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The Ultimate guide to the Costa Del Sol with kids!

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Five free things you can do this Summer #2….

5 free things you can do this Summer #2

We all know that you don’t have to spend money to have fun but sometimes we need a quick reminder of the fun things we can do for free so here’s the second in my series of my Summer Holiday reminders of some fun things to do together that won’t cost you a penny….

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Make Gloop - This is one of the most fun things we’ve done together at home.  Gloop is amazing stuff and it’s quite good to get a bit of science in to the holidays too.

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Have a go at Geocaching – if you don’t know what it is or you haven’t tried it then you really need to have a look at the website and see what it’s all about.  

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Have a water fight – Nothing seems to be as much fun as a water fight on a hot day.  I usually don’t tell the kids in advance and while they’re out playing I fill a couple of carrier bags with waterbombs for each of them.  It takes me way longer to fill it than it does them to empty it but it’s worth every minute to see the fun they have.  Water guns are almost as much fun but I hate the fact that the kids have to keep trailing into the house to refill.

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Make a Bored jar - You must be nearing the stage where the novelty of being on holiday is wearing off a little but.  You know the one I mean, the one where the kids start saying I’m Bored at least 27 times a day.  Our solution to this is a bored jar and I strongly recommend making one yourself! Fill it with free ideas like paint a picture or write a story.

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Make homemade ice lollies - We love making homemade ice lollies, they’re so much better than shop bought ones and so much fun to make together.  The only bad bit is waiting for the ice lollies to freeze!

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#SaveMoneyMonday – Summer Holiday Snacking….

SaveMoneyMonday

We’re one week in to the holidays and my children are eating me out of house and home so I’ve decided to make this week’s #SaveMoneyMonday all about Summer Holiday Snacking.

I understand that they’re growing children and that playing out with their friends on their scooters and bikes is very hungry work but there’s just no filling them at the minute!  Last week, I was super busy at work trying to get my two weeks off work so I didn’t really have chance to do anything other than make an unscheduled trip to the shops to replenish the fridge mid week but this weekend, I’ve prepared myself for the coming week’s snack attacks!

I popped to the local market stall to stock up on fruit yesterday and spent Saturday baking so my fridge is now filled with all sorts of goodies – both sweet and savoury.

We started with a giant batch of packed lunch cake which I originally costed at around 7p per square when I first posted this a couple of years ago and I don’t think it will have increased in cost too much thanks to all the supermarket wars and great quality own brand products.

Packed lunch cake

We also made a big batch of cheese and ham muffins waiting for the hungry hoards.  These muffins are really tasty, very filling and are great to eat on their own, in a picnic, with soup or even made into a sandwich with a slice of ham.

Cheese and Ham Muffins

250g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon paprike
A pinch of salt
50g butter
1 egg
250ml milk
150g cheese
Ham or cooked bacon – chopped into small pieces. The amount is up to you depending on how ‘hammy’ you want it. Less is fine, especially when you’re cooking to a budget but more is great if you have some in.
Optional: 2 small red chillies – very finely chopped

  • Stir the flour, baking powder, paprika and salt together in a mixing bowl until they’re well combined.
  • Rub in the butter until the mixture looks a bit like breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the egg and the mil until the mixture is well combined.
  • Add the cheese, ham (and the optional chilli) and stir till it’s well mixed.
  • You can cook them in traditional muffin cases or as I do in silicon moulds without the cases as they just seem less cake-like if I do it that way ;-)

cheese and ham muffins

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Review: Philips SpeedCare Iron….

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I hate ironing.

And when I say that I hate it, I mean that I really, really HATE it.

Which is why I wasn’t too excited when we were offered the chance to review the new Philips SpeedCare iron although I did say yes because I’m a very generous wife and I thought that poor Mr Frugal might like it!

It arrived in a box big enough to turn into a dog kennel and I’ll be honest, I felt very little love for it (my dislike was based purely on the fact that it was an iron – even though it’s as pretty an iron as I’ve ever seen ;-)).

Mr Frugal however, felt very differently and had it out of the box within minutes.

I’ve never seen the ironing board go up so quick so I took full advantage of the situation and brought in a full wash load that had been drying on the line – because clearly to review it properly, he’d need to iron a good few items!  It’s only fair to do a full and proper review!

At this point, I really should tell you the techie stats shouldn’t I?

Here you go:

  • Soleplate – Ceramic soleplate
  • Vertical steam – Yes
  • Pressure – Max 4.5 bar pump pressure
  • Power – 2400 W
  • Steam boost – 170 g
  • Continuous steam output – 110 g/min
  • Heat-up time – 2 min
  • Storage solution – Carry lock
  • Hose storage – Hose storage compartment
  • Cord freedom (swivel) – 180 degree cord freedom
  • Hose length – 1.6 m
  • Power cord length – 1.8 m
  • Safety auto off – Yes

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But as impressive as all that is, the things that matter to me are (a) is it easy to set up, (b) is it easy to use and finally, (c) does it look pretty….

(a) Yes, it was really easy to set up which is great as Mr Frugal isn’t the most patient person in the world and building a garden table the other day nearly drove him over the edge. It was literally out of the box, fill with water and away you go. It’s quite quick to heat up too although a little bit longer than my current one.

(b) It’s very easy to use and it really does glide across the fabric doing getting the creases our straight away so you don’t have to keep going back over the same bit.  We tested it on Mr Frugal’s work jacket which is always hard to iron as it’s quite a thick, heavy material but this did a great job and you could literally see the difference- both in the finished result and the length of time it took to iron it.  The steam output is great and is (I think) what makes a difference to the time it takes to iron something.

(c) It doesn’t take up much more space than my old iron which is a surprise as I thought these types of irons were quite bulky.  It’s also quite light and really portable as it locks together tightly.  It also has a great self clean function which reminds you when it needs cleaning and will no doubt keep the iron looking (and working) as good as it does right now.

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So, we love this iron because it makes a job we hate easier and means we spend less time doing it and let’s face it, the less time spent ironing, the better!

10 Ways to help your child overcome feelings of anxiety or fear….

10 ways to help your child overcome a fear or anxiety

Lots of children have a fear of something – it may be that they’re scared of the dark, terrified of roller coasters or have a fear of spiders.  They could be scared of certain situations like speaking in front of a crowd or having to complete a particular task at school.

Whatever their fear is, no matter how irrational it may seem to you, it’s very real for them and as parents, there are certain things we can do to help them overcome their fear or at least learn how to manage their fear.

1.  Never, ever tell a child they are being silly for being scared of something.

2.  Sit down and talk about why something is making them anxious, often just talking it through will help them feel a little bit better if they can tell you exactly what it is about something that they are scared of.  Miss Frugal was so anxious over a school presentation once and when we talked about it, it turned out that it was mainly because she was scared of forgetting something.  We then practiced until she could have done it in her sleep to help her feel more in control which reduced the anxiety massively.

3.  Helping them to understand exactly what they can expect in a certain situation will make children feel more in control and therefore, less anxious.  If ever my two are worried about a certain situation, we talk about what’s likely to happen – like when Miss Frugal was worried about her school transition days we went through the schedule together and talked about it so she felt like she knew more about what she could expect.

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4.  Give them the tools to manage their fear and help them overcome it.  Miss Frugal recently went through a bit of a phase of hating the dark and started sleeping with her door open so we gave her a sun jar which she uses as a nightlight.  After a couple of days with this, she’s OK again with having her door shut and most nights doesn’t even worry about turning it on.  It’s there if she needs it though which puts her in control.

5. Teach them positive phrases to repeat in their head if they are worried about something.  Things like ‘I can do this’ and ‘I am not afraid of this’ can help.

6.  Help them manage their fear by learning more about it!  Master Frugal used to have a real phobia of bees and wasps so we learned about them using YouTube and other websites to help him familiarise himself with them a little bit.  He’s still scared of them but not nearly as bad as he used to be as he now knows a little bit more about them so they’re not just mean flying stingy things to him anymore.  Just make sure you watch the videos first, just in case. ;-)

7.  Again, along the lines of putting your child in control, ask them what would make them feel less scared about something.

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8. Don’t avoid whatever it is your children are scared of.  Miss Frugal is scared of spiders but whenever we catch one in the house we show her it so she can see that they’re not scary.  This is really hard for me as I hate them myself but I try not to let her see that!

9. Reassure your child that fear is normal, they’re not silly for being worried about something.

scaredies away

10. Read books that help your children to cope with fear.  We were sent a copy of Scaredies Away by Stacey Fiorile and Barry McDonagh a little while ago and I was really impressed with it.  It just reads as a normal children’s story but it teaches children that it’s OK to be scared of things and that there are ways to deal with the fear.  The Magic Finger Countdown is something that really does work although we’ve only used it with smaller anxieties so far.  It teaches children to channel their anxiety and turn it into power and is all about encouraging children to control their fear and not let their fear control them.

Above all, just be there for them and make sure they know they can tell you anything!

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