Ten Tips On Getting Organised As a Busy Mum

Staying organised and staying on top of my game is essential as a working mum, running a home, raising three young children and playing cook and taxi. It's taken me ages to establish an organised life (almost there!) and short cuts have been mastered.

So today I'm starting with just ten tips ...

1. Birthday party invitations. If you are anything like me and lose them and then get reminded about the party by mums in the playground and wonder where, what time and what theme it is whilst frantically looking at home for that invitation then I have mastered this! Take a photo of the party invite on your phone as soon as you get it and assign it to the contact when you reply!

2. Play dates. My daughters always want their friends over to play after school and I don't mind that but on those days I'm working and doing school and nursery pick up it can be stressful with more kids to look after too, so now i only arrange play dates on the days i don't work and keep it to one play date a week which means come pick up time on those days i am more organised and less stressed!

3. Make sure that each child has a smart, pretty party dress with cardigan and tights in their wardrobe for that party invite rather than panicking last minute that your child has nothing to wear and you can't find the time or the energy to take three grumpy kids to the shop to find that party dress, cardigan, tights! I learnt this the hard way... twice!

4. Have a selection of boys and girls birthday cards without ages on! Being organised with wrapping paper ready to go is also handy. I prefer buying small pressies that are suitable and compatible for the particular birthday child so I don't buy in bulk but I hear many mums say that they have a box of gifts ready to grab and wrap when a party invite is passed their way via the book bags!

5. Always have jacket potatoes and baked beans in. Always have batchelors packets of pasta in the cupboard and always have a cheese pizza ready to go in the freezer. Life saver on those stressful days.

6. Always have a bag of brioches and apples at the ready - in the car, in your bag or in the house! or like me; in all places at all times! Handy snack on the go for hungry kids!

7. Like me managing the kids on your own after work, after school activities and hubby not home until after kids have gone to bed? then don't fret about reading time! Leave for the school run 10 minutes earlier and get your kids to read in the car. Lucky enough to walk to school? Get everyone ready earlier and get them sat down reading to the rest of you before school. Playing schools is my kids favourite game.

8. Learn to love Dry Shampoo!

9. Have everything ready by the front door the night before, have everything ironed, lunches made and school shoes found and paired up. It takes a little of the stress away from the morning mayhem!

10. Keep spare umbrellas, hats, scarves and gloves in the car. Oh this has been a handy one for me... again i learnt the hard way!

Have you got tips? I would love to read them!


Slimming World Snack Idea - Muffins

This snack idea is so easy!

What you need:

Bachelors golden rice
5 eggs
chick pea Dahl from asda! 

What you do:

Cook the rice as instructed on the packet and add to other items (eggs and chickpea Dahl) in a bowl and mix well. Pop into a mini muffin tray then cook on gas Mark 7 for 25 minutes.

Simple idea for a snack and go which is free on the Slimming World plan.


PLj Review. Lemon and Weight Loss.

Since starting my weight loss journey I have been interested in what is good for aiding fat burn and I had always heard that lemon water was a great tool for breaking down the fat.

I was sent some PLj just before Christmas and I had never heard about this product, but now I always see it around! So I stopped buying lemons and thought I would give this a go.

Okay so this is an HONEST  review... I love this stuff!

You don't need much with some ice cold water but when I drink this my tummy feels so much better and I have a good weight loss. I drink it in the morning and when I go to the gym. It's so much better than fiddling with cutting a lemon (i know it takes a minute) but i just have the cordial there ready to pour!

It does taste much stronger than half a lemon so you really don't need much at all but it really is a great product for detoxing.

I have yet to try the lime flavour!

I have found some other great info about this product;

PLJ is renowned as a refreshing drink as well as an invigorating support to calorie-controlled diets. It can be used for any purpose where fresh lemon juice is required.

A 25ml serving of PLJ contains at least 75% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

  • 7 calories per serving

  • No added sugar

  • Rich in vitamin C

  • No artificial colourings, flavours or sweeteners
  • Try with hot water as an alternative to tea and coffee

  • Perfect ingredient for salad dressings and marinades - I love that you can always use this product in cooking!
Do you have any tips on how to use lemon juice?


Broadstone Productions Peforms Cinderella

I'm really excited because today I get to take my girls to a local panto. We have never seen our local production company in action to be honest, but then again I didn't really know that they existed. Friends of ours are in this show and I just had to get tickets and go and see it!


Katie with Fairy Godmother Caroline Janes
Broadstone Productions (Broadstone Pantomime Society) are a fun and friendly amateur pantomime society dedicated to providing the best possible family experience. The original aim of the society was to put on shows involving and for the community; also to give something back by donating some of the proceeds to local good causes. That tradition has continued and many charities have benefited over the years.
An annual pantomime is produced over two weekends each January in the War Memorial Hall, Tudor Road, Broadstone.

The History;

The society was founded in 1979, over 30 years ago. Early productions included ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and the first pantomime was ‘Cinderella’ in 1981, which raised money for Monecute School. During the 1980’s, winter pantomimes were produced alongside summer choruses and one act plays. Since the 1990’s the main emphasis of the society has been putting on an annual pantomime, sometimes traditional, such as ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, or something completely new, such as ‘Wonky Wellard the Wizard’ and ‘The Master of Toxcity’. Most have been written by existing members of the society, introducing up and coming script writers in the latter years. In 1996 the society won an achievement award for ‘Services to the Arts’ and other awards have been received from Dorset Pantomime Productions.

One of the founding members of the society, Mally Tieche, has acted, directed, produced, wrote scripts and acted as chairman, was involved right up to 2010. She only escaped by emigrating to Australia! Despite a blip in 2007, when it was decided not to put on a show, renewed enthusiasm coupled with new members has meant the society is now in a strong position and recent productions have been very well received. I have been called an enthusiastic young chairman, who took over not only the title in 2010, but also all of Mally’s previous roles! A good number of other people working in specific and general areas ensures a ‘good’ show for our judges, the audience.

The current committee is myself as Chairman, Joanna Cracknell – Vice-Chairman, Michael Rustici – Treasurer, Catharine Hutchings – Secretary, and Ron Kite, Paul Cracknell, Jenny Davidson and Lisa Simpson.

How we run;

The society is run in the same way as many others by a committee elected at an Annual General Meeting, held usually in April. They meet as necessary, usually on a monthly basis, to organise all of the forthcoming shows both on and off the stage, any fundraising events and the continued existence of the society by deciding future productions.

Other people behind the scenes;

Many members have given long and loyal support. A particular mention must be made to Sylvia Rogers-Fowle, another founder member who passed away last year, she was a truly inspirational professionally trained set painter and make-up artist able to produce 3D looking flats and back cloths, whose skill enormously added to the quality of the productions. She passed the torch to Leeroy I’anson whose set debuted for Goldilocks and the Three Bears in 2014.

The rest of the behind the scenes members, the unsung heroes, Jean Roach: Pianist, Alec Roach: Prompt, Emma Pottinger-Cracknell: Make-Up, Catharine Hutchings: Stage Manager, Joanna Cracknell and Kim Gibson: Costumes, Charlie Tarrant: Marketing, Events and Front of House Manager, Leeroy I’Anson: Set Painting, Shaun Tarrant: Set Constructions and Ann Green: Lighting.

The very talented Jan Mizen Dancers, a separate dancing school, have appeared in Broadstone Productions pantomimes for many years, performing 3-6 dances in each show. This adds another colourful dimension to our productions.


This years show;

It's Panto time again and this year we're performing one of the most popular, “Cinderella”. 

Broadstone Pantomime Productions’ 35th show promises to deliver its usual flow of good old fashioned family fun as we revisit the story last performed by the society in 2006. Written by our resident play wright Ron Kite we have adapted the script to give audiences new characters to fall in love with as well as the traditional favourites.  Lee I’anson and Lisa Marie have taken on the role of director this year so prepare to be surprised, intrigued, excited and enchanted.

This is fun for all the family! So scoop up your child, grab a hold of Grandma and come on down to be entertained. It’s sure to be a wonderful evening!

Broadstone Pantomime Productions is a non-profit organisation that donates its profits to a local charity each year. This year, proceeds will be going to the Poole Scanner Department in memory of the late Sylvia Roger-Fowle. 

Tickets are available now and can be booked via Hillier and Wilson Estate Agents, 188B The Broadway, Broadstone (01202 693388).

The show takes place at the War Memorial Hall, Tudor Road, Broadstone.
Friday 16th January 7.30
Saturday 17th January 2.30 and 7.30
Sunday 18th January 2.30
Friday 23rd January 7.30
Saturday 24th January 2.30 and 7.30

Doors open at 2pm and 7pm.

Friday 16th January – £3.50 for all seats.

All other performances – Adults £6, Children and Seniors £3.50.

Expect a follow up post on what i thought of our first trip to see a local production.


Creative Learning Bargains

I love creative learning and it's something that keeps the kids occupied whilst I cook their dinner or some weekend fun with mummy or daddy.

Click on the images to see more details!

  • Now £2.54
  • Was £5.50

  • Now £2.54
  • Was £6.00

  • Now £1.27
  • Was £2.75

  • Now £0.42
  • Was £1.00

  • Now £1.27
  • Was £5.95

  • Now £8.49
  • Was £14.00


Today I Wanted To Stay In Bed

I'm not sure whether this is something that every mum experiences or because of my slight depression but after an extremely busy weekend with basically no time to myself or time to relax with my children and husband, i found myself slumping on the sofa at 9pm last night unable and unwilling to talk. The effort to make conversation, to smile, to make a drink, to eat, to watch TV was too much so i went to bed.

Matilda thought it would be fun to wake at midnight for three hours, and to keep mummy up. No idea what was wrong but she was acting like it was 8am in the morning! I was too tired for her midnight party. I was exhausted.

This morning i just didn't want to get up and out of bed. I decided i didn't want to be mummy or Emma. I just wanted to be on my own in my bed and cry. My husband spotted how low i was feeling and made the decision to take the girls to school and go into work later. As he works late, this was a nice experience for him anyway.

I knew there was a good speaker this morning with Lemur Linkup at Lemur Landings soft play so i made the decision to get myself there. This meant i had to get up and out and put on a smile. I now know that if i don't act quick then i will not leave the house and i will cry and cry and cry. I have been in that place many times and i am aware of what i need to do to save myself from that.

It really helped. Matilda was happy as she had the freedom to play and i had to force a smile and conversation, which let me forget that low feeling.

As I juggle life with three kids on my own 14 hours of the day, I'm pretty pleased come 8.30 (ish)pm when i sit down and spend an hour doing what i want before i go to bed, and the night shift starts. I'm thankful i do the school run and i work as it means i have a reason to get going every day, to paint a smile and to use my brain rather than allowing me to think about how low i am feeling.

I think part of me sunk yesterday when Myla begged to start ballet with her friend, Nevie really wants to do gymnastics and her girls brigade and i have to say no. Three kids and work and having to run around on my own juggling all three children on an evening makes everything impossible and very stressful. I feel like my kids are being punished for having working parents and having siblings.

I'm getting really upset over the kids homework. Each day they are supposed to read a book to mummy or daddy and we are supposed to log our feedback for the teacher to read. I'm trying but i cant seem to sit and spend time with the girls reading. Once Matilda is in bed asleep, Myla is exhausted and ready for bed and Nevie would struggle to sleep even more as her brain struggles to switch off. Am i a bad parent?

Another thing, I don't get time to enjoy cooking. Three kids and all tired and all i see is pictures of everyone elses creations in our slimming world group - how does everyone find the time to cook?

I'm surviving... just.

I have had enough of not having time for anything any more. Whilst writing this post i have remembered that i removed everything off the sink and bath to bleach and scrub the bathroom as this has been on my list for a while... i did that this morning and i still haven't managed to bleach. The huge pile of washing on my bedroom floor is upsetting me, the pile of post to sort out, the decorating that needs doing, the dusting, the putting away... I am waving my white flag.

I shouldn't moan. I'm blessed. I love my children more than anything. I'm thankful that both my husband and i are earning and i have a job that understands that i have to do the school run.


Slimming World Day One Extra Easy SP

I went back to Slimming World last night and over the two week Christmas period I have gained 2.5lbs. I wasn't too horrified because it's the only time you can really have the same excuse as others for gaining weight. I'm still happy as I managed to shift 19lbs in 2014 so I know I can do it!


SO the new plans have started; Extra Easy and Extra Easy SP.

Today, being the first day back on it and keen to lose 20lbs this year I have taken charge again and I have done the Extra Easy SP plan... on a Saturday!


2 x weetabix with fruit and semi-skimmed milk


3 dippy eggs with soldiers (Hovis)


Chicken breasts with baked beans


Cold meat

SYNS: 12.5 used

1 Custard cream
1 chicken nugget
2 breadsticks
2 gingernut biscuits


Squash with sparkling water x 2
Coffee x 3
Diet coke x 1


Happy New Year. Let's Start Again.

Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book and I'm hoping to write a good one!

I love the start of a New Year. New goals are really motivational and encouraging and it's a chance to learn from my mistakes of the previous year and make myself a better person.

In 2014 I learnt to run and I lost 20lbs with the aid of Slimming World. Although i ended the year on a positive, my journey was long and confusing. I lost myself and realised that i didnt know who i was. I'm a working mum and i was surviving my days juggling and shouting at my three kids. Without any help until after bed time I felt exhausted, lonely and loathed in self pity. I started to feel so low that i became anxious and resented certain people and their 'easy' lifestyles. I needed to change.

Not happy with my negative attitude, my way of thinking and my body I have decided to make 2015 the year that I fix myself. I don't want to survive any more and I don't want to be unhappy any more. I want to breathe. I want to have fun, sing, dance, be productive, be happy, be comfortable, feel alive, feel like life is getting slightly easier... like I can breathe.

20lbs left to shift, happier times with my children and husband, more quality time with my husband, more time running, more focus on my dreams and I am keen to get more sleep so im more productive.

I'm also keen to be frugal. I tried last year but was rubbish at it so this year is the year i'm going to save!

There are some people that only made my life hard work in 2014, some people that don't understand me AT ALL and some people I just have nothing in common with, making me try and be the person i'm not, so for that reason... they're not welcome. SIMPLE.

So i'm embracing 2015 and i'm determined to make this year the best book I have written.



From Cot to Bed

With three daughters all close in age and having a three bedroom house, two of them were always going to have to share.  

At first this was never an issue as my two eldest daughters wanted to share a bedroom from a young age. They have shared for years and have really enjoyed it.

This Christmas break our eldest daughter asked if she could have her own bedroom. She knew what she wanted and she was really keen and in need of her own space. My husband and I agreed.

Our youngest daughter is 20 months old and has a really good bond with our middle daughter so they were excited about sharing. The only thing I hadn't thought about was moving the youngest out of her cot and into a bed. I wasn't planning on doing this until she was 2. I made the swap from an earlier age with my other two children but seeing as I'm not planning on having any more, I was keeping hold of this tiny stage. 

My husband moved the beds around into the right bedrooms and sprung it on me that our youngest was in a bed rather than her cot. I was then in fear of the nights ahead and the reality hit me that my girls are growing up! The first night was all new and she gout out of bed once to see me, but last night was night two and she went straight to sleep and slept 11 hours straight!

Whilst our eldest set to work making her bedroom look like a teenage pad, with her cool purple rug, her slippers carefully placed next to her bed, her DVD’s and DS games lined up on the shelf and her lipstick and mirror on her bedside table (by the way she is approaching 6 not 16!) she was the happiest little girl. 

I have managed to transform the other bedroom for the girls into a really lovely room where they both have space and comfort. Oh the joys of Pinterest!

Not only have we just had Christmas and about to start a new year, but another new milestone has been reached. I thought going from a change bag to a handbag was THE biggest change of 2014 but i think the reality that my beautiful girls are growing up and blossoming has just beaten it.

Here’s to 2015.