My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What's in a name?

The story behind our names

Our little blog has been going for quite some time now, so I thought it would be nice to write a little about how Beastie Boo, Plum and I got our names. Not our real names, but those that you all know us by, and those that seem to have stuck at home with mummy and daddy too!

This is me. I'm Munchkin, and mummy said I am the smile behind our little blog! Mummy started writing when I was just little and it was just me, mummy and daddy. It's hard to remember life before Beastie Boo now. Mummy and daddy have always called me Munchkin. Variations include Munch and Munchy Moo. I answer to all three! My nickname, in case you haven't made the connection, is the one behind the name of our blog. I am 4 years old, and therefore our home is MY patch! I like to think that I make the rules around here. Mummy and daddy just think they do! Hence, our little place on the blogosphere was named The Hart of the Munchkin Patch, with Hart not being a spelling mistake, but our surname.

Munchkin Hart ... that's me!

This is Beastie Boo. She is my little sister. There are 2 years and 9 months between us. She was nicknamed Beastie when she was just a few hours old as she would chew on her fist and growl as she did so. The nurses at the hospital were convinced that she was born teething ... but we knew it was just because she was our little monster! Variations of Beastie's name are The Beast and Rosie Posie Beastie Boo (<-- that one was all my idea!), but she is most commonly called Beastie Boo by all of us! And every day, she continues to live up to the name!

This is the most recent addition to my our Patch.
This is Plum!
Plum was born just before Christmas, meaning there are 4 years and 3 months between me and him, and just 18 months between him and Beastie. When mummy and daddy first told me that I was going to get another little recruitminion, brother or sister, I asked lots of questions. I needed to know everything! Being a whole 18 months older than I was when my first little sibling was in mummy's tummy, I was much more interested about what was going on, and a lot more aware of what to expect. One of the things I liked to know was how big our baby was getting. Right back at the beginning, when mummy and daddy shared their pregnancy news with me for the first time, mummy told me baby was the size of a plum. A tiny plum. Our Baby Plum. And so it stuck. Right from very early on in mummy's pregnancy, Plum was known as ... Plum! Variations of his name include Plumlet and Charlie Plum
I think it suits him!

So there we have it. The stories behind our names.

Do you have any nickname tales ...?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Penny Pinching as a Pair ...

... Can being in a relationship bring financial benefits?

Picture this ... 9 years ago, before the babies came, before the pooch became a part of our lives, and before me and The Man rented our first home as a couple. Seems like a whole lifetime ago now. We lived in separate properties. We used our own selected utility suppliers, did our own weekly food shops, paid our own rates and bills. We lived 30 miles apart, but would spend money to travel to one another regularly, be it by car or public transport. We would enjoy separate holidays and run up hefty phone bills when we were apart. Looking back, this seems crazy. I wouldn't like to calculate the amount of money we spent between us on general living expenses, let alone the luxuries. So maybe yes, there is a lot of truth in the theory that living together as a couple can reap many financial benefits. 

I suppose it makes sense really. 1 lot of rent/mortgage to pay, shared energy bills, all our utilities under one roof, a shared weekly shop, no 30 mile distance to travel several times each week and no costly phone bills. Yes, independence can be nice ... but lonely. The freedom can be liberating ... but unnecessarily costly!

Next time me and The Man fall out, I'll be referring back to the below infographic and reminding him ...

You're not getting rid of me ... It's too expensive!!!

Have a look and see what you think. Maybe cohabiting is the way forward after all!

Find out about how to get a cheaper electricity deal

This GUEST post is in association with, with information supplied by, OVO Energy

Friday, 21 February 2014

Rain, Sun or Snow ... We're jumping around in Muddy Puddles!

The boots are ON ...!!

Everyone loves jumping in muddy puddles!
Especially me!!

So when mummy told me there was a company online called Muddy Puddles, I needed to know more! Muddy Puddles sells everything I could ever need to enjoy the outdoors, whatever the weather.

"We want to celebrate old fashioned adventures like stuck in the mud and making dens, tadpole collecting and bonfire building."

These are all things I love to do and wearing suitable clothing and footwear for such adventures is very important.

"Muddy Puddles leapt into life on a farm in Devon in 1994 when a Mum wanted to give her children the freedom to make a great big mess in the great outdoors without getting cold, wet and miserable."

With this in mind, mummy and I sat down together annd set ourselves a little task. We wanted to create a wish list of items from the Muddy Puddles website which would include clothing suitable for me to enjoy all my favourite outdoor activities. I even Here is what we came up with ...

Activity #1
Puddle Jumping

This looks like the perfect outfit for jumping in the biggest puddles! 
The pink Puddleflex Bib n' Brace (1), the pretty Flutterby Wellies (2), the handy PuddlePac Jacket (3), the cosy Base Layer Leggings (4) and top (6), and the warm, fleecy pink Welly Liners (5). This kit would surely keep me warm and dry in the rain. Now to find matching gear for mummy so she stays dry when she joins me!!

Activity #2
Building Snowmen!

They say we're due snow!! I hope they're right. I love the snow. Building snowmen, throwing snowballs, jumping in the fresh, untouched snow ... what's not to love?! However, I also like staying warm in the snow. No one likes going indoors after building the biggest snowman in the world with red, stinging fingers. That's what we had in mind when we put together this next part of our Wish List ...

This lovely little lot is bound to keep me from frosty fingers and toes whilst I'm building snowmen and throwing snowballs at daddy! The water and wind resistant Arctic Ski Trousers (1), the Glacier Striped Base Layer Leggings and Top (2 and 3), this lovely, wooly Chunky Knit Bobble Hat (4), the nice and thick Arctic Performance Mittens (5), the Cosy Socks (which come in a pack of 2 pairs) (6), the lovely pink Snow Puddleboots (7) and the snug and stylish Polar Patterned Ski Jacket (8) together make a perfect combination. Here, I have the exact outfit needed to ensure I have many hours of snowy fun. It makes me want the snow to come NOW!! What's more, everything in this part of our Wish List is reduced by up to 70%! Mummy was really impressed with some of the bargains that are live and in stock on the site at the moment. She even said, "We may have to get you one of those", for more than one product! Up to 70% off - an example being the Polar Patterned Ski Jacket here that I've picked ... mummy said it's a brilliant bargain as it has been reduced from £40.00 to £18.00! 

Bring on the snow is what I say!!

Activity #3
Kite Flying!

When it's windy, usually in the Autumn, I love to go kite flying. I went for the first time last year and had so much fun! But it was cold ... very cold. Muddy Puddles have a great range of items that would have been perfect for an afternoon of kite flying ...

We chose these lovely items because they are nice and warm, yet not too bulky or restricting meaning I would be nice and comfortable when flying my kite! Here we have the Fandango Pink Reversible Trousers (1), the Pretty Pictures Top (2), the pink Cross Terrain Boots and the Fandango Pink Reversible Jacket (4). I love this outfit. I think it's pretty cool!

Activity #4
Building Sandcastles

No Summer is complete unless I have been somewhere to build sandcastles. Because if I don't build sandcastles, I can't stamp on them sending the sand flying everywhere! You'd think from their name that Muddy Puddles wouldn't stock items that are suitable for my 4th favourite activity, but they do! This is the final part of my Wish List ...

I'll be the best dressed at the seaside this Summer, that's for sure!! Keeping me cool and stylish on the beach here, we have chosen the Girls Seahorse Sunsafe Set with hat (1) for those very hot days when the sun is extra strong, the Girls Seahorse Swimsuit (3) for those hot days spent in the shade, the pretty Sweetheart Sun Sandals (2), the stylish Bloc Capricorn Sunglasses (4), and to carry all my new beach gear, I have chosen the Trunki PaddlePak Octopus 7ltr Backpack (5)

Why don't you pop over to Muddy Puddles yourself and take a look at the fantastic items they have to offer. There's loads of stuff for boys too, as well as items suitable for the younger adventurers meaning Beastie Boo and Plum would be able to join me on my special days out! 

Mummy had to remove me from the laptop as I kept adding items to our 'Backpack' (Muddy Puddles' answer to the Shopping Cart!) Delivery is a fixed charge of £3.95 to all UK Mainland addresses, or £4.95 for 1st Class Delivery if, like me, you're impatient and want your order extra quickly! And this delivery charge is per order! So I could order all 4 of my Wish Lists here and only pay the one delivery charge! Awesome! 

On top of all this, Muddy Puddles are currently offering 10% off EVERYTHING including sale items when you spend £30 or more (discount will automatically be applied at Checkout) 

What's not to love ...?
Now off to find mummy's credit card ...

Links in association with Muddy Puddles

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Starting the year with the best intentions ...

... Starting the year with Kalixa Pay!

January - that time of year when 'the blues' are referred to more often than in any other month!

February - the month spent recovering from January!

The rise and recline of Christmas, the build-up and come down of the new year, the creation and dismissal of resolutions, and the extra-long period between pay packets. January, to some, can be pretty grim, and February can be rather depressing as we try to pick up the pieces left from the previous month.

The man was last in receipt of a pay cheque before Christmas. The 20th December, 2013. Whilst this was very welcome at the time, with it arriving just 5 days before Christmas Day, and only 3 days before the birth of Baby Plum, as we journey deeper into the month of January, the pennies are rapidly disappearing! We have found that we have needed to stick to an extra strict and tight budget during the last couple of weeks in particular, which, with three young children, is not always easy! The wage slip that finally arrived a couple of days ago was extremely welcome ... although already accounted for in its majority!!

When I was looking at different ways to help a family with children stick to a budget, I came across a number of suggestions, 'solutions' and quick-fix ideas which all claim that they will make your life more financially stable and your wallet less empty! However, I don't believe there is a better piece of advice available than that which offers you the chance to improve your financial situation by managing your own monthly budget more effectively. Loans ... they come with hefty interest rates. Accountants ... they come with annual fees. Doorstep lending ... don't even get me started!!! 

Why not use the Kalixa Pay prepaid MasterCard® to help you stick to your 2014 budget - leaving you to fully embrace all that the New Year has to offer?
Kalixa Pay is perfect for anyone looking for a simple and effective way to pay, wherever, whenever…. this simple payment solution can be used both instore and online, and abroad too, meaning you can shop securely wherever you are – whether that’s from the sofa, on the weekly shop or taking advantage of the last of the January sales. Simply switching from your usual debit card to a Kalixa Pay prepaid MasterCard can make a big difference. It makes budgeting easier by sending you a free email or SMS alert every time you use your card (for purchases over £5) detailing what you have spent and your updated account balance ensuring you always keep on track of your spending!

The account includes an online portal (eWallet) so you can keep an eye on where your money is going – and perhaps more importantly, how much is left. Additionally, the card has no overdraft facility; so at the start of the week, or month, simply transfer the money you wish to spend, perhaps in line with your new streamlined monthly budget, and rest assured that you cannot exceed it. And best of all you will not be stung by expensive overdraft charges.

If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, as your Kalixa Pay account is not linked to your main bank account, even if the worst does happen and your card is cloned or stolen, you will not lose your entire bank balance. If you stick to your budget for even a few weeks, you will quickly begin to see your 
finances improve! 

The Kalixa prepaid Mastercard is also a great idea if you are getting away on holiday this year. We are hoping to manage a holiday as a family next year, and managing money whilst abroad is always a worry. It always concerns me that it is difficult to keep your cash safe whilst spending time in foreign countries. I suppose that is why so many people opt for using either travellers cheques or credit/debit cards for those mid holiday purchases.

The Kalixa Pay prepaid MasterCard® gives you a simple solution to spending both at home and abroad. With zero foreign exchange fees and the most competitive rates on the market, it allows you to top up with one currency and spend in any giving you total flexibility and convenience. Ideal for families, travellers and business people alike, Kalixa Pay is perfect for anyone looking for a simple and effective way to pay, wherever, whenever.
If you’re planning a pick me up holiday to help treat the January blues and want to make sure you make the most of your money then look no further. Kalixa Pay offers the most competitive foreign exchange rates on the market, and unlike other travel money cards you will not be charged any foreign exchange fees, transaction charges or commission on any purchases you make while abroad.

This simple payment solution is perfect for travellers who need multiple currencies during one trip or for those who travel frequently to different locations. Kalixa Pay enables you to pay securely in any currency, both online and at over 36 million locations worldwide, eliminating the hassle of carrying and exchanging cash. Simply top up your card and you are ready to begin your worldwide adventure. Best of all, if you do need cash on your travels you can also use your Kalixa Pay card to withdraw your money at over 1.2 million ATM’s worldwide. Once your trip is over, unlike other prepaid travel money cards, if there is money left on your card you won’t be charged for spending and you do not have to worry about the exchange rates involved in converting your money back to Pounds Sterling again. You can simply continue using your card to withdraw cash and make purchases on your card 
at over 36 million sales points. No fees, no hassle.

I really do like the sound of this idea, as you are shelling out a very minimal, one-time payment of £6.95 for the card, and then that's it. No more charges, fees or hidden costs. You can then 'load' the card with your budget each month, and be safe in the knowledge that you're not spending the money that has been put aside for bills and other commitments, and you are not living above and beyond your means at any time.

Hmmm ... better budgeting ...?
Maybe I'll surprise myself this year by sticking to a new year resolution after all?! 

The Kalixa Pay prepaid MasterCard, including the eWallet service, is available for a one-off payment of £6.95. 

For more information and to register for your Kalixa Pay MasterCard visit https://www.kalixa.com/Pay.

In association with Kalixa Pay