preparing a place

Preparing a Place

preparing a place

It will be no surprise to most people reading this that I am in middle of moving to a new house. It has been in the pipeline for two years now, ever since we got told that a train was coming through our estate. And as we approach the (hopefully!) last few weeks living here, my heart and mind have become set upon our new house. I have been so excited to start dreaming about the different rooms, what they might look like with our furniture in and how we might decorate them.

One room in particular has been on my heart to get ready as soon as we are there, and that is my boys new bedroom. You see, as much as moving to a new house is stressful for us and emotional, I don’t want the boys to experience that.  Sam was under 1 year old when we moved to our current house so he doesn’t really remember it, but now he is 5 and starting to grasp what is going on. He knows he will get a new room and that he will have to change schools at some point. And as a mother I wanted to help him focus on the positive and exciting parts of moving to a new house. So I started collecting little treats and things for their new room.

This week one of the biggest things I have ordered for their new room has arrived – the bunk beds!! Yes in my insanity the decision has been made for the two boys to share a room and so we also decided to invest in some pretty epic bunk beds (they have steps up the side with drawers in them). But I have also stashed away name signs and new bedding, ideas for how we might decorate it and wallpaper samples. I am preparing a room for my boys that they will hopefully love and feel at home in.

Then on Sunday we were singing a song with the following lyric “In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me” from the Hillsong chorus “I am who you say I am”. My mind raced to the verse in John 14:2 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”. A lovely image of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit came to my mind in that moment.  An image of them preparing me a room in heaven just how I would like it. An image of them researching and doing everything they can to make it the best room for me, so that when I arrive there it is exciting and comforting and homely, and not a scary transition at all.

It will be a big change when we go from living here on Earth to wherever the Father’s House is, so I know that God will do everything possible to make it a joyful transition, just as I am trying to do for my sons as we move to a new house.

contents of tiny treasure box

Mum on a Mission Reviews Tiny Treasures

review of tiny treasures

A few months back Becky from the Treasure Box People got in touch to see if me and my youngest son , Reuben, would be interested in reviewing one of the new “Tiny Treasures” subscription boxes for Pre-school children.  Of course we were so excited!!  Sam absolutely loves his monthly Treasure Box which we now subscribe to (check out my review of it from last year), and it is a special time in our family life when it arrives.  We all gather around it to read the story, chat about it and do the activities together.   But Reuben (who is two years old) often gets frustrated that he can’t join in with all the activities, so we were looking forward to seeing how the Tiny Treasure box would help with this.

treasure boxes The most exciting thing for the boys is that both boxes arrived on the same day, so they both had one to open!!  Reuben’s was lots bigger, but that is mainly because for little kids the parts have to be big so they don’t swallow them.  The box that Reuben received was themed on the story of the Feeding of the 5000.  Included in the box were:


  • A Storybook Bible Board Bookcontents of tiny treasure box
  • A large basket
  • Three small baskets
  • Two wooden fish
  • Ingredients to make salt dough pre-measured out
  • Piece of artificial grass
  • Book of ideas on how to explore the story

One thing to note that is that the Tiny Treasure Boxes are £20 instead of £10, and only come every two months.  But when you include postage in that amount (£2.90 at least for the large boxes) you can see that you are getting value for money.   By signing up you are building up a collection of treasure baskets that your younger children can come back to time and time again to explore each particular story.  The items you receive will not just be a one off activity, but some you can keep and include in your normal toys so that the bible and exploring it becomes part of their normal everyday play.  Isn’t that fantastic!!

open tiny treasure boxReuben was straight into the box pulling out the items and exploring them.  He loves books, so once he found the book we read it straight away.  I was then able to explain what the items in the box related to in the story.  It was only later that day I had chance to read the little book of big ideas and the suggested ways to do it!!  But that’s the beauty of these boxes – you can explore them and the bible story in a way that suits your own little one.

I remember when the Treasure Box Subscription first came out and being gutted that Sam was too young to get one.  Well yes, Sam is now old enough to get the normal Treasure Box, but I love that this Tiny Treasures Box is now available for the younger age.  I would really encourage all parents to think about subscribing, as it is investing in your spiritual parenting and will help you to be intentional with sharing the bible with your kids.  After a year of receiving them just think how many amazing things you will have to explore lots of different stories for years to come!

reuben in tiny treasure box

How do i sign up?

So if you want to sign up, head over to The Treasure Box People’s website.  You can also buy a one off box if you want to give it a try before committing to a regular subscription.

You can also sign up to the regular Treasure Box which is ideal for those over 5 years old.


NOTE: I was sent a Tiny Treasure Box for free in order to review, but all opinions are my own.

Easy2Name bag tags

Mum on a Mission Reviews Easy2Name Labels

Easy2name labels

Calling mothers across the land – you really need to read this blog post!!  Whatever your time allowances and preferences, we all know that if we don’t label every little thing that leaves our house then it WILL, I repeat WILL get lost at school.  I can’t count the number of times my son has left his water bottle, book bag, hat, gloves, plimsolls, etc at school.  You name it, he’s forgotten it.  And luckily I have labelled most things of his.

Easy2Name labelsSo when I got approached by Easy2Name to review their labels I jumped at the chance!!  I have used both iron on and stick on labels in the past for my boys things, but they were quite expensive, so I wanted to see if these would be as good and more affordable.  First off, I loved their website and it breaks down the different types of labels into categories.  This means that whatever your preference you can find the labels you want fast.  I quite like the stick on ones for ease of use on anything and the iron on ones for clothes.


Easy2Name labelsI think these are my over favourites.  They just stick straight onto the care tag inside your kids clothes.  You can also get a cute design to go with the name, and I got two different designs for each of my boys which means that even the youngest one at 2 years old can recognise all of his things, as they have a football on and Sam’s have dinosaurs.  As soon I stuck them on they felt really secure, so I am not at all worried about them coming off.  Other brands have come off in the washing machine, and although I haven’t washed anything with these on yet I don’t think we will have the same problem.  I also think these are really good value for money at only £5.99 for 30 labels.

Easy2Name label

stick on labels and shoe label covers

Easy2Name labelsWe also got sent some normal stick on labels with the kids names really clear on them.  Each child has a separate colour, so again it makes it easy for them to distinguish which is theirs even before they can read. These labels are good for non clothing items such a juice bottles, lunch boxes, and I am even going to try them out next week when my son gets his first pair of glasses.  I also used these when labelling my sons shoes.  I had used another brands stickers in his shoes previously and the text had rubbed off, so when I saw that there were shoe label covers I was ecstatic!!  You just put the stick on label in the shoe and then cover with a shoe label cover.  It will take a while to see if these have worked, but I am hopeful they will stay put.


Another type of label that we received was the easytapes which are iron on versions of the stick on labels.  I know these are a little more labour intensive (they require you to spend a few minutes per label ironing them in), but are a lot more reliable in the washing machine.  I have opted for these inside high wear items such as school jumpers and trousers, and have not been let down.

Bag tags

Easy2Name bag tagsFinally we got sent two bag tags for the boys, each with their symbol on (a football for Reuben and a dinosaur for Sam).  These are my favourite, and Sam’s favourite, labelling item!  We bought one of the official school logo book bags when my son started reception, and as good an idea it seemed at the time it is now a nightmare and every other child has exactly the same bag.  And to make matters worse, the names are hidden under a flap!!  What is that about?  So I love these bag tags as they attach to the handle and make it really easy for Sam to recognise which identical bag is his.  They are also made of similar material to credit cards, so quite durable, and are only £3.50, a bargain!  Maybe he’ll actually come out of school with it now…..

Easy2Name bag tags

Give it a try

I would suggest ordering yourself a selection of the different labels and giving them a try to find your favourite.  Lets face it, they are all going to get used as your kids grow up so it won’t be a waste of money!  Compared to other brands I have tried, I loved Easy2Name’s website, the choice and the options to customise.  The prices also seem a bit more reasonable than other places too, and it is run by a mum who set it up to tackle that age old problem of labelling kids clothes.  So lets support one of our own and get some fab labels at the same time!

2018 Family Bucket List

family bucket list

Do you ever sit down and think about what adventures you’d like to do with your kids?  Rather than just doing the same old thing, and with all the shiny possibilities of 2018 looming bright ahead of us, I thought I would put together a bucket list of things that I’d love to do with my little family.

  1. Visit a Loch in Scotland
  2. Visit the National Coal Mining Museum
  3. Go to a climbing centre
  4. Visit all the local museums in Doncaster, our home town
  5. Go Geocaching
  6. Teach Sam to ride his bike without stabilisers
  7. Decorate the boys bedroom
  8. Spend a whole Saturday in our pyjamas
  9. Toast marshmallows together
  10. Explore a cave
  11. Buy a metal detector and use it on the beach
  12. Make our own ice cream sundaes
  13. Choose a child to sponsor through Compassion
  14. Learn about beekeeping
  15. Fill up our memory box and need a new one
  16. Build a treehouse
  17. Make a sign for our new house
  18. Grow something impressive
  19. Draw a treasure map
  20. Go on the train to a new place and explore together

Share in the comments what things you would put on your family bucket list……

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catch up with joanna may chee

A Catch Up Cuppa with Joanna May Chee

catch up with joanna may chee

I offered all the lovely people that I spoke to a year ago in my first series of cuppa with interviews the chance to catch up and tell us all what they’ve been up to.  Joanna was the first to take me up on the offer, so lets see what’s been going on in her life…..

1. Hey you! Its been a year or so since we last spoke, so remind us a bit about yourself in one sentence…

I’m Joanna, wife to an amazing man, mum to four incredible teens, and I blog at

2. What has happened in the last year for you and your family?

It’s been a huge year. We moved back to UK from Turkey. It’s been a time of adjustment, getting used to English culture again, making new friends and enjoying easy food!

3. Have there been any answers to prayer or moments when you have seen God moving really clearly?

Lots! The six of us arrived back in UK with six suitcases and no home! God miraculously provided a wonderful house, a job for my husband, and schools for our kids. A lovely answer to prayer has been being able to get pets for our kids. We promised them a dog and cat when we moved back to UK but our landlord had a strict ‘no-pet’ policy. Miraculously, after he met us, he allowed us to get a puppy, and now one year later, after many prayers and continued begging from my daughter, he has also allowed us a kitten!

4. How have your kids grown and changed? Has this changed your parenting style?!

It’s been a year of change for our children. Two of them miss their friends in Turkey terribly, and have found it very difficult to settle here. Another, who was very unhappy in Turkey, is thriving here! Our eldest has left home and is hugely enjoying university life. I don’t think our parenting style has necessarily changed but we have had to be very sensitive to our children’s needs, and help our kids through the grief of leaving home and friends, and help them deal with anger and upset, which at times has been directed at us. I have needed to apologise to the two children who have had the toughest time (for uprooting them), and they are slowly becoming happier here.

5. What does the next year hold for you and what can we be praying for?

I’m really excited. Some of my life-long dreams are becoming reality! I’ve always wanted to write a book, and my first book ‘Forever Loved: Eve’s Story’ is going to be published in the next few months. It’s a creative retelling of the Bible story of Eve, focusing on God’s incredible love for Eve (and for us as women). I’ve also just released an online course called Knowing God: Going Deeper. This is a free 3-day course for women who are hungry for more of God. I’m quite nervous about putting it out there as it’s the first time I’ve ever videoed myself, but I really pray it reaches and blesses many women. God’s done so much in my life, and I want to share it.

On top of all that, I’m about to launch a new website – – which will feature my upcoming books and courses and be a devotional resource for women. I’d love you to pray as I put the finishing touches to all these projects, especially to get the book out there soon – there have been many hitches and delays, and it will be amazing to just have it done! Thank you!

6. Have you come across any great resources for mission or teaching our children about the bible that you can share with us all?

A great resource for families in transition (especially going to or from the mission field) is 22 Activities for Families in Transition by Amy Young (scroll down her page to view it). It’s filled with fun activities to help you and your family prepare for and process change. I also recommend Girls Created To Shine – a fun 12-week course in God’s word and the issues girls face today. This course is created by a wonderful friend of mine, and I hugely respect her heart to reach tween girls with God’s truth and love.

7. Finally – show us a pic of your favourite mug!

I don’t actually drink tea or coffee, so this mug gets used more by my daughter! But it’s still a special mug, given to me by my lovely sister-in-law.

sister mug

Its been so great to catch up with you Joanna – praying for this next amazing step in your writing dream x

mug and teapot

A Cuppa With Johanna Baldwin

johanna baldwin

Welcome back to another in my cuppa with series!  I have my tea in hand and am ready to get to know another amazingly creative lady (whose new book I actually won and reviewed on behalf of!) ….

1. Introduce yourself to us in one sentence ….

Hi, I’m Johanna, I’m 33, I have two beautiful children and a very lovely husband, and I’m trying my best to listen to and live out God’s callings for my life.

2. What do you do at the moment and how did “A Really Incredible Feast” come about?

Johanna's familyAt the moment I am a full time mum to John (3 and a half) and Sophie (20 months). I also lead a Roots Group along with my husband Andy as part of our church, have recently joined the team that plans and organises our church’s annual women’s conference (Winter Glory) and will be helping out with the daytime Alpha Course starting at our church in September.

My book of rhyming Bible stories for children, “A Really Incredible Feast” was published by Scripture Union in July this year. I wrote the first two stories over four years ago now, after struggling to find what I was looking for when I wanted to buy a baptism present for the baby of friends who aren’t really believers themselves. There were lots of great Bible story books out there, which I knew that parents who knew Jesus would be keen to read with their children, but I was concerned that any Bible or Bible stories I might give to my friends might just get put on a shelf and forgotten. The children I knew were really into fun, rhyming books like Julia Donaldson’s “The Gruffalo” or “Stick Man” and I wanted something that would grab children’s attention in a similar way, with fun rhymes and rhythms, and great illustrations to engage them in the stories.

Before becoming a mum, I was a children’s speech and language therapist, so I know that hearing and reading rhyme is really good for children’s development of speech, language and literacy, and is a powerful way to help make things memorable. Having been unable to find what I was looking for, I decided to have a go myself. I wrote the first two stories, and sent them off to one publisher, but received a reply to say they weren’t interested. By this stage I was part-way through my first pregnancy, pretty tired and pretty busy, and the project got put to one side for a while.

johanna baldwin and daughterWhen my son was 1 year old, we went to Spring Harvest, which was the first real time out I’d had to reflect and listen to God in a while. In one seminar we were encouraged to write down our ‘dreams from God’ and to think about steps he was calling us to take towards those things. One of my dreams was the rhyming Bible stories idea. Back at home afterwards, I shared this with my church Roots Group, read them the two stories I had written, and they were all really enthusiastic and encouraging. Spurred on by these things, I sent the stories to Scripture Union, and after a long wait, heard that they wanted to use them, but wanted four more stories to create a collection of six.

By this stage my son was 2 years old and I also had a 7 month old baby who was not sleeping at all well! Finding time to write was definitely a challenge, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing each story, and it was really fun to do something that was me ‘being me’ as well as the all consuming sleep deprived mum role! From there, SU found the amazing Hannah Wheeler to do the illustrations, and in July this year it was published! A very surreal feeling for me, seeing my name on the front of a book, but it really is a dream (from God!) come true.

3. Do you have any more books planned for the future?

I’m just starting to have some regular time to sit down and think about/write some more stories. My cousin’s children have requested some stories from the Old Testament next, so I will see what I can come up with! I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to writing some more, as it is such a fun process when it flows well. I’m really hoping that “A Really Incredible Feast” will be popular enough that SU will want to publish some more!

4. How do you include your faith into your work and writing?

I may have answered this in Question 2… but the whole thing has been very much inspired by my love of God, and my desire to be able to help children to enjoy reading about him in order to get to know him better, and to understand how amazing and exciting he is. Each story in “A Really Incredible Feast” is about a miracle that Jesus did, so before starting each one, I spent time reading all of the gospel accounts of the story, thinking carefully about the interesting details, and the ideas and messages I wanted to communicate to the readers, and praying that God would inspire my writing.

5. Do you have any inspiration or encouragement for us?

When I first started thinking about writing the stories, the idea of actually seeing them published felt like a really improbable thing to the rational part of me, and that first rejection was really discouraging, but God kept nudging me and prompting me, and although it felt like a very long process, his timing has been perfect, and it has been so exciting to see this dream come to fruition. I am sure there are many other people out there who could have written these stories just as well, if not better, than me, but nobody had, so I listened to God’s quiet prompting and gave it a try. So I’d like to encourage others to persevere and keep trusting God when things that you believe he is calling you to do take a long time to happen. And also if you see a gap that needs filling, and no-one else is doing it, and you have the skills and can make the time, then give it a go!

6. Please share a photo of your favourite mug!

mug and teapot

Thanks Johanna for sharing that amazing journey of writing your book with us!  You can follow Johanna on twitter @johannarbaldwin , read my review of “A Really Incredible Feast” here or grab your own copy for only £5.99 at

eric says please

Mum on a mission reviews “Eric says please” 

review of eric says please

I really do love seeing all the fantastic resources that are available for us as parent to teach our children more about God.  This week I received another exciting parcel from the Good Book Company.  One of their authors, Dai Hankey, has just released a new book in his Eric series and they wanted to share it with me (yipee!!)

eric says please

The third in the series of Eric books, Eric Says Please is all about learning to ask for help, and through everyday adventures learning more about God’s grace.  Using rhyme and comic style illustrations, the book is an easy and fun read for the younger audience.  It is probably a bit too old for my youngest, who is almost two, but it is perfect for my four year old who is just starting to grapple with who God is and how to relate to him.
eric says please

I think the story is very clever, as it uses Eric’s real life to link in with God.  The metaphor is not forced, but just really clear for younger children to understand.  I love the way that Eric prays at the end with his Grandpa and then the answer to prayer is shown.  This has really helped my son to understand how God answers prayer through the normal everyday things.

If your child still loves picture story books then I would highly recommend buying this for them – it is A4 sized and perfect for bedtime reading.  There is also a memory verse and a prayer at the back to bring your child into the story, as well as a fun game to play (involving cheese!!).

The book is currently £5.99 on the Good Book Company website (discounts for if you buy multiple) and you can also get “Eric says thanks” and “Eric says sorry” to complete the set.  I’ll leave you with this video of Dai himself revealing a bit about the inspiration for the book.

school sign

A letter to my son on starting school

school sign

Dear Sam,

I am so proud of you today as you walk into your new school with excitement in your eyes and confidence in your step.  Your teacher told me you were “energetic” and I know what she means!  You have always been full of beans, your own spirit, and I really pray that school doesn’t take that away from you.

There will be tough days ahead, when you miss being with me or playing with your little brother all day. When the other kids might not want to be your friend or you find the lessons too difficult.  But just know that I love you no matter what, and that Father God is there with you every step of the way.

I will never forget your first day at nursery when you were only two months old, and I will never forget this day either.   Each day one where you sprouted your wings a little more and I stood back and watched in amazement as you took it all in your stride.  I am not sad to have to leave you at school as I know it is where you will flourish for the next portion of your life, but I am nervous as to how the world will treat you.  I hope I have been a good enough mother to prepare you for that – that is our role after all, to train you up to cope with the next challenge of life until eventually you can cope with it all on your own.

So I love you and pray for this precious time when you are at school.  I pray that God fills it with joy and wisdom, friends and laughter, fun and learning.  Go and take on the world my son!

Love Mum x



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Mum on a Mission Reviews “A Really Incredible Feast”

My husband calls me lucky because I am always winning competitions.  Whether is a defibrillator (yes I really did win a heart re-starter), a hamper of goodies or a book, I am always winning something.  I like to think its because I have an “in it to win it” mentality, and so I just have a go when others can’t be bothered!  But maybe God is just smiling down on me and blessing me with these things.

Whatever the reasons, this month I won a new book from , the online Christian bookshop.  I shared my happy news online and asked if you would all like a review of my free book, and the answer came back “YES!!!”.  So here it is….

a really incredible feast hard backed book I got sent a copy of “A Really Incredible Feast (and other amazing Jesus stories)” by Johanna Baldwin and illustrated by Hannah Wheeler.   It has been produced for Scripture Union, so you know it is going to be good quality and well thought out.  The book was bigger than I thought, but I was comparing it to the small “Super Cool Story of Jesus” booklet which was produced for free by the Bible Society for Easter this year.  The two books are quite similar in that they try to make Jesus’ story accessible for children using rhyme and modern illustration styles.

I do prefer the illustration style of the “Super Cool Story of Jesus”, but I think that older children double page spread in a really incredible feast book will like “A Really Incredible Feast” as its a bit more grown up.  The stories are very well written, and use an interesting font with little graphics around the words too to make it feel modern.  However, I do feel that it would again suit an older child better than my 4 year old, as he wants to constantly be turning the pages and there are too many words for him per page at the moment.  I would say maybe 7-9 would be the ideal audience.

written section of a really incredible feastThe stories are very accurate to the bible too, including details rather than simplifying the stories down.  Again, this will be good for older children who have heard the toddler versions of these stories over and over and want something a bit more chunky to get into.

Overall, I love this book but will probably be putting it away until my son is a few years older.  Then I am sure he will love it!  We really are spoilt at the moment with some great resources for teaching our children about the bible, so thank you for sending me this lovely example in “A Really Incredible Feast”.    If you want to get hold of your own copy it is only £5.99 from Eden.

hidden yorkshire gems

10 Hidden Gems of the East Yorkshire Coast

hidden yorkshire gems

For the last three years, me and my family have camped along the East Yorkshire Coast as our family holiday.  From Hull up to Scarborough we have explored this coastal region in depth, and I wanted to share my 10 hidden gems for anyone thinking about holidaying (or day tripping!) in this beautiful region of the UK.

  1. Withernsea Lighthouse – We visited this last year, and the views from the top are amazing.  It is one of only a handful of inland lighthouses, and is a very cheap afternoon at only £6.50 per family.  There were also two quizzes with prizes for the kids to help them when looking around the museum and gardens. We had a lovely picnic in the garden at the back. 
  2. Bondville Model Village – One of the highlights of this years camping trip,  Bondville Model Village is a lovely little family run attraction.  Only £10 per family and with a quiz of things to look out for around the village it is definitely worth a visit if you are near Bridlington.  Read my full review here.
  3. Mr Moo’s Ice Cream Parlour – Serving the most AMAZING ice cream, this is a great place to visit in the little coastal village of Skipsea.  My favourite flavour was apple crumble, with a stick of fudge to finish it off! 
  4. Alpamare – Not really a hidden treasure, but this brand new waterpark in Scarborough is definitely worth checking out.  We loved the warm outdoor pools with bubble jets and the splash zone.  It is a bit pricey though, so save up or check out some special offers.  We managed to go for a 2 hour morning special which only cost us £18 for two adults and two under sixes.   
  5. North Bay Railway – I love the slightly quieter North Bay at Scarborough, and the North Bay Railway is the icing on the cake for anyone with train loving boys.  Perfect for teaming up with a visit to the Sea Life Centre and a picnic on the beach.  It is only £3.90 per adult and kids under 3 travel free. 
  6. Hull Fish Trail – with Hull the city of culture for 2017 you are guaranteed to find something exciting when you visit the city.  We found the fish trail was a useful way to keep the kids excited whilst walking around the city and getting to the many free museums and exhibits.  The free map and details of the trail can be downloaded here.
  7. Scarborough Sea Life Centre – I have visited both the sea life centre and the Deep in Hull, and personally I prefer the Sea Life Centre in Scarborough.  Their new penguin island, where you can walk through the penguin enclose, is fantastic, and you can go in and out all day with your tickets.  There are always offers to be found for here, so make sure you google search before you go.
  8. John Bull Rock Factory – have you ever wanted to roll your own piece of rock?  Well then the factory tour at John Bull’s in Bridlington is definitely a place to visit!  With a soft play area attached, this is a good rainy day activity.  The factory shop also has plenty of sweet treats for you to buy, and the tour is very affordable at £3.50 per adult and kids under 4 free.  It is £1 to roll rock.
  9. East Park Hull – Hull’s largest park, with plenty to explore and discover.  This has a great outdoor play area and gardens to explore.  Ideal for if you need a free fun day out with the kids.
  10. Hornsea Folk Museum – A lovely little museum about the history of Hornsea.  There is a trail for kids to follow with little mice hidden around the museum (you can also buy on of the little mice at the end!).  Again a cheap day out as its only £3.50 per adult.  Whilst in Hornsea you could also visit the Trawlermen fish and chips shop and see photos of all the old fishemen. 


Yorkshire Tots