Monday 30 November 2015

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

Last weeks meal plan went great.....We ate everything planned....Becky didn't as she had her braces tightened and had soup and a lot of mash and gravy....She's eating again now....Phew! Her next appointment isn't until next year! Hooray!

This week I am planning on emptying the freezer and doing a shop from Iceland for the Christmas food to be delivered next week sometime....The meat and lots of party food!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Leftover curry out of the freezer and rice....
Tuesday - Hamwiches, potato Croquettes and spaghetti hoops....
Wednesday - Some sort of battered chicken out of the freezer with noodles....
Thursday - Bolognese mix out of the freezer in taco shells....
Friday - Fish fingers, potato waffles and beans....
Saturday - Prawn stir fry....
Sunday - Sausages, bacon, hash browns, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans....

As always I've joined in with the wonderful Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky....

Saturday 28 November 2015

Project 365 - Week 48

What a week....It has been challenging but a great one at the same time....I'm glad it's the weekend though. Time for Project 365

325/365 21st November 2015
New PJ's for my birthday! I love them.

326/365 22nd November 2015
I finally got around to blowing out my candles.

327/365 23rd November 2015
Waiting to go in to get Becky's braces tightened.

328/365 24th November 2015
I made sure I got Becky a treat from the book fair at Ellie's school.

329/365 25th November 2015
No photo I took one from Timehop.....It was either really chilly 5 years ago or we have toughened up to the cold. lol

330/365 26th November 2015
X marks the spot! Ellie drew on the living room wall. She should know better.....Her reason was she needed something to aim a ball at! It actually wiped off really easily!

331/365 27th November 2015 
Stu and Ellie playing Disney's Pictopia.

Friday 27 November 2015

This week has been Challenging! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

How I have not gone mad or lost my temper in a huge way is beyond me....It's been one of those weeks....

On Monday we had Becky's appointment to get her braces tightened....I wasn't looking forward to it. It was chucking it down with rain and we had a 20 minute walk....Ugh!

Becky had her braces tightened and they added elastic bands to them.....A band which goes from the bottom back tooth to one of the front one's....They are to help with the straightening of the teeth....They look just like tiny loom bands....They have to be taken off when eating and brushing which is quite annoying.....Becky had a complete hissy fit about this and wanted me to do it for her. I said no....Not to be nasty but she had to do it herself or how would she manage when she has her lunch at school....There was shouting from her and tears I remained calm and turned to YouTube for help....She picked up some tricks and now she is taking them on and off like a pro! Phew!

On Tuesday there was a book fair at the school....The had some wonderful books....Quite a few I have bought for Christmas which caused a problem....Ellie had set her heart on the Minecraft book: Stampy's Lovely Book which I have hidden away, a copy for her and one for Becky! I had to convince her not to get it which she was not happy about at all....What made the situation even worse was the fact they were all half price!! I could have saved myself a fortune!

Becky came in from school on Tuesday and said she hadn't had any lunch as her teeth were sore and there was no soft food....She said she had asked the canteen staff and they had told her to go away and went to see her head of year and was refused access to the upstairs where she was.....Obviously I was livid and emailed the school who were quick to reply and said they'd look into it....

On Wednesday morning Stu answered the phone and it turns out Becky had just looked in the canteen and didn't ask anyone about the food and her head of year was in the dining hall like she is every day....My girl blatantly lied to me and let me email the school complaining! It turns out if children get braces the school will do all they can to make their life easier including giving them things which is not on the menu but they couldn't do this for Becky because she didn't ask! I had words with her and she knows what she did is wrong....She has been banned from her tablet and laptop....Grr!  

Today is Black Friday as if you didn't know.....I am sick of hearing about it. I thought it was one day! Oh no it seems to have been going on the whole week.....I have been torturing myself. Seeing toys on sale....Toys which I bought for full price weeks ago which are now half price....I nearly bought a hoover the other day because there was 70% off....I don't need a new hoover the silly price just excited me....Then yesterday I thought I saw the bargain of the year! A Dyson for £15. Yeah it was a toy Doh!

Even with all that I haven't got that stressed and I am still smiling....I am really surprised at myself....I'm thinking it's the fact it's the run up to Christmas and nothing can dampen my mood!

The Reading Residence

Thursday 26 November 2015

Family Games....10 of the best!

As a child on Christmas day after we'd stuffed ourselves with turkey we would always play games as a family and now with my girls the same thing happens....Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without settling down to an afternoon of family fun playing some games....

These are some of mine and my girls favourite games....Some we want and some we have played and loved....Usually on these types of posts I would tell you the prices and the cheapest place to get it but with it coming up to Christmas the prices are changing all the time so do shop around. 

***I wrote this before we reviewed Disney Pictopia...I would have to add that to this list too!***

Pie Face Game
Around about £20.

The exciting Pie Face game is filled with fun and suspense, and somebody’s bound to get splatted! Just put some delicious whipped cream from home or the wet sponge on the hand of this hilarious game unit and start turning the handles. It could go off at any time, so keep your fingers crossed and hope you’re not the one who gets a splat in the face! You score a point for every time you turn the handle without getting pie-faced, and the one who scores 25 points wins. Take some risks and hope for the best in this hilarious game! 

From £24 to £30

Shout is the explosive Team Game of looking, linking and thinking! One team asks a question and the other must shout out as many correct answers in the time provided. Then the roles are reversed. It sound simple enough but with the timer always ticking, don t be surprised if you start feeling the pressure! Shout is great fun for for 2+ players and ages over 12. 

The Magic Tooth Fairy Game
From £14 to £20

2-4 Players The Magic Tooth Fairy Game "magically" changes teeth into glittering gold coins in front of your eyes! When a kid loses a play-tooth they place it under the Magic Bed's pillow, plunge the Tooth Fairy Wand and hey presto their tooth has turned into a gold coin. Great game play recreates all the tension and excitement of losing a tooth - including that Wobbly Tooth Dilemma: do you have the courage to pull your tooth out - or don't you?


Fast-paced, fun-packed Dobble sees players find the one matching symbol between one card and another before their opponents, with each mini-game requiring them to pick up as many cards as possible or the the quickest to get rid of them! Simple, quick and easy to learn, this game will make the perfect stocking filler for children and adults alike! We reviewed Dobble Kids a while ago and absolutely loved it.

LOGO What Am I? Game
Between £17 and £20.

Kids will love this Logo What am I? board game and they will be surprised with how much they know about their favourite products! From chocolate to cereal, football to flowers, we are exposed to lots of logos! This board game will let kids 'guess it,' 'draw it,' or 'describe it', and they will build confidence along the way!

Hotel Tycoon
Around about £20

The game sees players try to buy and build the best hotels, earning the most money and bankrupting their opponents. As in Monopoly, money is earned by players who end up on one of the entrances of your hotels, after their dice roll. The more luxurious the hotel, the more money a guest will earn you! With eye-catching 3D hotels, the game offers many hours of family fun. We reviewed it not so long ago....

Gogglebox ~ The TV Trivia Board Game.
Between £16 and £25

Gogglebox is a fun-packed TV trivia board game based on the BAFTA winning observational documentary series. Answer TV trivia, ad break questions as well as questions on the Goggleboxers themselves to try and win Gogglebox tokens. The first player to collect 8 Gogglebox tokens and get back to the start is the winner. A game for up to four players.

Disney Frozen Junior Monopoly.
Between £13 and £25

Thaw your frozen friends in this Disney-themed Monopoly game for kids! The fast-trading property game meets the power of snow and ice in this Monopoly Junior game. Kids will join Anna, Elsa and Olaf as they travel through Arendelle and buy its most magical locations. Whoever collects the most cash will thaw their freezing heart and win! 

Despicable Me Operation
From £14 to £20.

It's the classic skill game of Operation, now with multitudes of minions! Stuart's having a bad day and it's up to you to fix him. Operate on Stuart to remove the unicorn fluff or fix his nutty noggin and his toxic tongue! Collect all of Stuart's Funatomy parts to win and earn extra points with Minion Medics, but don't set off the buzzer! Are your hands steady enough to win the Despicable Me 2 version of Operation?

Between £10 and £16

Add a twist of fun into any party or family night with the game that ties you up in knots! This Twister game is the classic game with 2 more moves. Give the spinner a whirl and see what’s next as you try to keep your hands and feet on the mat! Right foot red! Can you do it? Left foot green… you got it! If your knee or elbow touches the mat, or you fall over, you’re out. Be the last player standing to win!

Do you play games as a family at Christmas? Have you bought any new one's for Christmas?

Wednesday 25 November 2015

I need a bigger #wickedwednesdays

A few times a week Ellie will go to bed in her bed and then Stu or I will go up later on and find she has snuck in our room to watch TV....

This is what we found the other night....Her and her teddies are really making themselves at

The Alnwick Garden - A Christmas Tale

A spellbinding festive treat will arrive at The Alnwick Garden this December as A Christmas Tale transforms the renowned attraction into a visual theatre venue complete with animations, projections, lighting and sound.....

Each night from Friday 18th until Wednesday 23rd of December visitors who venture through The Garden will experience a family-friendly seasonal story....
Visual theatre and digital arts production company, Enchanted Places, which is delivering the event for The Alnwick Garden, says A Christmas Tale explores what happens after the Winter Sorcerer has cast his spell. His wickedness will be shown through a series of projections, striking visual effects, sounds, performance and artwork.

 It sounds like a wonderful event suitable for all ages...

The 18th & 19th December sessions starts from 4:15pm & the last session is at 7:30pm...On the 20th, 21st, 22nd & 23rd December the sessions start from 4:15pm & the last session is at 8:30pm

Session length is not limited but the full trail will last approximately one hour....


Adult/Concession £12.00
Child 5-16yrs £7.00
Child 0-4yrs Free
Family (2 Adults and 2 Children 5-16yrs) £32.00

This is a ticketed after hours event so Friend of The Garden membership does not grant you admission. 

You can book your tickets via The Alnwick Garden website!

If you wish to book A Christmas Tale over the phone there is a £2.50 admin fee. Please call 01665 511354. Office hours 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Christmas Crafts with Baker Ross!

We are part of the Baker Ross Blogger Network which means my girls and I regularly get sent a box of goodies to have a play with...We were sent a selection of their fantastic Christmas crafts....Everything is just so cute. We were keen to get started on our box....

Snowman House Kits

As soon as Ellie saw the Snowman House Kit she was keen to give it a go and she got right stuck in...She followed the instructions herself....She may have had the roof on upside down at one point but she soon figured it our for herself....

There was no glue needed so Ellie needed absolutely no help from me at all....The kit contains a foam house template, a foam base and self-adhesive foam decorations...You just peel the paper off the back of everything and stick it where you want it!

We both thought it was so cute and each kit only costs £1.99 which I think is a bargain!

Angel Peg Doll Kits

By the time Becky got in from school we were ready to start our next activity....Angel peg dolls! In each kit you get 4 angels in different colours. Red, Blue, Pink & White and each kit includes a wooden peg, glitter foam wings, felt pieces, self-adhesive foam pieces, wool, pipe-cleaner and ribbon....

 Aren't they just so cute....They were fun to make and will be going on our Christmas tree....At £3.96 for a pack of 4 this is probably cheaper than some Christmas decorations you can get in the shop. I think these are a lot more special than anything you can buy! 

Nativity Stained Glass Lantern Kits.

I remember making something like these when I was a child at school....It brought back wonderful memories.

The lanterns show various Nativity scenes and each kit includes card lantern templates and coloured tissue paper....Simply glue the tissue paper to the pre-cut lanterns, glue together and hang in the light for a brilliant effect....A pack of 4 costs £3.49....

I think these would be great with tea lights in but Becky has came up with another use for them....She said they would be great to fill with sweets like those from Roses or Quality street and they would make a fantastic, cheap gift for someone for Christmas....

The crafts from Baker Ross never fail to impress me....My girls love them and had a wonderful time making these crafts. We still have a couple of the crafts to try out from our box which we will be soon....

We were sent a box of craft goodies from Baker Ross in exchange for this post.....This is our honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Monday 23 November 2015

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Good morning.....We had a lovely weekend! I had my Indian takeaway on Saturday for my birthday and it was amazing. Stu made a huge pan of Ham and vegetable soup on Saturday which we had yesterday for lunch....He's going to make it again at the weekend as it was so good! All it is is grated veg...Turnip, carrots, onions, leeks, a packet of Tesco's soup and broth mix which has barley, split peas and lentils in, vegetable stock and a joint of unsmoked gammon joint chopped up.....Amazing!!

Jess at Our Baby Blog shared some Winter Warmer Recipes and they look and sound delicious! I will be including a couple in our meals this week!

This week on the menu we have:

 Monday - We'll grab something on the way home. Becky is getting her braces tightened....
Wednesday - Fish fingers, chips and beans....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Stu's soup....
Sunday - Probably Stu's soup again....

 As always I've joined in with the wonderful Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky....

Saturday 21 November 2015

Project 365 - Week 47

Another week of Project 365.....A photo every day for a year!

318/365 14th November 2015
I didn't take any photos on Saturday.....I stayed off Twitter....It was just too sad. I did pop on Facebook and ended up changing my profile picture. The only picture I have on my phone from that day....
319/365 15th November 2015
No real photo again but Timehop came up with this one. We played the Iceland I'm a Celebrity Bushtucker Trial Game last year and I'm a Celeb started on Sunday....Great timing!!

320/365 16th November 2015
Playing the Disney Pictopia game! So much fun!

321/365 17th November 2015
We all got soaked on the way home from school.....Poor Becky caught the worst of it!

322/365 18th November 2015
It rained most of the day until about 15 minutes before the school run.....It almost looked like a summers day!

323/365 19th November 2015
Play-Doh after school....

324/365 20th November 2015
Some of my birthday pressies arrived. The one's I knew about...Everyone had a good look through the delivery but I wasn't allowed....I could look but not touch. Today I will get my hands on them. hehehe

Friday 20 November 2015

Two Birthdays - #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

 It has to be....hehehe 

It was my blog's birthday on Monday....I of course forgot about it until after it had happened but I did blog a little about it on Wednesday....Three years and I am still here! Thank you for all the kind wishes and words....

Tomorrow it is my birthday....I am so freaking excited....Ellie has said I am turning into a I think I actually am! Yesterday I was hunting for my presents.....I didn't find them. The kids hid them well.  It's the first time in a long time that it's on a weekend so I get to totally relax and enjoy the day.....I really can't wait. The kids have mostly planned my day for me.....I will get a lie in. They have promised to be as quiet as church mice.....Then I am getting breakfast in bed which Stu is going to go and get from McDonalds.....I will open my presents and when the Tesco delivery has been delivered I can go for a long soak in the bath.....I will be having an Indians for tea and a bottle of wine while watching X-Factor.....hehehe Sounds good to me! 

I still don't know most of what Stu and the kids have got me....I do however know what they've got me from Asda...Stu went off with he kids to buy some pressies but took the wrong bank card. Doh! So he ended up ordering them offline and wanted me to check the sizes...I am so happy with everything. I feel spoilt already!!

 Coca Cola Pyjama Set // I Love Minions Briefs // Care Bears Short Briefs // Bagpuss & Co short briefs // Care Bears Short Briefs // Disney Frozen Olaf Socks // Faux Fur Novelty Boot Slippers

At the beginning of the week I was dreading my birthday.....The cold I had was still hanging on and had moved to my chest. On Sunday evening I was even considering ringing the doctors on Monday I felt that bad. Something I never do....I have never been to the doctors for being ill since I was about 18.....After a rubbish nights sleep and a few tears I went back to bed after the school run and woke up feeling recharged and much better and I've been feeling better and better each day.....Phew! Now I am just about over it....Hooray!

The Reading Residence

Thursday 19 November 2015

Aldi's childrens stocking fillers for under £5 plus much more!

You know how much a I love Aldi and their Specialbuys.....I shared with you some ideas for men's Christmas gifts last week....This time it's all about the kids!

Aldi's wonderful stocking fillers came into a store near you a few days ago...They are all under five pounds too which I think is fantastic value for money!

Hand Puppet - £2.99
Floppy, soft-touch characters to bring to life – just add silly voices! Choose from Monkey, Cow, Bear, Dog, Horse or Elephant.

Mini Colour Watch - £4.99
Available in 10 colours. Silicone strap

Jigsaw Books - £3.99
Keep kids entertained for hours with these brilliant storybooks full of fun jigsaws. Choose from 6 titles.

Dinosaur Toys - £4.99
Squeezable dinosaurs with realistic features and rubbery skin. Choose from Spinosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus or T-Rex

Orchard Toys Games - £3.99
Entertain the kids for hours with these fun friendly games. Choose from Dominoes, Wild Animal Sounds, Lotto or Snap. Ages 3-6.

Encyclopedias - £2.99
From Herb Gardening to Reptiles, Dinosaurs and Fish, these fantastic books will help bring the world to life. Choose from 10 different titles.

Puzzler Yearbooks - £2.49
Packed full of brain-teasers to keep them entertained. Choose from 5 titles.

Busy Day Board and Books - £2.99
An enjoyable storyline and appealing character-led book. Comes with a wind-up toy and a big track for interactive fun.

Christmas DVDs - £3.99

 On the 26th of November Aldi get their fantastic toy range in.....A brilliant selection of top-quality, value gifts that will provide hours of delight for all ages! I am excited about this!

Products include:

Boy’s Bike - £79.99
Girl’s Bike - £79.99
Balance Bike - £39.99
Mega Set Pre-School Assortment - £19.99
Treasure Chest Storage - £19.99
Scramblebug - £19.99
Star Wars Vehicle - £17.99
Toy Pram - £17.99
Boxing Set - £9.99
Frozen Doll - £7.99
Play Tools - £7.99
Animal Hot Water Bottle - £7.99
Torch - £6.99
Star Wars Figure - £6.99
Brainbox Games - £5.99
Star Wars Rebel Figure - £5.99
Colour Magnetic Sketcher - £5.99
3 In 1 Games / Puzzles Sets - £4.99
Star Wars Gift Guide - £4.99
Children's Christmas Dress Up - £3.99
Book & Gift Sets - £3.99
Soft Christmas Toy - £3.99

Keep a look out for these in a store near you....

"Once it’s gone, it’s gone"

Tis the season for Christmas parties!

The Christmas party season is just around the corner and I can't wait....I do love a good party and always have a couple of good nights out over the festive season....

Ensure you get a good nights sleep the night before so that you’re nice and refreshed and if you’re flagging during the day try and have a nana nap in the afternoon...

Relax and ensure you have plenty time to get ready....Rushing will make will just make you hot and bothered and make sure you have your outfit planned....

Christmas only comes once a year so holiday parties are worth dressing up for.....Dress to impress! When choosing an outfit for a party always check what kind of event it will be...Dressing for a friend’s get-together is going to be different to dressing for an office function....

Look for Something That Sparkles! If it's a plain dress bling it up with some sparkling accessories....I came up with the perfect outfit from Esprit....You can't go wrong with a little black dress....
  Stretch jersey shift dress - £55.00 // Faux suede sandal - £55.00 // Clutch with a decorative front strap - £39.00 // Stretchy bracelet with glittering stones - £15.00 // Geometric element necklace - £15.00 

If you’re planning on wearing your killer shoes to the party wear a pair of pretty fold-up ballet pumps to and from the event....They’re so light and small that they’ll fit in most evening clutches.....

On the day of the event eat a big lunch so that you don’t have an empty stomach when you hit the party....

Know your limits...You obviously want to enjoy yourself but slurring your words and spilling your drink won’t leave the best impression...Pace yourself. If you start to feel drunk sit the next round out and have a glass of water or just go home.

Steer clear of the punch bowl even if it claims to be non-alcoholic.....Punches are notorious for containing a concoction of booze that tastes great but is impossible to measure how much you have actually drunk....

Embarrassing dances should never be performed....The Worm and the Chicken Dance for example and generally anything with too much thrusting. Just take it easy. It’s Christmas, do have a dance but try not to be the only one on the dance floor and do stick to a low altitude (no tables!).

Don’t take pictures of everything and tag everyone on social media....While you might think it is hilarious that so and so is a drunken mess in the corner odds are they won't see the funny side of it in the morning.

Whoever has organised the bash deserves a big thank you....They will certainly appreciate it and if you get it in early enough they might remember it too...

Last but not least....Make sure you get home safely! Try to pre-book a taxi in advance or share a one with friends....If your party is out of town see if it's cheaper to stay at a hotel or stay with friends...  

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Three years and I am still here....Thank you!

It is just over three years ago since I posted my first blog post. I missed my own blog birthday It was on the 16th of November....Since that first blog post I have posted every day....Sometimes twice a day....Go me! hehehe I think I am doing OK even though sometimes I don't have a clue what I'm doing....It may not be the prettiest, have the most followers or the most exciting but it's my little space on the internet and I love it.....

It's been a great year in the blogging world for me....I have had some amazing opportunities and shared some fantastic memories....I can't remember what life was like before blogging and I can't imagine not blogging now....

This year saw me joining in with Project 365. A photo every day for a year....I honestly didn't think I would manage it but I am....I admit I missed one day earlier in the year as I think we were all ill but I'm proud of myself and it is a great thing to look back on.....Lots of everyday, normal memories!

As well as Project 365 I have also carried on with my Meal planning Monday, Word of the Week and Wicked Wednesdays posts....All linkies which I really love. Thank you to ladies who host them!

Thank you to the wonderful PR's and companies who have faith in me and send us wonderful products to try....I have worked with so many fantastic brands and companies over the last year including:

90:10 // Betty Crocker // Old El Paso // Serenata Flowers // Baker Days // Chemist Direct // Kano // Peanut Hottie // Tenstickers // Lottie Dolls // Trespass // Science kits // Zoflora // Mr Tumble // Haribo // Vita Coco Kids // Upbeat drinks // Tracker Bars // Wicked Uncle // Imprify Photo Books // Baker Ross // Lego Elves // Graze // Weekend Box // Encona // Vanish // Aldi // Brewers Fayre // HUE Animation Studio and many more....
This time last year I was running my first giveaway and since then I have ran a few more and hopefully I have made a few people happy....I know when I win a competition it really brightens my day up....

Early on in the year I made it into the TOTS100 and stayed there a few months....Yay! I may have nearly given Stu a heart attack when I screamed and shouted about it....hehehe I think that's the biggest thing to happen in my little blogging bubble over the last year even though I say I don't care about things like this it's nice to know for a little while I was in the same league as those amazing blogs I read and love.

So anyone aiming for the top 100, if I can get up there you can you!!
I want to thank everyone who reads my little piece of the internet and takes time out of their day to comment....I do read every single comment....I am just rubbish at finding the time to reply to the comments....

Thank you to my blogging friends who share my posts and are there to offer advice when I need it....You are all amazing!

Thank you to my girls for being so patient when I'm photographing their food and being good sports when I post photos of them doing silly things...And last but not least Thank you to Stu for listening to me go on about people he doesn't know, my rants when something doesn't work properly or when I make him get up from his seat to give me his opinion on a blog post.....

Thank You!!