Monday, 1 September 2014

Back to School Lunchbox Ideas with #CapriSunSchool

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone.

The kids are back to school this week & the daily routine of packing lunches will be starting again. I have to say, I haven't missed making packed lunches during the holidays. It's so easy to fall into a rut of making the same old thing just for an easy life, and this year I plan to mix it up a bit and try and be more imaginative while still making healthy lunchboxes for them. I've had a go at Bento style lunches before, and while H is probably a bit too "grown up" (he thinks, anyway) for the cute finishing touches, I hope that I can sneak some in to E's lunch box on the days she opts not to have school dinners.

For inspiration to make interesting, tasty as well as balanced lunches I had a look at Change4Life for suggestions of what to make. Some of my favourite lunchbox ideas that I think will appeal to my kids are:

- Wrap (rolled up tight & then sliced into smaller sections for younger ones)
- Bagel (made with ham & cream cheese is rather tasty!)
- Wholemeal pitta pocket
- Homemade mini pizzas
- Crackers

- Bread sticks with a portion of dipping cheese, hummus or cottage cheese
- Cubed or sliced cheese
- Cheese triangles (perfect with crackers)
- Yoghurts (the tube ones are great as they can be frozen so that they are still cold at lunchtime)
- Greek yoghurt, with fruit for dipping

- Strawberries
- Cubed or balled melon
- Grapes
- Carrot batons
- Cucumber slices
- Banana
- Apple

- Flapjack (make a batch of your own to save money)
- Box of raisins or sultanas
- Fruit muffins
- Plain popcorn
- Scotch pancake
- Dried fruit (such as banana chips)

My children generally don't have fizzy drinks, save for special occasions and the odd treat at the cinema, and instead are given water, fruit juices and milk. On a recent shopping trip to Tesco to stock up on lunch box essentials, I picked up some some multi-packs of Capri-Sun Fruit Crush 200ml pouches, as part of our #CollectiveBias shop. Capri-Sun Fruit Crush is made with 75% Fruit Juice and 25% Spring Water, and is 100% compliant with the new school food standards which makes them ideal for packed lunches.

Available in 3 delicious flavours: Apple & Blackcurrant, Apple & Pear, and Tropical, a pouch of Capri-Sun Fruit Crush also counts as 1 of your child's 5 a day. The other great thing about pouches is that they can be frozen so that when lunchtime rolls around, it's still nicely chilled for them to enjoy.

For H's first #CapriSunSchool lunch on Wednesday, & every lunch after that, I plan on packing in as many of his 5 a day portions as I can to make it tasty and healthy, and Capri-Sun Fruit Crush pouches will help me do just that.

Meal Plan Monday 010914

Mon 1st Sept - Happy birthday to me! I've chosen pork chops & applesauce with steamed veg and new potatoes

Tues 2nd Sept - Honey & mustard chicken thighs with Mediterranean roasted veg

Weds 3rd Sept - Brinner

Thurs 4th Sept - Cottage pie topped with carrot & swede mash

Fri 5th Sept - Whole roasted garlic butter chicken, and rice

Sat 6th Sept - Meatloaf

Sun 7th Sept - Roast beef

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post

Saturday, 30 August 2014

{Summer Bucket List} Tour Paris!

The surprise of the Summer for me was exactly how much I fell completely in love with Paris. Primarily, I really wanted to take the children and show them the sights, but during our whistlestop bus tour of the city I also found myself gazing at the stunning architecture just completely in awe.
It is breathtakingly beautiful, descriptions and pictures just do not do it justice. I wanted to stay and spend hours wandering the streets and soaking in the atmosphere and history, but a few hours was all we had so we made the most of it by hopping on a Big Bus Tour (which is all L would have tolerated anyway, as it was he got a bit anxious half way through the tour & he never would have managed all the walking) and enjoying a guided tour of the main city sights, which cost €147.60 for 4 adults & 3 children (4-12).
We hopped on the Metro (approx €28) and travelled from our hotel just on the outskirts of Paris into the centre for our city tour. I'm not a massive fan of the underground (understatement), but I have to say I found the Metro a lot less traumatic than the Tube for which I was very grateful.

Starting at the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars, we were driven around the city on our open-top bus in the sunshine. We marvelled over the Notre Dame cathedral, L'Hôtel des Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, La Madeleine, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries, Musee d'Orsay, and the Palais Garnier, we travelled down the Champs-Elysées and walked across bridges over the Seine.

It. Was. Amazing.
We were all very much looking forward to a lovely week in the villa, and we had a wonderful time during our week away, but Paris was absolutely the highlight of our trip for me and I am so happy that we were able to take the children there. Now that they are older we can do more 'grown up' things as well as the usual family days out to theme parks & zoos.
Taking them on a city tour to see and learn about architecture and history was not only fun but important from an educational aspect, too - something I think banning holidays in term time will negatively impact. Breaks in the school holidays are massively overpriced and will prevent people from being able to share these experiences with their kids. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel this Summer, only made possible by a certain chap's exceptional organisational skills, and had it not been for him we'd have most likely been spending the Summer holidaying at home and would have missed out on such an amazing holiday and learning opportunity.

Our visit to Paris has given me the city tour bug, I want to take the children to visit as many cities as I can. We're planning a bus tour of London next, we have visited many times but I've never actually shown the children the sights so hopefully they will enjoy it almost as much as we enjoyed Paris - to be honest I don't think I'll ever love anywhere else as much as I love gay Paree!
These are just a small selection of our holiday snaps from Paris, if you'd like to see more check out the hashtag #Eurosheps on Instagram.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Back to School with Trunki PaddlePak

The Summer holidays are coming to a close, and by the end of next week all five of my kids will be in school. We are delighted to be Chief Testers for Trunki, who have sent H their Kaito Killer Whale PaddlePak, which is a water resistant backpack made from lightweight, durable material - just the thing for busy lads like him to use for school, swimming lessons, and rugby.

H is a keen swimmer, and visits the pool 2-3 times a week currently - often straight from school. The PaddlePak looks very compact from the outside, but has a huge 10 litre capacity & easily accommodates his swimsuit, towel, hat and goggles, with an external pocket for him to carry his water bottle.
The dry-zip pocket in Kaito's tail is ideal for H to store his locker money so it's hidden away but still easily reachable - no more digging around in the bottom of the bag trying to find it! - and the high visibility trim and reflective straps will be useful later on in the year when the nights start drawing in. Road safety is of course very important and as we often walk to and from the pool down town, making sure that he will be safe and seen is vital.

As a school backpack, the PaddlePak has ample capacity to hold all of H's essentials including his reading record and reading books, glasses case, all of his notes home and homework, still with plenty of space to fit his swimming kit in on his lesson days. The Kaito Killer Whale design is priced at £24.99, and the PaddlePak also comes in many other fun designs and vibrant colours including Frog, Shark, Dolphin, Octopus and Turtle.

For all the latest news, exciting giveaways, offers and updates follow Trunki on Twitter, on Facebook and TrunkiTravels on Instagram.

H received a complimentary PaddlePak for review purposes. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.
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