Why I Don’t Mind Having the ‘Naughty Kid’

My children have always been… lively. I don’t mean tear the place apart ‘lively’ but they are most definitely a couple of noise-makers. So much so that one of my very good friends has branded them the ‘screechies’… they do enjoy the sounds of their own voices.

Our home is filled with noise… sometimes, I’ll admit, it is too much for me to hack and I yell up the stairs ‘STOP SHOUTING’ which I realise is probably one of those ironic parenting moments.

They were a double act at nursery, everyone knew them, their personalities were hard to miss but I’ll admit I was worried when M started school back at the end of September last year. She is a larger-than-life child… a big mop of curly blonde hair, the height of a seven-year-old and a voice highly reminiscent of a fog horn (sorry darling). I was concerned she’d be too ‘full on’ for her classmates and a handful for her teacher. She wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, nor was she cheeky or rude or a disruption… but she was excitable.

School seemed to mellow her (though why is it that school starters seem to change personality over-night and seem like they’re five-going-on-sixteen) and she settled in nicely. She took on two sports: swimming and football, and after a bit of a bumpy start academically, really started to show her potential in her studies. At her most recent parent-teacher meeting when Miss asked if we had any questions I leant forward slightly, with furrowed brow and asked ‘Is she kind.. is she nice to people’?

I don’t think her father really understood why I’d bother to ask such a thing… surely that’s not what we were there for… right? Wrong. Above anything I want my daughter children to be kind. Popularity isn’t an issue to me and a lack of strength in academics can be worked on… but to be kind to others isn’t something you just simply learn or work harder at. It’s a way of life… one I have strived to raise my children to be. I was relived when her teacher said that yes, she was and that she had lots of friends and was always willing to help both the adults and the children. I sighed happily and sat back in my seat with a smile.

I don’t mind if she’s a little bit cheeky from time to time, or if every now and then she ends up on the orange part of the behaviour chart (usually for chatting) or even the red… she’s a child and needs to learn appropriate behaviour. The liveliest children are the children who push for answers, explore outside of their comfort zone and challenge the world around them. I don’t mind if she’s a little bit naughty… what I will not tolerate under any circumstances is having an unkind child. I will not have a bully for a child.

As someone who has been bullied their entire life by classmates, work-colleagues and even family I would be mortified to find that either of my children were ever anything but kind to others.

So if M doesn’t know who the naughtiest girl in her class is… it’s because it’s probably her. And I’m okay with that.


Fab Five – February Favourites

Here are the things that I’ve been loving through February!

Fab Five - February Favourites - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Instax Mini8 camera.

Instax Mini8 - Fab Five - February Favourites - A Whole Latte Love Blog

I’ve always loved the idea of polaroid cameras and whilst the film is expensive it is a great novelty camera to own and I use the pictures a lot in my Smash book (like a slap-dash scrapbook) and in snail mail that I send. My boyfriend even has one washi-taped to his fridge at the moment. There’s something really visually appealing about this style of photograph and I love it. I also love the fact that my camera is pink! This was a gift from my boyfriend at Christmas, you can find them on Amazon.

Ribbon paper clips.

Ribbon Paperclip - Fab Five - February Favourites - A Whole Latte Love Blog

I’ve got five diaries/planners on the go at the moment and my go-to page marker is a selection of pretty ribbon paperclips that I was given at Christmas. I love them and I can’t get enough of them! Some favourites I’m listing after right now are these gorgeous designs from Teacups and Florals on Etsy.

Papermate Flair pen in medium black.

Papermate Flair - Fab Five - Fabruary Favourites - A Whole Latte Love Blog

I’m a sucker for a pen and this writes beautifully though it does need to be quite thick paper so it doesn’t bleed through! I managed to grab a five-pack from the reduced section in WHSmiths so it’s well worth keeping an eye out in places like there or supermarkets.

Easter paper tape.

Tiger Easter Paper Tape - Fab Five - February Favourites - A Whole Latte Love Blog

How cute are these little easter decorative tapes? A little three-pack that have brought a fun little pop to my easter post this year! I’ll be sad when Easter’s over and I have to reture this green bunny bunting tape until next year! I got this set for £2 in Tiger.

Fluro pink travellers notebook.

Fluro Pink Travellers Notebook - Fab Five - February Favourites - A Whole Latte Love Blog

I had been lusting after the fabric fauxdoris from Lyra and Co for ages, uhming and ahhing over whether or not to get one… I loved the travellers notebook style and some of the fabrics were lovely BUT I had been wanting a leather or leather-look one for some time before that. Then this beauty popped up for sale on a Facebook group I’m a member of for a tenner and I snapped it up. I’m still getting the hang of the system and I’ve subscribed to a monthly stationary kit that’s specific to this size to help inspire me on how to make it beautiful. It currently travels around in my handbag with me as my bullet journal and notebook.

Three Ingredient Casserole for Busy Parents

Who doesn’t love a quick and easy dinner? Well… when I say quick, I of course mean quick to prepare as this is an ideal slow-cooker meal!!

This is my favourite meal to make when it’s cold out and I know I’m going to be busy. It takes a few minutes to prepare, a few hours in the slow cooker and is absolutely delicious! This is the perfect meal for days when M has swimming, a great dish to come home to!

It’s important to point out that in the interest of speed and convenience this is not the most cost-effective recipe for this type of meal. I will include price per portion at the end however it is the most cost effective way for me personally (we’re not here enough to make use out of whole and individual vegetables… a lot would go to waste).

You’ll need…

  • Enough chicken for how many you’re cooking for; I’ve used three chicken breasts that I buy frozen however you could use a cheaper cut such as a thigh which is very flavoursome.
  • Ready-made chicken gravy.
  • One bag casserole vegetables.

Diced Chicken - Three Ingrediant Casserole - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Defrost (if frozen) and dice your chicken before tossing it in a frying pan with a little oil to brown before adding your vegetables for a further two minutes.

Add vegetables - Three Ingrediant Casserole - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Place your chicken and vegetables along with the pre-made gravy into your slow cooker, stir and cook on low for four hours. If you’re adding dumplings (I love the convenience of frozen ones) then place them on top an hour before serving. You can transfer over to the oven to make them crispy if you like (I’m quite fond of a soggy dumpling)!

Slow Cooker - Three Ingrediant Casserole - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Serve with dumplings, yokrshires and/or mash! Voila! Super easy, super simple, super delicious!

Three Ingrediant Casserole - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Cost per portion without dumplings: 80p.

Spend It, Save It, Make It – March


Spend It Save It Make It - March - A Whole Latte Love Blog

#slacking on the blog again:/

Anywho…on to the March finances, you can read last month’s post here!

Spend It – Driving lessons.

Weirdly had my cheque and forms returned as I apparently missed the deadline? So that’s all gone back to be done again…

Total spend £0.

Save It – Passport.

Didn’t manage to save the £40 for half of my passport unfortunately.

Total save £0.

Make It – Mystery Shopping.

This has been going quite well! I’m loving getting free stuff and getting paid to do it. As I have a background in retail hospitality and management I quite like going in undercover!

Total make £41.

So that was how I did in February… badly, huh!? So March is going to be a month of small goals…

Spend It.

  • We’re hitting Legoland at the end of the month and I need a new backpack to haul around. I’m budgeting £20 (as buying cheap when you want to carry heavy stuff is such a false economy)… I’m aiming for pretty and functional rather than fashionable!
  • Easter is a-coming! I’m budgeting £15 for chocolate-related goodies.

Save It.

  • I have a free ticket for M for Legoland and T is free so I only have to pay for myself on the gate… plus gift shop treats, a pre-packed picnic and snacks…I’m budgeting £120 (£54 for entry, £40 for gift shop and £26 for picnic and snacks).

Make It.

  • Now that T is settled in nursery I’ve turned my attention to looking for a part-time job. I already work part-time from home but I don’t love it the way that I used to love my old job as a barista trainer and hospitality wench. I miss the company, I miss being busy and I miss being more than mummy. I’d love to find myself a small, part-time job to stop me going crazy… and eating all the biscuits!!

Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how I get on!


Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings

It was half term recently! Hands up if you’re glad it’s over…?!

I’m joking, of course… I had a great time with M who I don’t see so much anymore which was lovely. I only had them half of the week but we managed to pack in a fair amount; waiting in for the British Gas man (always fun), swimming, a meal out and a trip to one of the local Aquariums!

On the Train - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love

We headed over to Hastings on the train from Eastbourne to check out the Blue Reef Aquarium. I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap it was; booking online I cost £7 and M £4.95 (T being under 3 meant he was free)! With the additional and optional cost of a guidebook and 70p online booking fee it cost me £15.64 for the three of us, a saving for £3.30 on the door price. I thought that was a bit of a bargain! The train ride was only half an hour and then the walk from the station to the aquarium via the seafront was a nice twenty-minutes (though a little bit windy).

Map - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

What's On - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

I’ve never been to a small aquarium such as this before, in September we visited the Sea Life Centre in Brighton (T has a huge fascination with fish which is why we keep ending up doing fish things) and so wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to Blue Reef. It was smaller than I thought it would be. There was a good selection of fish, however and there appeared to be a good schedule of activities and talks (though sadly we didn’t get to see any of them). The children were given a quiz sheet at the front desk which worked like a scratch card… they were to scratch off the fish-shape that they thought was the answer to see if they were right. It was a cute idea, however somewhat confusing as they weren’t in order on the page as you were going around.

Inside - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

One thing I did like is that when you enter, you can leave your pushchairs in the main lobby and also the gigantic stack of children’s step-stools. These are all basic plastic toddler steps that you would buy from the supermarket for your child to use the toilet, however they were invaluable and a clever idea when it came to little people getting a good view of the fish! We grabbed one for each of them (pink and blue… of course…) and headed off to see some fish!!

Rays - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

We had a little fish-wish list (that has made me giggle no end)…! Which was…

  • M wanted to see seahorses.
  • T wanted to see turtles.
  • I wanted to see a shark.

We got to see everything that was on our list plus lionfish, rays and a variety of jungle reptiles such as a python (shudder) and a bearded dragon. I found the octopus fascinating (even though it made me jump when it popped up in front of me) though the children weren’t so keen and much preferred the clown fish.

Fish - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Octopus - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Clown Fish - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

Tunnel Fish - Blue Reef Aquairum Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

The absolute highlight of the aquarium was the walk-through tunnel where fish swam around and above you. We could’ve easily stood and watched them for hours as every way we turned we spotted something new!

Undersea Tunnel - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

We didn’t get to experience the café as we already had plans for lunch, however the gift shop was quite reasonably priced for an attraction with T choosing a rubber shark and M one of those handheld water ring toss games… at about £3 each. Blue Reef is a great budget-friendly activity if you’re in the area and looking for something to fill half a day; tickets are valid for the whole day so you are able to come and go to attend talks and feedings however I think it would be quite boring to wait around there all day.

Lunch at Eat @ The Stade - Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings - Review - A Whole Latte Love Blog

We had lunch at “Eat @ The Stade”, a great child-friendly café on Hastings seafront.

If you’re in Sussex and looking for a day-long activity then Drusillas Zoo Park in Alfriston or Paradise Park in Newhaven might be better suited.

5 Things… To Teach My Daughter

Having children is a big responsibility.


We all know this… but it’s so much more than keeping them alive and teaching them the basics… and anyway… what is the basics? Talking, using the toilet, eating with a knife and fork. Life is so busy that I find myself slipping and slacking more and more on things that perhaps aren’t so vital to survival and every day living… but they are essential to life.

As a mother to a little girl I have a special responsibility to teach her to be someone that she will be proud to say ‘this is me’ when she looks at herself. There is so, so much pressure these days to be perfect; I feel like everywhere we turn, someone is ready there to judge us…

  • Too thin.
  • Too fat.
  • Too tall.
  • Too short.
  • Curly hair.
  • Strait hair.
  • You’re a girl that likes ‘boys’ things.
  • You’re a girl who likes ‘girls’ things.

It is tiring. It is hard work… and it is difficult to explain to a five-year-old girl that whatever other people think really isn’t important… in most circumstances. I could write an entire post (and probably will) about why ranty mothers (because it’s almost always women) who moan on about gender neutral toys and clothes really grind my gears and make me want to quit humanity and live in a cave… but today I’m focusing on the positives… and what I, as a woman, as a mother, should be making a priority when it comes to my daughter learning about the world. So here’s a letter to my daughter.

Dear M,

Darling, growing up is hard… I’m not going to lie to you. We don’t do lies, you know that’s the rule. We don’t tell stories… so I won’t start now. I’ll be honest… you will face things that will be tough but it’s important to remember that nothing worth having comes easy. Always know that I have your back and remember these five things…

How you look…

Some people will like the way you look, some people won’t… either way, it’s okay. I love your curly hair. I wish my curls were as curly as yours. People will touch them, and talk about them, good and bad, all the time. Learn to deal with it or learn to love it… there is no other option. Whatever you choose to do or say remember… be polite. You are beautiful but you won’t be for everyone… never let anyone who doesn’t like the way you look convince you that you don’t either! For every one that doesn’t there will be ten who do!

Love what you love…

People will always try to put you into a box and tell you what is and isn’t okay. As long as it’s not hurting anybody… it’s okay. If you love it then we’ll probably love it too.

Don’t be a quitter…

I have quit many things in my life, I’m not about to let you do the same. There is a time for giving in and there is a time for pushing… we will figure out together along the way what each thing is.

Always be kind…

Nastiness gets nowhere. Unkind things help no one. Always be kind and always be honest… if you can’t be both… be quiet.

Any problem can be solved…

No matter what happens, no matter how bad you think a situation is, there’s going to be an answer! Never stay silent… even if you’re scared. Things can be fixed, we will always find a solution, you don’t need to be afraid.

Love always,


Mummy and M - 5 things to teach my daughter - A Whole Latte Love

Spend It. Save It. Make It. – February


Phew!! Where did January go? I feel like I simply blinked and missed it which seems crazy! I feel like it was really busy…but when I think back, nothing stands out really as being overly time consuming!

Anyways…on to January’s financial adventures! I set myself a few small goals last month, as I do every month. You can view the original post here or you can carry on reading to see how I got on…

Spent It – buy bunk beds.

I ended up moving T back into his own room because his poor sleeping was disrupting M at night and then I had them both kicking off which was hell. So I decided to get T his very own big boy single bed. I ordered a second-hand (but less than a year old and in fantastic condition) from eBay, a brand new mattress (also from eBay) and then all new bedding from ASDA. It took a couple of days to receive and collect everything but finally on Thursday he got to spend his first night in his new, big boy RACING CAR (!!!!) bed! How that’s going is a whole separate post…!

  • Bed: £65
  • Mattress: £40
  • Mattress protector/topper: £6
  • Duvet set: £10
  • Bottom sheet: £6
  • Pillow: £3 for two
  • Duvet: £6

Total spend £126 #bargain.

Saved It – half cost of passport (£40) and money saved on grocery delivery saver.

Instead of saving the £40 for half of my passport I ended up spending £32 on applying for my provisional driver’s license as my need to drive is greater than my need for a holiday (sadly). I’m still spending less than £40 a week on our groceries and even with a £2 a week delivery charge I’m still spending less than I would’ve using the delivery saver.

I also saved money from what I had budgeted for the new bed!

Total save £30 (on delivery saver). £124 saved from £250 budgeted for new bed and bedding.

Made It – Ebay listings.

Yeeeeeeeah…I’ve still not got around to that (mainly because some of the things I’ve kept to bulk up the gifting cupboard).

Total make £0.

Sooooooo…onto February!!

Spend It.

  • I need to book my first lot of driving lessons. I’m expecting to pay £35 for the last half of this month.

Save It.

  • Back to saving for the passport…I’m aiming for £40 again!

Make It.

  • I’ve just started up as a mystery shopper and awaiting the payments on my first assignments that I’ve completed.

Don’t forget to check back next month to find out how I get on!