To be 5 again :-)

My twins turned 5 earlier this month. It was more low key than their sisters birthday but just as fun ๐Ÿ˜Š


This year they got a mixture of toys; Lego, build your own robot & car (that runs on solar energy or salt water!) Some iron man toys and transformer remote controlled cars.


I have to say it’s been fantastic to be able to enjoy life with my kids without the added stress of fitting everything in around homework and school.
My kids learn whenever and wherever they want. We can travel on a whim and ask questions at anytime!
We’ve met the loveliest people since starting on our home end journey over a year and a half ago. It’s been great.

In other news our stick insects have also had an eventful week.
Unfortunately for Tiny it resulted in the loss of a leg! ๐Ÿ˜ข


She is very delicate so must have got her leg stuck between the brambles over night. She’s ok though and still climbing everywhere.
Her bigger associate, “Biggie” was caught having fun with the kids Lego ๐Ÿ˜‚


Oh and before I forget, I must share my latest Mini Make!


A pro breastfeeding baby hat! My partner didn’t quite get the joke, thought it would be better to tell those easily offended to “educate themselves” however we live in a society where only the brave/bold or crazy do that ๐Ÿ˜‰
I’d love to make more of these so amongst my other crochet ideas hopefully I’ll find time to fit in some more hats! ๐Ÿ˜Š


So my eldest daughter just turned 10 this Feb. She got a lot of great presents from our friends and family & this year I organised a little birthday party for her. She invited her 3 best friends from our home ed community (as all the schooled one’s parents stopped talking to me when we left!) ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ๐Ÿ˜

The twins went off with their dad so their sister could have a good time with her friends which was lovely. Everyone had fun!


So now my eldest has plenty to do including colouring in her zentangle colouring in book, building a wooden horse, making a mosaic tray & decorating her room with the lovely bunting she got & a beautiful mini drawer set she can hide all her trinkets in!


Her aunt and uncle bought her a Minecraft Lego set, her current obsession (Minecraft!)


And my bestie dropped off her presents the night before the birthday party which was awesome of her too!


So plenty of Lego and crafts, I’m almost jealous ๐Ÿ˜‰
Her dad & I got her a Creeper backpack, an experiment set & doggy Lego!


Oh and how could I forget the 17″ doll she saved up for?


I sewed the doll a new dress and told my daughter to keep her savings & bought the doll for her in the end ๐Ÿ˜Š well she’d been very good helping me with housework, how could I not? ๐Ÿ˜€

I feel very lucky to have such great friends & family, they always offer to help & are there when i need them, thank you all!!

๐Ÿ˜˜ Next up….my twin’s 5th birthday in March! Eeek! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Recapping our tiny xmas

I’m sure you don’t really want to read anything related to Christmas in January however I’ll quickly recap how ours went since it was decided we were not “going all out”.

I bought one present for my kids, Santa also bought them one each. Oops tell a lie, he brought a small play doh kit for my twins to share. Grand total? ยฃ25 + a ยฃ20 doll my hubby bought for our daughter, however that was a mistake as we went to Asda and the doll was meant to be ยฃ13.97…unfortunately he doesn’t check receipts until he’s home! Too late. But Asda lost our custom for good (as that’s not the first time it’s happened).

Anyway my friends and family got the kids and us some presents and to be honest I found it altogether much  better. My kids didn’t rip through tonnes of presents then sit a little unsure what to do next nor did they decide the next day that they’re already bored with their new toys. Why? Because they weren’t overwhelmed.

They had their play and we got ready for dinner at auntie’s house. They got a handful of presents altogether and still play with them everyday. Not once have they disregarded their new toys in boredom once the ‘excitement of Xmas’ wore off, which is what I found happened every year prior when I bought toys just to fill more space under that damn tree.

I want to teach my children the value of that which is priceless and not the value of their material items. They don’t need things, they need love, attention, time and fun. You can’t buy happiness.

I have birthdays coming up in the next two months for my kids and I’ve bought one toy for them each. And that is all I will buy. It is educational and lots of fun but I can’t share it just yet! You’ll have to wait and see ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐ŸŽ‰Happy 2016. Hoping this one is filled with more love and less money than the last ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™

Have you gone bananas?

I recently discovered a variety of banana I never knew existed. A friend sent me a link to an article regarding a fungus that is threatening our bananas to extinction. Within this article the writer had said they preferred a Philippine variety of red banana…curious I googled it & indeed there really is a red banana.

Below is what I found out, trimmed, without ads, for your reading pleasure ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Bananas are the worldโ€™s most consumed fruit which is an extraordinarily fascinating fact. But did you know that the โ€œbanana treeโ€ is not actually a tree — itโ€™s the worldโ€™s largest herb.

-Banana tree grows, fruits, dies, and re-grows every year. Bananas contain three natural sugars: fructose, sucrose and glucose combined with fiber.

This favorite fruit has high calorific value, including 6 vitamins and 11 minerals, giving you an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Now, imagine eating a red banana! There are at least 5 types of bananas different than the yellow, sweet banana.


What Kind Of Fruit Is The Red Banana?

The fruit of red bananas is similar to the fruit of yellow bananas, it is said red bananas taste similar to eating a banana and a raspberry at the same time. Red bananas come from Costa Rica and are a favorite in Central America, Mexico and in some areas in Australia.

The red banana tree succeeds only in tropical and subtropical areas and the fruit is ready for use after 9 months.

They have a distinctive red to purple skin, rather than the more conventional yellow bananas and are usually smaller than regular yellow bananas. This fruit has soft and creamy texture in cream to slightly pink color. The color comes from the beta-carotene red bananas contain, and the aroma reminds of sweet strawberries.

Red bananas can be consumed when their skin starts getting dark chestnut-red color and few brown spots. It is better not to consume the fruit if it is too soft and has intense flavor, because of the fermentation process which causes loss of enzymes and development of some dangerous bacteria.


Red Banana Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits
This fruit has high nutritional and calorific value, containing large amounts of potassium, Vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Medium sized fruits contain 400 mg of potassium, which covers bodyโ€™s daily needs of this mineral and electrolytes. The potassium in red bananas is necessary for proper function of the heart muscle and the digestive system.

Except for being delicious, red bananas are rich in Vitamin C as well. One red banana is enough to cover 15 % of the bodyโ€™s daily needs of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which not only protects the body from diseases, but it also protects the organism against free radicals, meaning it reduces the risk of heart diseases and some cancers.

Red bananas are also rich in fiber, and one red banana is covers 16% of the bodyโ€™s daily needs of dietary fiber. The fiber red bananas contain helps reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes Type 2. This fruit also contains large amount of Vitamin B6, a single red banana provides even 20% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D, and supports the metabolism of proteins and red blood cells.

Each of us is eager to try and taste new fruit, so maybe it is time to make a change and buy red bananas this time?

Now after reading about it I really really want to try it so I’ve tweeted to the major supermarkets asking if they stock any, preferably organic. Perhaps if enough of us do the same (tweet/email/etc) they’ll stock some! Given they are more nutritional and perhaps better tasting, why don’t we have them here!?

What summer?

We spent the majority of August wondering where our summer was? Apparently it was in the Algarve.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We went to kidzania last week: our replacement tickets for losing half the time in the bomb evacuation last time.
It was quiet at first, only one small school group, my 4yos decided they didn’t care to wait in queues so they still didn’t get to go on the fire engine but I can’t fault kidzania for that one, my boys werent feeling too patient so they went to the ambulance instead. A few mini cartoons later & some talk on first aid care they got to ride the ambulance.


They didn’t think much of having to get out and help the injured patient though 😂 they just wanted to stay in the  ambulance!
My eldest (9yo) got to do what she wanted, although I thought the activities were sometimes aimed for a younger audience she still enjoyed herself, rock climbing, chocolate making, drumming…


Overall the kids had fun, but I’d say on a normal business day it’s a lot busier than it was when we went so my boys would not have been able to go on many activities due to the queues. If I was ever to go again I’d wait until my twins were at least 6.

Also I was very disappointed at the prices in the toy shop. If you think museums price high then you haven’t seen the Kidzania shop prices! The fact that you’ve just spent over the odds for a ticket in but you still have to pay over the odds for foods (there are many cleverly placed, indulgent food stands), buggy storage and little kidzania memorabilia I think is just out of order.

So pack a lunch and remain firm, luckily my kids were a little too distracted to notice most of the sweet shops, and try have fun! They do have free WiFi, albeit a bit slow but still something for you to do whilst your kids are busy in an activity for 30 mins or so whilst you look on. ๐Ÿ™‚


No shampoo No good

So since the beginning of April I’ve stopped using shampoo and conditioner. For the first 2 months I went completely without. I’d only “wash” my hair with water. But the grease was pretty unbearable by this point, I’d read that by 1 month I should have started to see better results…so I decided to try the bicarb and vinegar wash. It worked, my hair was free from grease. Sure it wasnt as light as it is when I use traditional products but I was happy. So after more reading I decided I didn’t want to use bicarb and vinegar as a replacement, I wanted my hair to self clean as everyone claims it can do so as much as possible I washed with only water.

I’m now past month 4 and my hair was flaky, it was greasy and looked dull. I’ve been wearing it up for months because I wasn’t happy with it. Self cleaning? I only saw grease. So today I washed my hair in shampoo and conditioner, the crap I cleaned off it must have been something immense and not just judging by the colour of the water because my hair feels so light, soft but more than that I can actually see colour in my hair, my natural colour, my hair has blonde, browns & I can see it! Before it just looked dark…

My verdict: No poo doesn’t work, well at least not for me. I started this trial for one reason, to drop the potentially harmful products and wash my hair with water. Live more simply. Not replace my shampoo with more products. Perhaps years of conditioning has eroded that possibility…Perhaps it just isn’t true.

This was my experience. I spent 4 months giving it a try. Right now I have my hair down sun drying outside, and it looks good. Time for a hair cut to match I think… ๐Ÿ™‚

Why I’m going against the grain

I haven’t updated in a while, I find constant blogging hard but I’ll update from my last post: we released all our caterpillars into the park, they seemed to thrive a lot more out there to be honest. We are now butterfly free.

I’ve been worrying about the government changes, like many others and I’ve decided that the pressure the job centre put us under is not worth it, I shall bare it for now but if they threaten my family with sanctions because they expect me to drop my kids off with expensive childminders (strangers) then sanction away as I will not leave my children in the hands of someone I do not trust. I CHOOSE to educate MY children. I, and all other home educators save the government hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds a year by taking responsibility of our own children’s education. So why is the government so hell bent on FORCING us to send our children to school? Oversubscribed, poor quality schools? Why should the government get to DICTATE to us how many hours we work?

Well I for one have had enough, I will not CONFORM. We will do our best to look after our children without the “help” of benefits, we will succeed in our own time and not be bullied.

All this has got me thinking…now I am not religious, I will not force my views and opinions onto others, each to their own, but Xmas, Easter, birthdays serve ONE purpose: to drain us of our hard earned cash. Since when did birthdays become a present giving, money receiving day? To me birthdays are about reminiscing your past years, spending time with loved ones, talking about the future, your hopes, aspirations. But it isn’t about that anymore, its about who gives you the best (most expensive) present. Who throws you the best party…same with Xmas. Now as I’m not religious I don’t think I should celebrate Xmas. So I’ve decided, the most we will do this year is gift each other one present, the rest of the day will be spent as a family, no crap crackers, no fire hazard tree, no stress over Xmas dinner. No wasted money.
I’m going against the grain.

And by the way we didn’t do Easter this year either, no chocolate eggs just a good old egg hunt using mini eggs I crocheted. My kids were happy & to be honest I think the lack of sugar was a good thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Many Very Hungry Caterpillars!

I haven’t updated in a while, been quite busy. But we released our 4 butterflies as the females wanted to keep mating and starting laying far too many eggs so we quickly let them go! Hopefully she managed to lay some eggs outside too.
On my last rough count as I changed the thistle in the caterpillars boxes we had approx 150-200 eggs!! Now the first 2/3 instars of a caterpillars life are tough so we did lose a lot too. My last rough count was still over 100 though so we have many! They seem to have taken preference to the thistle over stinging nettles which suits me as thistle brings in less bugs than stinging nettles seem to. We’re lucky there is a good abundance of wild plants in our local park as every two days we have to change their thistle for freshly cut ones.


They are so tiny and adorable at this stage! The two “stripey” looking ones have moulted, so probably past their 2nd instar already. We have lots at different stages so once they all get to stage 4 (out of 5) were taking some down to the park and hope they can form their pupas in the vast amount of stinging nettles or thistle there as we won’t have space for 100+ butterflies!! 😂
I can’t wait to have a lot to release at the same time though, kids are excited, it will look amazing & will hopefully boost the amount of butterflies our local park will get too!


Its a lot of work as you have to painstakingly take out each leaf and carefully look for tiny caterpillars and remove them from the folds, throw away the old leaves, clean their pot and replace with fresh leaves every 2 days! Ahh…as they get bigger it is getting a bit easier to spot them 😁

We have been thinking of visiting the Wetland Centre in London, I can’t decide if I should add a 2nd adult to my pass & if I do, who as I hardly go on trips like this with my other half (we usually go whilst he works) but if we do want to go with him he’d have to pay ยฃ10 just to get in! 😑 in my opinion you shouldn’t have to name the 2nd adult as it limits who you can bring, perhaps a friend wants to tag along to try it out, why should it matter who the 2nd adult is? I still have to pay for the extra adult anyway!

Well I shall update next week to see what stage most of our caterpillars are at and whether we have released any….

4 Beautiful Butterflies

Day 26 and we now have 4 butterflies. I missed the emerging unfortunately but have been able to take some shots throughout.


The red is not blood, its called meconium. Basically its waste from the butterflies. They use it to fill their wings then expel the rest so be sure to put disposable paper towels down! ๐Ÿ™‚

The butterflies needed about a day after emerging to stiffen their wings, placing them in direct sunlight (on our window sill) helped a lot.


We placed a paper towel soaked in sugary water in a lid for them to drink & some fruits.
Taking close shots was easy but since the last butterfly emerged its been a little tricky 😁


We’ve now got two mating, they can mate for up to 8 hours and should not be disturbed so I’ve left them and hopefully the female will lay her eggs on the stinging nettle plant we potted.


Its been lots of fun but it isnt over yet as we have the task of rearing the eggs to look forward to next!

We have a pupa!


Day 11 & we have a fresh pupa! Can’t believe I missed it! I actually thought this one was later in stage than the other caterpillar but he’s changed first..


Here’s his head… 😱 its all very exciting and gross haha 😂


This guy will change tonight so I’m hoping I’ll spot our last two unchanged caterpillars tomorrow and watch the final process. When they’ve become butterflies I plan to make a little photo slide of all the pictures I’ve taken so the process from tiny black worm to butterfly can be seen a lot easier! 😛

The kids are excited about the changes and have enjoyed handling them (not really recommended per say but what’s the point if you can’t eh?!) 😜


And we also cleaned their pot of waste and excess silk!


This guys can fill this pot pretty darn quickly! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
Its been interesting watching them as they seem to have their own characters. At the moment one seems obsessed with making a silk ‘den’, if you like, around him but he’s been disturbing the changing caterpillars today much to their annoyance. (We call him the “Dumb hotdog guy” a Lego game/mini figure reference!) They swing around and headbutt him and shake all over but he just carries on grabbing silk and sticking it here and there! I haven’t seen him eat much today either. Then there’s the other unchanged caterpillar (Eldest named it ‘Caterpie’ after a pokemon!) that has kept away from the hanging ones and eaten a lot all day! The changing ones are called Batman and Wyldstyle…. 😁 we know (most of the time) who is who because they all have slightly different sizes & acted a little different. Batman got his name because when we first got them he hung upside down a lot but the others didn’t. Wyldstyle is simply named after my sons favourite Lego movie character 😁

So a lot of fun has been had over these past 11 days! We’re hoping to find some plants for the butterflies but so far no luck! I shall have to look in some flower shops tomorrow….I dont know where any are around me….! 😯
Maybe we will spot some cheeseweed or nettle plants…