Mama OWL Blog: September 2013

#50Books2013 September Round-Up

Monday, 30 September 2013

This month's #50Books2013 round-up is to say, that there is no round up this month. I've had a ridiculous month getting back in to a routine with school and the constant merry go round of sports activities, after school clubs, meetings, open evenings, housework, homework as well as everything else that I just haven't had the time to pick up my kobo never mind anything else.

However, I am adding the gadget at the bottom of this post so that you may link up and share your book reviews, and I promise I will be "back" next month. Part of my #AutumnBucketList is to find more time to read again, and so I will be doing my level best to do so because I am missing it!

You can join in with us on Twitter using hashtag #50Books2013 and tell us about your recent reads and share reviews. If you would like to join in with us, you can find out all the information here.

If you have a recent book review to share please link up below, you don't have to be an active part of #50Books2013 to share. As always, thank you for taking part in this challenge with me. You can email or tweet your reviews to me by 25th October to be included in the next round-up please.

Meal Plan Monday 300913

Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday 30th September - Spaghetti & meatballs

Tuesday 1st October - Home-made cheese & onion pasties, mashed potato & salad

Wednesday 2nd October - Eggs Benedict

Thursday 3rd October - French onion soup served with baguette

Friday 4th October - Macaroni cheese & steamed broccoli

Saturday 5th October - Harvest vegetable soup with home-made rolls

Sunday 6th October - Roast beef

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

{Autumn Bucket List} Pick fruit, make things with it

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Well it actually says 'Pick fruit, make crumble with it' on our Autumn Bucket List, but what we have actually done is so much better!
My lovely next door neighbours (we'll call them "The C's") let us raid their apple tree and we came away with three carrier bags stuffed full of big gorgeous cooking apples, and we immediately got stuck in with washing & baking. As well as a fun Autumn activity, picking fruit from the tree is much more exciting than just grabbing a bag in the supermarket and helps kids to take an interest where their food comes from.

H took great delight in climbing up the tree and taking his pick of the fruit, for the ones he couldn't quite reach Mrs C handed him the washing line pole & H had great fun giving the branches a whack while we dodged the falling apples below!

Mrs C also picked up E so she could reach the ones low enough for her to grab & twist and E ran around grabbing up all of the apples that H dropped for us. They didn't want to stop! Mrs C & I had to coax H out of the tree because he wanted to carry on. The promise of more apple picking next week got him to come down!

E & H picked up the bags & staggered back home with them - lucky we only live next door, really! - and we transferred most of them into our big basket, and washed a bowl of them ready to use for our afternoon creations!

I set about looking up recipes of things that were quick & easy to make and that the kids could help out with - and enjoy eating after. I found applesauce, apple jam and a stunning cinnamon apple cake that I simply had to try!

H made a start on peeling the apples first of all, & E helped cut them up (with a butter knife, of course, I didn't fancy a trip to A&E) and then assisted me in transferring them into the pan for the applesauce, while H measured out the butter, sugar & water.

We made a jar & two little pots of applesauce (ready for packed lunches on Monday) and I had a go at the cinnamon apple cake, which we're having for our dessert after our homemade pizzas this evening. I'm not going to lie, I sneaked a small square of it - purely to test it and make sure it was safe for others to eat, you understand. It was delicious. I can definitely see more of that in our future, can't let those apples & our hard work picking them go to waste now can we!
I have linked this post with #CountryKids at Coombe Mill
& #MagicMoments at The Oliver's Madhouse

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

I am a child of the 80s, growing up I managed to amass an enormous collection of My Little Pony. I was the MLP QUEEN. I managed to dig out an old shot of me from back in the day with just a few of my collection.
I'm even wearing a onesie! Such a trendsetter.

Every time a new pony came out, I remember begging my mum & dad to get it for me. I had the castle (remember, it was pink with blue turrets? We put a turret on my Gramp's head & took a picture one Xmas, when he fell asleep in the chair!), the nursery, the movie - "Nothing can stop... THE SMOOZE!". They were absolutely the top toy of my childhood, hands down.

E is a big fan of My Little Pony (much to my delight) and loved watching the television show, so she was absolutely delighted when I handed over the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Welcome to Ponyville DVD the day it arrived.

She immediately asked me to put it on for her and settled down to watch it after a busy morning at nursery school when she had finished her lunch, and I didn't hear a peep out of her for the entire duration of the DVD!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic aims to teach kids valuable lessons about friendship in this new spin on the eighties classic, available for the first time on DVD in the UK featuring six fun episodes as well as bonus features  including a sing along!
In the quaint, magical village of Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle sets off on an assignment to learn the true meaning and value of friendship. Along the way she makes some new and adorable friends. 
Join her and her pony friends Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Applejack on their enchanting and laughter-filled adventures as they discover the most powerful magic of all is the magic of friendship!

Simon Allen from UK home entertainment publishing company Clearvision says "My Little Pony in its 30th year is as popular as ever, still holding its own in fourth in the top four of the most asked for presents among young children.", and that is certainly true in our house.

I really enjoyed sharing this DVD with E, it took me back to my own childhood and it was fun to tell her all about my favourite ponies & about my (extensive!) collection. She has been telling me about all the My Little Pony toys she wants Father Christmas to bring her, I fear history may be repeating itself! The apple(jack) doesn't fall far from the tree!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic- Welcome To Ponyville is available from 2nd September 2013 in all good retailers and from priced £12.99. Certification U: Suitable for all audiences, running time: 2 hrs 15 min.

We received a complimentary DVD for review purposesThe views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words.

Perfect Toddler Party Wear

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

E is such a girly girl. If it's pink, involves ponies, princesses or baby dolls then she is all about it. Even with having three older brothers, she prefers "girl things" as she calls them. Barbie, My Little Pony, dolls, Disney Princesses... You name it, if it's pink and/or sparkly then she will love it. Knowing that she had two birthday parties coming up, I searched for some party dresses for her. Trouser sets simply will not do, it absolutely must be a dress. Of course.

It just so happened that week in July that featured some gorgeous Sweet Elegance toddler dresses in their sales, and I snapped up two of my favourites - fuchsia & orange, and pink lace - to keep for the upcoming special occasions for just £7.99 each.

The fuchsia & orange got its first outing for her cousin F's 4th birthday 'prince & princesses' party in mid-September where it was put through its paces on the bouncy castle and during the ruthless beating of a pinãta. E is an average sized 3½ year old, perhaps on the taller side, and this dress in age 3-4 fit her almost perfectly, with it only being slightly too big around the shoulder straps, we just pulled the bow in tight. It has an asymmetric hem and the colours & floral design are beautiful, perfect for a party!

The gorgeous pink lace dress, also in size 3-4 years, had its debut last weekend at E's friend A's 4th birthday party that had a fab fun jungle/safari theme. Teamed with some pink tights and a pink cardi (the cardi was off within minutes of arriving at the hall) E tested the dress to its limits on the bouncy castle and racing around at top speed, kicking balloons and playing chase with the other kids, not to mention another ruthless pinãta beating - this time it was a monkey!

I'm keeping my eyes open for occasion wear for Christmas for all five of the children. I can't get away with matching them like I used to (spoil sports) but I do love complementary colours and can't wait to get them all dressed up this festive season. Now - to pick a colour theme!

Autism & Open Evenings

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

It fills me with a deep sense of dread that L will be starting senior school next year. I worry so much about how he will cope with the transition, learning to manage going to different classrooms and dealing with different teachers. His additional needs mean that he thrives on routine, knowing where he is and who he is going to be with, so it's going to be a big change for him and one that I really hope he doesn't struggle too much with.

His primary school are so wonderful and understanding of his needs, I wish he could have another couple of years with them. But a year is what we have left, and so this year is about preparing him for that transition and getting him as ready as we possibly can. The staff at primary are already putting things in place, and talking about it more with him, and he'll have extra visits. We discuss it often at home, and A & J tell him about school and the lessons they do and about homework.
I have on several occasions overheard him ask J if he will help him at school, which tells me that he is quite worried and it is clearly on his mind a lot. J will be in Y9 when L starts (hopefully at that school, we have sent in our application & have our fingers crossed) and A plans to stay on for the 6th form so I hope that he will have both of them there to support him where necessary.

Last week the Mister & I took L to visit the school that we want him to attend during their open evening, along with A to act as our personal guide! L has visited once before on a Y5 taster day, he was quite anxious most of that day but he liked the school and enjoyed his time there which is obviously a good thing. We saw a couple of the teachers that he met on the taster day, and he remembered them and was keen to talk to them.

We visited the support centre and had a quick look in there, though he was more keen to get around all of the classrooms and see what was on offer! He had a good go at several things and seemed to really enjoy the experience.
A showed him how to hold a guitar in the music classroom, and he had a go at the sewing machine driving test. His favourite things were setting fire to monster munch in Science (of course) and testing pH levels, and also using the computers in ICT.

We encouraged him to have a go at everything even if he wasn't particularly interested in doing so, like for example trying to get him to do some art was like pulling teeth whereas he was more than happy to decorate (and eat) biscuits in DT. Is it still called DT, actually? I'm sure you know what I mean. He was very pleased with his efforts and he enjoyed eating his work!

Maybe I am worrying for nothing. Perhaps he will settle straight in & really enjoy this new environment. I really wish that I could believe that. I guess that a part of my anxiety is about him growing up. He is quite protected from the outside world in primary school, everyone understands him and his ways and accepts him for who he is and how he is without question. His autism is just a part of him, like his blue eyes & blonde hair. I can't keep him protected forever and with starting senior school, it means more freedoms and new experiences that I can't control or keep watch over.
Teenagers can be cruel, and being around older kids who don't understand him or who do & will seek to get a rise out of him makes me worry. I also worry that J will get in to trouble through protecting his brother, as I know he will if he sees anything out of order.

There is so much to come and I wish that I could be excited or look forward to it. But I don't, and I can't and that does make me sad. I want to be excited for him, for his new adventures and the new friends I hope he will make.

But all I have is dread and worry.

I'll try to enjoy this last year as much as I can, because I have no idea what lies ahead ― apart from many sleepless nights.

Meal Plan Monday 230913

Monday, 23 September 2013

Monday 23rd September - Spaghetti Bolognese

Tuesday 24th September - Home-made burgers with salad & hand-cut chips

Wednesday 25th September - Brinner*

Thursday 26th September - Cauliflower Cheese

Friday 27th September - Enchiladas

Saturday 28th September - Home-made pizza

Sunday 29th September - Roast lamb

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post
*Brinner = breakfast for dinner

It's just a little rain #CountryKids

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Last weekend J's U13s team played their first match as well as H having U8s rugby training on a Sunday so it was the first of many busy weekends for us.
H will have his first training session at the brand new rugby club tomorrow as well as team photos, and the following weekend will be his first match - so much for relaxing weekends at home! It'll be muddy boots and parkas at the ready for me for the next few months.

We took E, J & L along with us to H's rugby in the morning, the weather wasn't great and E wasn't particularly impressed (L just went and sat in the car, J wandered between) until I gave her full control of the umbrella.

It was a bit chilly and the kids were having a moan about the weather in between playing catch with the Mister (in which E got one to the face, poor lamb), and eventually all ended up sat in the car, but I stoically stood and watched until they were done despite the fact that I don't do cold & I was missing my duvet... We went home for lunch, H had a nice hot shower and got changed and then we had about an hour at home before we were back out again.

I put on another layer, and as the weather was rapidly deteriorating we dropped off the younger three with M&FIL, so that they could stay inside in the warm. The Mister is one of the managers of J's team and had to get there early to help set up etc, so I was sat in the car waiting for the match to start and this was my view -

They must have got absolutely drenched during warm up and I did debate staying in the car, but then the Mister texted me to ask me to bring the water bottles over which forced my hand. Luckily it did stop raining in time for the match to start, so I took refuge under the trees next to the pitch (just in case) and watched from there.

They had a great game and unfortunately didn't win, but they gave it a good go & had fun which is the main thing. I really enjoyed watching J play, and I'm looking forward to watching H's first match next week too.
I plan to go and watch as many as possible and support them. I admit that I've left it up to the Mister mostly as far as sport is concerned, but I want to be more involved and I know that they like having me there so I will make more of an effort to go and see them play - even if it's raining!

I have linked this post with #CountryKids at Coombe Mill.

Start the day the BEAR way with new Alphabites cereals

Friday, 20 September 2013

We're big fans of the BEAR and have been fortunate enough to be able to taste test their fantastic healthy packed lunch snacks like BEAR Yoyos and BEAR Paws, so of course we jumped at the chance to try out their new BEAR Alphabites cereals.

Available in Multigrain and Cocoa Multigrain, BEAR Alphabites are made with only six natural ingredients, including coconut nectar - a sweet sap contained within the flowers of the coconut tree - which is used to sweeten the cereal naturally without the need to add sugar. Containing no added sugar or salt, the crunchy letter-shaped cereals are high in fibre & low GI. In fact, coconut nectar contains 16 of the 20 amino acids that our bodies need to process vitamins & minerals properly.

Before sending the kids off to school in the morning I want to make sure that they have a good breakfast, and I am keen to find something that is good for them as well as filling, and of course appealing to them.

We had great fun spelling out the kids names with the cereal before they tucked into a bowl... Can you see whose name we spelled out in the bowl in the picture below?!
As well as being tasty - we got five pairs of thumbs up from my little (and not so little) BEAR nibblers - and fun to spell with (who says you shouldn't play with your food?), the Alphabites boxes are even themed! Based on letters of the alphabet - S is for space, M is for magic, B is for bugs and so on & so forth, there are currently eight different pack designs available with the remaining eighteen letters of the alphabet being introduced over the next 12 months.

BEAR Alphabites are available from their website at, as well as Waitrose, Ocado, Wholefoods, Holland & Barrett, Planet Organic as well as many other small chains & leading independents and RRP is £2.69 for a 375g box.

It's a resounding grrrrowl of approval from us, why not give them a try and find out what your little bears think?

We received complimentary cereals from BEAR for review purposesThe views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words.

Our Autumn Bucket List

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year. The nights draw in meaning lots of sofa & blanket snuggling, the morning air is crisp, the leaves change to the most beautiful colours and there's nothing quite as satisfying as finding a patch of sunlight streaming through the window to warm you on the sofa when you're inside, hiding from the cold!

I've seen a couple of Autumn Bucket Lists over on Claire & Michelle's blogs and felt inspired to join in with my very own list of things that I would like us to do as a family this season.

Coffee: How do you drink yours?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

There is a lot to be said for morning coffee. Frankly, if I didn't manage to have at least one cup of joe a day the world would be a darker place.

For everyone else.

There is just something so satisfying about that first mouthful. The taste, the tantalising aroma - it just makes everything better. I used to be strictly a milk & two sugars kinda girl, however these days I now take it with double cream, no sugar or occasionally with a glob of coconut oil.
On a day to day basis I just make my coffee the instant way, although I have been coveting coffee machines from John Lewis. There are some really funky designs available in an array of colours - my favourite is the Ascaso that comes in the most fantastic red, it would look amazing in my kitchen, maybe at Christmas... (hint hint, Mister Owl).

My cup cupboard is chock full of mugs. Although, at least one gets broken seemingly every week with clumsy teens & tweens just stuffing things in without watching what they're doing, so you get a mug torpedo to the face every time you open the door. My ninja skills have saved a few but there was no hope for the others. We The Elves treat the kids to a new mug each every Christmas Eve, so fingers crossed we're not going to run out any time soon.

My current favourite mug for my coffee is this beautiful owl one that my sister bought me for my birthday, I don't even keep it in the cupboard because I worry it will suffer the same fate as the others and I want to keep it forever so it sits out by itself in the window sill, where it is safe!

How do you take your morning coffee? Do you have a favourite mug? Is it only my kids who are incapable of putting things away carefully?

This is a Sponsored post.

Meal Plan Monday 160913

Monday, 16 September 2013

Monday 16th September - Paleasagna (seriously, this looks amazing - I have high hopes for this!)

Tuesday 17th September - Honey & mustard baked chicken with roasted broccoli & smashed potatoes

Wednesday 18th September - Brinner*

Thursday 19th September - Homemade herby fish pie

Friday 20th September - Steak & chips

Saturday 21st September - Farmer's Pie

Sunday 22nd September - Garlic & rosemary roast chicken

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post
*Brinner = breakfast for dinner

Time for Woollies & Wellies?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The change of season means that it's time for a wardrobe overhaul, the woollies and wellies are on their way back out and the summer vest tops and flip flops will soon be relegated to the back of the cupboard for another year.

I have spent several hours over the past week or so sorting through every drawer and wardrobe in this house (bear in mind that there are seven of us...) getting prepared for the Autumn/Winter season, I now have two bin bags stuffed full of clothes to shift on with a third bin bag half full.

Lots of the kids clothes are too good to be simply thrown away but obviously won't fit them next Summer, and of course replacing clothes costs money so if I can earn some cash for clothing to help towards kitting them out for the colder weather then even better - the clothes are out of my way and I have pennies in my pocket. Win/win.

I try to prolong the life of Summer clothes as much as I can, buying long sleeved plain t-shirts to wear underneath their short sleeved ones for a multi-layer style, which serves to keep them warm as well as allowing the most wear out of their Summer tops. The shorts, of course, have no such reprieve.

I'm looking forward to the change of season as Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year.

I have lots of beautiful scarves to wear (including my gorgeous owl one, a birthday gift from my SIL) with my favoured jersey dresses, leggings and boots - perfect for woodland walks on crisp mornings, kicking through crunchy leaves and enjoying the fresh air.

Is your wardrobe ready for the change of season? What are your seasonal clothing staples?

Starting Preschool

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Well the time has come, and E has started preschool. No longer spending every waking (and non-waking...) hour with me, she's off on her own to make new friends & start new adventures.

After such a successful preschool induction session I had expected her to skip through the door and not even give me a backwards glance.

Alas, this was not to be the case.

We had some leg-clinging, some tears and the pleading for me to stay. I eventually had to bite the bullet and prise her off my leg, but I waited outside around the corner so that I could hear and after only a few minutes she had calmed down and stopped crying. It has been much the same for the rest of her first week, but I have taken the 'plaster' approach - rip it off and it doesn't hurt for long, as it were.

I am assured that she settles quickly and is fine for the rest of the time, it's that goodbye that is the killer. I know it will take some time and adjustment as she has only ever been with me since day one.
She doesn't go anywhere with other people (apart from the odd playdate with my nieces or nephew), and is exceptionally rarely babysat by anyone other than my niece or in-laws so staying & playing with new people is a big thing for her, but I am certain she will get used to it soon enough. She tells me when I pick her up "I cried for a little bit but then I stopped", and then she tells me about all the things she has done so I know that she enjoys it, and that she is learning to be independent.

This morning she willingly took her own coat & bag to the hooks and put her reading bag in the box by herself so we are definitely making progress. I had to put her water bottle on the trolley, but we'll work on that!

Another big first for her this week has been her very first swimming lesson, sans mummy. I was a bit concerned that we would be heading for leg clinging territory again once she realised I would not be getting in the pool with her, but my little duckling has taken to the water just as well as I had hoped that she would. We bought some pink Zoggs swimming goggles with strawberries on as a treat for her first lesson that she chose on the way in, and soon she was flinging herself off of the side into the pool, and happily swimming across the little pool on her tummy and back with the aid of her noodle thingy alongside her classmates.

So a week of firsts for my little lady, and while some have gone more smoothly than others I know that things can only get better. Soon enough she won't need me anymore, so it is quite nice that she misses me when I am not with her and I'll enjoy the adulation while it lasts!

Pinterest Inspired Bento Boxology

Monday, 9 September 2013

I have seen stunning examples of and admired the 'Bento Box lunch' phenomenon on many occasions - however when packing lunch for five or six people for five or six days out of the week, I tend to go for what I can do fastest rather than what is most aesthetically pleasing. That is not to say, that maybe someday I will be organised enough to create these works of edible art that will actually still look like this come lunchtime after they have been flung into a school bag and done a few rounds of the playground...

I headed off to Sainsbury's to purchase my supplies for the bento box I had designed in my head for E, after having made a detour to pick up a poorly L from school. The original plan I had thought of then went out of the window, because we ran out of time while E was at nursery, and also L was in no mood to grocery shop with mum. I bought myself some time by letting L choose a breakfast cereal, however I had to make it quick so I improvised with my final shopping list for my bento box.

Like any toddler, E loves to see her own name. She likes to pick out letters of her name and "read" it whenever she sees it written anywhere, so I went with the idea of using it for her lunch.

With my vast collection of cake decorating cutters (I now have double usage for them, which means I can justify buying more...) I turned E's name into edible art.

We had strawberry E, cheddar R, banana I, cucumber C and ham for the A. Using my silicone cupcake moulds, I separated the different flavours and she had great fun spelling her name out while she ate her lunch.

Along with the fruit and cheese, E enjoyed some of her favourite crisps in addition to a soft cheese bagel, topped with ham As which she thought was very funny. I maybe shouldn't encourage her to play with her food, but she ate it all as well as practised her name so it can't be all bad!

There are so many different designs and ideas you could quite literally never run out of things to do. Strawberry or banana flowers or butterflies, the alphabet cut into shapes, letters and numbers, savoury biscuits made into whatever shape you fancy and sandwiches cut in to any character you could imagine... It was certainly fun to do and I have created a Pinterest Bento Boxology board to keep all of my inspiration. I'm keen to try out some favourite tv characters for my boys!

Have you been inspired by the bento box? What themes or characters would you most like to try out?

Meal Plan Monday 090913

Monday, 9 September 2013

Monday 9th September - Toad in the holeg/f with mixed vegetables

Tuesday 10th September - Honey dill chicken drumsticks with salad

Wednesday 11th September - U13s football training is has started again so it's back to Brinner* for Wednesdays

Thursday 12th September - Baked white/sweet potatoes with various fillings & salad

Friday 13th September - Chicken enchiladas

Saturday 14th September - It's my niece's birthday party this afternoon/evening so *whatever*

Sunday 15th September - Pork chops & applesauce for our roast

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post
*Brinner = breakfast for dinner   g/f = gluten free

Back to School #theGallery

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

This time of year seems to come around faster and faster. I know it doesn't, it's still twelve months like always. But as the children get older, time seems to speed up somehow. The kids line up for their back to school photo and I wonder where the time has gone. I almost feel like I can't absorb enough of them, I want to remember every minute of their lives as I watch them grow up. It actually makes me emotional to know that I will never ever get these days again, this is it. And it goes by just so quickly.

This photo was taken last year, as they began the 2012/2013 term. Starting years ten, seven, five and two.
And this is back to school for 2013/2014. What a difference a year makes (it actually looks like A & J have swapped hair)! Starting years eleven, eight, six and three and my baby girl starting nursery.
Enjoy these moments, take photos and treasure them, because before you know it you will be packing them off into the big wide world to find their own adventures.

These days are yours, so hold them dear.

I have linked this post with #theGallery.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Mortal Instruments City of BonesFollowing a recommendation from a twitter friend, I recently read the first three books of The Mortal Instruments series (I'm currently reading book four). I wasn't disappointed. Cassandra Clare paints a magical world in your mind's eye full of shadowhunters angels, demons, fantasy & magic. If you like the paranormal YA genre, then I am confident that you will love these books as much as I do.

I was keen to read them before the release of the first movie based on the book the City of Bones. I do think that it can be a gamble when they make a movie like this, and I always worry that I will be disappointed if they stray too far from the original story.
I want to feel like it is the book coming to life, not a movie loosely based on a story that occasionally vaguely resembles the original plot.

So, what did I think of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones?

I was not disappointed. I will admit that there were a couple of occasions where I was thinking 'No! That's not right!' but mostly, I was delighted.

I think the casting was superb, and I was pleased to see so many British & Irish actors considering it is set in New York City. Lily Collins is exactly the sort of Clary I had envisioned, and Lena Headey was an excellent choice for Jocelyn if purely for the similarity between her & Lily.
Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace was absolutely perfect. Bower has the edge & appeal that I expected for the character as well as all the best lines in the movie (I'm pleased that they kept so many of the real laugh-out-loud lines from the book in there) and he delivers them well.
I also loved Robert Sheehan's Simon, he was exactly what I had pictured probably more so than any other character. Aidan Turner's Luke was spot-on and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is brilliant as the evil yet effortlessly sexy Valentine.

As for the demons, they were all as revolting as I had imagined. The visual effects were brilliant and the girl sat behind me in the cinema kicked my seat more times than I can count from being scared during the 'jumpy' bits of the film.

I'll definitely be buying it on DVD when it is released, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the next movie when it comes out. Hopefully they will ramp up the promo for City of Ashes because I don't think it got the pre-release exposure it deserved, it is every bit as worthy of it as the Twilight Saga and so I hope that that will be rectified for the next instalment.

A little cheesy in a couple of places, but a great movie with some fun humour. Fans of fantasy & paranormal YA will not be disappointed. Well worth a watch in my opinion.

Tweenage Kicks from ASDA George

Monday, 2 September 2013

If you've left back to school shoe shopping until the last minute and your stomach is churning at the thought of lining up in shoe shops, then fear not.

ASDA George have an extensive range of back-to-school footwear available in store and online which promises to be hard wearing as well as excellent value for money, it's worth bearing in mind that they're also included in George's 100 day satisfaction guarantee.

We all know how hard kids can be on their shoes, in years gone by I have replaced my boys shoes two or three times in just one school year. You may think that spending a chunk of money on a pair of branded shoes will prevent you having to do that, but having tested that theory myself I found that it hasn't worked out in my favour & I've still had to replace them with yet more - except instead of them being £10-£15 a pair, I had forked out double that in the first place... times three.

ASDA George have kindly kitted my boys out with school shoes for the new term so they'll be heading back to school looking smart. L & H have the boys leather shoes in black priced at £17 per pair, and J has the formal leather slip-on shoes (also in black) priced at £16.

They are a good comfortable fit and the boys will definitely give them a good running in. J will be putting them through their paces with break & lunchtime football with his mates while L & H will be wearing them in on the playground this Autumn. Strong, supportive shoes are especially important for L with his leg issues & I am satisfied that these will give him good support and are appropriate to have fitted with the orthotic devices that he needs.

I always purchase my boys school uniform (the non-logo items) from ASDA George and am happy to put my money where my mouth is. I've purchased trousers and polos for L & H from their back-to-school uniform range for many years and in my opinion, they are good quality and value. The polos last well through numerous washes and the trousers are adjustable (important for my skinny-waisted, long-legged sons) as well as comfortable but don't break the bank, so if they do happen to put the knees through playing sports then replacing them isn't a massive strain on my wallet.

Obviously I'd prefer it if they refrained from skidding around on the field in their uniform & saved it for PE - but we all know that isn't going to happen!

I received complimentary footwear from the ASDA George back-to-school range for review purposesThe views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words.

Meal Plan Monday 020913

Monday, 2 September 2013

Monday 2nd September - Ploughmans

Tuesday 3rd September - It's back to school for the bigs today, and they'll have four cheese & vegetable pasta bake for dinner on their return (at their request)

Wednesday 4th September - The littles begin their new term today, and miss E has her first day at nursery. They've chosen brinner* for tonight's meal.

Thursday 5th September - Spaghetti/courgette bolognese

Friday 6th September - I'm hoping to be going out for dinner with a friend tonight so I'll leave a homemade fish pie to be served with mixed vegetables

Saturday 7th September - Chicken & bacon salad

Sunday 8th September - Roast beef

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post
*Brinner = breakfast for dinner
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