Archive for January 2015

Toy Storage Ideas

Thursday, 29 January 2015

A bane of every parent's life - the toys! They get everywhere. As soon as you tidy them away they seem to sprout legs and spread around the house again.

We have an open plan layout downstairs in our house so it's difficult to hide the toys away so Mr MoaB and I have become adept at 'toy blindness' in the evenings once Little Miss A has gone to bed!

I'm always trying to find ways to at least try to keep all the parts together for each toy. Here are some of the solutions I've come up with, trying to recycle containers as much as possible.


1) Plastic A4 folders for puzzles - these are just the right size for most puzzles and it means all the pieces are kept together and in place. I recommend the see-through folders so that you can see which puzzle is inside. Little Miss A likes to go to the shelf and pick out the puzzle she wants to do.



2) Cake icing containers for play-doh - these are airtight so perfect for keeping play-doh from drying out. So far the play-doh I made back in October is still going strong! The containers we have are Betty Crocker - luckily my Mum uses a lot of this icing so we have a lot of these pots!



3) Peg baskets with handles - great as Little Miss A can carry them around the room. Currently she's got a basket with all her cars in for when we get her car mat out. I also use these baskets in her bedroom for her socks and tights.



4) Sweet tin for crayons - I found that a sweet tin I got at Christmas is just the right size for Little Miss A's crayons.

5) Small lidded box with handle (from Poundland) - this is the perfect size for Little Miss A's tea set. Everything fits in it just right. The handle means that she can carry it around to wherever she wants to make tea! Usually a random place in the room.


I'd love to know if you have any other storage ideas? Have you repurposed a container of some sort for toys?



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My Sunday Photo 18-1-2015

Sunday, 18 January 2015

My favourite picture of this week was taken yesterday on Brighton Pier.

Mr MoaB and I used to live in Brighton pre-baby and it always feels like 'going home' as we drive down the A23. We have lots of friends down there and try to visit as often as possible.

This was Little Miss A's first time on the Pier. It wasn't exactly the best weather as it was very cold but we took a wander and then popped into the arcade for a go at the 2p machine. Little Miss A was actually pretty lucky and won a bit back! Next time we'll take her on the Pier when it's a bit warmer!




OneDad3Girls

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Newborn Baby Photos

Friday, 16 January 2015

Over on The Dad Network blog, Al is running a #myfirstphoto Linky in which we can all share our baby's newborn photos.

As I started this blog last year when Little Miss A was already 9 months, I've never shared any early shots of her so this seemed the perfect opportunity!

It was hard to pick just a couple but here's one where she's just a few hours old. I don't think she's ever been as still as this since!


This photo was taken by a professional photographer when Little Miss A was a day old. Pictures of me and Little Miss A are rare as I'm usually behind the camera, so this one is really special.


It's been a really nice thing to look back through all these early photos so thanks to Al for this Linky. He's got some great shots on his website - The Dad Network - so go take a look!


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Woodland Trail at Waddesdon

Monday, 12 January 2015

We're definitely making the most of our National Trust membership already with another visit to Waddesdon. That's two visits in 11 days!

We just wanted somewhere to go for a bit of a walk yesterday afternoon for about an hour so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go to Waddesdon again as it's just on our doorstep.

We got the courtesy bus from the car park to The Stables this time as we've not explored this area yet. The cafe and shop here are closed at the moment but we had a wander around the courtyard with it's beautiful horse statue and interesting gargoyles!


We then took the Miss Alice's Drive Woodland Trail. This was just the right distance for Little Miss A to walk herself. There are lots of wildlife areas along the path so you can go on a bug hunt. There are also some nice views.

We had a lot of fun along the way!


At the end of the Trail was the Woodland Playground which has a variety of play equipment on different levels down a hill. The area for Little Miss A's age group was at the bottom and she particularly liked the climbing frame and of course the slide!

It's great to know that this is a walk that Little Miss A can do without needing to be carried. I'll definitely be doing it again with her a few times over the coming months as this will be a great place for us to go when Mr MoaB is working.


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My Sunday Photo 11-1-2015

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Joining up with One Dad 3 Girls again for his #MySundayPhoto with my favourite photo from this week.

Little Miss A is having so much fun splashing around in this big puddle! And I like the reflection in the water.

We can't go to the park now without her making a bee-line for this puddle!



OneDad3Girls

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1 Year Blogiversary

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Happy 1st Blogiversary to this blog!

A year ago today I posted my first blog post. I had no real idea about what I was doing or whether I would even keep it going, but here I am a year later!

The aim back then was "to write about my money saving ways". I must admit, the direction the blog has taken has been quite different. It's mostly been about what we've been up to as a family and where we've been on walks, visits etc. More like a diary of our family days out. These have all been on a budget, most in fact have been free!

I have written the odd post about activities we've done at home and a few gifts I've made. I'd like to do more of this.

For the first few months I was writing just 3 or 4 posts a month but this gradually increased to on average 10 posts a month. In total I actually published 100 posts in 2014 - a nice round figure!

I try to post the same day as the activity or event so it's fresh in my mind. Otherwise, I quickly fall behind. So much so that I still haven't posted anything about our fantastic holiday in Scotland last summer. Just seem to have been too busy since we got back so haven't had the chance to write about it. It's on my to do list!

My main priority now is to redesign the blog. I just used a basic template to get something live but the blog has definitely outgrown this template and I'd like to make it look much more individual. So watch this space for changes in the near future.


Since starting the blog, I have become active on Twitter which I never quite 'got' before. I've found an amazing blogging community and really enjoy taking part in chats when I can. There are many parent bloggers who are a real inspiration. I can only wish that I could emulate some of their successes and become a full-time blogger!

I love entering competitions and Twitter is great for this. The majority of my wins last year came through Twitter competitions or through bloggers that I follow. Little Miss A got a few bonus Christmas presents from prizes I won!

I thought it would be good to have a record of my Social Media followers. They might not be big numbers compared to many, but from a starting point of zero I'm surprised by how quickly they have grown:
@mummyonabudget on Twitter - 1027 followers
Mummy on a Budget on Facebook - 112 likes
mummyonabudget on Instagram - 254 followers

I'm so glad that I did start the blog. It's going to be an amazing thing for Little Miss A to look back on as it records all our exploits together. Now to keep the impetus up and keep going!






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Tower of London Poppy

Friday, 9 January 2015

Hurrah! It's arrived. Our very own piece of history in the form of a Poppy from the 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' installation at the Tower of London last year.

So chuffed that we own this unique Poppy. Well, it actually belongs to Little Miss A as her Nana kindly bought it for her (thanks Mum!) so we're just guardians of it for her until she's older.


Little Miss A and I were fortunate enough to see the Poppies twice last year. The first time was with Mr MoaB in September, so only a month into the planting. It was breathtaking even then. Read more about Little Miss A's first visit to London.


Our second visit was towards the very end of the planting, a week before Remembrance Day. This time Little Miss A and I were with her Grandma. I was blown away by the volume of Poppies that were now there. Read more about this visit to London.


We're hoping to display the Poppy in a box frame along with Mr MoaB's medals as he was in the Army for 10 years from the age of 16. Up until now his medals have been packed away in a drawer up at his Mum's house but he's now agreed to have them out on display. So important for Little Miss A to know about her Dad's history and what he did.

Just writing this post, I'm moved almost to tears thinking about the sacrifices that were made and still are made by brave men and women who fight for us. We're very privileged to live in the free society we do and we will bring Little Miss A up with an understanding of this.

We will remember them.



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My Sunday Photo 4-1-2015

Sunday, 4 January 2015

There's a fantastic blogging community out there and I've really enjoyed becoming a part of it.

To get more involved I've decided to join in with One Dad 3 Girls for his #MySundayPhoto

I take so many photos that it will be great to look back each week and pick my favourite.

This is the first picture I've chosen which was taken at Waddesdon Manor this week. Mr MoaB managed to capture Little Miss A and I in-front of one of the Bruce Munro light installations on the Winter Trail.




OneDad3Girls


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Magna Carta, Memorials & Mud (lots of!)

Today we met up with friends for a walk and lunch. We wanted to find somewhere that was about half way between where we both live and we decided to go to Runnymede


We met at the Memorials Car Park and set off on a walk that takes in 3 memorials. 

Firstly we walked up to the memorial which is dedicated to President John F Kennedy. 


Next was the Magna Carta Memorial. Runnymede is the site on which Magna Carta was agreed in 1215. So it's a very significant year to be visiting this Memorial, as it's 800 years since the charter was sealed here.


Little Miss A enjoyed exploring this Memorial.


Up to this point, Little Miss A had been enjoying the walk but then she started to get tired and that was it. It was tears and whinging from then on. 

We carried on a bit further with the walk and then there was an uphill walk to see the Commonwealth Airforces Memorial. I got to see the back of it, but then decided that Little Miss A really had had enough so I started heading back down whilst Mr MoaB and our friends carried on to see it.

These photos of the Airforces Memorial are courtesy of Mr MoaB. We'll definitely re-visit as he tells me there will be great views on a nice day!


We've never been on a walk with Little Miss A where she's got into such a state. It was such a shame. 


The walk was extremely muddy and very water-logged in lots of places. I definitely should have taken a spare pair of trousers to change into as we were then going on for lunch at the local Toby Carvery!

Little Miss A was asleep before we even left the car park! She definitely needed it. That was some crying session!

It takes about an hour to drive from Aylesbury to Runnymede and as it's managed by the National Trust we got free parking with our new membership - bonus!

Despite Little Miss A's meltdown, it was really great to catch-up with friends and get outdoors. 

Next time, I'll definitely go more prepared for lots of mud! And there will definitely be a next time as it's really not that far away and along with the Memorials, there's the river which will be really nice to wander along in the summer.


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Wondrous Winter Light at Waddesdon

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Last Christmas we said we'd join the National Trust but we had such a busy year doing lots of other things, that we never got around to it. However, with Waddesdon Manor on our doorstep and lots of other properties nearby, we decided that this year was the year we'd join.

I have seen lots of pictures of the Winter Light Trail by artist Bruce Munro at Waddesdon on my Twitter feed, Instagram etc. I wanted to see it and we realised that today was our only opportunity as the installation is only there until Sunday (4th January) and Mr MoaB is working the next few days.

We arrived at around 3.30pm as we'd been having a lazy New Year's Day at home. We got the courtesy bus to the main house and had a wander up to see all the Christmas trees at the front of the house. We also grabbed ourselves a hot drink at the cafe. Little Miss A had fun on the light boxes that light up the house!

We then started the Light Trail as it started to get darker.



It's an intriguing trail as you try to work out what each piece is about and what materials it is made of. They were really beautiful.


This was my favourite piece - the Field of Light.


I'm surprised by how well the pictures have come out considering the fading light and my poor photography skills!

By the end of the Trail it was really dark. We had to keep a close eye on Little Miss A as it was hard to see her and there were a lot of people about! It was also pretty cold as the wind had picked up so wrap up warm for the Trail.


If you're a National Trust member, then it's free entry to the Gardens and House (it's best to pre-book a time-slot for the House). If you're not a member then it costs £8 per adult to go into the Garden or £18 per adult for the Garden & House. Family tickets are available. Under 5s are free. We've worked out that we only need to go to the Gardens 3 more times to have pretty much covered the cost of the membership for the year. However, we do plan to go to other properties this year as well.

I'm really glad we got to see this installation before it finishes, especially as Waddesdon really is so close to where we live. I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time there with Little Miss A to get use out of our National Trust membership!


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