Friday, 13 January 2017

From Shy to Shine: Smart ways to raise confident kids ...


super baby

The majority of parents believe their kids to be special. And, of course, they are. Each day they witness their curiosity, and their intelligence, enthusiasm, and sense of fun. They watch as this tiny little human grows and develops an identity and unique personality. It can, therefore, be heartbreaking to realise that your amazing child doesn’t see this. And worse, that they are not conscious of their self-worth and lack confidence.

If you’ve ever completed that therapeutic exercise where you write a letter to your younger self, you’ll know that you want to hug that person, tell them that it will all be okay and give them advice from the benefit of hindsight. If you have children, you can impart all of this wisdom and help them to understand their value and worth in the world.

Responding To Needs

From being an infant, your child will provide you with cues to let you know that they need attention. When your baby cries, if you respond with love and affection, this sends a signal that they are being responded to and therefore have worth. The same is true as children get older. They rarely come right out and tell you that they need attention but will find many ways to achieve it. Even naughtiness can be a form of attention-seeking. Though your response to this behaviour is likely to be negative, this is better than being ignored.

So responding to your child’s needs will help them develop their sense of worth from a very young age. Of course, it’s not possible to drop everything and respond to your child immediately; but developing a pattern of positive responses is usually sufficient.

Recognise Achievement

All children are different. Some will enjoy sports, some will enjoy reading and learning, others will excel at dance or acting. It’s important to encourage your child in their interests, without pushing them. If you come from a family of academics, but your child isn’t following in these footsteps, don’t try to force it. Not listening to their needs and desires signals that they are not valued, or worse, that there is something intrinsically wrong with them.

Traditionally some hobbies and achievements are praised and rewarded but not others. Whatever area your child excels in, should be valued. Help them feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Simple things like gold stars, badges, or trophies can help with this. Premiertrophies.co.uk and other companies provide custom engraving on a range of awards.

Let Them Take Responsibility

Doing everything for your son or daughter and not allowing them to be responsible for their own actions, can indicate that they are not up to the job. Whereas, trusting them to make decisions and allowing them some freedoms has the opposite effect. Of course, they still need limits. Though they will push against boundaries, their existence provides a sense of safety, security and feeling cared for. It’s a balancing act to get this just right.

Sometimes it can feel as though parents are pressured to be perfect. Do this, and your child will feel lonely. Do that, and your child will be spoiled. Sometimes it’s difficult knowing what to do for the best. Self-esteem is important. It helps form your child’s place in the world, how they respond to others and the choices they make. The best gift you can give your child to develop their self-worth is your time.

This is a sponsored post.

Friday, 6 January 2017

What was in our Winter Degustabox?

Have you discovered Degustabox?

We received our winter box just before Christmas - it was exciting to open our foodie parcel knowing we had two blissful weeks off to enjoy tasting the contents. 

What was in our Winter Degustabox?

  • HOOTS snacks x2 (Salt & Pepper, Salt & Vinegar
  • Nutri-Brex Gluten Free Coconut & Crispy Rice cereal bix.
  • Newton's Apple Fizzics drink
  • Maggi 3 minute noodles x2
  • Eisberg Alcohol free wine
  • Bite+ Multigrain Flakes Sour Cream & Onion
  • Gallo Italian Four Cheese Risotto pack
  • Bahlsen Lebkuchen Mischung & Akora cookies x2
  • What A Melon watermelon water
  • a2 Milk (Longlife 1 litre carton)
  • Bristow's Oh Fudge! Apple & Cinnamon Fudge Box (200g)

Winter Degustabox contents 2016

This month's box was a very mixed bag, as you can see! 


One of my favourite products this month was the Nutri-Brex cereal - it's really delicious, very low calorie, and Gluten Free - I'm still working my way through the box, but I'd definitely buy it if I saw it in the supermarket.

Gluten Free Nutri-Brex cereal

I loved Bristow's Oh Fudge! Apple and Cinnamon fudge box, it was the perfect treat to receive before Christmas. I popped them in a bowl over the Christmas period for our guests to help themselves to. Each fudge square was individually wrapped in silver foil wrappers, and they were really buttery and delicious. 

Bristow's Oh Fudge box - Apple & Cinnamon

I was also really impressed with the Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine - I'm not a big drinker, I enjoy the odd glass of red wine here and there and the occasional G&T in the summer, but on the whole I prefer to stay sober. I've tried lots of alcohol free wines in the past and they all taste absolutely nothing like wine, and have an "odd" taste. When I tried this Eisberg version I was amazed how it actually tasted pretty close to a crisp white wine - it would be the ideal substitute to those off the alcohol, pregnant ladies etc. 

Degustabox drinks - winter 2016

I think the a2 milk is a really handy item to receive - as it is longlife, the carton will keep in the cupboard, and it will mean I have emergency milk on hand if I run out. Perfect for this tea-drinking addict! 

Bert enjoyed the Lebkuchen cookies, and Liam loved the HOOTS snacks - so at least there was something that everyone loved in this months box. 

There was an item that I didn't like very much - the What A Melon (great name!) watermelon water really wasn't to my taste at all; I'm sure I could enjoy it as part of a refreshing summer cocktail, but by itself it just wasn't for me. Perhaps I'll try it with lemonade & gin next time, hehe! 

I've popped the Maggi noodles and Gallo risotto pack in my "emergency meals" box - which is full of instant stuff for those nights when I can't cook for whatever reason, or for when I'm out and Liam wants something super easy for his dinner. These sorts of things are always handy to have on standby, not the sort of food we'd eat everyday, but useful nonetheless. 

Would you like to give Degustabox a try? If so you can receive a whopping £7.00 off your first box by using code:


1VRVA

at the checkout! 

Enjoy lovely peeps...

Mrs B

xxx

For more info on Degustabox follow them on their social media channels:
Degustabox social media

(We were sent our Winter Degustabox in return for this honest review.)

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Thursday, 15 December 2016

We're Going On A Bear Hunt this Christmas...

Bert with his new Bear Hunt bear
Bert with his new bear friend

I've a very happy boy here at Chez Bishop. At the weekend we got a rather exciting delivery in the shape of a brand new bear friend for Bert. He's always loved a cuddly toy, but he especially loves this one as it's from one of his favourite stories 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury and published by Walker Books. 

This story has a special place in my heart too as I vividly remember having it read to me when I was small - I love books that pass down through the generations, there is something so special about reading a book to your own child that you too enjoyed when you were little. 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt tells the story of five siblings and their dog as they go on an adventure through swishy grass, squelchy mud, a cold river, a dark wood and a swirling, whirling snowstorm all to find a bear deep in a dark cave! The book is beautiful to read with a lovely patter and repetitive 'chorus' ...

We're going on a bear hunt...
We're going to catch a big one!
What a beautiful day! 
We're not scared! 

Excitingly, this Christmas, We're Going on a Bear Hunt is coming to our screens in the form of a brand new animated adventure from the highly talented Lupas Films (the people behind The Snowman and The Snowdog). It is being aired on Channel 4 at 7:30pm on Christmas Eve, and repeated on Christmas Day at 5:25pm. We are so blooming excited, I cannot tell you!  

This exciting new animation features the voices of Olivia Coleman, Pam Ferris and Mark Williams (as the grown ups!), some new young talent voice the siblings Stan, Katie, Rosie, Max, and the baby while the author himself (Michael Rosen) voices the bear!! 

The new animation also introduces an exciting brand new song written and performed by George Ezra. 

If you'd like a little sneak peek of the film then have a look at the official trailer... 


To coincide with the release of the exciting new animation  there is also a gorgeous cuddly bear by Aurora, which will be available in 3 sizes - 14 inch, 9.5 inch and 8 inch - stockists include Waterstones, Foyles, Harrods, Blue Diamond garden centres and Amazon. 


Bear Hunt goodies
Bert's Bear Hunt goodies! 
Also available now is the amazing We're Going on a Bear Hunt gaming app (priced at £2.99) which places the player within the story: inviting them to swish through the grass, splosh through the river and stumble through the forest (playing games and earning points as they go) before tiptoeinginto the cave to come face to face with the bear. 

Bert has been playing it since the weekend, and he's addicted! It's beautifully put together, very easy to navigate and has plenty of activities to keep your little ones entertained for ages. Bert especially likes the bug hunting game, and getting to change the clothes of the children in the dress-up part of the game. 

In fact, some of the mini games in it are so addictive that you'll want a go too, and then you'll find that you're desperate to try again and beat your score (I'm talking from experience, trust me!).

As well as the bear and app, Bert was lucky enough to receive a special pack of Bear Hunt goodies - a pin badge, stickers, a poster for his bedroom wall, and a bear ears crown! He was so chuffed with all the lovely extras, what a lucky boy just before Christmas too! 

Bear Hunt pin badge
Bear Hunt pin badge
Bear Hunt Stickers
Bear Hunt stickers (now all over my house, naturally!)
Bert and his Bear Hunt bear
One happy little fella with his new bear friend!

We've now watched the trailer umpteen times and we really can't wait to see the film on Christmas Eve - we've got special treat snacks planned, and we're going to cosy up on the sofa and enjoy it together as a family. It is also set to record, as I'm pretty sure it'll be one Bert will want to watch and re-watch before the DVD is released on Monday 8th February 2017. 
Bear toy from We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Who could resist this cute little fella? 

Have a peek at the trailer to whet your appetite...and make sure you tune in on Christmas Eve with your family.

Mrs B 

xxx

We we're sent a Bear Hunt goodie pack in return for this honest review.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Homemade Irish Cream (Baileys) Recipe

Homemade Irish Cream
Make the most perfect Irish Coffee this Christmas
I've a special festive treat for you today. This failsafe recipe is an absolute MUST MAKE this Christmas - if you're a fan of a cheeky Irish Cream then you'll adore this homemade version. Not only does it taste infinitely better than the shop bought varieties, it only takes about 15 minutes of work to complete and it works out at a similar price to the popular brand-name too!  

How impressive to be able to offer a homemade Baileys, or super-special Irish Coffee to family and friends this year?

Why not make some to give as a gift to someone special this festive season?

So, without further ado, here's the recipe...

Mrs Bishop's Homemade Irish Cream

Ingredients:

300ml single cream
350ml Irish Whiskey (I used Bushmills)
1 tin condensed milk (397g)
5 tbsp chocolate sauce (I used Sweet Freedom 'choc shot')
1 tbsp good vanilla extract (I used my homemade extract)
2 tsp instant espresso powder (I used Carte Noir Espresso)
1 tsp almond essence

Makes 1 litre 

*Store in the fridge in sterilised bottles for up to 2 months, shake well before you pour*

Method:

1) Firstly, you need to sterilise your bottles - do this by rinsing in hot, soapy water, then popping through my dishwasher, before placing on a baking tray in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Let the bottles cool before you decant your finished Irish Cream into them.

2) To make the Irish cream pour all of the ingredients into a blender, food processor or smoothie maker (a Nutri-Bullet or stick blender would do the trick too!) and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Taste and add extra chocolate/coffee/vanilla/almond essence depending in your personal preference. 

3) Pour into your sterilised bottles, label and place in the fridge to chill. 

4) Shake well before you serve in a glass over ice, or add a splash to your favourite coffee for the perfect festive treat!

Do let me know if you give this a go - tag me in your pictures @lucybishop2012 I'd love to see you all enjoying this delicious treat this Christmas. 

Enjoy! 

Mrs B
Mrs Bishop's Homemade Irish Cream
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dressing for Christmas with Nutmeg at Morrisons

If you're not one to embrace a good old novelty Christmas jumper, this post isn't for you - you've been warned! 

Before kids, although I absolutely loved Christmas, I never really went in for novelty jumpers, hats, Christmas earrings etc...but ever since having our kids I'm really loving it. 

For me, the more silly and ├╝ber-festive, the better! Seeing Bert's little face light up when Liam or I sport something super Christmassy is priceless and getting dressed up all together is the best fun of all. 

This is our fourth Christmas with children and we're now amassing quite the collection of Christmas-themed attire; from fair-isle jumpers to elf socks, Christmas pudding hats to Brussels sprouts boxer shorts, we wear it all at Chez Bishop! 

The lovely people over at Nutmeg (the clothing range from major supermarket Morrisons) have drastically improved our festive-wear game by sending every member of our family a seasonal outfit, I can't wait to share them with you...

Connie was sent this amazing 4 piece set (retailing at just £16) which consists of a robin motif t-shirt, tartan skirt, red chunky knit cardigan and navy tights. I've genuinely not seen anything cuter for a baby girl this Christmas, and I think it is amazing value for so many pieces - each item could be worn by themselves too, making it a really useful buy. The whole baby range at Nutmeg this Christmas is fab, so do check it out. 


Connie wearing baby festive outfit from Nutmeg at Morrisons
My smiley blue-eyed baby girl in her Nutmeg Christmas outfit! 

Connie wearing baby festive outfit from Nutmeg at Morrisons
Oooh squidgy baby legs!! 

Albert was sent a cute musical Christmas jumper from the Nutmeg children's range, and he blooming loves it - can't you just tell from the smile on his face? 


Bert wearing Christmas jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons
CHEESE!!

This jumper retails at £9, and has a cute Rudolph and Santa motif with 3D pom-pom noses, plus a Snowman, Christmas trees and a North Pole signpost on the front. When you squeeze Santa's hat it plays 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' - which of course, Bert sees fit to demonstrate at any opportunity he can! Lol. 


Bert wearing Christmas jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons
T'ah Dah! 

Liam and I were both sent festive jumpers from the adult range - mine has a huge gingerbread man on (Bert is obsessed with gingerbread men, so this jumper goes down very well with him!) and Liam's is a fair-isle style jumper, which basically looks like Christmas threw up on him! Fun times. Both the adult jumpers retail at £12. 

Mrs Bishop and Bert wearing Christmas jumpers from Nutmeg at Morrisons
Aww, my cheeky gorgeous boy! 


Mrs Bishop in Gingerbread Man jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons
Gingerbread Man ladies jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons, £12 



Mr Bishop & Connie in Nutmeg Christmas outfits
Squee!! Christmas cuteness overload! 

Mrs Bishop & Bert in Nutmeg Christmas Jumpers
Gimmie a kiss!!

All of the items we were sent are true to size; Connie wears 9-12m, Bert wears 3-4 years, I wear a ladies size 12, and Liam a mens medium. 

If, like us, you love a good old Christmas jumper then there's still time to get to your local Morrisons and buy one before the big day. Oh, and don't forget the official Christmas Jumper Day (for Save The Children) on Friday 16th December, join in and raise loads of money for a great cause. 

And, just because it was so funny, and if you can't laugh at yourself at Christmas time then when can you, I thought I'd leave you with this corker of a shot...SUCH a shame its blurry...

Mrs Bishop & Bert in Nutmeg Christmas Jumpers
Ain't that a pretty face? Tee hee. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Getting crafty this Christmas

All my regular readers will know that I'm a bit craft crazy! I love any opportunity to have a go at making something from scratch, from crochet to baking, paper craft to sewing - I'll try my hand at pretty much anything. 

This Christmas is no exception, I've been getting my craft on big time this festive season and I thought I'd share some of my makes with you today - hopefully providing you with some inspiration - there's still plenty of crafting time left before the big day. 

At the weekend, I finally completed one of my biggest makes ever - I've been working on this cotton granny square blanket for two whole years (on and off) and on Saturday I hooked my final stitches. I'm so chuffed with the finished blanket, and I'm already enjoying snuggling underneath it on these cold winter nights, all 150 squares of it! 


Mrs Bishop's crochet granny square blanke
100% cotton crochet granny square blanket in Rico cotton Tangerine, Mouse Grey & Natural. 
As well as crochet, I have also enjoyed learning some origami. On Saturday I attended an Origami workshop run by my friend Erica Roffe from BedPop/The Bedford Clanger, who taught me how to make these fabulous Christmas star hanging decorations. I'm totally addicted to paper folding now, and have ordered myself a book on her recommendation to expand my origami skills. 

Origami star decorations
Origami star decorations!
Each year we try to add new decorations to our Christmas haul, and this year is no exception - well, except that this year I decided to make some new decorations instead of buy. I wanted an orange, cinnamon and pine cone garland, but they were all super-pricey and I had one of those "I could make that!" moments...so I did. 


Homemade dried orange slices
Dried orange slices (second batch - forgot the first batch & burnt them - oops!) 
I dried the oranges for 3 hours in a low oven, purchased pine cones and cinnamon sticks in bulk online for just £12 (a fraction of the price of the garlands, and had lots left over to arrange in glass jars and bowls around the house for extra decorations) and used twine, wire, two mini Robins and foliage to create a big garland and door wreath. 


homemade Christmas garland
My little robin friends! Homemade garland.
homemade Christmas garland
Ta Dah! My homemade Christmas garland
homemade door wreath
My homemade door wreath
There is one homemade item that I make absolutely every Christmas without fail, and that is homemade vanilla extract. I make a large bottle at this time of year, which lasts me for the whole year. Trust me, it takes seconds and is so much better than any store bought vanilla extract you might pick up. It also makes a great Christmas gift for any foodies/bakers. 

To make vanilla extract you'll need:

vodka
madagascan vanilla pods x8
sterilised bottle 
sharp knife

  • Pour vodka into your sterilised bottle until almost full.
  • Slice open your 8 vanilla pods and push down into the vodka filled bottle. 
  • Pop on the lid and give it a vigorous shake. 
  • Shake well each day for 30 days, you'll see the liquid darken. 

After 30 days your vanilla extract is ready to use, but the longer you leave it the better it will get! 



homemade vanilla extract
Homemade vanilla extract
Inspired by a Christmas themed woodland walk for children that we went on at the weekend, I made these fun pom-pom snow strands to hang at our windows to make it look as if it is snowing outside. 

I found the iridescent white pompoms in Poundland, and threaded them onto invisible string/nylon thread, with knots to keep them in place, then attached them to the top of my windows using Blu-Tack. Bert absolutely loves them! 


pom pom snow
Pom pom snow
My final make for this Christmas was this Christmas stocking for Connie. I'm so excited for her first Christmas and I'm really looking forward to seeing Bert share Christmas with his new baby sister - he totally 'gets' Christmas this year, and is so excited and full of excited anticipation already. I made Bert his own personalised Christmas sack for his first Christmas, so it was only fair to make one for Connie too. 

I was kindly sent some of the materials I used to make the stocking from the kind people at Turtle Mat, who are encouraging people to get crafty this Christmas with their Christmas stocking making competition. I thought I should take part as I was planning to make Connie a Christmas stocking anyway! 

Firstly, I made a pattern for my stocking on pattern paper, and cut it out in my desired fabrics. 


Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Creating a pattern for my homemade stocking
I sewed the main stocking and trim on my sewing machine, but added the 'C' , the christmas tree and the button and bell detailing by hand. I'm mega chuffed with the final result and I can't wait to fill it with gifts for Connie this Christmas. 
Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Connie's giant Christmas stocking
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
The detail on my homemade stocking
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
'C' is for Connie & a Christmas tree - both finished with real jingle bells! 
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Top detailing to my homemade Christmas stocking, complete with ric-rac hanging loop!
Mrs Bishop's festive fireplace
Looking uber-festive on my living room fire place. 
I'm not done yet either... I'm currently in the process of crocheting a beanie hat with the leftover cotton yarn from my blanket - I'm hoping to have it finished in time for the much colder weather on its way! 

Have you crafted anything this Christmas?

Mrs B

xxx

This post is my entry into the Turtle Mat Christmas craft competition 2016.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Finding a reliable babysitter...



finding a reliable babysitter

Babysitting- it's a minefield of a topic as a parent. 

Who do you trust to leave your precious children with? 

How old should your sitter be? 

How do you know they're trustworthy, reliable, responsible and suitable for this important role? 

Do you go on recommendation, use an agency, ask a friend or relative? 

So many questions...

Liam and I are extremely lucky to have an amazing network of family and friends around us, who we know will (and regularly do!) look after our kids for us, for an evening, over night - our parents even looked after Bert for a whole week when we was 1, as Liam and I won an adult only trip to Cyprus and couldn't turn down a free holiday! 

Our lovely network of reliable and loving family and friends love our kids and always do their best for them when they're in charge; Liam and I can walk out of the house content, knowing that they are in the best possible hands. And that feeling of contentment is priceless. 

This got me to thinking how hard it must be for parents who don't have a network like ours on hand to take over and give them a night off...what do you do if you don't have family nearby? Do you ask a friend, get a recommendation for a babysitter they use? Do you call an agency? How do you know the person that arrives will be the right one for you and your kids? 

The thought of leaving your children with a complete stranger is a scary one - how will you know they are trustworthy and responsible? With the website http://www.sitters.co.uk/ you can hire their babysitting agency with confidence knowing that the person you're hiring is referenced checked, has professional childcare experience and is continually appraised to ensure the best care is being given at all times. 

Peace of mind for those who don't have the luxury of family members on hand to babysit, I hope this helps those of you who are struggling to get a night off this festive season! 

Have a evening off, you deserve it! 

Mrs B 

xxx

This is a collaborative post.