Monday, 23 October 2017

Cajun Chicken Recipe

I get sooooo bored of plain old chicken that I'm always willing to try something new. This is a totally made up recipe  totally made up but tastes great and can be tweaked to be free on Slumming World

2 tsp Onion powder
3 tsp Garlic powder
2tsp Cayenne pepper (this makes it quite spicy, adjust to taste)
3 tsp Smoked paprika
1 tsp Cumin
Pinch Salt
Pinch of Pepper
3 large chicken breasts cut into small slices or chunks
Sliced carrot
2 peppers cut into chunks
A zip lock bag
A roasting bag or tin foil
Olive oil or fry light (SW free)

Preheat the oven to 180 or Gas mark 5
Combine all spices in the roasting bag
Add veggies and meat to the bag and shake well and rub mix into the ingredients to ensure everything is evenly coated
Roast for 45 minutes at 180 60 minutes if just roasting in foil
I serve this with nice n spice veggie rice check the recipe here 

Let me know what you think when you try this recipe, we loved it at Monkeyfeet HQ

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Why Family Theatre is Winning This Half Term

I make no bones about my love of theatre, I love taking the kids and sometimes watch them and their reactions as much as the actual show. Theatre is such an amazing experience and I feel privileged to be able to share it with my kids

But this half term there really is so much choice across my favourite North East venues

The Customs House have Wendy the Witch and the Long Lost Spell running from Monday, October 23, to Wednesday, October 25, with shows at 2pm. Tickets, priced £7.50. Will Wendy escape the Goblin Kings Curse ? The Customs House also have Harry Panto and the Chamber Pot of Secrets on Thursday, October 26, at 1.30pm and 6pm and There will also be Halloween-themed crafts in the October Half Term Mini and Mega Maker Arty Spooktacular on Monday, October 23. Children aged 11 and under will create squashed toads, paper pumpkins and monster puppets between 11am and 2pm, while children aged 11 to 13 will tackle a different creepy creative challenge between 2pm and 4pm. The cost is £2 per child and grown-ups are required to stay with their children for the Mini Makers session between 11am and 2pm, while Mega Makers, between 2pm and 4pm, is a grown-up free zone

Tyne Theatre and Opera House have the ever popular Liz Pichon and The Tom Gates Brilliant Bands Tour on Friday at 1pm, Join Liz as she presents TOM GATES BRILLIANT BANDS AND DOODLE LIVE TOUR, a hugely fun-packed & INTERACTIVE monster drawing event with live music! Bring a pencil and paper, learn to doodle just like Tom and hear DUDE3 Tom’s FAVOURITE band in the whole WIDE world play some excellent tunes. There’s stories and music and a chance to meet Liz and the band after the show

Northern Stage Have loads of shows to choose from but our top pick its the beautiful BalletLORENT's Rumpelstiltskin. BalletLORENT have a truly special place in my heart, my biggest babies experienced their first ever ballet with this company and it was a most magical performance (search youtube for 'BalletLorent Underneath the Floorboards'). You definitely will not regret choosing to take your family to one of their performances

And last but by no means least

Alphabetti Theatre have 'Walter' Showing between 24th October and 3rd November (check venue for times) £8 er ticket A play with people and shadows written by Steve Byron & directed by Ali Pritchard Leaving his wife Rosie and daughter Ivy behind on Tyneside, Bob enlists with the 9th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. After a short training he is posted to the front lines of the Western Front. Walter, Bob’s precious champion homing pigeon travels with him.Bob soon witnesses the true horror of war culminating in a big push over the top into a bloody battle over territory. After a fierce fire fight lasting for days, Bob becomes pinned down, injured and with little chance of rescue. It is up to Walter to carry an important message across the trenches and the battlefields, above the mud, blood and across the waters.
Embarking on an “adventure to end all adventures”, Walter must face dangers at every turn, but with bravery and determination to fulfil his master’s one final wish.

So these are our Theatrical choices for half term which do you fancy?

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Why I Love Kazoops

Monty and Jimmy Jones are back with brand new Kazoops Adventures!

I've written before about Kazoops and how we love the cheerful colourful episodes but I was reminded this week of exactly how brilliant Monty's adventures really are!

So kazoops returned to our screens and I happened to sit down to watch 'Car Trip last night with the kids, Id just finished telling the man how sick and nervous I was to be returning (albeit for a day) to work in a 'proper for someone else' job! The kids were asking me if I hated working for other people and it was hard to explain

The as fate would have it this episode shows Monty and Jimmy jones join Monty's Mum for work, they find it super exciting but mum doesn't then they sing a lovely song about appreciating the parts of your job that are great, enjoying the parts of work that make you smile an

d remembering ow it used to be to see your job with new appreciation. Suddenly I remembered that actually I love theatre, i love dealing with customers (mostly) I enjoy the challenge and I like to make a difference. So I was all ready to go with a new sense of excitement!

If you haven't yet watched an episode with your little people please give it a shot it really is such a lovely cheerful programme

Kazoops is on Cbeebies weekdays at 3.45pm and you can catch up on iplayer, you can connect with Kazoops on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 

I have been paid to write this post, all veiw are my own and are genuine

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Words Fail Me

Vintage, Typewriter, Plant, Book, Notebook, Notepad

Many of you will know that last year we lost the kids' lovely Nana. I posted about taking a break and healing and to be honest since then my blogging has been sporadic and if I'm honest a bit crap.
I've been vowing to 'get back to it' for months but somehow it's gotten harder and harder to start writing and it's become scary now!

I love blogging. I love getting messages from my readers to say they've enjoyed something I've wrote and I still have a desire for it but in dealing with the grief of my family and its effect on my husband, he who is the rock, the safety net, the calm and logical one, I've lost the safety blanket of our calm, content and smooth running life, and with that comes anxiety which in turn makes me think

'do people even read my blog'
'why would anyone want to read my ramblings'
'am I ever going to be as good as...'
***let me insert here, I truly beleive in  'comparison is the thief of joy' and try hard to push this one away
'but I'm rubbish'
'I don't know what to say'
'What will people think'

Mostly though my best writing happens as monologues in my head and I never believe it translates well to actual words. And so as soon as I'm faced with a computer I freeze!

I currently feel like my life is in chaos and have felt this way for a while, I cant seem to get a handle on things and writing gets pushed to the bottom of the pile, behind looking after my kids and my husband, trying to be a good wife and mother and a good housewife and cook. Balancing the many activities that we do and all of the other stuff I take on because I'm as mad as a box of wasps! But all of this makes me anxious and when Im anxious I'm critical of myself and I don't lie so surely the things I tell myself (that list above is just for starters, must be true!

Anxiety, Fear, Stress, Emotion, Wooden

So as today is World Mental health Day I figured its the perfect day to say, I've been a crap blogger because I've been fighting with anxiety, even saying that makes me anxious!

But I'm taking a gentle approach to healing and I will get back to writing because it's time now to get back to it or stop completely and it's dawned on me one thing I love to do ,and do every day, is cook. So for a while, to flex my writing muscles, I shall be bringing you recipes and hopefully the good, non food, stuff will follow (including my letter to Termite for her 4th birthday, poor third child never gets the good parenting!)

Saturday, 23 September 2017

How To Cope With Back to School Bugs

Its hard to think of how to cope when your kids have those dreaded new term bugs, especially if you aren't feeling great or if they all get poorly at once. But it always happens after the start of a school year and this has been no different a year so I thought this was worth another share 

Last year despite our Half Term plans for fun and frolics, we've actually had a hellish week of sickness and bugs, its been a trying time especially as I was first to fall ill meaning 3 children aged 6 and under needed entertaining with as little effort as possible whilst I tried to combat tonsilitis and an awful virus. Then came Termite and The Golden Child's turn and knowing how I had felt I was quite prepared with ways to help them keep up thier strength and get better as quickly as possible.

So I wanted to share some tips that have helped us through our week of doom, and I will give big thanks to the mummy massive who supported me with ideas on occupying the kids via Facebook

When Mummy isn't well then things can get boring and soon you have fractious children making much noise and many complaints. So here are some ideas for entertainment.
  • Hotter Colder - Hide something and then tell the kids they are wamer or colder depending on how close they are
  • Pairs and 52 Card Pick Up - Pairs is very simple, use some specific childrens game cards or just a normal deck of playing cards, lay them all flat on the floor and turn them over two at a time to see if you find a pair, when you match a pair keep those cards, the person with the most cards wins. 52 card pick up is when you flick all the cards on the floor and get the kids to pick them up! The child with the most wins!
  • Simple Arts and Crafts - Papers, crayons, stickers, pritt stick string lolly sticks and sellotape seem to be able to occupy my big two for a good 90 minutes! Throw in the Argos catalogue and some kiddy scissors you have yourself an absolute collage-fest
  • What Has Gone - Gather together some small items, a tray, a cloth, and a small bag talk about each item as you place them on the tray and then cover with a towel or cloth. Ask the children to look away and count to ten.while you take off the cloth and take one item away and hide it in the bag then see if the kids can say which is missing.
  • Movies and TV - No I'm Not an advocate of the 'electronic babysitter' but a bit of TV or a movie is an hour or two of down time for you and them and it's a world away from parking them in front of a screen for every waking hour!

Disclaimer I am NOT medically trained and you should ALWAYS seek medical advice
  • We have used paracetamol and Ibuprofen at the advice of the Doctor to help with the pain of a sore throat and the misery that comes with a temperature
  • Opening windows is helpful when you have bugs being passed around, its much better to have fresh air coming into the house even if its cooler so that you can help combat others catching  the germs
  • Staying comfortable in loose natural fibre clothing will ensure you stay cool when tempaeratures spike and you can pile under a blanket if the shivers hit
Food and Drink
  • Drink Lots of fluids - We rarely have juice here but I will happily let them sip on watered down fruit juice all day if they aren't taking anything else in, plus the vitamin c in fresh orange will help fight the bugs.
  • Frozen berries are super handy to keep in the house they defrost quickly and are very soft so mixed into a yoghurt can be quite filling and healthy to eat when they won't eat anything else
  • Ice lollies are soothing and another way to get liquid into them, make your own by freezing fruit smoothies or juice and check out this tip for catching drips...
It's just a cake case slid over the lolly stick but it really works

  • Soup is another brilliant option and you can make your own in about 30 minutes cramming loads of veg in, blend it for a smooth even easy to swallow consistency

Last but not least, snuggles with Mum or Dad (or whoever your little persons grown up happens to be) are always a great source of comfort, so try to ignore the mounting laundry and the teetering pile of dishes a hug will be more beneficial than a show home x
How do you deal with sickness and being stuck indoors?

Follow The Monkeyfooted Mummy

Thursday, 31 August 2017


You can't have missed the Internet going crazy over tiddlytubbies. But if you did let me catch you up.....

The Teletubbies....



What what! How can this be? Who are the parents I hear you cry, how? When? HOW? 
I know I know there are many questions to be answered but first let's look how cute they are

I know right!

So in truth the Tiddlytubbies are adorable New characters introduced first in 2015 but now starring in more and more episodes.

So when Termite was asked to review these little things she was happy as can be.... As was Peanut,  and now we are back to watching Teletubbies on repeat.

These cute little plush toys make noises, giggle and are super soft  and you can see by the pure scruffiness of ours  that they've been well loved and taken everywhere

Tiddlytubbies are available from Character 

And The Cow Jumped Into The Woods

Today we watched and the cow jumped into the woods at The Customs House.
It's a summer panto and tickets were priced at just £7.50.

The story follows Arbuthnot, Peggy, Doddington the Cow and their pals on an adventure.

There's singing and dancing and lots of panto style fun crammed into this hour long show and the kids all loved it. You'll recognise some songs from Moana and there's lots of jokes for  kids and grown ups too.

I loved seeing young talent getting a voice to perform on stage and the cast were all very good. Enthusiastic, engaging and entertaining.

My favourite was ' You're Welcome' by Merlin and the kids loved it too although I do think the firm favourite with them was Foxy! Overall our party had fun, and judged the show 'brilliant'

You can even meet the cast after the show.

The show will be on at The Customs House until 2nd Septemeber and you can book tickets online or by calling 0191 4541234. I'd get in quick and get booked up because it's getting awesome feedback from everyone I know who has been to see it.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Ben 10 Toys

We've been testing out Ben 10 toys. Have you seen Ben 10? He's an awesome kid who finds a magic 'watch' the omnitrix which turns him into 10 different aliens to fight the forces of evil!

The toys are available from most toy stores and are priced from £9.99 we recieved a selection of action figures, Heat Blast, Cannonbolt, XLR8, Ben 10 and Grey Matter, Four Arms and Steam Smythe and we've already added the rest to our birthday lists! These are great for imaginative play and story telling

We also tested Heat blast transform n battle and an Omnitrix so we can role play being Ben 10. These went down a storm with all of the kids ages 4, 7 and 8 and it was great to see them acting out 'saving the world from meanies'



The Omnitrix shows all of the different transformations and has lots of phrases, it's been taken everywhere with and is our current favourite toy!

If you'd like a chance of winning some awesome Ben 10 Toys, join in with @UkMumsTV  twitter party on 31St August from 1-3pm using  #Ben10Toys

Have you a Ben 10 fan in your house? who are their favourite aliens? Me, I love Grey Matter!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Why We Love Egypt

13 years ago my (then) boyfriend and I were strolling along a promenade overlooking the beautiful Red Sea, when he plopped himself down on one knee and using my full Sunday name, asked me to marry him! Obviously I said yes and the rest is history.

That was our first holiday to Egypt, a country we fell in love with instantly, the hotel was beautiful the tour guides were awesome, passionate, proud and knowledgeable. We crammed so much into that week but we both knew we needed to go back!

Egypt is an easy place to love, it's steeped in history, the climate is amazing all year round so you really can jet off anytime.

When planning our wedding we knew that we would return to Egypt for our honeymoon and we found an amazing multi centre  trip with Hayes and Jarvis taking in the sights of Cairo, Luxor and then having a relaxed week in Sham el Sheikh. Our honeymoon was everything it should have been, we say breathtakingly sights, made friends, learned so much and were spoiled rotten everywher.

We've returned twice since, both times with children in tow and we've always found the hotels amazing, the service industry is treated like a vocation in Egypt unlike the UK and employees go out of their way to provide you with an unforgettable holiday, children are fussed over and there is so much to see and do, and more history than I could ever learn about in a million visits!

Plus cocktails in a swim up pool sway the balance !
We were sad to hear on our last trip that TUI were not running trips to the Pyramids. So we talked about how in our next visit we would take the kids to Cairo so they could see the things we did on our honeymoon.

Another area we have heard brilliant things about is Hurghada but sadly we've never managed to visit, after our last holiday in 2014 we decided that for our next visit we would definitely plan a Hurghada Holiday

Now is a great time to travel to Hurghada, its on the FCO safe to travel list and you can pick up some great bargains in some beautiful hotels, plus there's loads to do, we've already planned a trip to sand city so we can see the amazing  sculptures there.

and a day shopping in the old town to find some gorgeous leather goods.

It's even possible to get a low cost internal flight to Cairo so we can show the kids the pyramids and we would love to stay in the Hyatt there (to re live our honeymoon) of course a trip to The Hard Rock Cafe is now a family tradition and then.

We could fly back to Hurghada to chill out and teach the kids to snorkell and hopefully now they are all old enough to be trusted on a boat we can finally go on a dolphin spotting tour to see dolphins in their natural environment

I love planning new trips, and reliving past holiday faves!  Have you been to Hurghada before ? I'd love to hear your must see recommendations.

I have been compensated for this post

Friday, 4 August 2017

Muddy Fingers Teapot Making Workshop at The Customs House

Just recently I discovered that The Customs House Gallery in South Shields run a range of workshops and classes. There are drawing and craft classes to suit all tastes. With workshops like Fascinator making , Creative fabric accessories and Make Your Own Teapot.

I genuinely thought all my dreams had come true when I read that last workshop title! I mean its no secret that I'm a big fan of tea, and tea sets so this seemed like the perfect treat for my 40th Birthday , I know I know I look so young pahahhaha.

Roping in a pal we booked our tickets and as giddy as teenagers we tootled off to be creative (and left the monkeys with Daddy)

The workshop was run by Marv (Marvelous Marv) one half of the partnership who own Muddy Fingers Pottery. He did a quick demo of how the teapot was to be made and I'll be honest he made it look so easy.... then he informed us that teapots are actually the hardest things you can make!

All of our materials and tools had been set out and we quickly set to work following our instructions, there were masses of stamps, cutters, rollers and pattern makers to choose from and I think most of my time was spent planning a theme, my partner in pottery however wasted no time in choosing a zombie/skull theme for her.

With my late mother in laws tea set, inherited last year,  firmly in my mind I decided to make a pot to match and went for delicate florals.

Now then I have a confession, I decided to take my swanky new (to me) camera along and took some great snaps but didn't check to see if I had the cable to remove the pictures to my pc so I'm afraid that for now you have only a few mobile snaps. Although truthfully I was so consumed by the workshop I forgot to take many pictures.

Marv was an amazing workshop leader, positive, encouraging and helpful all the way through and I loved hearing about the work Muddy Fingers Pottery do, they've just returned from the craft village at Glastonbury and they also make crockery by hand for hotels around the world! They really are very diverse. They are a friendly bunch too, when I'd tagged then on facebook telling my pals I had booked onto the course for my birthday Muddy Fingrers had liked my status and I thought nothing more of it until I arrived at the workshop and they had provided cake to help me celebrate!!

At the end of the workshop the teapots were carefully taken back to the Hebburn pottery where they will be fired and glazed and fired again (I think) and they will be returned to us in a few weeks

I can't wait to show you the finished product.

If you'd like to know more about Muddy Fingers or book a workshop to make your own masterpiece you can check them out on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and their website.

You should also definitely check out the amazing work of The Customs House and The Customs House Gallery

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Puppy Surprise

We were recently asked to review Puppy Surprise from Flair
My termite loves cats and dogs so I thought this would be a lovely 'surprise for her.Puppy Surprise is aimed at ages3 to 6 years.With an rrp of £27.99 they aren't an everyday purchase but would make a great birthday gift.

So what's the idea then...
Surprise, Surprise! Puppy Surprise features a soft and huggable mummy dog with a surprise number of puppies in her litter. Will there be three, four, or even five? Children can keep their puppies safe in the Mummy dog's pouch. Each pet comes with a sparkly dog collar and has brushable hair and tail. 

Series 8  of Puppy surprise has just launched The newest range includes four new puppies called Eliza, Lexi, Chloe and Stacey. (below)


We received 3 pink puppies with our doggy  (Cali) and they have been named carrot, broccoli and pinky! One of the puppies makes cute (for a child anyway) puppy whimpers and all of the puppies can be stored in Cali's pouch, which gives the effect to any adult watching that Cali is having a C-section several times an hour!!!

Termite as predicted loved the toy and I guess that's what matters the most. I found the whole thing a little strange an underwhelming but I am an adult and therefore its not aimed at me right? Termite plays happily hiding the puppies and making up puppy stories so it has triggered her imagination and role play skills. The dog is of nice quality too.

You can find out more and purchase from Flair website

WWe were sent this toy in exchange for a review. All opinions are our own

Saturday, 15 July 2017

5 Reasons The North East is THE Best Place to live + Amazon Fire 7 Giveaway

1- The Mix 

Coast, Country, City?  We've got it all, and you don't need to go far to escape wherever you are get a change of scene and renew your spirit
Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor
Courtesy of Here Come The Hoopers
Image may contain: sky and outdoor
courtesy My Boys Club

 The north east is the best of everything, coast, countryside and city living on your doorstep! I love that it is a small city with great transport links to get to everywhere. I am forever recommending us as more than just a party city Helen from Nellys Cupcakes

2 The Beautiful Coast

With a coastline stretching from the top of Northumberland to the edge of Cumbria you will be spoiled for choice. Our beaches have won national awards and have been mentioned by almost everyone I spoke to when researching this list ...

I love living in the North East because you have access to a fantastic unspoilt coastline, Newcastle is a vibrant and compact city and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and places to take the kids plus we have places like Kielder and Hadrian's Wall on our doorstep - people travel across the world to come and have a peek and we are so lucky to have gems like this on our doorstep. Oh and the people are canny too - the NE has a real sense of community I think (Sam from North East Family Fun )

Image may contain: sky, cloud, ocean, beach, outdoor, nature and water
Tynemouth Priory from South Shields Beach
Katie Jane Online

3 Community Spirit 

I've lived in the North East all my life and there is nowt like local folk to pull together in times of need, when my Dad (a miner) was on strike for months and months I remember neighbours bringing us food and helping us out, just recently during the awful Manchester Terrorist Attack a local family were stuck down there, safe in their hotel but terrified, a local taxi driver drove the hundreds of miles in the wee small hours to bring them home, and charged nothing! We may be made fun of for our aversion to coats and love of beer (a total stereo type by the way) but we' share our chips, or a cab anyway and always have a friendly hello. A friendlier bunch you will not find anywhere

'The history and the people are fantastic in the North East. I've travelled around the world and there's something magnetic about our region. The castles, stunning countryside and tales of places like Hadrian's Wall make it one of a kind.' 

4 It's Cheap

No seriously that's a good thing, you'll find our cost of living lower than your prices down South and lets talk houses!  With some of the cheapest house prices in the country and North East Exclusive mortgages on offer, you will get more for your money and a better deal all round. For example this 4 bed detached in essex will set you back a cool £1.8m or you can move 'Up North' and get this 4 bed detached for a snip at £330,000 yes folks less than a 5th of the price and just as nice!

It's reasonably priced so we can afford a house whereas if we lived in most other parts of the country we couldn't. I love how accessible it is to beaches, countryside, city - everything is on the doorstep. Our particular area (Blaydon) has lots of great schools too so it's good to have so many options. I think it really is the best place to bring up kids. 
Caroline from Sprog on The Tyne

5 Whats On Offer 
More like whats not on offer!Want the history of England  in a live show? Ok lets do Kynren. 80s, 90s and 00's pop stars providing free open air summer concerts? You got it. Top class food and drinks? Take your pick.
We have shopping galore, history a plenty, visitor attractions and art gallery's that will leave you feeling uplifted, so much scenery and beautiful architecture that we've had more Hollywood blockbusters being filmed here than I can recount but lets name drop Harry Potter, Transformers and Avengers just off the top of my head! We have more to do than days in the year and I defy anyone to be bored in our fair North East

I moved away 15 years ago, way before kids.
Its only now I realise how much there is for kids (despite having been a kid there myself!)
I see what people are doing and there seems much more to do than round here. I'm in Berkshire 

Plus the prices up there are fab!
 (Lorna on Facebook )

I live in an awesome part of the wold and I'd recommend it to anyone as would most anyone I know as you can see from the comments. To celebrate our awesome North East Newcatle Building Society have very kindly donated a brilliant Amazon 7 as a competition prize, simply fill in the raflecopter and we will chose an winner from the correct entries

a Rafflecopter giveaway