Working from home

Written by Emma. Posted in Uncategorized

As the summer holidays draw to an end I have been getting more organised for this freelance work I am now doing.  I have claimed some space in our study / office.  I attempting to work from this area rather than just sitting on the sofa with the laptop.  I was really fortunate as Canon recently got in touch to invite me to review on of the their printers, the Canon Pixma MG7150.  we seem to be using a printer more and more especially with the children’s homework or if I print off an activity for Erin to do.  Also now that schools email letters you often need to print off your own permission replies.

The printer was really easy to set up and I had a chat with one of the team who talked me through the functions.  One thing that is awesome with newer style printers is that they are wireless but also that you can do far more than just print.  I have already needed to copy a letter for some medical stuff and I was able to do that quickly at home.

To help me utilise my printer Canon are setting me a number of challenges and you will be able to follow my progress on getting to grips with the machine.  The first challenge was to take a photo of the children on my phone and then print it out.  Therefore armed with my mobile (not that I’m ever without it!) I went about my usual day.  Now I am forever snapping away on my phone but usually that is where the photos stay.  I’m all about social media pasting them on facebook, twitter and instagram but rarely they are in my hands as actual photos.

We recently went to Lollibop and Erin had the chance to meet some of her favourite Cbeebies stars, Erin was able to get up close with Mr Bloom so of course I snapped the occasion.  Once home I used my mobile to send the photo to print.  I wandered into my office to see the photo coming out. The quality is good although it took a fair while to dry which I hadn’t realised.  I actually smudged the corner as I did not realise it would be wet.  After leaving to dry the photo is good and Erin was happy to have an actual copy that she can have on her noticeboard in her bedroom.

Canon will be setting me a new challenge now so do look out for the update of all the different ways I’m maximising the printer.


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Finishing touches from Vertbaudet

Written by Emma. Posted in Home design

I love being at home with the children, I really do.  I don’t want term time to resume but I do want some time to tidy and sort.  I look around and just see stuff everywhere.  The house is clean but it is so untidy!  I seem to have a sweep up and tidy only to look in another room and find stuff in there instead!

However one room which is pretty picture perfect is actually Erin’s bedroom.  She doesn’t play in her room much unless I am pottering upstairs too and she is really very good at tidying up her room.  She seems to like it quite ordered (unlike her brother and sister).  It wasn’t that long ago we decorated and she loves the room. Therefore when the lovely people at Vertbaudet invited us to review something from the children’s bedroom range I thought that a photo montage frame and a mirror would be the ideal finishing touches. I was right, they both co-ordinate with the butterfly pink theme we were already coveting. The photo frame is an ideal place to clip those little pictures from nursery or to show off her latest achievements.

clipboard from vertbaudet


The mirror though is my favourite, it is different and unique which I like.  Several of Erin’s friends have commented on it and want it in their rooms!  It was a little fiddly to attach to the wall as the wall attachments are tight.  This is obviously to ensure once its on the wall in a child’s room that it is very safe and totally sturdy – however this makes for a fiddly job for whoever is putting it up!!

mirror vertbaudet

The mirror is priced at £39.99 and adds a really elegant touch to her pretty bedroom.  I like that the colour is a subtle pink and although girly it is not in your face.  It is really well made and looks brilliant above her library of books.

Erin also received a cute denim skort with a butterfly motif – well a girl needs to match her room!


Disclosure:  Vertbaudet gifted the items for the review, thoughts and opinions all my own.

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What are your #schoolmealmemories?

Written by Emma. Posted in Education

The Department for Education have a new scheme from September to provide all primary school children aged 4-7 with a healthy and nutritious hot school dinner.  This means that children in reception, year 1 and year 2 will be fed at school and I have spoken to many parents who were unaware of this national scheme.  Will your child be eligible?  Did you know about it?  Parents can of course opt out and continue to provide a packed lunch.

I am really pleased with the new scheme as I often find it hard to come up with inspiring lunch boxes and Erin prefers a cooked meal.  Secondly she is used to eating her main meal at lunchtime as that was the routine at nursery.  The evening meal was then often something on toast or a filled jacket potato.  The downside for me is that I will still be cooking for the older two!  However we already have a mix and match scheme going on, we currently buy hot dinners on the nights that are especially busy for us.  On a Monday when Chloe has hockey after school and then dancing in the evening we rely on the school canteen to provide her with what she needs to be so physically active.  The same goes for Dylan on the evenings he had cubs or tutoring.

When I think back to my school dinners I have mixed memories, I remember the puddings most.  My favourite being a toffee cream tart, the toffee was runny and clear.  It was very sweet but yummy.  I also loved the chocolate crunch and being a teacher in a secondary school I know that this treat is still on the menu!  Research suggests that only 1% of packed lunches from home meets the nutritional standards of today’s school lunches.  My husband remembers, from his primary lunches, that they were bland and not much choice was offered.  This is different from our primary school where there is a choice of meals.  They are certainly not bland either with offerings including curry and a home made spicy beanburger.  You can see a typical offerings from the Children’s Food Trust which share the balanced diet now being offered.

Schools have worked hard to implement the new scheme as it has required some schools to better equip their kitchens or find more space to ensure that all the children have somewhere to sit and eat their hot dinner.  As a mum who struggles to come up with interesting packed lunches five times a week I can now relax knowing that Erin will be having a good meal at a good time for her.  I also think the social sharing of a meal is good and I am sure this will encourage Erin to continue to eat well and try new foods.  Erin is the  only one of my three to go to a nursery and have experienced nursery meals, and she is the one that eats the best, has great table manners and will happily try new foods.

Bloggers have been asked to recall their school meal memories and I would like to know what your memories of school lunches are?



Disclosure:  This post is an advertorial.

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Editing photos and creating free social media backgrounds and banners.

Written by Emma. Posted in online life

After the annual holiday I have literally hundreds of photos stored on my camera.  I have slowly been downloading all the Disney photos that we also got from using memory maker when in Florida.  Memory maker meant that we could all have our photo taken as many times as possible in all the Florida Disneyparks.  For a change it means that we can have all five of us in a picture.

The package worked really well for us and we had over 500 pictures taken!  With these downloaded we are free to do what we want with them.  I bought a Disney Album and one of my September jobs is to create our book of memories.  Therefore when I was asked to try out a photo editing service it seemed like a good time.

A litte bit about Fotor: 

Fotor is found in May of 2012 by a team with great passion on both professional graphic processing technologies and creative photo editing fun. Now we provide cross platform photo editing services, including basic photo editing like crop, resize, effects, collage, frames, montage, HDR, as well as fun extending services like banner making, greeting card making, facebook cover making, etc, accessible to all in an easy and creative manner.

I had a play about and I really liked that you can quickly and easily create fun social media banners.  I quickly made a new Facebook header that used some photos I had on my computer.  It was then really easy to save and add to Facebook.


I am not the most creative or technical blogger so a good platform like this is ideal for me.  The service is also free and creates lots of opportunities for you to become a fun photo editor.  In addition to banners you can edit photos and then have them saved and printed.  There is the opportunity to add text, frames and effects like layers and colours.  I will certainly be using this again.



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