Sunday 30 April 2017

New Playmobil. #MySundayPhoto

Ellie has saved her pocket money for weeks and weeks and finally had enough to place an order of Playmobil. She got herself 3 sets. The child in a wheelchair, the mother with Twin Stroller and child and the X-ray room which all go perfectly with the hospital she got just after Christmas.

She couldn't wait to get stuck into it....

Saturday 29 April 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 17 #Project365

This week has been hard getting back into a routine after Easter....We're still not fully there after only having a 4 day week due to a teachers training day....Next week we have a bank holiday so it will be another strange 4 day week....I'm not complaining though. I do love a 3 day weekend.

Now for a photo every day....

112/365 - 22nd April
I have had a sore foot for about a week....I think I have pulled a muscle. I bought a bandage and it helped....

113/365 - 23rd April
We had such a lazy day....We brought the duvets downstairs and spent the day playing on electronics.

114/365 - 24th April
We were sent the game Boggle to have a play with. The girls loved it and have played it so much since too....

115/365 - 25th April
Strawberries & ice cream.

116/365 - 26th April
My teen. Tablet in hand and all snuggled up.

117/365 - 27th April
Ellie did a Race for life run at school....The kids did a great job of raising money.

118/365 - 28th April
Ellie saved her pocket money for weeks and bought 3 sets of Playmobil....She has been playing with it ever since.

Nominate your local children's hospital for a Cine-makeover!

Today I am sharing a fantastic opportunity where you can nominate children's hospitals and wards across the UK to receive a new state-of-the-art cinema room for the patients and families.....A Cine-Makeover!

My girls both spent time in hospital when they both had open heart surgery in 2009.....The play room was fantastic but a super cinema room would have been even better!

Finite Solutions, a national company specialising in smart home technologies and bespoke home cinema design and installation, is looking to provide a children’s hospital with a full cinema room installation worth more than £15,000...

The total cinema system value is more than £15,000 and comprises of:

A high definition high quality projector 
A 100” wide projector screen
5x high quality Kef wall-mounted speakers and subwoofer
A Blu-ray player with a selection of popular children’s movies and TV series
A top-of-the-range games console
A Freeview box and wi-fi router
A wall-mounted touch screen control panel and more….

People can enter their local children’s hospital or ward by simply submitting a short written suggestion describing the first thing that the facility could use the new cinema room for such as hosting a Disney film marathon, a console gaming tournament or a pyjama party with popcorn.

The closing date for nominations is 4pm, Friday 12 May.

The nominated children’s hospitals will be then be opened up to an online public vote to decide which facility will receive the cinema makeover. This vote will also be coupled with the opinions of an expert panel of judges.

Friday 28 April 2017

It has been a hard week. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

After having over two weeks off for the Easter holidays my girls returned to school on Tuesday. Oh gosh. During the holidays we got up at the earliest at about half eight and we were rarely dressed before 11am....Tuesday saw us up at 7am and leaving the house by 8.20am. It was hard!

Ellie has found it particularly hard to get back into the school routine....She went to bed fine on Tuesday night and then when I went up she was awake and refused to go to go back to sleep until gone eleven.....Obviously she woke up on Wednesday feeling pretty rubbish. She had a sore head and refused to eat breakfast. I gave her some Calpol and she perked up a little....I said to her she was well enough for school and not eating breakfast would just make her late....She dug her heels in and at her breakfast at a snails pace.....For the first time ever we were late for school. Only by 15 minutes but late all the same....Ugh! I explained to the lady in the office and she was fine about it phew! 

I had a bit of a parenting fail....At the start of the holidays Ellie was given homework and I forgot all about it. It needed to be in by Wednesday. We managed to get most of it done on Monday. Hooray for teachers training days but there was a little left to do Ellie agreed to do it on Tuesday....Of course she wouldn't do it. Point blank refused. I said "if you don't do it you'll get a detention"....She said "OK, FINE"....Grr! So she had her detention last night after school....I think sometimes I have to be hard on her so she can learn from her mistakes and that her stubbornness get's her nowhere. I think she has learned her lesson....For the time being anyway.

I have really found it hard to keep track of what day it is this week.....Monday felt like a Sunday. Tuesday felt like a Monday with the kids going back to school....Then just to add to the confusion Stu had his day off from work yesterday instead of his usual Friday. I'm hoping getting the shopping delivered later and having a glass of wine like I do every Friday will get me back on I was thinking it will get back to normal next week but it won't because we have another bank holiday.....Eesh! 

It hasn't been a bad week though....Becky has settled back into the school routine brilliantly....She brought home a ton of paperwork for me to fill in about what she is doing in R.E. They are doing a topic about helping the community and are having various trips out of school to do just that. Help the community....I have visions of her litter picking but she says they are going to be doing fun things. We'll see.

Thursday 27 April 2017

Ridley Park - Blyth. The best park ever!

Last year when we went to see the tall ships in Blyth we came across Ridley park and we promised the kids that one day we would go back and visit when it wasn't so busy....

Last week we decided the time was right....Blyth is about 30 minutes from us by bus and on Friday the weather wasn't too bad so we packed a bag and off we went.....We stopped off at Greggs bought some food and drinks then headed for the park which was only a 10 minute walk from the town centre.

There is two playgrounds at Ridley Park. One for younger children and one for the older children.....We headed for the younger playground first....By rights Becky shouldn't have been allowed in as it is for under 11's but there were kids older than her there.

The playground was perfect for little one's....There was slides, roundabouts, swings and even a sandpit....There was a water area too with pumps and fun things. In the summer I could see this getting a lot of use....

My girls had a go on the roundabout and the slide but the queues were massive for anything else....It was packed and little kids are ruthless. They don't queue for anything and think nothing about pushing in.....My girls are far too nice to stop a little one going before them....hehehe

After about half an hour we decided to try our luck in the playground for older children....It was just as busy but older kids know how to queue. hehehe

Some of the equipment and rides looked quite terrifying but the girls have no fear.....Before I even had chance to tell them to be careful they were off.....

They both had to go on the huge slide first....It was up a steep hill and within seconds they had both whizzed down and were running back up for another go....There were kids going down headfirst. Eek! They had no fear!

Next up was the zip wire.....It was fantastic! Stu came in handy for this and gave them a push to start the girls off....They shrieked and screamed but had a blast....

They made their way around every piece of equipment at the park....Balance ropes, swinging things and even climbed and jumped off a huge rock....

The girls had about 4 hours at the park and could have easily stayed for much longer.....We only left because it started to rain.....

The only negative I have about the park is the toilets. They are pretty grim. They are in brick buildings near the cafe and it looks like they haven't been cleaned in years.....Eww! It didn't put it off Ridley Park though. We will be back sometime soon.....

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Family is a funny thing....

Family is a funny thing....I don't have a large family. Sometimes I wish I did for the fun aspect of it like at Christmas and birthdays but 95% of the time I am happy with my family just how it is....

My grandparents from my fathers side are dead and my dad is an only child.....My mother fell out with her parents when I was a baby and now my mother is dead. She has a sister who I can't remember ever speaking to and I have cousins from her side of the family which I don't know or talk to....

I have a brother who is a couple of years younger than my but we grew apart and he did things which I did not agree with....He has fallen out with most of my family now. I could write a whole blog post about him being an idiot but that might be for another day.....hehehe

The only blood family I have actual contact with is my dad, my great Aunt and my nephew.....I have a couple of my dad's cousins and their children who I keep in touch with on Facebook but the distance between us is a problem....Ugh

I saw something on Facebook. One of those pointless passive aggressive pictures people posts. It got me thinking about my family..... 

I don't think the people you call family have to be blood related.....

Sarah....My dad's girlfriend. Oh I hate saying that. They are both too old to call them boyfriend and girlfriend and he is my dad. I don't want to think about them being boyfriend and girlfriend.....Eww! As far as I know they are not planning on getting married so Sarah won't be becoming my step mother anytime soon but she is as good as. I would go as far to say she has been a mother figure to me for the last couple of years.....She is good for my dad. I am shy and socially awkward. I find it hard to speak to people but she is one of few people that I can speak to without thinking and analysing every word I say. I feel comfortable with her.....

Louise is my nephews mother. I met her about 18 years ago which seems a lifetime ago, way before any of us thought about kids. We always have a good giggle about the fact we all went on all the roller coasters at Alton Towers when she was a few weeks pregnant. (Obviously before she knew). Louise isn't my sister in law. Her and my brother have been split up for about 14 years. She hasn't really had any contact with him in about 8 years. When they split she said she would keep in touch but I never thought she would but she has been true to her word and she visits about twice a year......She drives up from Scunthorpe, stops off at my great aunts for the night then brings her up to visit too.....She got as far as my great aunts last week and then the exhaust fell off her car. Oops. Louise is just one of those people who are genuine and honest.....I had some issues in my life a couple of months ago and after a few phone calls to her my mind was put to ease....She is one of those calming people who see's the positive in everything.

Then there is my friends. I have three close friends and they are there through the good and bad....We may not see each other as much as we did when all our kids were in the same school but I know they would be there for me if I needed anything....

Another time when blood doesn't count is when it comes to my fella Stu and my teen Becky....Stu is not Becky's biological father but he is her dad. I'm not going to go into the details about Becky's biological father....

People don't realise that Becky and Ellie are not full sisters...They look so alike and are so alike....When it was discovered they had problems with their hearts their defects were identical. They may as well be full sisters...hehehe One child is blood and one isn't to Stu but he treats them both the same....People have always seemed shocked that the girls are only half sisters when we tell them. We don't hide it and the girls don't think anything about it. I know Stu and I certainly don't.....

To me family isn't about the blood relations....It is about the people who are there for you through the best and the worst of the times.....

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Hasbro Boggle & Win with Pork Farms.

We love board games here especially one's we can play as a family....We were recently sent Boggle by Hasbro to try out. 

Find as many words as possible on the 4x4 letter grid before the sand timer runs out. You’ve got 3 minutes to search out as many words as you can see spelled out on the cubes. The longer the word, the higher your score, but you only score points if nobody else has the same word. Add up your points and see who the winner is....

Ellie is 9 and is at an age now where she can do with improving her spelling and knowledge of words....This game is perfect for that. She is learning and having fun at the same time.....

Boggle is so easy to set up and within minutes of opening the box the girls were playing....Making up words from the letters they rolled....

They had a great time playing Boggle and ended up playing for over an hour....Ellie my youngest actually beat my teen in a couple of games which was a great boost to her confidence. We did put a rule in that that you could only have a maximum of 4 letter words which kept things even between the girls which worked well. I think we are going to have to up it to 5 letter words as Ellie is doing a little too well. heheh

Boggle is a fantastic family game and it will be one we can all play together.

From the 8th to the 14th May it is National Board Games Week and Pork Farms are inviting you to host your very own Family Board Games Night....Families can get involved by downloading a free family bundle to help plan a board games activity night at home and you can potentially win prizes including a stack of board games, special certificates and a year’s supply of Pork Farms’ pork pies! 

We were sent the board game Boggle free of charge to review and in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Monday 24 April 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

We're nearly back to reality. The girls have a teachers training day today then we're back to school tomorrow which will be a bit of a shock to the system after having lazy mornings for two weeks over Easter...

Last weeks meal plan went to plan....We ate everything! Hooray! It really surprised me....Meal plans don't usually work for us during the school holidays.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Sandwiches, cakes, crisps....
Tuesday - Chicken burgers and curly fries....
Wednesday - Sausage & bean hotpot....
Thursday - Tuna rice salad....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Pork stir fry....
Sunday - Pie, mash & veg....

What are you eating this week?

Saturday 22 April 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 16 #Project365

The Easter holidays are nearly over....This past week has gone so fast considering we haven't been up to much....I have taken plenty of photos though.

105/365 - 15th April
I love Saturday evenings in front of the TV.

106/365 - 16th April
We always all have plenty of time on computers on a Sunday.

107/365 - 17th April
A sink full of water and she can and will play for hours.

108/365 - 18th April
Carrot cake.

109/365 - 19th April

110/365 - 20th April
Playing with make up.

111/365 - 21st April
Pretty flowers at the park.

Friday 21 April 2017

Busy doing nothing. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

It feels like we have done nothing this week which is a good thing but at the same time we have kept ourselves busy and the boredom has never hit....We have spent the week relaxing, watching box sets and eating lots and lots of chocolate.

The girls had their Easter egg hunt but the weather did let us down. It didn't matter though, they still ended up having fantastic fun.

We had a walk around the market on Tuesday and that is as far as we've been....The girls have played outside plenty on their scooters and they got the paddling pool out and filled it.....They just played in it with toys without actually getting into it....It was far too cold for that....

Becky has started watching my type of shows....This past week she started watching The 100 which I love. We watched the first few episodes together then the little madam couldn't wait for me to watch another so she went ahead and watched it without me....Eesh the cheek! I can't blame her I've seen it all before and it is a fab show. One episode is never enough....She has also started to watch Glee. I again was watching it with her and I forgot how young they all were when it started....

We were supposed to be having family visit yesterday but they had car troubles. The exhaust fell off. Oops. The kids were gutted and I was too but it was one of those things which can't be helped....

Today depending on the weather we are off out....When we went to see the Tall Ships in Blyth we found a fantastic park and promised the kids that we will go back one day.....Hopefully today is the day.

I ended up checking the term dates for school when Stu mentioned when his holidays from work are.....It's a good job I did. I thought the kids were back at school on Monday....They're not. There is a teachers training day. Oops. That was close. lol

Thursday 20 April 2017

The kids baked cakes....

The girls and I bake at least once a month....Baking cakes is normal for us....What happened last week wasn't though.

When I used to bake with my girls they obviously needed help cracking eggs, measuring ingredients out and reading the instructions....Last week was the first time that both my girls did everything themselves....Well mostly. I still put the cakes in the oven, checked on them and got them out....

I bought a couple of cake mixes from Tesco...Shopkins one's for Ellie and Moana one's for Becky. There isn't a great deal of choice for teenagers. Hmmf.

They read the instructions, put everything they needed in their bowls and got mixing.....In no time they had the cake mix mixed and the got on with putting it in the cupcake cases...Again with no help from me.

I took over when it came to dealing with the oven....Becky I trust with it. She bakes at school and is quite capable of getting things in and out without burning herself but with Ellie I am not too sure....She gets excited and just doesn't think. Better to be safe than sorry.

The cakes came out looking fantastic and they were put outside to cool....I left Ellie playing at being a scarecrow. Someone had to stop the birds from swooping down and pinching the cakes....hehehe

The girls mixed the icing and got on with decorating the cakes....All without my help.

Becky and Ellie did a great job....I think this time next year I won't even have to supervise. They are quite the experts at baking....It makes me so proud but sad at the same time....This is just another thing that they don't need me as much for....They are growing up too quickly and I don't like it one bit.

Now I just have to teach Ellie to stop eating the mixture as she is mixing the cakes and licking the spoon after icing each

Wednesday 19 April 2017

When I Was Young Tag....

I do love doing tags and I saw the When I was young tag over on Babi A Fi absolutely ages ago. It's been sat in my drafts ever since. Now seems a good time to post it.

1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)
I have a little card that was tied onto my cot when I was born saying my name, weight, etc and that's about it....My parents weren't very sentimental...

After my parents divorced my dad gave me all the family photos which there were a lot of....They are all safely stored away....

2. Do you know if you were named after anyone?
I don't think so.....My parents chose mine and my brothers names (Ben) because they were easy to spell. lol

3. And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?
I think I was going to be called David if I was a boy....

4. What is your earliest memory?
The earliest memory I have is sitting on the settee when I was four years old eating dry cereal and being told not to move by my grandad....I'd fallen down the stairs and I've been told since that my mam and dad were out collecting money for the milk round they had....There was no mobile phones back then so they couldn't be contacted so I was waiting for my Aunt Jean to come and take me to hospital....I broke my arm....I don't remember going to the hospital or having a caste put onto my arm or staying the night in hospital but I do remember kicking up a fuss when I was woken up early and there was no hot chocolate and then finding out I was on a ward full of boys! lol

5. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?
I remember being read stories as a child by my mother and my Grandad who lived with us.....I remember being read Each Peach Pear Plum a lot which I loved....

There was always music in our house and my dad used to have a skip hire business so my brother & I would go out with him in the wagon. The radio was always on. We would always be singing along to it with my dad.

6. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?
Last year I wrote a whole blog post about what I wanted to be when I grew up....I wanted to do something with horses.

7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?
I did but it wasn't my teacher....It was my brothers. lol She was so nice and a lot of fun! Every time I walked past the classroom it looked like all the children were having the best time....

8. How did you get to school?
In primary school my parents drove me to school....We lived about a mile outside of the village where we went to school so getting a lift was easier....In secondary school I got a taxi which was paid for by the council/education people.....I lived too far out in the sticks. I got a taxi with a couple of other girls. hehehe The taxi driver was a maniac. He had 3 crashes when I was in his taxi and was forever running late.... 

9. What games did playtime involve?
British Bulldog also known as Red Rover, skipping, clapping games and all the usual...

10. Did you have a cubby house?
Ahh! I lived on a farm and had a few....hehehe I have a blog post coming soon about the adventures I had in our cubby house/den.

11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?
I remember going to Blackpool as a child and there was a big Noah's ark ride/attraction. I was terrified of it....I can still remember those noises. I also remember going to see Jimmy Cricket the comedian.

12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday’s or Christmas?

When I was a child there were a couple of Christmasses where I got a trampoline. Both times I stayed on them all dayGiven the chance I think I would have slept on them too....hehehe

13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
Broken arms, legs, fingers, I used to ride horses and fall off them a lot. The scariest was when I was about 14 I was washing the dishes a glass smashed just as I put my hand in it and I cut right on my knuckle. It was deep and about an inch long....I still have the scar now.

14. What was your first pet?
I had a long haired German Shepherd dog called Anchor...I can remember him being around when I was a toddler but I can't remember him dying so I must have still been young....

15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
Of course....My Grandad had lots of stories to tell. The funniest were about what my dad used to get up to when he was a kid...hehehe

16. What was entertainment when you were young?
I lived on a farm so I spent my days riding horses, helping on the farm and all the other usual things indoors like playing with Barbies, colouring in and playing schools.

17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?)

Ahh! I remember getting an Amstrad computer and my brother and I used to fight over it so much...It was fantastic fun though. 

18. Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get?
We had a colour TV but it only had 4 channels....Imagine that now. Eek! We did at one point have a black and white one that ran off a car battery....hehehe We lived on a farm and had no electricity for a while. 

19. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?
Yes! We moved from a town to a farm in the middle of nowhere....I remember my parents packing up to move and I was sat in my old bedroom crying not wanting to leave.

20. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (i.e. fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake, etc)?
I can't think of anything...There was the normal high winds and minor floods but nothing too bad.

21. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?
There are so many songs that make me think of fun times as a child....Any songs by Neil Diamond remind me of my mother, Walk Like An Egyptian reminds me of being in my dad's skip wagon and (Everything I Do) I Do It for You by Bryan Adams reminds me of Friday lunchtimes at school when there was a music video club....

22. What is something that an older family member taught you to do?
My Aunty Jean taught me how to knit....I used to love just knitting squares. hehehe

23. What are brands that you remember from when you were a kid?
They are just about all the same....I still miss Turkey Twizzlers....hehehe, Woolworths, Tudor crisps, and Kwik Save shops....

24. Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.)
I had so many sticker books as a child but the only one I can remember is the Care Bears one....My friends and I also collected the Neighbours TV show collectors cards.

25. Share your favourite childhood memory.
The years I had living on a farm are very special to me....I had the best fun and adventures...

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Our Easter Egg hunt.

My family and I are not religious so Easter is all about the chocolate and having fun together as a family. On Friday we had a lot of fun and ate a lot of chocolate....

The lovely people from Co-op Food set me off thinking about organising an Easter egg hunt for my girls with their Good Egg campaign. My girls are both good eggs and always deserve a treat.

I mentioned in my Chilly trip to the park post that I had a great Easter egg hunt planned. I was going to hide the eggs outside but the weather let us down...It was cold, wet and not the weather we had hoped for. It wasn't going to stop us having an Easter egg hunt though.

We decided to just have it in the house....Our living/dining room is bit enough and I bought a few extra eggs from Poundland and there was more than enough hiding places for them....

The girls ran around like crazy things searching high and low for the eggs and they did so well.

My girls are so competitive anyway but when chocolate is involved it goes to a whole different level. There was only a couple of moments when they reached for the same egg that an argument nearly happened.

When they had finished their baskets were just about full! They both ended up with nearly the same amount of eggs. Phew. They did miss a few which I have been finding since. One in the washing basket, one under the TV and a couple more....Finders keepers rules apply so they were mine. hehehe. It's only fair.