Mama OWL Blog: September 2015

Monkey around with Bananagrams

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Travel plans are in full swing right now with our visit to Greece less than four weeks away. One of the troubles faced by parents when travelling with children is how to keep them occupied on long journeys, or indeed finding things to do if the weather is less than ideal when you get to your destination (touch wood that this is not the case for us - I have all of my hopes pinned on a lovely week away in the sunshine so fingers crossed...) and Bananagrams have just the thing with their all new WildTiles portable word game.

To play, you place all of the tiles facing downwards (or you can just keep them in the bag if you're travelling) and each player takes a certain number of tiles dependant on how many players you have. Any player calls "split" and all players turn their own tiles face up and form their own crossword grid. Words may be horizontal or vertical, reading left to right or top to bottom. There's no need to take turns, opponents all work on their own grids at the same time and may rearrange their words as often as they'd like.

A WildTile can be used as any letter but it must be used as part of a word and can only represent one letter at a time, and when rearranged can be changed to a new letter. When a player has used all of their tiles in a grid, that player calls "peel" and takes a tile from the bunch (from the pile or bag). At this point all other players must also take a tile from the bunch. Play continues until there are fewer tiles remaining in the bunch than there are players, and the first player to use all of their tiles in a grid calls "bananas!" & is the winner, aka the 'top Banana'. This game is a handy educational tool to help kids with their spelling and word recognition as well as being great fun for the whole family.

A new arrival to the UK, Bananagrams WildTiles is a game requiring no paper, pencils or board - just the banana shaped pouch containing 150 tiles and of course a little brain power. Available to purchase from John Lewis and online at, Bananagrams WildTiles has an RRP of £16.99 and is suitable for ages 7 years+. To find out more about the game and to watch the video visit or visit their website

We received a complimentary Bananagrams WildTiles game for review purposes. All opinions are our own.

Meal Plan Monday 280915

Monday, 28 September 2015

Meal Plan 280915
Monday 28th
The problem with not managing to find time to write this up until Thursday is that you forget what you had at the beginning of the week...
Tuesday 29th
Spaghetti Bolognese
Wednesday 30th September Sausages, chips and beans
Thursday 1st
Spiced Vegetable Biryani
Friday 2nd
Artichoke, Red Onion and Rosemary Risotto
Saturday 3rd
Spiced Root Vegetable Soup
Sunday 4th

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.

Starting Year Eight | #LoudnProud

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The return to school was source of trepidation for me. L had a difficult first year moving from primary to senior school with all the new challenges and routines that brought with it and I had anticipated a similar beginning to year eight with everything changing for him yet again - new people, new teachers, new classrooms - a whole new timetable.

Considering how much he had to deal with in year seven, he coped amazingly well and though there were many (many, many) bumps along the way - we got there in the end.

I am delighted to say that three weeks in, he is enjoying school and has settled back in well. We have the usual morning struggles that most people have with their teen/tween including this week's charming "Are you watching me sleep, you creeper?" when I was trying to wake the boys up gently by stroking their hair and whispering to them that it was time to get up - next time I'll know not to bother and will just go in there with an air horn and have done with it - but on the whole it has been very positive.

L has even brought home his first 10 point card for his house after a particularly good day at school, I am so proud of all of the effort he has put in to learning his new routine and the decisions he has made for himself when he has found himself overwhelmed.

Long may it continue.

I'm this week's #LoudnProud host, and we would love to hear all about your special moments and achievements so please do share your posts with us below. Feel free to grab our badge, we would appreciate it if you could please try to visit 2-3 others including the host to enable this link to be successful - please do not link dump. The list closes at Midnight on Sunday, and next week will be hosted by the lovely Suzanne at 3 Children and It.

Mama Owl

Round My Way | Eating Out in Bath

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


I am lucky enough to live just a stone's throw from the breathtakingly beautiful city of Bath, a World Heritage site famous for it's hot springs and Roman style baths. Teeming with history and boasting stunning architecture as well as a plethora of shops and eateries it is - in my opinion - one of the top places to visit in the country. I love to visit Bath to enjoy a leisurely shopping trip with a long lunch (particularly at Christmastime with the wonderful market stalls around the Abbey), or to take advantage of the vibrant nightlife in the many lively pubs & bars around the city, not to mention cheering on Bath Rugby at The Rec.

Travelodge asked me to share my favourite venues for budget-friendly dining in the city, and in Bath you are certainly spoiled for choice but Garfunkel's at the Orange Grove - in beautiful grade II listed building, The Empire - with views of the Abbey and Pulteney Bridge has a great lunch menu available Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm. Featuring classics such as a burgers, wraps, toasted sandwiches, jacket potatoes and pasta dishes, one course is just £7.95 or you can choose to add a starter for an additional £2. Dessert is also an additional £2 but frankly it would be rude not to, and 3 courses for less than £12 is a great deal.

For an evening meal, I highly recommend a visit to Carluccio's at Milsom Place. They have an extensive range of menus available including vegetarian and a gluten-free menu, my favourite from which is the Bistecca - pan fried ribeye steak with tarragon mayonnaise and a side dish of your choice (may I recommend the minted green beans with garlic) for £15.95, and not to be missed is their delicious gelato ice cream.

Whether it is for a romantic weekend away, a Christmas shopping trip with friends or a family break, Bath has a lot to offer for all ages and interests and truly is a must-visit.

Meal Plan Monday 140915

Monday, 14 September 2015

Meal Plan 140915
Monday 14th
Pasta Bake
Tuesday 15th
Sausages, chips and baked beans
Wednesday 16th September Brinner*
Thursday 17th
Slow cooker lasagne & garlic bread for the Mister & kids, steak and sweet potato with salad for me
Friday 18th
We're heading out to a RWC 2015 Kick Off Party at H's rugby club tonight, and will be enjoying their BBQ
Saturday 19th
I'm out with friends so the Mister & kids have pizza
Sunday 20th

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
* = Breakfast for dinner (egg, bacon, etc)

Girls Bedroom Restyle & Makeover

Friday, 4 September 2015


With A preparing to fly the nest and head off to university next year, the Mister and I have been considering giving the girls' shared bedroom a restyle and makeover. Something that is not too grown up for E but not too babyish for A, that will suit both of their needs and provide them with their own space. A might be leaving, but she will still need her own bed and a place for her things when she comes home for visits because it will of course still be her home whether she is physically living here or not.

A & I have been working on a Pinterest board with some design ideas and accessories that she likes. Storage is very important because the girls have more little bits and bobs than I know what to do with - things like hair bands and clips, lip balms and make up brushes which means that accessories like pretty jars are practical as well as stylish.

The wooden crate storage boxes would be ideal for storing A's things as of course she can't take all of her belongings to uni but will still need them kept for her, and they are perfect to use as toy boxes for all of E's favourite things, too (though I'm going to have to go through all of her toys as she has too much and doesn't play with half of it any more).

Follow Mama Owl's board Girls' Bedroom Restyle & Makeover on Pinterest.

The girls currently share a bunk bed but I really like the 'shaker style' look of the Jessica Daybed from the great selection of beds at Room to Grow, instead of splitting the bunk and having a bed either side of the room it would mean that we could free up vital space but still have a roll-out bed available for A when she came home.

The beautiful stone-white finish would complement the accessories that A has chosen and really complete the look of the room, as I'd prefer to keep the colours quite muted and neutral to enable E to grow with the room. We can always update accessories such as cushions & throws to inject colour and spruce the room up without necessarily needing to redecorate/repaint  - one less job for the Mister, and it would save money too.
I can't wait to get on with the bedroom restyle, I want to give the girls a really beautiful and practical shared space, to enjoy this potentially last year of sharing a room together.

A Summer of Achievement | #LoudnProud

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Summer holidays are over (and they have been for a while if you're in Scotland) and the daily routines are slowly returning to normal. Now you've got some time to think, and, er, you can hear yourself do so... what do you have to be loud and proud about?

We (Mum of Three World, 3 Children and It, and Not My Year Off as well as myself) took a break over the Summer as of course we are all busy mums and keeping everyone happy, going off on our travels and taking some time out to enjoy the school holidays was paramount, but we are back with a new badge and looking forward to sharing your proud moments, achievements and accomplishments - big or small - with you.

To recap or for new linkers (hello!), you can find out what #LoudnProud is all about by clicking here, all the information you need and our badge can be found there. The rules are short and sweet, all that we ask of you is that you display our Loud 'n' Proud badge somewhere on your blog, and visit at least 3 of the other blogs linking up. Nice & simple! The linky opens every Thursday at 7am, & closes at midnight on Sunday.

We had a wonderful Summer, full of busy days as well as lazy days, and it was a much needed break for all of us. In all honesty I'm sad to have the kids back at school because I much prefer the laid back days at home when we do what we want, when we want and don't have to rush about on the school run and to endless clubs and activities. At the same time, it was definitely time to get back into our routine and get started on the new school year, & I'm enjoying having some time to myself to get things done too.

E had a brilliant Summer and has achieved so much in just a few short weeks. She completed the 2015 "Record Breakers" Summer Reading Challenge, earning her certificate & medal which she was delighted with and took in to show her new teacher. She made outstanding reading progress in her reception year of school and managed to make it up to level 19 by the end of term so I have been very keen to keep up the momentum during the Summer to prevent a dip in her learning.

E continued her Gymnastics training through the Summer holidays, and completed badge 8. She's now working on badge 7, enjoying her weekly sessions and learning new skills. She always works so hard and really loves gymnastics, it's great to see her making progress at something she enjoys as well as it being great exercise for her.

I'm this week's #LoudnProud host, and we would love to hear all about your special moments and achievements so please do share your posts below. Feel free to grab the badge, we'd love it if you could visit others & share the linky love - thanks!

The linky closes at Midnight on Sunday, & next week will be hosted by the lovely Suzanne at 3 Children and It.

Mama Owl
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