March 2016

Geek Parenting (book review)



9781594748707 Geek ParentingI was sent this book to review from the publisher. I read the book so I can give my own opinions on the book.

It’s nice to read a somewhat different book on parenting, picking examples from all sorts of fictional characters, some you will know and other not (in my case I have never read nor seen Game of Thrones!). I’m not sure if “cherry picking” the best parenting examples was intentional or just the way it was.

with everything that has been going on recently for me, been able to pick up the book for maybe five minutes and read just a bit and that section I finished was really handy. Each chapter is split into two page family examples, each focused on a different family and a situation where they came together. It made me rethink what I thought of my favourite characters, which is a good thing (I think).

The authors have worked really hard to give a narrative of the family situation and pick out the parenting bits to help us as parents deal better with our own children be it, others have been in the same/similar situation and come out the other side or show us another way to deal with our own problems. There are a lot of different families to read and you can either skim to the ones you want to read, read the whole (like me), or jump around to what suits you best. It’s not a “story” book nor a “advice” book, but something I find unique and very interesting. One thing is for certain, I’m definitely going to read the others that are in this series.


An Episode With The NHS (the good, the bad, and the ugly)


I really want to write about how good the NHS is, and usually it is. But, this week my local GP surgery made me nearly lose faith in it completely.

It all started on Monday morning when Squidge woke up with a weeping scalp. I asked hubby to make an appointment with the GP that day whilst I got the girls ready for school. I’m not sure what he said to them, but he excepted an appointment a week on Thursday, in my eyes not good enough. So on the way to school we pass the GP surgery and said we needed one today, they will call back, nothing unusual there. Get the call back and have an appointment that evening with a GP, good. We get there check in, check-in says appointment with GP, still good. We get called in by someone different, not a problem as they sometimes have trainee GP’s, she didn’t introduce herself, so I still assumed trainee GP. Only later into the appointment when she says she wants the GP to look at it, do I find out she is in fact a paramedic who has done the Minor Ailments course. How is she supposed to know medical problems, they don’t deal with them. I’m not happy, but we did see a GP, but he only followed what the paramedic thought (impetigo), and printed out a prescription.

Only when we get home do we realise that, one this paramedic was using someone else’s Smartcard (illegal), that the GP printed the prescription signed his name on someone else’s name (illegal). The prescription is invalid, and hubby complains to everyone (we all now have to change GP). So this means that on Tuesday we have to take a trip into town to see the Walk-in GP. When we get there at just after 10am, the waiting room  is full, and they told us it would be about a 90min wait. Two hours later we go in. The Nurse Practitioner was fab, really looked at her and said that last night diagnoses was wrong (wrong place, wrong type of scabs). She didn’t want to give Squidge antibiotics so prescribed her a medicated shampoo. Finally got home at 1pm for lunch. Then the fun of trying to find the prescription, some places didn’t have any, and others only had the larger size, it had to be ordered. Got the shampoo home after lunch on Wednesday, then the fun of applying it. Bless Squidge, she screamed the house down just when I poured the water on her head, yes I checked the temp on lower parts of her head, that was fine. Then she screamed again when I put the shampoo on the infected parts, you have to leave it in for two to three mins. Bless her, I started rinsing the lower parts before the two mins was up, as she was crying the whole way though. She got some posh chocolate biscuits when she was out the bath. We have to re-do the treatment again on Saturday, then twice weekly, then once a week until healed. We are not really sure what is wrong with Squidge, but we think it is dermatitis

Hubby is in the process of making a complaint to the Ombudsman about the care we received and the laws that they have broken. In the meantime we are looking for another GP (one who preferably doesn’t employ paramedics), there is one that would mean a bus ride, bus stop outside our house, and goes past the GP surgery and they have vacancies. But any Healthcare provider I have spoken to about what happened are appalled at what they did, so the new GP may be OK. I need to make sure I have a stock of medication to last me, so I don’t run out before it can be re-sorted.

Mother’s Day


I didn’t set my standards high for this Mother’s Day. I fully understand that a seven and three year can’t do too much (I wouldn’t expect them to bring my a very hot cup of tea in bed), but a little help from their daddy could have made things so much easier.

My plan was have cup of tea in bed, make the girls their breakfast, get ready and go out to Mother-in-Laws for lunch. Every Sunday we go to Mother-in-Laws (it keeps the peace) she over-cooks a Sunday lunch and we sometimes get drinks! Then home, have tea (hubby would have been out at tea time) baths and ready for bed. My evening was planned – drinks brought to me and some junk tv of my choosing.

In reality, I had to get up and make my own drink, I am refusing to take hubbies up to him as his bedside table is full of mouldy mugs! breakfast and getting ready went to plan. presents and cards had to be sorted in the morning, as they were not written before. I carry everything to the car! Then I make all the drinks at mother-in-Laws, and then I pack the car back up to come home. Hubby is saying he is not well again. We get home, I unpack the car, put a load of washing on, bath the girls. I managed to get a shower and wash my hair as the girls were watching TV quietly. I prepare tea whilst hubby is sleeping (maybe if he went to bed, bedtime routine, he might not be ill so often), and the girls relax before bed. I put the candle on, I get us both a hot chocolate, and let him eat my After Eights from his mum (we are capable of getting our own presents) but she does this every year, I’m not a big chocolate eater. Hubby does bring me a glass of wine and watch an old Midsummer Murders. Relaxing night, then off to bed for me, catch up on the news and go to bed. Sometime during the night hubby comes to be!


I made my mum’s card this year, very simple, but so much fun. I really must spend more time doing my cards and not leaving it to last minute. I didn’t get my mum a present as I know she was away with friends. My mum doesn’t do wine, or chocolate, and likes flowers but is not always home so no point. My Mother-in-Law got a plant from us and two small pots of bulbs from our girls. I worked out cheaper this way and if she doesn’t kill them they will last a lot longer than a bunch of flowers.

My March Challenge (part two)


Continuing where I left off mid-week

3rd: minimum shopping day, I wanted to restock our vitamin supply.

  • Boots 3x infant vits (3 for 2)
  • Boots 3x children vits (3 for 2)
  • boots 3x adult vits (3 for 2)
  • also bought 3x leggings (Bob has gone though three pairs by falling over, 25% off)
  • total spend £44.50
  • Asda reduced handbag (£3), magazine, and a reduced jumpsuit (£5) spend £11.49


  • breakfast: cereal for all four of us and smoothie for Squidge
  • lunch: homemade wrap for two  (leftover from yesterdays lunch), Squidge at school (free), no idea what hubby will have as he didn’t take any lunch!
  • tea: Chicken dippers for two, escalope for two, served with veg (hubby had just chips)
  • Snacks: mummy buns, crisps, and chocolate

4th: was planning a no spend day, but wanted milk (ended up with reduced scones and reduced pineapple) £5.38

  • Breakfast: cereal for four and a smoothie for Squidge
  • Lunch: homemade wrap, scrambled eggs, Squidge had school dinners, hubby had homemade soup (frozen)
  • tea: frozen sausage and mash and veggies for four (reduced pigs in blankets from Christmas)
  • snacks: scones, homemade yogurt and fruit

5th: Mother’s Day present shopping and birthday party presents for next week (double party)

  • breakfast: cereal for four plus smoothie
  • lunch: frozen (reduced price) tart and salad
  • tea: frozen pizza and fries with garlic bread
  • snacks: crisps, yogurt

6th: finally a no spend day

  • breakfast: cereal for four plus a smoothie
  • lunch: out at Mother-in-Laws – Sunday lunch
  • tea: tart and salad
  • snacks: none (eat too much at lunch!)

7th: needed milk again, plus saw some reduced raspberries £3.79

  • breakfast: cereal for four and smoothie
  • lunch:
  • tea: pasta and sauce (Tesco value dried pasta and fresh pasta)
  • snacks: crisps, yogurt

I think this week, I might get a hold on the spending as my freezer is full and all I need to buy is milk, fruit and veg. Next week I need to do a stock up shop. But, I’m going to look at the offers and plan my meals. I really need some more lunch ideas and tea ideas, we seem to be eating the same things week in week out. We did used to eat different things, but we stopped eating them for some reason, so we must try one new dish and produce a three weekly menu plan.

My Budget for March Challenge (part one)

After seeing Tenner A Week Challenge on  Penny Golightly website and twitter, I realised I need to see where I am really spending my spare money. This been after all our direct debits have come out. Most of my spending is in supermarkets, but I also know on a Tuesday is library which costs £3.10 for the bus, and on Thursday we go to a toddler group which costs £2.00 to get in and £1.00 for a hot drink.

My challenge this month is to see where and what I spend in the supermarkets each month and as I’m watching a lot more closely, where I can reduce my spending, looking at better offer’s and down shifting brands. I already have down shifted some brands, so looking at alternatives for cheaper, but healthier foods. I need to think about two growing children who need snacks and puddings seven days a week. I am  lucky that every Sunday we are always out for lunch, but as everything is over-cooked (carrots from a tin 30mins, cabbage min cook time 1 hour!) and puddings always high sugar choices – cakes, cream buns or something of similar nature.

So the plan is a monthly timetable with what we eat, when I shop, and a breakdown with what I spend. If you can see something which is shouting “what are you doing” please tell me as I may have missed it.

1st: no shopping today. We didn’t go out as it was raining, don’t want to hang around the bus-stop in the pouring rain.

  • breakfast: Cereal for all four; Tesco chocolate crispies, and I had Alpen small portion and linseed, and Tesco own smoothie for my eldest.
  • lunch: Squidge at school (free), Hubby bought out as was not sure where he would be for lunch. Bob had a tin of spaghetti shapes (cross & Blackwell) and I have some leftover chicken and chips
  • tea: Scampi for three with chips/fries and fresh veg (carrots, cauliflower) frozen peas. no pudding as cupboard was empty. hubby had flipper dippers and chips as we had run out of fishcakes.
  • snacks: crisps (from a large multi-pack), mummy buns (homemade) chocolate (small amount for me) and hubby had biscuits and 2 yogurts.

2nd: big shopping day. Didn’t go out, as not normally out.

  • fridge food         £43.28 (a few offers, but not many)
  • freezer food        £10.85 (a few items on offer, or wouldn’t have bought)
  • cupboard food     £47.60 (not many offers)
  • alcohol                  £10 (2x bottles of wine and 3x bottles of cider)
  • household stuff  £15.68 (lots of half price or reduce items)


  • breakfast: toast for two, as low on milk, cereal (as above) for the others, and as usual smoothie for Squidge.
  • lunch: Squidge at school (free), me and Bob had homemade wraps (prawn mayo, fish sticks tomatoes and cucumber), hubby unexpectedly came home so he had a small tin of beans and sausages.
  • tea: butternut squash risotto for three, hubby had a ready meal. He came home later then us, and he has decided he doesn’t like risotto!
  • snacks: crisps, mummy buns, chocolate

I was going to post this as one long post but after seeing it this long, I am going to post more frequently.

What has been good in Feburary

WHATS GOOD graphics and comments

Following on from last month

I have three books to review, two for my daughter and one for me. Mine with have a review page here and my daughters will go on Toppsta which is a new book review site aimed at children’s books.


Some lovely pillowcases


And A Hippo from @SilentnightBeds in another Twitter giveaway.


Roll on March, I’m going to try and focus a bit more next month. It was too cold and I had two poorly children

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