Mama OWL Blog

Num Noms Num Noms - So Delicious! Crazy Creations in the Kitchen

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Having teens and tweens who are constantly hungry and raiding the cupboards looking for food (no matter how recently they have been fed) and a wee one who is backwards & forwards to Gymnastics training and always on the go, I am keen to get the kids in the kitchen and encourage them to be creative with their meals... Hopefully one day they will find something that actually fills them up, though I won't hold my breath.
E (7) and I love a good cooking and baking session and the latest Num Noms series has inspired us to come up with our own Crazy Creations, combining our favourite flavours into tasty treats - with their mix and match lunch box packs, kids can dream up all sorts of wacky combos and create sweet, scented recipes using the outer 'Nums' and inner 'Noms' (scented stamps and erasers) - there are 85+ to collect in Series 3 alone! We are all about the snacks in this house, trying to keep hungry tummies satisfied between meals is no mean feat. One of our favourite snacks is rice cakes, because you can use them as a base for a whole range of delicious combinations both sweet and savoury.
For me - the combo of peanut butter topped with sliced banana & a drizzle of honey is a pre-dinner winner and stops me from reaching for the crisps between meals. E's favourite is chocolate & hazelnut spread, with a sprinkle of marshmallows if she makes it herself! Another tasty topping for rice cakes (and something a bit more virtuous) is mashed avocado layered with slices of tomato, or a light spread of cream cheese with chives and sliced cucumber.
What are your favourite crazy creations in the kitchen, or snack ideas for hungry kids? I'd love to hear your suggestions! Feel free to share them in a comment.

Something for Everyone at #HotterBath

Monday, 1 May 2017

Rugby season may be over for the Summer but I find myself thinking ahead to the Autumn/Winter when I will once again find myself standing in a muddy field wrapped up while I am out in the elements. Kitting myself out ready to brave the great outdoors means finding a good pair of boots to see me through the season, and while I want something that looks good I also want something that will keep my feet warm and dry, and be comfortable to wear.
Hotter Shoes are committed to the 'Comfort Concept', which I got to hear about at their recent event at their Bath store. I was particularly interested to hear about their GORE-TEX® range of shoes, which features the latest product technology for breathable and waterproof footwear. I had a good look at a pair of Orla GTX boots (which are available in four colours), and look both comfy as well as stylish. I learned about the rigorous testing that products must undergo to be allowed to even be labelled with the GORE-TEX brand and have been suitably impressed with just how weatherproof these shoes are whilst still ticking all of the boxes for comfort.
I had a lovely time at the #HotterBath event and have learned so much about the Hotter brand (which I admit to not knowing anything about previously), and seen for myself how they have something for everyone of all ages - I had a good look at their men's shoes range and will be paying them a visit in the Summer when the boys need new school shoes for September, they are amazing quality and will be both comfortable and supportive for their ever-growing feet!
There was no way that I was leaving a shoe shop without a little something for myself, and I completely fell in love with the 'Donna' heel in just about every colour but opted for the smart jet black. They are great for either a night out or a day at work with flexi grooved soles and fixed cushion insoles, and the perfect low heel height for someone as tall as me (5'10). I have worn them almost every day since I brought them home and they are an absolute dream, and have a gorgeous vintage look to them too. A big thanks to the Hotter team for teaching me about the company and their commitment to comfort and customer service - I had a wonderful evening and look forward to visiting the store again very soon.
I received a complimentary pair of Donna heels during the Hotter Bath event for review purposes.
All words and opinions are my own.

How I Keep My Hair Healthy

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Collaborative Post.

My hair is my absolute pride and joy. For someone like me who has had numerous personal battles with weight and health and fitness, my hair has always been the one thing that I love about myself. Most of the time, when it does as it's told (or is straightened into submission). Currently it is waist length and a beautiful rich brunette although last year I dabbled with a dark cherry colour, and a bit of blonde hair and there. I prefer it this colour. Dark. Like my soul. And my sense of humour...
I've got masses of hair, it's very thick and wavy and while I find myself wanting to try new things I am very wary of how over-styling or recolouring can damage it. I've also decided to keep it long, because I think as I get older it will become harder to manage so I will enjoy having it long while I am able. In my teenage years it was an absolute mess, I cannot even tell you how grateful I am for the invention of hair straighteners so that I can finally have the gorgeous hair I always had that was hidden underneath all of that frizz. It has taken me many years but I finally know how to look after my hair properly and I am reaping the benefits of it now, as it is healthy and manageable.

Hair Styling by Toni Lilley Hairdressing
My recommendations for taking care of your hair have to be to find a good shampoo and conditioner that works for you and gives you the results that you want. I have found nothing to support the idea that changing up your hair products improves its condition because it gets used to what you're using - it doesn't. Find one you like and stick to it. I also don't over-wash my hair - which means it can often end up in a messy bun on the top of my head or tied back into a plait, but this way I am not stripping it of its natural oils. I try and coordinate hair washing days with gym days (because sweaty hair is grim) and around any social events otherwise it can end up dry and straw-like.
A deep condition every now and again is a good idea, and I use coconut oil on the ends from time to time when I feel like they need a bit of extra TLC. I always use heat protecting spray, and occasionally use serum to tame any flyaway bits during styling.
My kids have been lucky enough that both myself and my husband come from families with thick, wavy hair and in particular, no baldness, though there are many new treatments available such as Advanced Tricho Pigmentation Treatment that can help combat such issues. The only real problem that I have is how much I spend on hair cuts for them because it grows at a rate of knots and the boys are all past the age where they qualify for cheap kids cuts (and far too big to try and say otherwise!).
Do you have any hair care tips and tricks? I'd love for you to share them in the comments below.

Preparing for Secondary School - Buying Uniform

Friday, 24 March 2017

I can barely believe it but the time has come for my youngest son to move up to secondary school. We have received our offer of our first choice school and now we begin the process of buying his new uniform and all the equipment he will need. There is so much to buy that I find it best to start as soon as you get your offer so that you can spread the cost as it can all add up.
Different schools will have all have their own lists of the required uniform and equipment that you should be able to view on their website, but from my experience these are the things that they cannot do without in their first year. There are many options available both in leading supermarkets and on the high street for purchasing school wear, in addition to school wear specialists such as Trutex. You may also only be able to buy certain items from the school's preferred stockist so it's best to check straight away just in case things need to be ordered direct from their supplier.

With them spending so much time in their uniform, you'll need to look for things that are not only comfortable, but hardwearing. My boys are much harder on their clothes than my girls have ever been and often come home with muddied knees from diving around on the field with their mates playing games or just from being pushed over into hedges (yes... much fun, many japes... I thoroughly enjoy all of the extra laundry).
Sticking with plain black socks makes life easier in the mornings when they're scrabbling around getting dressed, and it also means less time pairing up because they're all the same. I have wasted years of my life pairing up socks from our 'sock orphanage'... Just get plain ones. Trust me. In terms of sports socks, buy some thick plain ones to wear with trainers, as well as some that will be suitable and comfortable to wear with outdoor field sport boots. (Related: buy them a boot bag).
Let them choose their backpack. You'll only get it wrong if you try & pick for them. Even when there is nothing wrong with it and it looks almost exactly like the one they've been using for the last year. I'm all about a quiet life these days and currently I'm outnumbered by teenagers, so let me save you the earache - Pick your battles!
We received complimentary uniform items for review purposes. All words and opinions are our own.
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