The writings of a pair of married meeples

Married Meeples

Married Meeples

The writings of a pair of married meeples

Recent Posts

TopCashback Autumn Treats 2018 – Clues and Answers

TopCashback treats giveaway is back for an Autumn stint! I didn’t win anything in the student treat edition mainly because I only found out about it on the last day. Oops! the student days. I’m surprisingly on the ball this time (baby brain notwithstanding) so […]

Reading the Bible: Taking a slightly different approach

Honestly, I want to read the Bible, learn it, study it and memorise it from cover to cover. It is hard to find time where I am not looking after children, doing chores or too exhausted to keep my eyes open. I never seem to […]

Messy Me Mat Review

Until recently, I have been leaving the “messy” playtime to nursery and play dates outside our home. Why? Well, I have this fear of the toddler running riot and covering everything in paint while I cry in a corner*. OK, a bit dramatic but you get the gist. We’ve dabbled in a few card-making projects but after reading his nursery reports, detailing how much he loves painting, I knew it was time!

That’s where this Messy Me Splashmat comes in. It’s a wipe-clean mat that can go on the table or on the floor. Although it fold away quite neatly, it is actually holds it’s shape when laid out. It also feels and looks luxurious. On our first use, we did some drawing and the toddler definitely did not stay within the paper boundaries so ink ended up on the mat. He offered to clean it but ended up cleaning the pen instead as you can see below haha! The ink didn’t come off though but I didn’t try particularly hard as the mat was doing it’s job of protecting the table. Messy me do have some stain removal tips on their website!
Collage of photos with the messy me mat

Next time we really got stuck in to some messy craft time. It was grandma’s birthday soon so we needed to make a card. I put an apron on him and unleashed the squeezy paints tube things (which are rubbish by the way – well could just be the Wilko ones are terrible). He absolutely loved it and could not get enough of it! We started off with a a few “abstract” pieces before getting stuck into the real thing!

Messy me mat painting in action splashmat

Can’t remember why his apron came off in-between now but clearly I was having one of those days as I let him continue with a white t-shirt on. He got paint and glitter everywhere but only on the mat and his body. The floor and furniture where spared! The paint wiped off the mat easily with a damp cloth. Glitter is impossible to completely get rid off on anything but I got most of it. I wiped the mat dry and it was ready to be put away just like that.

Here are the final results. Yes, the card did get some help from me and yes, it still looks terrible but that’s the beauty of having kids. A card like this will still be adored and complemented by the recipient!
Messy me review art results

We’ve survived quite a few more messy craft projects since then. The mat is machine washable at 30 on the odd occasion but I’ve managed to wipe out all our stains. The ink mark from the first use is slowly going too! I am about to start weaning baby number 2 soon so this mat will definitely but put through its paces even more. Think tomato sauce stains and gloopy weetabix!

I was sent the navy stars splashmat for review but the opinion above is all mine. I genuinely love this mat; it wipes clean, you can shake things off it easily, it is lightweight, it folds neatly for storage and it doesn’t stylish! I really wish I had known about it before my cheap shower curtain disaster. Messy me do all sorts of other lovely, useful items like high chair covers, aprons and clutch bags which are ideal for carrying wipes and nappies so go have a nosey!

*Please don’t think that our home is a tidy  immaculate sanctuary. Far from it. Also I did baby-led weaning with our eldest and will be starting soon with number 2. I also use cloth nappies so I’m not mess-shy. There’s just something about paint that gets me all anxious!

TopCashback Student Treats 2018 – Clues and Answers

Update: This TopCashback giveaway is over but you can find the current one at the top of this list. If not, then please drop me a message. Oh the student days. The learning (yes I did actually love being taught), lie-ins, junk food and the […]

Why we are more low-waste than zero-waste

I am all for saving the planet and it is very important to waste less and send less to landfill. However, I very much doubt that our family’s waste will fit in one jar anytime soon – well, unless it’s a bin-sized jar! So what […]

Hacks for putting away the laundry – the stage I dread most!

Laundry hacks for putting them away

Laundry Situation (setting the scene)

Day 1 – Laundry nicely drying outside but it’s getting dark. Toddler has just been wrestled into bed by daddy. Baby finally gives in to sleep after a long fussy hour. Clothes are finally brought in but can’t be put away as the kids are asleep. Also it’s pudding time.

Day 2 – Repeat of Day 1. Yes I did start on the putting away process during the day but toddler needed something urgently every few seconds. I mean someone has to get the car he’s just purposefully rolled under the sofa again!

Day 3 – No laundry today. Some laundry piled on a free surface in their destined rooms but they haven’t made it to the wardrobe yet. Baby steps.

Day 4 – Another laundry day – except we only have 2 baskets so laundry mountain created on the spare bed so the new items can be brought it. I have also been known to bring laundry in using a sheet or duvet cover.

Laundry hanging outside in duvet too - the growing mum

Day 5 – Husband needs socks. Disturbs the laundry mountain. I had a system going with those clothes!

Day 6 – More attempts at sorting = more items added to the pile in the destination room. In fact, I am just breaking the mountain into smaller hills somewhere else!

And so on it goes. I have tried a few ideas like folding as I take them off the line, putting them in “person” pile in the basket, taking the basket upstairs straightaway etc but I am yet to find a good long term solution.

Clearly, I need the putting away fairy. Failing that, some practical tips on tackling this would be very handy. So I turned to wiser, more organised parents for advice. Surely I can’t be the only one who’s experienced laundrygate?! Well, here’s what they had to say:

Laundry Hacks (tips as I prefer to call them)

I get my husband to do it! I hate this job ~The Littlest Darlings

I put a few bits away every time I go upstairs. If I try to do it in one go, I get stopped halfway through by the twins. So I put it all upstairs and then every time I go up to the bathroom or upstairs to get something, I get a few bits and put them away. If you stick to it and make sure you put a few bits away each time, the pile eventually disappears. I also try to do small loads and get everything put away before I do another load – keeps the pile smaller. ~ Becca Blogs It Out

If I’m doing bedsheets I put a set of duvet, sheets and pillow cases inside a pillowcase per bed so ready to grab when needed. ~Mummy’s Space

I’ve massively cut down on the laundry I was doing. My husband and my son both just put their clothes in the wash every time they tidy up, as they are top lazy to put them away. So I actually check washing before it goes in the machine and sometimes I halve what’s actually going in the machine from the laundry bin. Jeans and jumpers don’t need to be washed after just one or two wears (in my opinion), unless they are actually dirty obviously. I just hang or fold them up right away and no-one has ever noticed or asked me why something isn’t washed, they get it out and wear it again and I’ve saved myself a load of time and energy washing, drying, sorting, ironing etc. ~ Hitchins’ Kitchen

I drag it all into the lounge, make my hubby take the kids out and put something I want to watch on tv and fold it all. Then when they get back I pretend it took me the entire time and make them all take their own piles back to their room and put them away! ~Pink Pear Bear

I have two plastic tubs one I put the girls clothes in as I take it out/off the line, and other for hubby and I. At least then when I leave it in the playroom and b throws it everywhere it’s not all the clothes. I just need to get better and putting the tubs of clothes away, and taking them upstairs!  We also have a rail in the utility room so tshirt sand things that hang in the wardrobe just get hung up straight away to dry – then just carry them up on the coat hangers straight into the wardrobes. ~ New Mummy Blog

We have 7 of us here, so we each have a different coloured laundry bag. In theory the days washing gets folded in the bag. Idea is each person takes their bag up and puts it away each evening….. of course that doesn’t happen! Lol kinda organised tho! ~The Mad Madden’s

I quite like the storage bag ideas. It’ll probably become a second wardrobe but at least the bed will be tidy. Once the kids are older, they can take their bag and sort at their leisure or am I dreaming? I’m saving the “get the husband to do it” idea as a backup though.

Are you already a pro at this? If so, have you got different tips to share? If not, are you going to try any of these?

Bambooty – our perfect cloth nappies for nursery

We had decided to use cloth nappies from the onset with our first baby. After 9 months, you could say we’d nailed it. But only at home and with family doing the changes. Being the first to use cloth nappies at the nursery, I wanted […]

The fourth trimester struggle is real – especially with added chicken pox!

It seems so long ago since the third trimester update. You probably don’t want the full birth story (well maybe in a separate post) so in short we walked in, Baby got pulled out then we left the next day. Suddenly the newborn memories we […]

Breast is best, fed is best, informed is best, let’s call the whole thing off!

It’s World Breastfeeding Week so naturally social media is full of controversial feeding-related posts around “Breast is best”, “Fed is best” and “Informed is best”. Is a feeding slogan needed? Probably not! Is it helpful? I very much doubt it! Does it raise awareness? Unlikely! Well, unless there women out there who do not know the biological function of boobs. I am currently breastfeeding our latest addition but I’m fully aware that there’s a wide spectrum between breast and bottle.

Breastfeeding week 2018 - baby and bambooty breastpads


Let’s take a moment to admire these beautiful breastpads by Bambooty and the look on Baby J’s face. He can see that the feeding gloves are off! I get a similar look when I unclip the feeding bra!

Being informed is one thing but how that plays out in reality is where support is lacking. During our overnight stay after the birth of our first, a family was desperate to try bottle feeding so that they could go home but they wouldn’t be discharged until she breastfed successfully. It was heartbreaking to watch as the husband spent yet another night in “the chair”. I couldn’t help thinking “What if that was me?” Who would walk through the alternatives with me if the midwives are only allowed to discuss breastfeeding? I only came with what seemed like a thousand breastpads and feeding bras so I wasn’t prepared for any possible deviation. Thankfully we were off to a good start!

However, a few weeks in, baby started losing weight (his weight never dipped after birth – such a guzzler!). Everyone was keen for me to persevere but kept troubleshooting in the wrong avenue. The assumption was always that I was the problem – either my feeding method or my milk. I changed my diet, attended numerous breastfeeding sessions and even had several chiropractor appointments. It wasn’t until much later that baby’s tongue-tie was discovered. Once that was sorted, the difference in feeding was amazing! No more dull nipple pain, fussing and just lack of the usual general discomfort. Unfortunately, due to the long period of ineffective feeding, I could only feed from one side, which was a revelation, but my chest did look, er, interesting when engorged!

I’d also naively assumed that baby would decide when to stop breastfeeding. Ideally, soon after getting to grips with solids. Boy, was I wrong! He would have carried on till he was 18. Probably. But the magic had long worn off for me. Night times were the hardest and loneliest periods. Was it normal to feel like this? Was I just being selfish? I couldn’t express for overnight feeds as well as nursery because he fed every 2 hours at night. The professionals aren’t allowed to recommend anything other than breastfeeding so who should I ask? We did eventually come to a mutual agreement after 13 months!

So if I was pushed for a slogan, I would say “Support is best”. Not everyone will and can breastfed so midwives & other professionals should allowed to give comprehensive advice. Less of the virtual pat on the back when you say you’re breastfeeding (though it is hard work). Less of the “you know I can’t talk about bottle feeding but…” to mums who are looking into alternatives. Let’s be more open about feeding. Share our experiences and support each other so we can all get off to a good start in the wonderful challenge that is parenting!

Eco by Naty Nappies – Baby and Toddler Review

We started off using cloth nappies full time but lack of sleep and a baby who required multiple changes led us to disposables at night. During my rather over-the-top cloth nappy research, I came across Eco by Naty nappies but was unsure about its eco-credentials […]