Top Tip: Reviews and Age Ratings of Movies, Games, TV, Apps, Books, Music…

I’ve always been really worried about exposing Miss NHM to technology stuff that isn’t age appropriate.

I mentioned this to a fabulous friend of mine recently and she sent me the link to this FANTASTIC website.

If you are looking for suggestions of age appropriate Apps to download or which films are suitable, etc. I recommend checking this website out.

Thanks very much fab friend :-D.

Top Tip: Batch Cooking Cottage pie

If I had written this post ten years ago, I probably would have shot myself! lol.

The fact that I really enjoyed doing this, says a lot about how my life and mindset has changed :-D.

Top Tip 31: Batch Cooking: Home Made Cottage pie

A few weeks ago, I spent an hour making six meals for my family, which I’ve frozen and which have already gotten me out of a few sticky “lack of meal” situations!

I was lucky enough to pop into Lakeland in Reading a few days before and picked up some of those foil dishes that you can use to freeze prepared meals in.

They were excellent but I’ve just found that they are a lot cheaper from Sainsburys, so will try those foil dishes and let you know how I get on.

In the morning I put the slow cooker cottage pie mix on.

This was:

  • Minced beef
  • Chopped onions
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • A carrot, finely chopped
  • A handful of frozen peas
  • Gravy granules

In the evening I boiled some potatoes and turned them into mash:

Once they were ready, I loaded the dishes up:

I then topped them off with grated cheese:

I put the lids on and put them in the freezer.

It took about an hour, all in all, and I made six healthy meals that have been yummy!

Have you tried batch freezer cooking and if yes, which recipes do you cook?

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Some of my parenting “shortcuts”!

If you’ve been following NorthHantsMum for a while you will know that I’m big on keeping my life as stress free and simple as possible.

One of the ways I do this is by getting things delivered directly to our house.

I work from home so this is fairly straight forward, however, there are ways to get around this if you aren’t at home very much.

I’ve mentioned before that I use online shopping but I also have food delivered by local producers and independent companies.

1. Food Delivery – Fish

We have a fish delivery every 8 weeks. We use Regal Fish. They deliver the fish that was caught that morning.

We get a call from Regal Fish, place our order and they make the delivery a week later.

The quality of the fish has been excellent and we are eating a lot more fish as a result.

2. Food Delivery – Organic Vegetables

I have a bag of fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables delivered every week.

I’ve wrote a review about NorthDown Orchard when we first started using them. I was looking for a local alternative to Able and Cole and Riverford.

Two years later and we are still getting our weekly bags.

I love them! I love that we are using a local producer and it’s all organic and incredibly reasonably priced for organic vegetables.

3. Birthday Present Box

There is nothing worse (first world issues!) than realising that you have a children’s party the following day and you’ve not got a present sorted.

I sort of cheat with this.

I’ve set up a number of alerts in camelcamelcamel for gifts which I know children will like and then when they are reduced in price, I buy them in bulk and store them in the Birthday Present Box.

This has saved my skin (and wallet) on a number of occasions.

What are your parenting “shortcuts”?

Top Tip: Toddler and Pre-School Meltdowns

I haven’t really blogged about Miss NHM’s meltdown’s.

The first time she had a proper meltdown (she was 15 months old and I remember it vividly) was terrifying.

After nearly three years of meltdowns, specifically when she is tired, I consider myself a bit of an expert in Miss NHM’s moods. I still get it wrong but I’m a lot wiser than I was a few years ago when she first started having meltdowns!

The biggest thing I have learnt is that Miss NHM HAS to eat every two hours. Yup, every two hours.

If I leave it for 2.5 hours, you can bet that there will be a meltdown at some point later that day. Especially if it’s a Friday, the end of the week when she is most tired.

During mid morning and mid afternoon she only has a snack but that snack helps keep her going. If I miss it and her blood sugar drops then I know I’ve got trouble on my hands.

If your little one has a lot of meltdowns, I really feel for you. It’s hard work and can induce many tears, not just for them! I had to keep remembering that it wasn’t personal.

As Miss NHM has gotten older we have fewer meltdowns because she can now tell me how she is feeling. Although, if I miss that two hour slot then it often doesn’t matter.

In the past couple of months she has rarely had a meltdown but if she’s very tired then it’s happened on the odd occasion.

I’ve probably over shared but if you are struggling, maybe try giving your little one something to eat every couple of hours and see if it helps things.

It’s worked for us, so it may work for you.

Good Luck! This parenting lark really is a learning journey!!

Update: See this post that I published in 2018: My Experience: Being Authentic – Coeliac Disease

Top Tip: Your Changing Bag

ALWAYS re-pack your changing bag as soon as you return home from an outing.

You never know when you might need your changing bag in an emergency and not having nappies, wet wipes, snacks, etc. when needed can be a total disaster.

I learnt this the hard way when we had to take Miss NHM into hospital when she was a month old because she was vomiting blood. Turns out it was my blood, via breastfeeding.

However, we didn’t have enough nappies with us nor sterilised nipple shields, so it was an even more stressful experience!

Things I had/have in my changing bag

  • Nappies
  • Wet wipes
  • A disposable changing mat (not very environmental friendly, but it means you don’t need a massive changing bag and I have back issues so can’t have a heavy bag. Plus, they “rarely” get dirty)
  • Nappy bags
  • Raisins in a small lock and lock tub (you can then refill these as and when. Or cheat and buy the raisin boxes but they are way more expensive)
  • Organix gingerbreads and/or mini breadsticks
  • Sun cream (Very small tube of sun cream for emergencies in winter/spring)
  • Hat for Miss NHM (summer hat or woollen winter hat)
  • Change of clothes (babygro up until 18 months)
  • Small blank notepad (I got ours from Muji)
  • Small pack of pencils or pens (if you are luck enough to eat at a restaurant, keep the ones the restaurant gives you for your little one!)
  • Bottle of water
  • Small bottles of bubbles

I now carry everything in a small rucksack. My back LOVES me.


  • Bottles
  • Nipple shields
  • Made up milk powder
  • Teething ring/toy

Potty training

  • Two extra pairs of trousers
  • One pair of socks
  • One extra top
  • Several pairs of pants/knickers
  • Pull-up’s

If you are young DON’T overload your changing bag as your back will never forgive you when you are my age.

I’m positive that part of my back problem comes from having a massive handbag when I was younger!!

Top Tip: Khan Academy

If you feel like you might be a bit behind on your education or you need a refresh of some subjects, you might be interested in the Khan Academy.

You can learn about maths, art, computer programming, biology, finance, medicine, history and more.

They say:

Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.

All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

I haven’t actually had a chance to do any of the courses yet, but they looks really good and the reviews of the site are extremely positive.

Top Tip: YHA Holidays

If you are looking for a reasonably priced holiday, have you checked out Youth Hostels recently?

There has been a dramatic change in the way Youth Hostels are structured in the UK over the past couple of years.

Most of the rooms are private rooms so no more dormitories, many are en-suite and they cater specifically for families.

Most of them also have self catering facilities (only the very small ones don’t) and many have restaurants on site that use local produce.

You no longer need to leave your room during the day either.

We are hoping to go Youth Hosteling in the autumn and spring next year, because I’m not a big fan of camping with a little one when the weather might be dubious.

Some of the best holidays I’ve ever had were with the YHA.

When I was 13 my family went on a weeks adventure holiday at the Wye Valley hostel which included:

  • orientering on bikes
  • a night kayaking down the River Wye
  • abseiling off a bridge into a boat
  • caving
  • horse riding in the brecon beacons
  • a medieval banquet at Briaval Castle

The two adventure holidays that we did when I was 13 and 14 were by far two of the best holidays I’ve ever had. Only my travels to Peru and Kenya compare!

There are several Youth Hostels that are just over an hours drive from here. One’s we are hoping to visit in the near future are Littlehampton and Alfriston.

Next year we also might try the new Youth Hostel campsite at the Eden Project.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!