This is a question that pops up every now and then, ‘Mum, can we have a horse?’

Of course, the answer is no. Where would we keep the horse? Who would muck it out? Who would groom it and feed it? I continue with a long list of all of the elements that go into looking after a horse and win the argument hands down. Every time, like a Boss.

However, then my romantic side kicks in and I let my mind wander back to the place when I was 10 years old and asked that very same question to my mum.

What is it about horses that pull on our heartstrings so much?

I have friends who go horseriding and some who have their own horses too; I don’t envy their early morning starts in all weathers and Every. Single. Day. They have to get out of bed before their day starts and visit the stables to give the basic care for their horse weekdays, weekends and high days and holidays too.

How to care for a horse

If we were to get a horse (which we are not) there would be a lot of things to consider beforehand and in order to explain my decision to the twins properly, I took a quick glimpse into what we would need to have in place.

The basics to consider before taking another step are feed like Spillers Feed Balancer for Horses water and shelter. Already at this point, you are clocking up a bill that will make a substantial dent in your monthly outgoings. The Horse and Hound give a great rundown of costs to consider should you be tempted along this path.

Then you will need to think about the space your horse will have to live in and run around in as the animal will need regular exercise in order to stay fit and healthy. Another element that goes into the horse’s wellbeing is company; a horse is an animal that lives in a herd, it thrives in the company of others and it would be cruel to expect it to live on its own.

Talking of health and wellbeing plans will need to be put in place for feet, teeth, worming and a host of other regular checkups that will need to take place and then of course, insurance. Even Baxter our rescue dog is insured.

Mum, can we have a horse?

Now, when the twins ask me that question, I am more prepared. Rather than a flat no, I can go through these areas of care that need to be considered with them and turn the question into a debate which gets them thinking – and arguing – about how to care for a horse. Initially, it all looks very easy but as you dig deeper, you quickly discover that it’s not.

Of course, if you do go ahead, you’ll then have to kit out yourselves with saddles, blankets, riding gear, grooming gear and lessons to ride a horse. I think it might be a good idea to start with a trip to the local stables and a day mucking out before we go any further with the conversation.

What about you? Have you had a debate on owning a horse in your family?

cool gifts for kids

If you’re searching for the perfect gift for a kid’s birthday, you’ll find lots of awesome toys and gadgets on the market. However, with so much choice available it can be difficult knowing which gifts are worth investing in.

If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, here you’ll discover some of the coolest birthday gifts for kids you’ll absolutely want to consider.

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Table

If you’re buying for a younger child, the Vtech Touch ad Learn Activity Table is a fantastic choice. It’s designed to teach kids about all kinds of things from anatomy to letters and geometry to drawing. There’s a number dial touchpad, an LED screen and even a mini radio which plays tunes to complement the lessons being taught.

As an additional bonus, the desk can be folded up into an easel, allowing your kids to draw with chalk. It combines technology with traditional learning and is an awesome gift they’ll love to play with.


If you’re buying for slightly older kids, a hoverboard is a brilliant option. Hoverboards are extremely popular right now and they’re great at boosting motor skills.

There’s a huge range of hoverboards available to suit both boys and girls and they cruise along at slow speeds, so you don’t need to worry too much about them hitting something at speed. They’re one of the priciest gifts on the list, but they’re sure to keep your kids entertained for years.

Mini Hatchimals

Hatchimals have been popular for some time now, but the larger versions can be pretty expensive. If you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank, the mini Hatchimals are definitely worth considering.

Like the larger variations, these mini Hatchimals are designed to hatch when placed in water. There are over 70 different ones to collect and kids love watching them transform before their very eyes.

Kano Computer Kit

If you’re looking for something a little different, you might want to consider the Kano Computer Kit. This very modern gift is said to be as fun to put together as LEGO and it comes with a range of stickers to help your child personalise the computer.

It combines Raspberry PI with attractive, chunky peripherals and once it’s been built, your child will be able to access hours’ worth of entertainment with games and lessons that are designed to help teach them how to code and make apps. It’s a sophisticated and very cool gift that’s perfect for today’s kids.

These are just some of the coolest gifts you’ll want to consider buying for a kid’s birthday. No matter what their age or interests, there’s sure to be something above to match their needs.

Disclosure: Collaborative post

create your own happy book


One compliment can keep me going for a whole month. — Mark Twain (Author)

Compliments always make me feel a bit out of my comfort zone – someone has said something nice about me that I wasn’t expecting and although it makes me squirm a little, it’s in a good way. I am chuffed that person took the time to share that thought with me.

Would you agree with that statement? How do you feel when you are on the receiving end of a compliment?

I also like to give compliments especially to my friends and family or my work colleagues. I think a compliment can really help you, it’s like a turbo boost to your morale and on a bad day it can be all you need to get you through.

YOU, dear reader, are the kindest, nicest person I could wish to have here on my little old blog, thank you for passing by. — Marianne Weekes

Why are compliments good for us?

There have been studies into the effect of giving and receiving compliments. Researchers have found that to the brain, receiving a compliment is as much as a social reward as being given money.

In fact, focusing on and noticing the good qualities in the world around us gives our moods a boost all by itself.

create your own happy book

Create your own happy

Do you know where I found that information? In an awesome book called Create your own happy. Written by Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill and Illustrated by Clare Forrest.

The book has been written for children aged 7 – 11 and is full of activities that help them to learn to be happy no matter what is going on around you. They teach you to be resilient, positive and optimistic, three qualities that are sure to help everyone in life.

The activities are designed to boost happiness and emotional wellbeing with information on why each activity is worthwhile and how it can help change your mood.

The book is split into three parts, Part One is about making yourself happy, Part Two is about making others happy – like giving out compliments and Part Three is about making a happier world which would benefit us all.

Create your own happy teaches kids that they are in control of a huge part of their own happiness, it also reminds them that if they are happy then it’s so much easier to make other people happy.

create your own happy book

Happiness fact

Did you know that happiness is made up of?

50% genes and upbringing
10% life circumstances beyond you, (money, where you live)
40% of things you can control yourself (attitude, relationships, hobbies and activities)

The book has a wonderful collection of quotes that are inspiring and great reminders of what is important in life like this one

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, have enough. — Oprah Winfrey (Actress and TV show host)

create your own happy book

Find Create Your Own Happy on social media

Instagram  and we use #cyohappy


Twitter #cyoHappy

Where to buy Create Your Own Happy

Here is  the link to Amazon

Create Your Own Happy website

Create Your Own Happy

Find out what others think by following the Blogger book tour

Create your own happy blogger trail     Create Your Own Happy Jar 6/9     Create a Laughter Kit         7/9   Be a Happiness Philosopher    8/9   Give Compliments   9/9  Learn to relax 10/9  Create New Life  with  Seed Bombs 11/9 Use Music to change your mood 12/9

www.amummytoo.  Learn about another culture 13/9  Making a calm down jar     14/9  Invent a solution   15/9   Saying thank you 16/9     Snail Mail 17/9  Reduce,  Reuse, Recycle 18/9   Upcycling!   19/9

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this post, all opinions are our own.

school uniform

With 6 years of school uniform now under our belt and 1 year working as a TA in our local primary school, I feel I can talk quite confidently about school lost property. I have been rifling through the lost property bins at school since they started. In Reception, all manner of their clothes and shoes went missing on a very regular basis and as the twins have moved up the school they have continued to forget cardigans on the back of chairs, misplace PE kits when getting changed in class, and one of them even managed to lose one trainer for about six months before it miraculously turned up!

First Day of school year 3

As a TA in Year 4, I was met daily by the lost property bin as it stood outside our classroom. It was overflowing all year around. There were shoes, plimsoles, COATS, ties and an ongoing stream of cardigans and jumpers. I decided to take action, being fully aware as a mother how frustrating it is to continually lose items. On one Open Classroom day just before Easter I asked for the four lost property bins to be brought into the hall and with the help of some of our wonderful students, we laid out all of the items on long tables and invited the parents to come and check for their lost clothes.

We had racks of coats, piles of swimming gear, even a towel! I can’t put a number on the amount of overflowing odd gloves and hats that there were.

school year 4

The most frustrating thing is, a good part of the lost property was NEW.

Fortunately, a fraction of the various garments had been labelled. The names were recognisable and even if we didn’t know the class, our lovely receptionist was able to direct us to the correct owner.

Label your school uniform

school uniform labels

That is the secret to being reunited with your school uniform and not having to go to the shops and pay out lots of money to replace it. Label your school uniform.

You have no idea how much lost property has no name on it!

It is impossible to get a garment back to its correct owner if there is no name inside.

There are many companies out there who produce labelling kits and Korbond has a great TAGIT range. They have iron-on labels for clothes that are washable and tumble dryer safe. They have stick-on labels for shoes that are heat resistant and durable and they have dishwasher safe labels for lunch boxes and water bottles. They also produce a handy laundry marker which has been developed to withstand continuous washing and is perfect for uniform and PE kits.

So, please – on behalf of the lost property bins up and down the country – label your child’s uniform before school starts!

Korbond has a wonderful #backtoschool competition on their Facebook page to win a family ticket for Diggerland UK, pop over and try your luck for a great family day out.

Disclosure: We were sent the TAGIT range for the purpose of this post.

11 + exam

Summer 2018 has been a fantastic school holiday so far but a toughie at the same time. The 11+ exam is set for our first week back to school and the girls decided that they want to have a go so, our summer has been a mixture of fun activities mixed with a lot of studying.

We’ve been going over English and maths, we’ve checked their comprehension skills and we’re taking a look at verbal and non-verbal reasoning, two areas that aren’t covered at school as they’re not part of the national curriculum.

We’ve had tears and tantrums along the way but I’ve got to hand it to them as they apply themselves and are very upset when they don’t get top marks. They have the school they want in mind and are afraid they might not get in. I can’t take the exam for them but I can help them as much as possible to try and make their dream come true.

Husband and I took the decision to not tutor the girls. The cost was a huge part of our choice along with the fact that we didn’t want to push them into doing something that was out of their reach. I couldn’t think of anything worse than gaining a place in a school only to find them struggling to keep up with the class. I certainly don’t want to set them up for failure but I do want the very best for them.

I bought a set of Bond books from Amazon aged 9 – 10. The girls were doing very well and getting 80% and over which was very encouraging. The advice at the back of the book is to go up to the next level if they are getting 80% +. So I did.

Uh-oh. I didn’t know that between the two levels there was such an enormous gap and the girls were coming across work they haven’t even covered yet at school. After a quick online discussion a friend, who is also a tutor, informed me that that level was intended for children in Year 6 who take the exam in January and therefore are slightly ahead. With this knowledge, we started to look at the girls scores in a different light and saw that actually, they were doing well. My friend also advised me to concentrate on the verbal and non verbal reasoning with continued exercise in English and Maths.

Fingers crossed. The twins will sit their exam on 6th September. If they don’t get it, it’s not the end of the world, there are plenty of other great schools out there but for the moment, we’re going for the dream.

Good luck to anyone else who’s going for it.