Kids go Free over the Summer with CBeebies Magazine

cbeebies kids go free offers

There is much excitement in Casa Costello tonight – tomorrow sees us trooping off to Alton Towers for the day courtesy of CBeebies Magazine. I’m solo parenting (with a little help from my niece) as Mr C has got to work, but looking forward to it nonetheless.

Little Miss T, Violet and I are attending an event prior to going into the main theme park, hosted by CBeebies Magazine – CBeebies Magazine has come up with the genius offer to giveaway free child tickets to major kids attractions in the UK over the summer. I can honestly say that ‘Operation Keep The Kids Entertained Over Summer’ is in full swing here – every night, my 3 ask where we are off to tomorrow? We’ve had to have a couple of home days this week as we have been struck by the Bug of Doom but fingers crossed all that is over!

Every issue of CBeebies Magazine from now until 7th October will have 2 tokens for kids to go free at selected locations: See below for more details – there’s massive savings to be had! The magazine only costs £2.99 to buy!

• Issue 410 (30th July) – Chessington World of Adventures – Save £68 (£34 per ticket)
• Issue 411 (13th Aug) – Alton Towers Resort inc. CBeebies Land – Save £86.40 (£43.20 per ticket)
• Issue 412 (27th Aug) – Warwick Castle – Save £39.60 (£19.80 per ticket)
• Issue 413 (10th Sept) – Legoland and Legoland Discovery Centre – Save £82.80 (£41.40 per ticket)
• Issue 414 (24th Sept) – Sealife Centres and Seal sanctuaries – Save £39 (£19.50 per ticket)

Some terms & conditions apply

So that’s it for now – I’ll feed back how we got on at Alton Towers. We’re due to meet one of the CBeebies characters tomorrow … Tara would love it to be Topsy & Tim (whoever they are!). I think Vi would like Nina (with or without her neurons) and I wouldn’t complain at Mr Bloom (as long as he’s scrubbed his nails!). Knowing my luck it’ll be Tree Fu Tom! 😉

Brilliant blog posts on

Crime & Underpants

curly haired Tara

When you read on, you’ll know why I couldn’t put a photo of today’s incident up!

Now that’s a catchy title? Nope, this isn’t a recipe containing undies *ponders if they would work?*. This is a post to give you just a little window into our world this week.

I try to add the odd snippet of info into my recipe posts but every now and then, a week comes along that necessitates a post all of its own.

Let’s start with Monday Morning – always a joy. Not especially when you open the front door to find your car and your Mother-in-laws have been broken into. No sign of entry, just a holy mess where everything has been ransacked. And a missing purse. Don’t judge, we ALL forget things in our car sometimes?

The Police arrive most puzzled that the car we are adamant we locked (we remember doing it when I got home from Bristol at 10.30 the night before) has been opened. Before long, it appears that 11 other neighbours on our cul-de-sac have also had their locked cars broken into.

We are a veritable Wisteria Lane. Mr PC looked positively bemused when we explained that EVERYONE knows each other in our street and we have a Facebook page to prove it.

The long and short of it is, they caught the buggers. Yay, Police! They have returned some property that they found in their house but not unfortunately the iPod that I told the police was white – how was I supposed to know its black?

Mr Criminal has been sentenced today. He has a curfew and has to stay in his house (probably listening to my iPod) between the hours of 8pm and 7am. Bet that made him think twice *cough*

And so onto other news …

The Jehovah’s Witnesses were around today. They mustn’t think we have had enough uninvited guests around our way this week.

Tara beat me to answering the door. Dressed ONLY in her knickers.

For once the JW’s bade a hasty retreat after looking at toddler T strutting her undies.

It was only when I got in the house, I realised she had 3 Happy Land figures stuffed down her knickers.

Why? Because she says she’s a boy!

I. Give. Up.

I’m adding this post to the new look Wot So Funee – This week we are being hosted by Nicki from Stressy Mummy . I’m also somewhat big-headedly adding it to

Wot So Funee?Brilliant blog posts on

Food Technology – The start of a new era

There is great excitement in the Costello household this evening. Tomorrow sees the 11yo’s first ever practical Food Tech class (At school – obviously the 11 years that I’ve been trying to teach her in the kitchen don’t count!) She is beyond excited and has been rabbiting on about this day since Year 5 of primary school. No idea where she gets her obsession about food from. *cough*

I’ve had my instructions. I was given my shopping list. I have made her promise NEVER to be one of those kids that tells me at 10PM the night before that she needs 18 ingredients that we don’t have.

I can now reveal what they are making …what they had a 2 hour theory lesson to prepare for last week … what all the excitement is about … They are making (Cooking is far too strong a word for this…)

teaching children to cook


Be afraid Gordon Ramsey, be very afraid!

While I am freaking out slightly at the thought of her boiling a kettle (I know! Don’t judge) I’m still rather proud that she’s completely gone to town on her ingredients.

She’s an A* pupil all the way with this one.

Hot Chocolate

with Whipped Cream

With Sprinkles

With Marshmallows

With Gold Spray!

There’s my girl. Look forward to many more updates on the life and times of a school girl cookery lessons – Not least the week when they make trifle using Angel Delight instead of custard. I think the cat may eat that week’s installment 😉

Body Parts – Wots so Funee

funny children

What do you call this? A belly button? A tummy button? Navel (Eew!)

Apparently in our house. we have a new word for it – Tara has this week become obsessed with showing everyone her BELLY BOOB!!

We’ve had a few alternative names for body parts over the years – Violet at 7 still calls her big toes, her THUMB TOE. I admit I quite like it and am in no rush for her to change its name.

I’m sure most kids also get mixed up between their Shoulders and their Elbows.

Do you have any Body Parts that have unusual names in your house – Clean Names Only Please!!!

I’m joining in this week with Helen at Actually Mummy with Wots So Funee.

Wot So Funee?

Last night in our house …

Last night in our kitchen when I’m trying to make a cake …

Daughter: “Mum, what is Tou-rex?”

Me: *Thinks hard before answering* “Its a condition that sends messages from the brain sometimes making the person do things that they don’t want to do”.

Daughter: *looks puzzled* “Er, like what?”

Me: “Sometimes people with Tourettes have what are known as Ticks where they twitch or move involuntarily. Sometimes they say things they don’t mean to say like swear words. You might meet people with this condition one day but it is very important not to laugh at them. It must be very hard”

Daughter: *Looks even more puzzled* “So what’s this for then?” Points to a box …

Me: “Oh, that’s Trex – I use that for greasing cake tins!”

Just when I was pleased with how grown up a conversation we were having!

The difference between Trex and Tourettes

I’m joining in this week with the lovely Helen over at Actually Mummy…

Wot So Funee?

The Rules of Trick or Treating …

The obligatory picture of Tara with an axe

The obligatory picture of Tara with an axe


…or ‘How Not To Behave WHen Trick or Treating’.

I’ll admit I’m a miserable git when it comes to Halloween. I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief when its over. We sort of ‘do Halloween’ without ‘doing Halloween’ if that makes sense.

I could harp on about how awful it is celebrating spooks and evil beings (that good old Catholic upbringing coming in again) but there’s not much point. I think each to their own, if you want to celebrate Halloween, go ahead – have a fabulous night! We do carve pumpkins and the girls make their own decorations for the house, which have been brilliant this year. See, I’m not totally miserable!

One thing I cannot abide though, is Trick or Treating. Its not just the accepting sweets from a stranger thing, whilst teaching our kids about stranger danger – although that is a jolly good point. I find it hard to think of something I’d like less than to drag the kids around the streets, knocking on people’s doors.

Before you start thinking that my kids are deprived …they have all been to a party tonight (Tara dressed as Tinkerbell, but what does a 2yo know?) and I’ve given them so many sweets myself that the dentist will be a-knocking tomorrow.

Some people get Trick or Treating so wrong though. I’ve seen it all here tonight. Here’s my guide on How not to Trick or Treat…

  • Silence – I’ve answered the door to more kids standing there looking terrified than to anyone saying ‘Trick or Treat’. Parents, tell your kids to at least have some manners and say hello at the door.
  • Say Thank You – nuff said!
  • Dress up properly – A school uniform with a Scream mask does not make a costume.
  • Too Scary – This is a message to the adults. There is absolutely no need to walk around with a face like you’ve just stepped out of Seattle Grace ER.
  • Adults, you don’t need to hold out your hand for sweets – If you are older than 16 its just sad!
  • Don’t say, “We’re not from round ere. We’d get the cr@p beaten out of us round our way”. I kid you not, a woman said it to me tonight. My kids are still stunned.
  • Don’t also say, “Keep away from that cat, Lad” “He can’t stand cats. Hates ’em!” – Got news for you, love. That cat lives here and is lovely. You don’t and you’re not. (And I don’t know if her son is really called Lad)
  • If you call round after 8PM and wake my kids up, you’ll end up with the dregs of the sweets that we’ve been saving from party bags since last October.

And so its over for another year. I’ve got no more eyeliner left from drawing spiders on the kid’s faces and I’m off to eat my own body weight in Haribo. Happy Halloween!

Center Parcs Competition – What we like to do together

How to give yourself a stressful day…Wake up and decide to enter the Center Parcs Challenge to become one of their Family bloggers by creating a one minute video.

Doesn’t sound too scary? Not unless you have never even used the video function on your camera before, never mind edited any video on the computer. I didn’t even know we had a video function until this morning!

I have talked on here before about how much we love going to Center Parcs and have spent many a happy week at both the Whinfell and Sherwood Forest sites. Millie & Violet both frequently mention their favourite holidays there – Could be something to do with the non-stop swimming? They completely got behind our ambition to be Center Parcs bloggers – Violet even told the checkout lady in Costco this afternoon that we were making a video for CP as we were going to win a free holiday! High hopes of our video making skills 😉

But here’s our offering…a few hours later. We actually had tons of fun discovering what the girls like doing together and even after filming had finished, they stayed outside GETTING ALONG!!

We tried to be clever and come up with a selection of activities that spell out C E N T E R P A R C S – Get it?

So what did I learn from today?

  • The kids REALLY want to go back to Center Parcs – Whinfell is our preferred location but Sherwood would be great too!
  • Tara will only do so much performing if her fluffy poodle isn’t allowed on set – These child stars eh?
  • The girls do actually get on well with each other
  • I am more of a perfectionist that even I realised – You will never know the faffing I did to get the text and music on that video.
  • I cough A LOT! Several retakes were done!
  • Stephen Speilberg needn’t give up his day job just yet.

So there’s our first foray into video entertainment – we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it – Hope you do too!

How to get children to drink in hot weather

children's drinks

How do you make sure your children drink enough? Especially toddlers? We are in the middle of a heat wave here in the UK (not a sentence I think I’ve ever typed before). We keep hearing about how important it is to keep hydrated. Not a problem when you are an adult but a wilful toddler is very different.

I’m interested to know what tips you have got for getting liquids into your children. Have you any magic potions or implements that work wonders?

Here are the Costello tips for preventing dehydration:

  • We try small portions of drinks and change them often – Its more work and washing up but at least the drinks are fresh and cool and don’t overface the kids.
  • Massive fans of crushed ice in this house. I’ve discovered bought ice for about £1 per bag this year which I love and just bash it in a food bag, wrapped in a clean tea-towel. The children think they are having an exotic cocktail instead of boring old juice.
  • Vary the flavours – we have a fantastic selection of juice flavours and mix and match them. 
  • Tara (aged 2) is into straws – last night she refused to drink unless she had 6 straws in her cup. Once the straws were in, she guzzled 2 whole cups full of juice. Mine is not the place to reason with a 2 year old.
  • We freeze everything! The drinks for school are frozen the night before and defrost in time for lunch. Squeezy yoghurts are still cool by lunchtime if they are frozen when they go in. Smoothies on sticks are great ice lollies.
  • Our children crunch on huge ice cubes – This completely goes through me but they love em and it keeps them quiet for ages!
  • Cheapo shop brand ice-lollies are magnificent value and quick if you’ve not made your own. The rate we are getting through them, we’d never manage to freeze new batches in time. Farmfoods are the best value I’ve seen so far and even branded ones are amazing prices too. (yesterday I got 12 FAB lollies for £1.97)

So, what tips have you got? Long may the heatwave continue but be careful out there. However, judging by the amount of water in the paddling pool Tara has drunk today she should be fine for the next week!

How do you tell your child off?


I hate telling my children off. Really really hate it. Not just because it forces me to admit that sometimes they aren’t the little angels they try to convince me they are. Because I’m never quite sure if I’m doing it right.

Is there a right or wrong way to tell your child off? How do you know if you’ve got the tone right? I’m not talking about the times when it’s really serious and instinct just takes over and you really really need to let them know how serious something is. Like the time my 6yo decided to run into a main road after her ball. Still gives me shivers.

I’m talking about the incidents that you want them to know that they have done wrong, you are really peed off and brassed off that they have done it. I have girls that cry quite easily when they are told off. It always makes me wonder if I’ve overdone it when the tears arrive or whether that is just how they are.

I had an incident today when I really needed to show our 7yo how her behaviour must change. What she is doing isn’t terribly naughty but it isn’t doing her any favours. I had to try to tell her in front of her teacher. Oh the pressure! Do I blast her and make the teacher think I’m not to be messed with? Er no. Do I chicken out and say ill speak with her at home? Er no again, I wanted her to know both the teacher and I agree.

I have to admit I did chicken out a bit and threaten her with wait until I tell your Dad. That’s hilarious- he’s no more scary than me.

I thought I was doing fairly well and then the killer moment came. The little hand that slipped into mine and my heart melted.

So I’m none the wiser. Is shouting considered the correct way or are you losing control if you raise your voice?

If they promise never to do the act again, have you achieved what you set out do?

How do other parents do it? How do you know you are being serious enough? Where did you learn to discipline your children? They certainly never covered this in ante-natal classes!

A Prayer for Madeleine – 6 years on

Today I will be saying a prayer. I won’t be alone in saying a prayer – I’m hoping that all around the world, people will be praying and hoping for the safe return of a very special little girl.

A little girl who turns 10 today and that 6 horrible years ago went missing whilst on holiday in Portugal. A beautiful little girl that should be with her family now, should be in year 5 of school enjoying being one of the biggest in the school, should be enjoying teaching her little sister and brother about what is cool (and what isn’t).

I’m sure there’s not a mother alive, who knows about Madeleine, that doesn’t wish as much as I do, that she is found safe and sound and returned to her family. What that family continue to go through is just unimaginable. 2 year ago, I went to a mass at my local church where Madeleine’s grandparents talked about her and the family – It would take a heartless soul not to be affected by how much she is missed.

The case of the 3 women found in America this week must give hope that this can still be possible.

There’s a huge community of bloggers who are uniting today to keep Madeleine in everyone’s minds and prayers. On Madeleine’s 10th birthday, we are trying to do everything possible to refresh people to keep their eyes open and spread the word that Madeleine is still missing.

There is so much we can do:

  • Put the campaign posters up – in the backs of cars, in shops, in workplaces
  • Use the bookmarks – if you lose bookmarks as often as I do, it might just be the time that the right person picks it up.
  • Use luggage tags – We must keep people in every country looking for her
  • Keep talking about Madeleine – tell our children, be on the lookout
  • Keep RTing, forwarding information on, share FB posts to keep her in the news
  • Keep up to date with news about Madeleine and the campaign – I follow the Official Find Madeleine Campaign on Facebook which is updated regularly by her family.
  • Keep saying your prayers – whoever you pray to, whatever faith you are – it can’t do any harm but can do so much good.