Kids have no idea where food comes from

Too many children grow up thinking vegetables come from the supermarket rather than from the ground’ Alan Titchmarsh

Why it’s important to teach kids gardening

I was doing a bit of research for this post I wanted to write about the fantastic things the Gardening Club is doing at my daughter’s school and became distracted and stunned by how little kids know about where their food comes from.

In 2010, as part of a promotion for his Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver went into a class of First Graders (six-year olds) and presented them with a variety of common vegetables.  He holds up a few tomatoes and asks the kids what they are.  They are all stumped, faces screwed up and then one offers ‘potatoes’.  They thought Cauliflower was Broccoli and that a Beetroot was Celery.  This was truly frightening.

But, Apparently it’s not just American Kids who are oblivious when it comes to food.

‘In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country’s primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.’

‘LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), surveyed 2000 people aged between 16 and 23 years and found a third of them did not know that bacon came from pigs.’

‘Researchers also found that four in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40 per cent of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.’


Growing up as a child, my grandmother was an avid gardener, she had the most amazing vegetable garden, she grew absolutely everything herself in meticulously planted raised beds.  She also had a cold cellar where she kept all the produce, what they didn’t eat fresh, she canned.  She made the best Raspberry Jam ever.  We also had our own vegetable gardens over the years and in my 30s I had an allotment so I’m fairly familiar with most vegetables.

However, I can now see why many kids are naïve when it comes to the origins of what’s on their plates and if you asked them they would probably say it comes from the supermarket.  Children only see adults selecting fruit and vegetables from the produce aisle and putting it in the little flimsy plastic bags or having it delivered to their doorsteps, many kids don’t have an opportunity to see or experience the journey (Sowing, Planting and Harvesting)  before the produce reaches the supermarket.

Gardening Ideas for Kids

Alan Titchmarsh believes children should be taught gardening as one of the “basic skills of life” and I agree with him.  We are very lucky at our school and we have a gardening club which is run by a very enthusiastic parent volunteer.  This year they are hoping to enter St Albans District Schools in Bloom Competition.

The kids have been very busy planting everything from potatoes to petunias and are involved in the process from sowing the seeds, to planting in the ground, harvesting the crops and they will also go on to sell some of the produce.

Meet Straw Barry!  Genius!

 Gardening ideas for kids

Anyone for a game of Mini-beast Noughts and Crosses?

Garden games for kids

Who would have thought of planting potatoes in tires.

Ideas for recycling tires

A Greenhouse made from Recycled Bottles courtesy of the Site Manager

 Ideas for recycling soft drink bottles

It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to a derelict picnic table.  The kids now have a potting table.

 Potting table made from recycled picnic table

My favourite is the Daffodil Welly planters.

Creative Gardening Ideas for Kids


We also received a selection of mystery bulbs from Spalding Bulbs.  The kids had a blast trying to work out what they were.  They haven’t come up yet but we will report back once they do.  Hmmm.  I wonder what they will be.  They could be flowers or vegetables.

Thanks to all the hard work from our parent volunteer, I have no doubt that these kids know where fruit and vegetables comes from and if you showed them a potato they could identify it.

Good luck in the competition.





Could you give a REAL Fairy a Home?

My Own Fairy Door – Review

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Picasso

My Own Fairy Door Review

I absolutely love these Fairy Doors, put them inside our outside and invite a fairy to come and live with you.  I’m all up for anything that stimulates imagination, encourages creative play and promotes writing.

I’ve just survived the school holidays and was nearly broken by the repeated pleas asking ‘what are we doing today? Who are we going to visit?’  My 7 year old daughter, an only child, has never been brilliant at playing on her own and a simple ‘go and play’ doesn’t work.

However, the morning after our ‘Own Fairy Door’ arrived she set upon opening and became totally immersed in creating a home for her Fairy.  She spent a good two to three hours playing independently with very little input from us.


She made her a house

Bumble Bee Fairy Door

Decorated her room

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And named her

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Landscaped her garden

(excuse the cat hair in the photo, you know what it’s like if you leave a box unattended with cats around.)

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Now we just need to wait for her to move in.  Apparently, once the key is gone and there’s fairy dust on the doorstep we will know she’s arrived.

We will then need to go online and print off her a naming certificate for her.

These would make excellent gifts for some of her school friends and reasonable priced at £19.99.

Truly Magical.


What to do when your Hamster is Dying

When a Hamster Reaches the End

The guilt is setting in

One day I will tell my daughter the truth…..

Upon returning home from our annual trip to Canada for 3 weeks we noticed a considerable difference in our 2 year old hamster, which is equivalent to a person in their late 80s, she had aged visibly.  Her eyes were dull, she lost a tooth and was moving very slowly.  In the past, you wouldn’t dare leave her on the floor for a minute or two or she’d be gone, now she just waddled around like a little old lady, often toppling over.

The End Is Nigh

However, a couple of weeks ago she really started to go downhill.  Caramel, the hamster, had stopped grooming herself, her bottom teeth were excessively long, her abdomen was swollen along with one of her eyes, she was incontinent and cold to the touch.   Some thought her lethargy may be down to going into hibernation, but we know our hamster well and she was definitely on the way out.

After a bit of Googling, I learned that hamsters of this age, are susceptible to tumours, which would have explained the swollen abdomen and the swelling could also be an indication of impending heart failure. I was torn about what to do.  I had a long conversation with a mobile vet and she said there is very little a vet could do besides, euthanizing her and disposal.

Decisions, decisions

After reading, When a Hamster Reaches the End by David Imber, as she did not appear to be in pain and it seemed imminent, I decided to keep her at home and care for her giving my daughter the opportunity to learn about the cycle of life and caring for the elderly.  Plus, I felt that her natural surroundings would be less stressful than putting her in the car and taking her to the vet.

She could no longer feed herself, we hand fed her water, yogurt and the juice from crushed grapes several times a day.  We used cotton buds and olive oil to clean up her bottom, baby wipes to clean her fur, gave her extra bedding and I often kept her in my coat when working at the computer to keep her warm.

‘It’s just a Hamster for Goodness Sake’

This went on for about a week.  Each morning, I would secretly hope that she would have passed away in the night, but she didn’t.  I really couldn’t watch it anymore so arranged to have the vet put her down while my daughter was at school.  It was all very swift and professional, using an injection, I brought her home in a box and told my daughter a white lie, that she had died naturally in the afternoon.  I couldn’t believe how upset I was,  I couldn’t even speak to the vet as I would have started blubbering, which I put down to worrying about my daughter being upset.

What do do when your Hamster is Dying

But when I told my daughter, she asked to see her, went up stairs, gave her a quick cuddle and then quickly said, ‘can we bury her now?’   The actual burial was more humours than sombre.  The area she chose to bury it was laden with tree roots and dry soil, but with the help of a neighbour and an axe we managed.  Plus, I never realised what a busy thoroughfare the area was, full of cyclists, dog walkers and commuters all looking at us suspiciously but with a quick over the shoulder remark ‘Hamster’ it appeased their curiosity and they carried on.

In the end, I’m glad we did keep her at home for a time so we could care for her and keep her as comfortable as possible and I think it gave my daughter a chance to say goodbye properly and made it all a bit less tearful.

Would you have done the same?




How to train your hubby to do the School Run!

7 Simple Questions

We started back to school last week, thank god as I was on my knees and desperate to have routine back!  As I work in teacher training the first couple of days back are usually busy form me, with INSET days, so I left hubby to do the school run.  It’s one of the positives of him working from home, so he’s able to help out and often does the morning run.

As always, the night before I set everything out; a new Asda George School Pinafore, pristine white socks, Polo Shirt, brand spanking new Kicker School Shoes from Cloggs (no need to polish), Cardigan, the correct Days of the Week Pants (Wednesday), Book Bag and PE Kit.  I thought I was fail safe, it was all strategically placed in the lounge so no need to find anything, all he had to do was get her dressed, brush her teeth and hair and make sure she didn’t have any toothpaste on her chin a baby wipe would have sufficed.

To the untrained eye, it will look like he did a pretty good job, she’s all smiles, dressed and at the correct classroom. However, I asked him to snap a photo of the momentous first day of Year 2, which he text to me during the day.  But after closer scrutiny I noticed a few things.

School Run Tips for Dad

The socks were fairly obvious and made me chuckle, they’re called knee socks for a reason and it isn’t that difficult to say ‘pull your socks up’.  The headband is a dead giveaway that he didn’t brush her hair and in fact, I’m confident she must have done it herself.  She often does this to avoid the dreaded mats, by simply pulling it into a pony tail and taming her fringe with a hair band, which really isn’t a problem, but makes it doubly hard to brush the following day.

As for brushing her teeth and washing her face, you can’t tell from the photo, but he hasn’t done it in the last two years so right in assuming it wasn’t done that morning.  It’s not the end of the world, but with new teeth coming in it’s important she learns to care for them as she won’t be getting a new set.

School Backpack - PE Kit

I also noticed that there is no sign of her new School Bag, it really isn’t hard to miss, that we have for her PE Kit, sadly our required PE kit will not fit into a drawstring bag.  Our kids have PE twice a week, one indoor and the other outside so we have quite a kit list and needed a slightly larger bag.  And what happened to her book bag, it took me ages to find the damn thing?

To be fair, I wouldn’t have expected him to iron her polo shirts, but they had come straight out of the bag and when she took her pinafore off that evening it still had the ‘just out of the package’ creases on it.

I shouldn’t give him such a hard time.  He did manage to get her there on time.  Bless!  I’m just sad I missed her first day of Year 2!  Where is the time going?


Manage your Children’s Pocket Money with an App

Roosterbank Allows you to Manage your Kid’s Pocket Money

Your example is everything when it comes to teaching your children about money – Rachael Cruze

I’m crap with money and always have been.  However, I would like to instil in my daughter the value of money and getting her saving from an early age.  I’m lucky my husband is a bit of a miser and set up saving accounts for her at an early age.  She now probably has more money than I do.

Money doesn’t grow on trees!

It really is a tricky one, especially with online shopping as no physical money changes hands.  She once wanted a yellow slide and said ‘Mummy, why don’t you just go online and get it’.  I had to explain to her that it still costs money and we can’t just have everything we want.

If you’re like me any time we go to the shop, into town, school fairs, events or dreaded gift shops they are always asking ‘can I have this, can I have that’ and it becomes a bit of a battle and I often say to her, ‘Did you bring any money?’ and she always replies ‘No!’ and expects me to shell out.

Rooster Bank - Managing Pocket Money

Roosterbank allows you to manage pocket money via your phone

So, I was thrilled when I came across The Roosterbank App which allows you to manage your children’s pocket money.  You can set an amount that they receive each week and specify the day.  I have set ours to £3 a week as she is only 6 years old and she gets it on a Friday.  Then when we are out and she asks for something she then has to decide whether it’s worth spending her own money on and on few occasions she decided she really didn’t need it.  Genius!

Teaches the connection between work and money!

Plus, she can also ponder whether it’s better to save it up for a few weeks and get something more substantial.  We haven’t had to yet but you can also remove money if they have been naughty or not done what you asked them to.

And the best thing of all is that the App is FREE!  Oh the irony.