Friday 30 September 2016

Autumn is well and truly here. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Autumn seems to have really arrived this week....As I am writing this the wind is howling and it's chucking it down. 

There is such a chill in the air now....Winter coats and boots have been brought out and we have had the heating on a couple of times this week much to my fella's disgust.....He never seems to feel the cold....

The kids are getting excited for Halloween....Can you believe it is the 1st of October tomorrow?!

Throughout October I have decided to take part in Blogtober16 which is being ran by Hex Mum. It is a post a day with a certain theme....I have quite a few written already and I am looking forward to sharing them with you.....It's subjects which I have never thought about writing about or just haven't found the time.....

Realising it is October tomorrow also made me panic this week....I have no idea what the kids want for Christmas! They had their birthdays and got everything they wanted.....They don't really have any idea either. I had them looking through the Argos catalogue earlier in the week and they don't know.....Ellie drifted off looking at camping things and new beds and Becky has said she just wants Google and Xbox credit which I don't think is much of a present....I want her to have something to open on Christmas day. Hmmf.

In other news:

Becky did not get her braces off.....She had them tightened and the bands moved....The dentist guy did say she is so close to getting them off though.....We're back in 6 weeks so fingers crossed for then.

Ellie went on a school trip this week to a place called Safety Works in Newcastle. It is an interactive safety centre where they learn about road safety, safety in the home and things like that...She had a great time and learned lots. Just before they got there her teacher pointed out where the TV show Byker Grove was filmed....Ellie just didn't get why it was so exciting to see Byker Grove. lol 

This week I also bought Ellie her Anna Frozen dress for when we go to see Disney on ice. When it arrived I was so worried that it was too big but when she tried it on it fits. Just. It's a little long but not too long.....When Becky saw it she said she needs something Disney to wear....She went online and found her own Anna skater dress which she could wear with leggings....She is still undecided but I think it looks so cool. If they did it in my size I would get it. lol

Thursday 29 September 2016

Think 20. Think HEART. #WorldHeartDay

One in every 125 babies is born with a heart problem which is more than 5,000 newborns each year in the UK!! It is a scary statistic and my girls make up 2 of 125. They were born with heart defects and have since had open heart surgery!

 The baby heart’s charity Tiny Tickers wants to make sure that every baby is given the best possible start by increasing understanding of the real purpose of the 20-week scan.

The 20 week scan is one of the most in-depth health checks a baby will have during pregnancy and it’s the very best opportunity to spot heart defects before birth....

If you are pregnant, you can test just how much you know about it through an online quizAt the end of the quiz you can also request an information pack which will give mums to be a check list on what questions to ask the sonographer at your 20-week scan giving you the confidence to protect your tiny ticker.

When I was pregnant with both of my girls their heart defects were not noticed....I have since found out by a couple of the best heart specialists that the defects would have been there when I had the 20 week scans....They were just missed. Maybe we were unlucky, maybe the people doing the scans were distracted by looking at my double uterus or maybe they hadn't been trained enough at looking for problems with the heart. 

Tiny Tickers train sonographers to spot defects during routine pregnancy scans, support families with a diagnosis, campaign to improve service standards, raise awareness and support academic research.

Prenatal detection rates have doubled since Tiny Tickers was launched.

Early diagnosis of heart defects gives babies a better chance of survival and long term quality of life. Detection during pregnancy means the right medical experts can be on hand at birth, treatment can begin as soon as possible and parents can start getting the support they need from the start.

Tiny Tickers are aiming to reach all pregnant women with practical information which could save their baby’s life.

Please take a moment to take part in the Think 20. Think HEART quiz and then share it on your social media accounts....Together we can build vital awareness and reach the 1,000 babies sent home every year from UK hospitals with a heart condition that nobody knows about.

In September I loved....

I thought at the end of every month I would do a little recap and tell you about the things I loved over the previous month.....

There hasn't been much to love in September. It seems to have really flown over....It has all been about getting back into a routine now that school has started again....It has been tiring.

The last of the birthdays.
Well the last of the birthdays which I have to worry about this year.....It was Becky's 14th birthday and she had a fantastic day. Now I need to start to think about shopping for Christmas. Eek!

The return to school.
There's always a lot of excitement when the kids go back to school....My girls love school most of the time so I feel so luck....They have settled back well into school life. This year Becky is in year 9 and Ellie in year 5.

The Weekends.
We are back to living for the weekends where we can sleep in, stay in our PJ's all day and relax! When the kids are at school I really appreciate the weekends.

The leaves are falling and it's getting darker earlier....I have still been able to get away without wearing a coat for the school run but there is more of a chill in the air....I think now is my favourite time of the year. 

New TV shows returning.
X-Factor, Strictly, Hunted, Catfish, Gogglebox and The Island with Bear Grylls....All my favourites!

Casey Neistat.
He is an american film maker and YouTube personality....I discovered him in Sepetember and as he is a daily vlogger I have gone back to watch his videos from the start.....He is amazing. He is such an inspirational man, a ball of energy and just has the coolest life which he has actually worked for....Snowboarding with the NYPD is still my favourite video of his. hehehe

My fella joining in.
My fella doesn't usually take much notice of my blog. He supports me but I don't think he even reads This month he actually played his part in a blog post. The Daddy Tag! It was nice to have something from him on my blog.

Food and drink.
Picky party teas for no reason, fruity cider, my youngest cooking at school and birthday cake! Yum!

What have you loved in September?

Wednesday 28 September 2016

I want a hedgehog.....

Autumn is well and truly here....There's a chill in the air and the leaves are falling. The nights are drawing in and our blinds and curtains are being shut earlier and I just want to snuggle under blankets with candles burning.

Recently with the new Autumnal ranges in shops I have seen so many things with hedgehogs on and I want everything....

Hanging Hedgehog Decoration - £4.00 - Tesco
Hedgehog Ceramic Tealight Holders - £3.96 - Baker Ross
Hedgehog Doorstop - £8.00 - Wilko's
Rustic Woodlands Tea canister - £5.99 - Dunelm
Home Brushed Cotton Hedgehogs and Foxes Duvet Set - £16.00 - George
Hedgehog Teacosy - £22.00 - Cath Kidston
Hedgehog and Hoglet Sewing Kit - £10.00 - John Lewis
Hedgehog mule slippers - £8.00 - JD Williams

Natural Wooden Hedgehog Wall Clock - £20.00 - Habitat
Mantaray Navy hedgehog applique purse - £16.00 - Debenhams 
Hedgehog Placemats - £10.00 - Not on the High Street
Honey the Hedgehog Lunchbox - £3.99 - Robert Dyas
Shaped Hedgehog Cushion - £7.00 - Asda
Hedgehog and Leaf Socks - £6.00 - Laura Ashley
Hedgehog Espresso Cup & Saucer Set - £35.00 - John Lewis
Foldable Shopping Bag - £3.45 - The kitchen gift company.

Is there anything you fancy?

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Surviving the playground!

Over the last week or so I have seen a few blog posts about parents who's children started school at the beginning of September.....Some are settling into the playground well (the parents not the children) others are worrying that they are not making friends quickly enough.....

Stop worrying!!

I am a bit of a veteran at the drop off......I have been doing the school run for about 11 years!! To be honest I mostly hate it but it's not that bad...

If you want to be involved and meet some parents join the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) As well as it's being a lot of fun and giving you a look at how the school runs when most of the parents are not around it gives you the chance to meet other parents.....I joined our school PTA and now speak to parents which I wouldn't have normally spoke to.

Sometimes other parents will look at you and you will look at them and just not have the guts to make the first move to talk.....Be brave! For a good couple of years I never spoke to a certain person and she never spoke to me....Once we did speak, we never stopped and now we are the best of friends.

There will always be one person who looks at you like you are a pile of poop! Ignore them.....There is someone in our playground who looks at me like this....I used to let it bother me but now I just ignore her....

Just because your child picks a best friend you do not need to be best friends with the parents. I have been there and tried to do this but there is always some people that you just don't click with.....

The school run is not a fashion show.....I chuckled on the first day of school. There was a whole heap of yummy mummies with tight jeans, perfect hair, make up and high heels....A few weeks later the heels are smaller, hair less fancy and the make up is just about none existent....Early mornings are a killer!

If your child is a terror in the school yard do not draw attention to it.....Have firm words but don't shout. All eyes will be on you and you will be judged! As much as judging is wrong we all do it even if we don't admit it. Do the disciplining quietly....

If you don't like small talk avoid eye contact....Your mobile phone is your friend.....If I am in an unsociable mood and there is none of my friends in the school yard I write blog posts....hahaha To any other person it just looks like I am writing a really long text.

Don't stand at the school gates smoking.....It annoys me so much. Just don't! It's rude.

Choose your friends wisely.....The most popular parents in the school yard are not always the most trustworthy.....

Don’t gossip about other parents or children...

Remember you are only at school for a little time each day! You do not need to be friends with everyone.....


Most of the playground politics happen when the children are at infant and primary school. Kids make their own way to secondary school so just hang on in there during the primary years....Enjoy your children’s childhood and don’t let school playground ruin it.

Monday 26 September 2016

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

Last weeks meal plan went great.....We ate just about everything....The fakeaway slow cooker doner kebabs on were fantastic. I just had to leave it to cook all day and dished it up just as my fella was getting in from work. A perfect tea for Saturday.

Becky has an appointment at the dentists about her braces on today....There was talk of getting them removed at her last appointment so we will see. If not she will be getting them tightened so will be on soft food for a couple of days.

This week on the menu we have:

Tuesday - Fish fingers, potato waffles and beans....
Wednesday - Pie, mash and veg....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Pork stir fry....
Sunday - A fry up. Sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and toast....

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 25 September 2016

Scooting to school. #MySundayPhoto

Since Becky went to secondary school the girls hardly ever get to scoot to school together as Becky usually leaves earlier than Ellie and I. There is the odd occasion when Ellie goes to breakfast club they get to leave at the same time...

They have a great time and I am left behind trying to keep up.

Saturday 24 September 2016

A photo everyday for a year! #Project366 - Week 38

I love Saturdays but they do seem to come around so quickly....This time next week and it will be October! I am not ready to start thinking about Christmas but I really need to. Eek!

Here are my photos from this week....One for every day!

261/366 17th September.
I finally got around to trying Smirnoff Cider. It was good.

262/366 18th September.
Biggest bubble ever!

263/366 19th September.
We're going to Disney on Ice. They were very surprised.

264/366 20th September.
I finally got my hands on one of the new £5 notes....I don't know whether I like it or not.

265/366 21st September.
The canvas British Gas gave me just for being a customer arrived. I love it.

266/366 22nd September.
Daddy and daughter baking.

267/366 23rd September.
A random photo of my fridge. It was needed for a blog post. hehehe

Friday 23 September 2016

A week of the unexpected. #WotW

What a week....Last week my word was Humdrum...This week was far from that. This week my Word of the Week is:

Just when we get back into a routine things happened this week which threw us off and we've ended with no routine I am not complaining....It has been the best week!

By now most of you know I won an amazing competition. I have talked enough about it but it has really brightened up my week.....On Monday morning I sat down and opened my laptop and planned on doing some blogging. I checked my emails first and saw there was one from Samantha from North East Family Fun. Tickets to see Disney on Ice next month!! 4 rink side seats to the show, Pre-show hospitality, Goody bags for the kids, The chance to meet two of the stars of the show and transport there and back in a pink limousine! 20 minutes after receiving the email I was speaking to a lovely lady who is organising the prize on the phone who probably things I am a bit of a weirdo.....I hate speaking on the phone at the best of times. After a surprise like this I could hardly spring a sentence together. lol

I am still in shock....I enter competitions but never win big one's...I win little toys for the kids, dvd's and maybe the odd gift voucher. Not things like this.

Monday was a write off....I couldn't focus on anything. I made the kids a video to share the news with them. I caught their reaction on video and they were amazed, happy, excited....They had all the feelings. The ticket arrived on Tuesday which makes it seem more real but I still can't believe it.

Becky came home from school with homework earlier in the week! It may not seem out of the ordinary but she rarely gets homework....If she does it's usually a tiny amount which she does at school at break or lunchtime....I can't actually remember the last time she brought some home.....

She had Maths homework first. I had a quick look. I had actually forgotten how hard maths work is! An example is - Solve 12x + 6 = 102....I really hoped she didn't ask me for help....Maths is not my strong point. The answer is 8 in case you were wondering....Just don't ask me how you work that

Then she went onto the story she had to write. A minimum of a 1000 words....The title was given to her and was "It had yellow eyes"....She finished it in no time.....She used the computer so I went to read it and thought it was brilliant until I saw a web page open. She had copied it from the internet and added a few extra sentences....It was one of those moments where I didn't know whether to tell her off of give her points for trying....I made her stay off the computer and write the whole lot with a pen and paper. She wasn't happy but cheating gets you no where....

On Wednesday I took Ellie to breakfast club as a treat....She does love her breakfast in school. Just after 10am the school rang and said she had been sick could we pick her up. Ugh! I expected her to be poorly but she really wasn't. It looks like she ate something which didn't agree with her. Once she got all of it up she was fine and has been since.....

Yesterday she had the day off school....She wasn't allowed back in due to infection rules.....Ellie had a wonderful day at home...She baked with her dad and then spent the afternoon doing crafts....

It has been a week full of shocks and surprises....Most of them have been the nice kind so I am feeling much happier than I did this time last week.....Phew!

Thursday 22 September 2016

The Daddy Tag....

My fella doesn't have much to do with my blog....He just lets me get on with it but I have seen the Daddy Tag on a few blogs and My Real Fairy tweeted me asking for me to join in....I thought why not? My fella was keen to answer the questions.....

Are you a Stay at Home Daddy or a Working Daddy?
I am a working daddy. 

Would you have it any other way?
No. I am lucky. My hours are great and work is flexible so I can swap shifts and not miss out on school or important things. I love the girls but having a break from them at work is sometimes just what I need.

Do you co-change dirty nappies? Even the very smelly ones?
Yes and yes. I did. They didn't phase me. The favour will be returned when im 80 and I'm pooping and peeing everywhere.

A little fairy gives you the possibility of breastfeeding? Are you going for it or do you run away?
With my moobs im a potential candidate already. I say bring it on.

What is the one must-have item for a daddy?
Headphones and loud music. Peace. Sometimes I see the carnage the girls are creating and I just ignore it. I can't hear it so it's like it's not happening.

How many kids do you plan on having?
No more. The girls are at an age where they are self sufficient (nearly) I don't want to go back to nappies, bottles and sleepless nights.

Lads’ nights? How often do you have them?
Rarely. I'm banned from lads nights by kids after spewing on floor once a few years ago after a night out. Jagerbombs are not meant for oldies like me.

Your children’s favourite achievement?
Outsmarting and outwitting me. The are evil geniuses. 

What is your best memory with your kid(s)?
Them both starting school. Waving them off on their first days. Bliss. 6 hours of peace.

Name one thing you miss since being a daddy?
Sleep. Sleepless nights in the baby days and early school mornings now. I can't wait until they leave home so I can sleep as long as I want to.

Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now?
I was round before my children, round at birth and much rounder now.

Dream holiday with your kids?
My dream holiday with my wonderful kids would be them on one plane and me on another. Just kidding. Disneyland.

Dream holiday without your kids or even without the other half? (You’re allowed to dream)
Anywhere with good food which is delivered to me, beer and a bed. I'm easily pleased.

How has your life changed since having kids?
I'm poorer, have more grey hairs and less of it, I worry more but I wouldn't change it.

Finish the sentence “It makes my heart melt when…”
....when my kids finally go to sleep.

Favourite beers brands and football team?
Coors light and Newcastle.

Huggies or Pampers?
Nappies are no more. I do like getting lots of huggies but I don't think I'm pampered enough.

Have you always wanted kids?
Yes I've always dreamed of changing my name to dad. 

Best part of being a dad?
The best part of being a dad is becoming a granddad paybacks a b***ch!

Disclaimer :- I really, really do love my wonderful girls and wouldn’t change them for the world. The kids are my reason for getting up in the morning and without them I'd be nothing.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Faces of joy! #wickedwednesdays

On Monday I found I out won an amazing competition from the blog North East Family Fun. 4 rink side seats to Disney on Ice, pre-show hospitality, goody bags for the kids, the chance to meet two of the stars of the show and transport there and back in a pink limousine! I'm still in shock and I feel so, so lucky and grateful.....

I wasn't going to tell the kids but felt like if I didn't I would explode. So I made them a little video with clues about where they are going. I caught their reaction and some of the faces pulled were hilarious. Especially from Ellie....

To say they were happy is an understatement....

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Smirnoff Cider - Review!

On a weekend I do enjoy a glass or two of wine but sometimes I fancy a change and drink fruity cider.

A couple of months ago I read that Smirnoff the vodka company were branching out and starting to make and sell fruit cider! It has taken this long for me to find some...

Smirnoff Cider is available in two flavours - Raspberry & Pomegranate and Passionfruit & Lime. Both offer lightly-fizzed cider with a blend of crisp, fruit flavours combined with Smirnoff vodka.

The drinks come in 500ml glass bottles which I think are so cute...These drinks have a real fruity flavour to them and they are light and refreshing....

I noticed that the raspberry flavour was so overpowering that I couldn't really taste the pomegranate and again the passion fruit it was overpowered by the lime....It is such a shame I couldn't taste both flavours in each drink...It really didn't matter though. I still enjoyed them.

I think these drinks actually taste a little like a alcopop rather than a cider....They are not too fizzy and go down so easily. Probably too easily....

Considering that they have vodka in you don’t really feel an alcoholic kick....They are only 4% alcohol so it isn't there in a huge volume but to me there was no sign of the vodka....

I will be buying them again as they made a nice change from the wine and the ciders which I usually drink....

Monday 19 September 2016

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

Last weeks meal plan went great....We ate just about everything! We swapped a couple of meals around as we really fancied the Shepherd’s pie when it was grey and cloudy which worked out well because the day we should have ate it was a hot day where I knew I wouldn't have felt like cooking it....

On Saturday we had a little BBQ....Just with sausages and burgers....Everything tastes so much nicer when it's cooked on a BBQ. The kids thought it was great fun.

This week on the menu we have:

Tuesday - Soup of some sort....
Wednesday - Turkey meatloaf and potatoes....
Thursday - Tuna pasta bake....
Friday - Pizza....
Sunday - Toad in the hole, mash and veg....

What are you eating this week?

Saturday 17 September 2016

A photo everyday for a year! #Project366 - Week 37

This past week was a tough one...The reality of being back to school has hit hard....Early mornings, rainy school runs and arguments about bedtime....Ugh! Next week should be better....We will be more into a routine (hopefully).

Here are my photos for this week. One for every day.

 254/366 10th September.
It was Becky's birthday. She had a fantastic day.

255/366 11th September.
Birthday cake time....We stuffed ourselves silly on Becky's actual birthday.

256/366 12th September.
Ellie had cookery at school....She made spaghetti bolognese.

257/366 13th September.
We had a new extractor fan fitted in the bathroom and a whole load of other repairs done....

258/366 14th September.
The Sarnie crisps from Walkers. The Sausage and brown sauce are my favourites so far.

259/366 15th September.
The long path to school....

260/366 16th September.
We were sent Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants to review....It is such a great film...

Friday 16 September 2016

A Humdrum Week. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Humdrum is perfect for describing how I feel about this week.....

This week would have been fine normally but after the excitement of the past few weeks with Stu, Ellie and Becky having their birthdays, the end of the summer holidays and then the excitement of starting school it's left us feeling a bit deflated and meh!

This was the first full week back at school and we have been getting back into the swing of things.....It's felt like Groundhog day....Every day has been the same but we have needed this week to get back into our routine....Thankfully we are back into it now and hopefully next week will be better....

It all hasn't been bad....There has been a few nice moments....

Becky had a wonderful birthday weekend....We didn't really do much but according to her it was the best birthday ever! Her new scooter is fantastic. She's getting home from school a whole 15 minutes earlier than when she did with her old one.

The landlord sent a man to do a repair and he ended up doing quite a few which were needed....The type of repairs which weren't urgent but needed doing. Like leaky taps and the extractor fan not working in the bathroom....He was such a lovely chap. He did find that we don't actually have a stopcock for the water in our house....There is one in the back street but that turns off other peoples water too. Getting one in our house is top of the list of jobs to do soon...

My gas and electric bill arrived in my emails earlier on in the week....It's not usually something to get excited about but British gas also sent and email about rewarding me for being a customer....A free 30x20cm canvas from Photobox. Postage included too.....So that should be with us soon. It will be something to remind us of the fantastic summer we had....

We were supposed to have a meet the teacher thing at Ellie's school yesterday....I had a few issues to raise but it turns out her teacher is in hospital and has gone on long term sick....I hope she makes a speedy recovery but I also hope Ellie isn't stuck with having a mix of substitute teachers until the teacher comes back....

I think I have moaned on enough....I really didn't want to but some weeks are like this. I can't always just share the good and the great things which happen in our lives...

Thursday 15 September 2016

I now have a 14 year old...

On Saturday it was Becky's 14th birthday....My little girl is not so little anymore. Eek! It's the first time in years that Becky has had the day off school on her birthday which made the day even more special. There has been a couple of birthdays in the past where her birthday has fallen on the day she went back to school after the summer holidays so this was a real treat!

This year I think I did well buying her presents....She loved every single one and none have been left at the side unused and not being played with.....

I asked her to pick her favorite present and it is of course the poop They have really given us some chuckles. I win at parenting this week....hehehe

I had tried to plan something for Becky's birthday.....We were going to go to the cinema or bowling and for a meal out.....I suggested shopping in Newcastle but in the end Becky decided she didn't want to do anything.....I think after having the first few days back at school had worn her out....She just wanted to stay home and play on the XBox.....I had got the Minecraft Storymode game for the XBox and she played that for a good couple of hours....Which was fine with me.... Whatever the birthday girl wanted she got! 

I did drag her out on the afternoon and bought her some new trainers, some more Xbox games and some clothes.....I think I had a bit of mam guilt. I felt like she wasn't getting as much as Ellie did on her birthday.....

When we came home Becky tried out her new scooter and then had a lovely soak in the bath with one of her Lush bath bombs, got changed into her new pj's and waited for our tea to be delivered....We were getting Domino's.....

As a treat I ordered Becky her own pizza and some Nacho's which she loves....We rarely get them as they are so expensive so it was another treat....We stuffed ourselves silly and watched TV all evening.....

As we were so full from the pizza we held off doing the birthday cakes until Sunday.....Becky thought it was fantastic having her birthday over two days....

I showed her the cakes from Tesco and from Asda and out of all the cakes there was she chose the Haribo one....I made her get another too as it didn't seem special enough....She choose the caterpillar cake. lol

Becky had a fantastic birthday weekend.....It was over in a flash....I think she made the right choice of having a relaxed birthday....I'm slightly worried for next year because this year is going to take some topping! Eek!