting around

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After a short break we made our way to the second Geocache which was located near Temple station, just a short walk away. We walked through the gardens and along the Thames and was soon with GPS mobile device in hand searching for our find. Lots of people were around looking at us but we didn’t care. Along with the details to follow, there was also a hint which was to un-scramble some letters to form a word. It wasn’t long before we had found what we was looking for, all we had to do was hunt down the cache. The children had a feel around and soon found it inside the sand bin.

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With one geocache logged the children couldn’t wait to find the next one. We headed on over Waterloo Bridge towards the Southbank.

Here we found the next one. We had to climb a few steps to get to this one.

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The children were excited now and couldn’t wait to find more. The eldest boys wanted to visit the Southbank Skatepark, so we made our way to it to have a look about and watch some other skaters do some jumps. It was a pretty cool place with lots of street art to look at and it was under cover, which was ideal as the weather had taken a turn and the hail stones began to come down. _20160330_141350

As the sun was beginning to fight through the fast-moving clouds we headed on down the Southbank towards the London Eye. This was where we found our next find

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Knowing that the cache is magnetic helps you know where to look.

The hidden cache

The hidden cache

It was time for a quick spot of lunch. The children enjoyed a play in the park and the eldest watched a magic show that a street performer was doing along the Southbank.

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We had heard about a street that was near by to Jubilee Gardens where there was lots of street art and wall graffiti. After we had refueled with food and drink we headed on over. It wasn’t far. We knew we was in the right spot as we could smell the fumes from the spray cans before we could see the graffiti. There were a few artists in there, adding their tags and art to the walls. It wasn’t quite a street as such, but a tunnel that went beneath the tracks of Waterloo station.

I'm so cool

I’m so cool

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On the ceiling of the tunnel

We had one more cache to find before it was time to head on home.

Passing over the GPS device to the children, they navigated us to the last one. We was all looking up and down the street, but knowing that it was a magnetic cache meant that we had to look for something that was metal.

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Looking behind the street sign, we soon had found our fourth find of the day.

We had a wonderful time in London and found four caches located along the southbank and embankment area. The children felt like real life explorers. But after being on our feet for 5 hours we was all ready to head on home. It was an eventful day and we can not wait to add some more logs to our Geocache account

Do you enjoy geocaching? Where have you found your treasures?

An adventure into the woods

My boys love to explore the outdoors. They love to be set free and just run wild.

My youngest boys are climbers, wherever we are they will attempt to climb anything, wether it be a door frame in the house, a pole in the play area or a tree in a forest. I am always calling them little monkeys. There is something about a tree that attracts a child’s attention . They can not wait to let their adventurous side out and climb to the highest point that they can. So you can imagine how excited my boys were when we took them along to Epping Forest for a tree adventure.

The sun was shining, so we all climbed into the car and drive the short distance to the forest. Dad had told the boys all about a tree swing that was set up in a clearing of the forest, they were eager to explore and find it. Dad knew exactly where it was, although if I were to go back again I definitely would get lost looking for it.

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There were lots of fallen down tree and branches all over, we had to climb under and over some of them to get where we were going. Daddy was on a mission, he knew where we were heading to, but to me the trees all looked the same.  After walking for 10 minutes we had found the clearing where the swing was.

The boys couldn’t wait to give it a go, the youngest one first.

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Daddy gave him a big push and he swung around in a big circle screaming with delight, shouting out “It’s amazing!”  We all had a go, even Mummy and Daddy. I have to say, it was good fun. Felling free, swinging around amongst the trees.

The boys then went on a little adventure, climbing the trees, seeing who could climb the highest.

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The 8 year old is always the winner when it comes to climbing, I’m sure he was a monkey in his past life. He likes to push himself, to see if he can climb to the top, Much to Mum’s dislike. I don’t like to encourage to climb to high but Daddy says it’s ok. Sometimes I just can’t watch. He says that he enjoys climbing because he knows that it is something that he can do and that he feels free with nature and comfortable.

He likes to explore the trees and he works out what branches are the strongest ones to climb on to, he works out his route up and down with lots of thought.

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We had lots of fun in the woods, exploring, climbing and swinging. We got lots of exercise and it was great to be out as a family enjoying the surroundings with each other. We ended our adventure with a hot drink in a cafe on the way home.

What do your children enjoy doing in the woods?