Carrot and orange cupcakes

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Who doesn’t love a cupcake?

They’re a regular request in our house. They go great in the kids’ packed lunches, they’re served up for birthday parties, and they are the required comfort food when somebody is feeling unwell.

With the recent hot weather, cupcakes with a glass of lemonade have gone down a treat as an after-paddling pool snack in our garden, when the boys have friends over to play.

So when Waitrose asked me to recreate a great British picnic recipe, what else would I do?

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Review: Back To School with Clarks

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It’s the Back To School job I always dread.

Shopping for school shoes can be about as pleasant as going for a tooth extraction at the dentist, as poking a fork in your eye, as standing on a piece of LEGO (and I’ve done that a few times!)

Especially since I always manage to leave it to the last minute, when the crowds are descending, my boys are whining and wriggling because they hate shopping, and I’m sweating like a … well I think I’ve packed enough similes into this post already to tell you how much I dislike this task.

So when Clarks invited us to sample their back to school range, I knew it was an errand we’d be running anyway, but I can’t say I was relishing the idea.

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Competition: Go Ape on a tip top treetop adventure

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When I say my boys are like a couple of monkeys, there are many ways I draw that similarity.

Their cheeky attitudes, their love of bananas…

And the way they enjoy swinging through the trees.

They’ll often ignore the play equipment in favour of hanging from the branches of the silver birches at the back of our local park.

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Safeguarding your child’s dental health

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From the moment your child gets his first tooth, which according to experts is typically between six to 12 months, you’ll want to make sure those pearly whites stay bright and healthy.

Advertisers are always coming up with new ways to raise dental health awareness and educate kids in ways they enjoy, including apps and games.

Your main contribution, aside from helping children stick to their cleaning routine, is to provide the nutrients teeth need to develop. And cut down their exposure to sugar, starch and other hidden additives in foods which makes them vulnerable to decay, tooth loss and many other long-term dental issues.

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Competition: Win a £40 voucher for All Fancy Dress

If there’s one thing I’ve always loved about having kids, it’s the dressing up.

Them, that is, not me.

When they were babies, I enjoyed dressing them up just to see how cute they looked.

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As they’ve grown, dressing up has really sparked their imagination.

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Healthy packed lunch ideas: Baked vegetable frittata

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Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am to cooking what Jedward is to singing.

That is, more enthusiasm than talent.

(I just wish my enthusiasm could make as much money as theirs has!)

But I’m always prepared to give new recipes a go, and there’s plenty of places online to pick up tips and ideas for food that so simple even I can’t mess it up.

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Win a #StressFreeHoliday Kit

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Are we having fun yet?

Do you find yourself asking that question over the Summer holidays?

It starts out as hazy, lazy days in the sun. But before you know it, the vacation becomes a frantic, chaotic search for something new to keep them happy.

Yep, I’ve been there.

I’m all for keeping things relaxed, but when you start hearing cries of “I’m bored” or “he started it” it’s time to take control.

These are my top five tips for avoiding a Summer of insanity:

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My Teenage Kicks

Me aged 17, the year before I left home (and well before hair straighteners were invented!)

Me aged 17, the year before I left home (and well before hair straighteners were invented!)

 

I was born in 1973.

Which means my clearest memories of my youth are in the 1980s, when from the age of seven to 17 I grew up against a backdrop of big hair, Frankie telling us all to Relax! and the UK miners’ strikes dominating the headlines.

Mecca has challenged me to share memories from my teens, by answering a few simple questions.

Here’s what I’ve got to say:

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A NISA way to invest for the future

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It’s hard to know how much to save for your kids’ futures.

How much is enough? Can you ever set aside too much?

I always find financial news frightening, with headlines about soaring university fees, the cost of getting on the housing ladder, rising costs of living, with wages failing to keep up……

If I thought too much about my sons’ financial futures, I might never get any sleep.

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Our Summer So Far

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How are your Summer holidays going?

Ours? Well, I’m pleased and surprised to say that we’ve done four weeks already – without any major sibling fall-outs, with my sanity still intact and with a fair amount still remaining in our bank account.

The good weather has meant we’ve got outside as often as possible to enjoy some fun in the sunshine.

In fact, looking through our snaps from the past month is like going through an ABC of outdoor pursuits…

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