Aldi have some great news for mums and mum-to-be. From 18th September they will have a range of lovely goods in store while stocks last as part of their Special Buys range.

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Maternity

When you are expecting, you want to look great but don’t want to invest huge amounts in clothing that by its very nature is short-term. The ultimate capsule wardrobe for the mum-to-be includes leggings, fashion tops and dresses all at amazingly affordable prices. What’s not to love about a Maternity dress for just £11.99?

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Breastfeeding

Aldi will be every mum’s beat friend with padded Nursing Bras for £6.99, non-wired for comfort and not missing out on style with pretty lace detailing.

Out and about

Check out Aldi’s stylish waterproof Baby Changing Bag for £14.99 complete with lots of pockets for the multitude of things you need with you when you leave the house with baby.


Baby and Toddler

Welcome a new baby with Bramble Bear, Bonnie Bunny and Country Creatures gift sets at just £9.99. The presents include a photo album, frame and brilliant bunting.

Make sure your baby is comfy and cosy thanks to Aldi’s great-value range of cotton-rich clothing. Including Baby Socks 5 Pack (£2.49), Baby Bodies 3 Pack (£2.79), Baby Sleepsuits 3 Pack (£3.99) and Baby 3-Piece Set (£6.99)

For toddlers there are Infants’ Jeans (£3.99), Infants’ Tights (£1.99) and Toddlers’ Canvas Boots and Shoes (£4.49)

Aldi are not forgetting the important of learning through play with brightly coloured Build ‘n’ Learn (£6.99) and Puzzle Car (£3.99), or the Colour Me Playhouse (£7.99).

Aldi’s Specialbuys go in-store every Thursday and Sunday and are only available while stocks last.

Giveaway

One lucky reader has the chance to win an Aldi Specialbuys Baby Changing Bag from the new range by leaving a comment telling me their top tips on preparing to have a baby for parents to-be.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T’s & C’s

The winner will be picked at random on 14th September 2014 and notified by 15th September 2014. . Delivery of the prize will be by 30th September.

The competition is open to UK residents aged 18 years and over only.

Prize will be as listed while stocks last. In event that stock is unavailable; the same value will be given in Aldi vouchers.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

We headed to London on Saturday for a fun space-themed food workshop to highlight Actimel for Kids held at L’atelier des Chefs cookery school.

There were a number of bloggers there with their children ranging from toddlers to my 10 year old in age. The children all gathered around a table with a space buffet with crackers in the shapes of stars and moons and the most luscious dips. There was also fruit including melon moons.

The exciting bit was when we went through to the kitchen and took our places to learn how to present healthy food in a fun way. Him Indoors and my 8 year old made a team and I stuck with my daughter who was not in the best of moods. All that changed as soon as she started using her knife skills and getting creative.

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Our first challenge was to make a spaceship. We had to improvise as we don’t like olives so cut out circles of cheese instead.

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We got confused when it came to making cucumber legs for our spaceship but did our best and added a cheese ramp for good measure.

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This is what the spaceships were supposed to look like created by another blogger family.

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Next we got a plate of healthy food options and were tasked with creating an alien face.

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Our creative juices were flowing now.

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Cucumber hair, grape ears and carrot horns!

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Of course, there is always the fun of eating your creations.

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My children loved the taste of Actimel for Kids. They liked the spacemen themed bottles with my son saying he thought they would make good toys.

I love how you can get essential nutrients into your child’s daily routine as part of a balanced diet. The flavours are yummy – Strawberry, Raspberry and Vanilla.

They work well for breakfast, in a packed lunch or as an after-school treat. They are free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.

For more information on nutritional information and pricing, check out the Actimel website. and like them on Facebook.

As my 13 and 8 year olds headed back to school, my daughter and I embarked on a new adventure of home education.

I think both of us felt a little naughty as she stayed in bed later than usual, dressed in casual clothes and was able to have real input into what she wanted to do that day.

We started with a walk to the village as I needed to get some shopping and to register with the GP.

“Are you looking forward to getting back to school?” asked the man who served us in the Co-op. “I’m not going back” she mumbled and I explained we were home schooling her. Blank look and no further questions asked.

When we were out I certainly felt like everybody was staring at us as if we were doing something wrong but then I am prone to see adverse judgment in people’s eyes. We had a picnic and chatted merrily.

On returning home, we did loads. She wrote a story showing great imagination and good spelling. I set up her some tests on arithmetic which she flew through in minutes. She is clearly going to need bigger challenges in maths.

We watched a video of a German story even though German is new to both of us. We looked at the words and then we watched the story in English.

We played a time capsule game looking at objects from World War 2 and listening to stories of evacuation.

In an attempt to prove to her father that I will not just focus on arts topics, we watched a video on augmented reality. Me showing an interest in anything to do with physics is rare but I was actually quite fascinated by this subject.

Learning is lovely but this day was magical. It took me right back to the days when I had my first son and relished motherhood so very much. Spending time talking, laughing, discussing and snuggling up – lots to recommend this way of life.

Oh and just to prove we can be a little offbeat too, we went into the front garden and made structures with bamboo sticks and planted sunflowers too.

The next day she was very tired. Home educators and my teacher brother tell me that I don’t need to do as many hours as they do at school as one-to-one teaching is so much more intensive.

What I love about home education

Quality time together without the tight deadlines of school

Learning together – a joyous experience

Closeness – physically and emotionally

What I worry about

It feels odd to do less than a full school day – I don’t want to let my daughter down by not doing enough teaching with her

Knowing the right balance between implementing the stuff they teach in schools and also being a little bit more creative

I am concerned that she does not love writing things down that much and I don’t want to give in to this. So I might have to implement discipline but I don’t want to turn her off learning.

That feeling of being a naughty girl as if we are both skiving off school and will get caught at any given moment.

Having said all that, I am seriously considering taking my 8 year old out of school too. My daughter is keen saying it will be good to have someone for company whilst I am doing other things. My son is also eager although I have to unpick the reasons why with him before we make a final decision.

So far so good methinks.

I would be grateful for comments, tips, advice and contacts as our journey moves into its second week.

Why have I chosen unsure as my word of the week?

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1. I have embarked upon the home education journey with my daughter. I am reaching out to find out the best way to do this. We have learned a lot already. I remain unsure on when to take a break and when to go for it with gusto. I am learning as I go along and I am OK with that but the word unsure applies as we make our first tentative steps.

2. I let my youngest son walk to school alone this week. He seemed keen but then a little nervous too. We have talked this through and I will walk him tomorrow – he is keen to walk the last bit himself so we will work out what is the best plan as we go along.

3. My teenage son had a last minute panic before starting school again about catching the bus. His Dad is giving him a lift when he can and at other times my son is managing the bus fine after those feelings of uncertainty earlier in the week.

4. I am unsure about things after the disappointment of my husband losing his job so soon after making the big move South. I don’t have the faith in him as breadwinner that I once had and I need to remember neither of the job losses were his fault. I wonder if we should head back to the less expensive North but then we love it down here and we can head up to London or down to the South coast on a whim. I sense we will stay but it does not feel like home quite yet.

Although I am unsure, I think things are fundamentally OK. A baby that learns to walk falls over sometimes. The key is to keep getting back up again and then soon it will be climbing, jumping and hopping too.

Our family will too.

The Reading Residence

I am blogging about the day mum died.

We were in the Highlands of Scotland on holiday.

I had seen my Mum as usual the weekend before we left. She has insisted I go on the holiday. I told her I would come back to see her on 3rd September. She was adamant that I must not come back until the 4th.

As the car started up, I looked through at her bedroom. She held her hand up. I was keen to stare at it and to remember every line.

I went home and into town. I kept finding myself stopping. I could not focus. I could not function.

A spoke to my husband and asked him to visit my Mum. She had not seen him for months as she did not want the children to see her getting worse so I would visit her and he would stay at home with our children.

He went and stayed the night. He told her he had come to see her. She made us both smile with her response. “When I saw you, I thought there was something up”

We went to Scotland and as I left home I had the strangest feeling I would come back after Mum had died.

The holiday was odd. We had fun as a family but were attached to our mobiles for news from my Dad.

One night, we went into the garden of our holiday cottage and someone was playing an accordion at the neighbouring cottage. I suddenly found my husband in tears. I think I had said something like “Mum would love that”

I wanted to go to Cromarty. Mum had always listened to the shipping forecasts and I loved the names.

One morning, my husband said we could go to Cromarty that day. I barked at him. He did not understand why. By now I had decided in my own mind that Mum would die the day we went to Cromarty.

A couple of days later we made the visit to Cromarty. I remember sitting and watching dolphins in the sea that day. coming to terms.

I got a text from my brother late that night “Phone Dad – urgent”

In that moment, you think maybe if you don’t call, it won’t be true.

“You know what it will be” I told my husband.

I made the call. A Marie Curie nurse answered calling me Catherine. Things must be serious. She put my Dad on who said “Your Mum passed away at 10 to eleven and it was peaceful”

Ten to eleven – so many nights she would have left a variety of clubs at that time with Dad either with her or waiting at our front door anxiously.

Closing time!

I lit a candle because that is what you do when you are brought up a Catholic.

My oldest brother phoned to see if I was OK.

My two older children were in bed.

My youngest had fallen asleep on the sofa.

We were obviously distressed. At which point my son burst out laughing in his sleep, a real chuckle. A message from mum that life and laughter should go on.

I slept alone that night and sobbed most of the night. I got up early, cleaned the house and we made our way back to Yorkshire.

I arrived on exactly the day when my Mum had told me to return and my Mum was dead. Stage-managing things until the very end.

R.I.P. Mum – I forgot your anniversary this year until late at night. I am sure you would have had loads to say about that. Love you.

Diary of an imperfect mum