The Summer So Far…

Good afternoon and happy new week!  Today I wanted to share some of the things we got up to in the first two weeks of the Summer holidays with the boys.  Hopefully this can help give you some inspiration and ideas for days out and things to do.

Chatham Historical Dockyards

We were incredibly luck to be contacted but the people at Chatham Dockyards and invited for a visit.  They have just opened a new Lego exhibit and had seen we were big fans and asked if we would like to come and have a look around.

Unfortunately earlier that week Ste was admitted to hospital with an infection.  Although he was feeling much better, because he needed a two week course of IV antibiotics he was forced to stay in.  My friend Dan came with me to pick up the boys on the Friday following their last day at school and we headed over to Kent.  The boys did not know about any of what I had planned so were super surprised to see us pull into a hotel rather than heading home!  As Kent is only a half hour drive from Essex, I booked a hotel there for the night rather than driving back to Derby.

The following morning after breakfast we headed over too the Dockyards.  The day out did not disappoint and we had a fantastic time.  The boys Dad used to in the Navy so getting to explore one of the ships was brilliant.

We also booked on to the tour of the Ropery and the submarine which was simple and easy to do when we arrived.  The boys were ‘roped’ in to helping demonstrate how rope used to be made and had lots of fun and a good deal of exercise doing it!  The submarine tour was also brilliant and definitely makes you appreciate our armed forces even more – some sailors spend months on these underwater helping to protect our country!

Unfortunately on the day we visited, the Dockyards had to shut early due to an incident which happened.  The staff handled it really well and were lovely and helpful.  This meant we didn’t get to have a look around the Lego exhibition but we have been invited back which we hope to do.

The on site restaurant was good and offered a selection of lunch options which were reasonably priced.  The gift shop was also lovely and had lots of choice to suit all budgets.

Disabled Access

The site is large so anyone with trouble walking long distances may struggle.  However, there are plenty of places to sit along the way round.  Access to the submarine would not be possible with a wheelchair but the Dockyards informed me that there is a virtual tour that people can take.  Both the submarine and ship have steps to descend/ascend.  The ship is accessed by a ramp so you can explore the deck area, even if you are unable to explore the rest of the ship. The Ropery is on two levels but their is a lift for people unable to manage stairs.  There are good toilet facilities around the site.  The disabled toilets were spacious and clean.

If You Want To Visit


Visit the website

For the Summer school holidays, kids can get in for £1 with every full paying adult – bargain!

Buy tickets online

To see more of our visit to the Dockyards please check out our YouTube video here


Swimming with an ostomy can be nerve wracking but I have two water babies so it had to be on our Summer to-do list!

I won’t go into too much detail about the swimming with an ostomy stuff here, as I am writing a post for TalkHealth all about it at the moment, which should be live soon.

Check out my TalkHealth page

We had a great time in the pool and it was brilliant to see how far the boys have come.  They have been having swimming lessons both privately and with school and they are doing fantastically well.

Bounce Revolution

The boys broke up earlier than the schools in Derby which meant that for the first week they were off, places were really quiet!  We took advantage of this as much as we could, including a visit here.  I had two tickets from our previous visit giving us entry for £5.  The boys absolutely love it and had the place to themselves for half an hour, with only one other family joining them for the following hour they were in there!  The staff are friendly and were great wrth the boys.  They were also brilliant when Leo managed to hurt his knee and provided first aid and an ice pack etc.  The boys loved running round, jumping, playing basketball and football and I was able to sit and watch with a cuppa!

To book your visit see the website

Thackray Medical Museum

This museum is on the site of St James Hospital in Leeds.  The entrance fee covers your visits for a whole year so you can return as many times as you wish.

Visit the website here

As Ste was in St James’s we thought instead of him missing out on more Summer holiday fun, we would pay him a visit and have a day out at the same time!

The museum was fantastic.  For the first part you travel back in time to Leeds in the 1800’s.  The boys thought this was brilliant.  The museum was made to look like a real Victorian street with all the sights, sounds and smells of the period!  You are also invited to pick a character at the beginning of the walk through.  You get an information card with some facts about your character and then you follow the route, finding out more information about them, what they had wrong with them and how this was treated back then.

The boys really enjoyed this part and me and Ste both thought it was excellent too.  We loved finding out lots of new things and the interactive element of so much of the displays was great.

A quick look around the gift shop afterwards and we couldn’t resist a selfie with the poo heads!  There was a pocket money section as well as more expensive bits so good for all budgets.  The toilets were down a few stairs and I am not sure if there was a lift for those in wheelchairs but assume there would be one somewhere, or an accessible toilet.  There was also a cafe although we did not use that on our visit.

All in all a fab day out which we all enjoyed.  Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby!

Cooking With Kids

You all know I am a big fan of cooking and enjoying sharing my recipes with you.  During the time the boys were here we made one of their favourite teas – pizza!  I bought the simple cheese and tomato pizzas from Aldi and then the boys added on their favourite toppings.  They were able to practise their cutting skills with their own safe,  cutting knife.  They then decorated their pizzas before I popped them in the oven.  They both really enjoyed them and every bit was polished off!

This is great for using up leftovers and for a simple tea which I know they will enjoy.  I love encouraging them to cook and Leo especially, really enjoys it and is becoming so much more independent in the kitchen now.

The Ragley Boat Stop

We went out for lunch with Grandma and decided to drive out to this pub as I haven’t been here in a while.  The food was lovely as always – Riley polished off a big bowl of spag bol and Leo really enjoyed his burger!  We took them down to the canal and they enjoyed having a look at the barges that were alongside.  Riley was desperate to get on one but we explained that they were people’s houses and he wasn’t allowed to get in!  The boys also enjoyed learning about the lavender plant from Grandma.

New Car

The boys were so excited to be here when I went to pick up the new car!  They were really well behaved while I sorted out the paperwork too.  I will be doing some more posts about this soon so keep an eye out!

Buxton International Festival

Me and the boys were lucky enough to be invited along to the festival in Buxton this year.  It ran for two weeks and there were lots of different shows and demonstrations on.  We had hoped to attend the African Drumming Workshop when we visited on the Saturday, but were unable to find the right tent!

Regardless, we spent a fab afternoon at the Buxton Pavilion Gardens where it was held.  The park is stunning and there are lots of fab reasons to visit even without the festival being on!  The boys loved crossing the bridges and the miniature train that we took a ride on.

We had a lovely picnic and the boys enjoyed a play on the park, especially the double seated swing!  My arms weren’t too sure after a while pushing them though!

We also enjoyed hearing the band playing in the beautiful band stand, watching the Morris dancers and having a go on the inflatable slide which were all part of the festival.  Was a really lovely afternoon which we enjoyed greatly!

Manor Heath Park & Jungle Experience

Me and the boys spent a lovely morning over at Manor Heath park in Halifax.  We were over there for 9am and this meant we had a lot of time to ourselves before it got really busy around  lunchtime when we left.

The boys enjoyed some time in the splash pool, followed by a run around of the play park.  We then headed over tot he Jungle Experience which is just £1 each for entry.  The boys loved trying to spot all the butterflies and birds.

Their favourite part by far was the turtles!  Seeing them all lined up on the bridge was fab.  The boys stroked them gently and sat watching them for ages.  We even saw a couple walk off the edge of the bridge and splash into the pool below!

This is a fab park with the playground, large open spaces and the water splash bit too.  The Jungle Experience greenhouses rounded off a fab morning which we all enjoyed!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the things we got up to in the first couple of weeks of the school holidays.  We definitely made the most of our time together and had a lot of fun!  I hope you will consider visiting some of the places yourselves if nearby, we really have had some fun times!

What have you been up to so far this Summer?  Do you have any places you would recommend a visit to?  Please let me know in the comments below!


What My Kids Eat In A Weekend

I have been studying health and wellbeing as part of my university degree recently and it has been a real eye opener to the problem of children being overweight and obese.  One thing contributing to this is the advances in technology (I was shocked to read that the average child in the UK spends 6 hours in front of a screen per day) and obviously food plays a part.  I am not the healthiest foodie mummy but I encourage my children to eat a balanced diet with the occasional treat.  I have shared a typical weekend with the boys and what they eat which will hopefully inspire you and give you a good idea of a routine for them.  The boys are 6 and 9 years old but if you are interested I will do a post about what my 23 month old step-daughter eats in an average weekend too, please comment below if you would like to see that.



I collect the boys from school and get ready for the drive back to Derby.  I give them both a carton of apple juice and a packet of Mini Stars biscuits for a snack


Tea is a little later than usual as we have a long drive back to Derby but tonight Ste has made us ‘Pizza Crumpets’ for tea.  We picked up some large sized crumpets and spread some tomato puree mixed with a little tomato ketchup on them and added grated cheese, hot-dog slices and me and Leo had some Worcestershire sauce to top them off.  They were delicious and the boys loved them!  The boys had some squash to drink with this.



Leo chose an Oreo hot chocolate and Riley had a choc-banana milkshake (using the powdered Nesquik in milk, I just added a spoonful of each).  They also both had four chocolate coins from their Christmas stash.



Breakfast today was waffles served with strawberries and banana and some chocolate sauce.  I had this too and we all wolfed it down, delicious.  The boys had a yoghurt drink with this and a cup of squash.  I generally leave a jug of squash on the side for them so they can fill up and drink throughout the day.



Riley asked to have one of his kinder eggs from Christmas so I let him have this for a snack and Leo has a chocolate lolly penguin.



Today we have come into town to do a bit of shopping and we decide to have lunch in BB’s cafe in the Intu Derby centre.  Leo has a large sausage roll with some cheese and onion crisps and Riley chooses a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich with some ready salted crisps.  They both have a fruit shoot and eat every bit (apart from a couple of bits of crust from Riley.



We have taken the boys bowling for a treat and let them have a small slush puppy each while we are there.


Tea tonight is spaghetti bolognaise.  I don’t use a jar but make my own sauce.

You will need

1 carton of passata

2 tbsp tomato puree

One beef stock cube dissolved in a small amount of water

Mixed herbs

Worcestershire sauce

How I make it

I brown the mince and then throw in an onion and a coupke opf cloves of garlic.  Add the ingredients shown above (I do it to taste, you may want to add slightly more or less of the ingredients), stir together and simmer for twenty minutes.

I served this with linguine pasta and garlic bread.  The boys had a yoghurt each after this and drank a smoothie.



Tonight Riley chose a choco-banana milkshake again and Leo had a white chocolate and strawberry hot chocolate.



I made a cooked breakfast this morning.  Riley had a sausage and tomato ketchup sandwich and Leo had bacon, sausage, chopped tomatoes and bread.  They both had a smoothie to drink.



We went to meet the boy’s cousin at a play centre and they had a jug of juice to drink while they played.


Roast dinner time!  The boys ate roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, leeks, Yorkshire puddings and stuffing.  Leo has gravy but Riley doesn’t.  Both have squash with their dinner and afterwards have one of the chocolate caramel cupcakes Leo made with me while I cooked dinner.



Hope this has been a helpful and interesting post to read.  As I said above, please let me know if you would like to see a similar post on what my 23 month old stepdaughter eats in a weekend too.

For more fab and budget friendly meal ideas check out this new blog I have recently come across – I Prefer Cooking – yummy recipes to feed your family for under £1.50!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Recipe – Chocolate Chip Bread & Butter Pudding (Cooking With Kids)

As Ste was cooking us a delicious Sunday roast last week me and Leo decided to take charge of pudding duty. Leo is 9 now and has always enjoyed cooking with me, for years he wanted to be a ‘cooker’ (he meant a chef!). I’m noticing now how much more he is capable of doing and he is enjoying more responsibility in the kitchen which is great to see. A good husband of him I will make!

With my stoma I’m unable to eat raisins as they cause blockages so I switched and used chocolate chips instead. The result was amazing and super tasty, we all loved it.

Chocolate Chip Bread And Butter Pudding


You will need

6 slices of bread

Chocolate spread

Bag of chocolate chips

1 tsp of vanilla essence

3 eggs

150ml Milk

300 ml double cream

75g caster sugar

How To Make It

1) Leo spread three of the slices of bread with Nutella and then cut each slice in half into triangles


2) He arranged the bread in an oven proof dish, alternating plain and chocolate spread slices


3) In a bowl Leo whisked together the eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla essence


4) He poured the egg mixture over the bread and left it for 30 minutes to soak in

5) Sprinkle over the chocolate chips


6) Popped it into a preheated oven at 180° for 40-45 minutes

7) Serve warm or cold and enjoy

Both boys, me and Ste thought it was delicious. Ste has never had bread and butter pudding before (I know!) but said he really enjoyed the little bit he had. Let me know if you make it and what you think. Do your kids like cooking? Let me know in the comments below!