Saturday 29 September 2018

A photo every day for a year! Week 39 of #Project365

I was having a good week then I came down with a stinking cold yesterday. Ugh! I am all woe is me at the moment and I am blaming Ellie my youngest. She is also full of cold and has obviously shared her germs with me. When she is full of cold she never seems to feel poorly though. She snots and sneezes without the aching, headaches and shivers. 

Anyway, now for a photo every day.

A little toy dog my youngest had decorated and a pile of hair on the floor from a trim
a beanie which is beans wrapped in sausage meat and then deep fried
a pretty pink sky and the Sudocrem recovery cream tube
a bowl of spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread and a box of the oreo white chocolate biscuts

265/365 - 22nd September
I won a set of the Fuzzikins Dozy Dogs and Ellie got around to colouring them in on Saturday. They are rather cute.

266/365 - 23rd September
I trimmed the kids hairs. I am not a hairdresser but I am capable of giving them a trim. I cut more off my teens hair than I had planned to. She was not amused but there is still plenty left. lol

267/365 - 24th September
I made Beanies. Baked beans, wrapped in sausage meat and covered in batter then deep fried. Hardly any one seems to have heard of them but they were popular when I was a kid here in the North East and now I have only ever found them at one chip shop nearby.

268/365 - 25th September
Where we live is surrounded by houses and I hardly ever notice pretty skies but on Tuesday the pink of it was shining through the blinds and I had to go out and take a look. It was so pretty.

269/365 - 26th September
I have been trying out Sudocrem’s new Skin Recovery Cream this past week and I like it. I took the photos on Wednesday.

270/365 - 27th September
Spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread for tea. It was out of the freezer from a batch I made a few weeks ago. I nice easy tea to make.

271/365 - 28th September
I had planned on hiding these white chocolate covered oreo's away from the kids but I forgot and they spotted them as soon as they came in from school. Oops. I made them do all of their jobs before they got one. hehehe

Sudocrem’s new Skin Recovery Cream!

When I think of Sudocrem I think of babies. I always used to have a tub of it in the cupboard, around the house or changing bag when my girls were little. Now they are older I haven't bought or used it in years.

Sudocrem Skin Recovery Cream is 2018’s must have beauty skincare product. 

The new Sudocrem Skin Recovery Cream uses a combination of soothing & moisturising ingredients including beeswax and lanolin which helps skin to look fabulous and healthy every day.

Apply it in the evening before bed and let the formula work overnight. The cream soothes and restores the skin helping with breakouts, flare-ups, redness and occasional spots.

Cold weather and central heating can wreak havoc on the skin during winter causing it to become dry and irritated. Although we have not had the heating on yet my skin has been playing up a little. I'm blaming the wind. I have been using this on and off for the past week and I must say I have been loving the look and feel of my skin so far. It is really helping in keeping it moisturised and has helped with a couple of dry patches that I had.

It looks and feels like original Sudocrem which I didn't expect it to. I imagined it being runnier. It turns out a little goes a long way. 

Sudocrem Skin Recovery Cream is available from September. It retails at £5.99 for a 30ml tube and is available at Boots nationwide.

I was sent this free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Friday 28 September 2018

Planning for #Blogtober18 and Christmas. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

a photo of the word planning

This has been one of those weeks where we have just plodded on with life. Becky had a day off school on Wednesday after being sick, aching and just generally feeling rotten. She is fine now and was just a 24 hour thing. Ellie has bought her ticket for the school disco next week and has been planning what to wear. She is so excited. She said she might even dance. hehehe

As we have not had much going on it has given me chance to do a bit of planning and a lot of writing blog posts.

For the past couple of years I have joined in with the October linky that the lovely Mandi from Big Family Organised Chaos runs. I did Blogtober 2016 & Blogtober 2017 and this year it is back.

There are 31 prompts. One for each day in October. That means a new blog post every day throughout the month. You can link up old blog posts if you want to, interpret the prompts as you wish and even miss a day or or two. There is no pressure.

This year the prompts so far are:

1. All About Me / A Year On (if you have already joined in last year)
2.Boobs (for breast cancer awareness month) #breastcancerawareness
3. Couples #nationalboyfriendday
4. Ditty #NationalPoetryDay
5. Education #worldteachersday
6. Forest Creatures #nationalbadgerday
7. Gross Motor Skills #dyspraxiaawarenessweek
8. Hearing Them Read #librariesweek
9. Invitations/Letters #WorldPostDay
10. Just Be Yourself #worldmentalhealthday
11. Kickass Girls You Adore #internationaldayofthethegirl

Each day Mandi posts her blog post for the day and there is a linky to link your blog post for that day. Use the hashtag #blogtober18 on Twitter and they will be found and there is also a Facebook group too...

I will still be posting my normal blog posts which I do every week like Meal planning Monday, Project365, My Sunday Photo and of course Word of the Week so there might be a few days per week where you are seeing two blog posts a day from me.

In the past years I have found it a fantastic way to find new blogs to read and to reconnect with bloggers which I have knows for years.....It has made me write blog posts that I wouldn't think of writing and I have always had a lot of fun.

I have also started planning for Christmas. I have added a few things to my Amazon basket for the kids. Ellie is so easy to buy for. She is still into toys and needs a mobile phone now. She was going to have Becky's old one but it broke when Stu tried to put the sim card in. Oops. It was only a cheap one, was pretty useless and it's been used for over a year so it's no big loss. I have seen reviews for the Nokia 3310 and they look great for her. I found it on Amazon for £20 less than Argos! Bargain! She only needs a phone for walking home from school so this will be perfect.

Becky is a little harder to buy but has already got quite the list of things that she would like. A few books, a leather jacket and some new trainers. I am planning on buying her a new tablet too. The one she has is running slow despite us formatting it. She uses it every day so I know our money won't be wasted.

Word of the Week linky button

Thursday 27 September 2018

How to make Beanies - Recipe!

I can't remember the first time I ate a beanie but I remember eating them as a child. My dad used to get them from our local chip shop. 

A beanie is baked beans wrapped up inside sausage meat and then battered and deep fried!

For years I never had them but once when visiting Amble a seaside town near us I saw them on the menu and had to see if they tasted as good as I remember! They did and every time we went to Amble I would get a couple. One to have then and one to have for tea when I got home. A few years ago I tried to make my own but must have had the sausage meat too thick as it was raw inside once I thought it had cooked. Ugh.

text and a picture of a battered beanie and chips

I came across the packs of sausage meat on the Tesco grocery website and thought I would give them another go.

To make them all you need is sausage meat, a tin of baked beans and some basic batter mix. I just used flour, baking powder, water and milk whisked together.

I cut the sausage meat into strips, flattened it down and put the beans on.

a square of sausage meat with baked beans on top

I then wrapped the ends over the top and smooshed it into a patty type shape. Blocking all the splits and holes where the beans were trying to escape.

the sausage meat wrapped around the beans in a patty

I decided to pop them under the grill to cook them through a little. I have learned from my mistakes. hehehe

Once they had cooled I covered them in flour and the batter.

a bowl full of batter

The pan full of oil had been heating and was bubbling away. I deep fried the beanies and in a few minutes they were cooked and looked so good.

I made chips to go with them. Proper home made chips. They were such a treat.

the beanies and chips on a plate.

We of course covered it all in tomato ketchup and it was delicious. I would go as far to say better than the chip shop's.

I did make a test one earlier on in the day just to make sure they would work and were cooked all the way through. That made a lovely mid-morning snack! 

 I really think beanies are a north eastern thing. No one out of the area seems to have heard of them. 

Have you heard of them before? Have you tried one?

Wednesday 26 September 2018

I'm an Autumn lover now...

I have always said that summer is my favourite season but now I have decided that it's not. I have decided that I'm an Autumn lover now.

The title, I'm an Autumn lover now on a background of orange leaves.

No thick coats.
It's still warm enough to go out without a big coat on mostly. I have just been wearing my hoodie and a t-shirt and I can do this without sweating or getting so hot that all I want to do is sit down.


I love to get cosy on an evening and I have my thick fleecy blanket which I spend all autumn and winter under. hehehe

The only reason I like Halloween is because of the kids. They love it. I am sure my fella encourages their love of Halloween just to annoy me. 

A collage of photos including ghost cupcakes, skeleton gingerbread men and 5 carved pumpkins

I hate going out trick or treating but in the end I do have a good time. I do like carving the pumpkins and the baking we do.

The best TV!
I love this time of year. All the best TV shows are back. The bake off, X-Factor, Strictly, all the drama's and Doctor Who, I'm a Celeb and The Walking Dead is starting soon! Eek!

The run up to Christmas.
As soon as my girls birthday are done with I start thinking about Christmas. I have already spotted the supermarkets getting their Christmas things in and took advantage of the Roses & Cadbury's Heroes from Tesco. 2 for £7. I really need to think about presents for the girls.

Hot Chocolate.
Over the summer I stopped drinking hot chocolate but now I am drinking it again. It makes me feel so cosy drinking it. I will just drink Tesco's own but there is one I make when we fancy a treat.

hot chocolate with marshmallows, cream and chocolate sauce on in a white mug.

Nutella Hot Chocolate.
You need:
3 tablespoons of Nutella or chocolate spread.
1 and 1/3rd cups of milk.

How to make:

Scoop in the 3 tablespoons of Nutella and add in 1/3rd cup of milk to a saucepan. Stir together until the two ingredients are fully blended. Once blended pour in the last cup of milk and turn the heat up a little...Once heated and mixed pour the drink into to a mug and enjoy!

Comfort food.
It's all about casseroles, soups, mashed potato, and hearty, warming food. The kids always come in from school hangry and I love to whack something in the slow cooker so they can eat whenever they are ready.

The dark nights.
I love it when it starts to get dark earlier. The curtains get shut as soon as the kids are in from school, pj's get put on and we get cosy. It also means the feral children in my street don't play out as much. hehehe

The trees.
I love it when those first leaves start to change. Trees look so much more beautiful in their Autumn colours and when the leaves finally do fall I turn into a child again. There is something so pleasing about the crunch of the leaves under your feet.

Do you love Autumn? What is your favourite thing about it?

Tuesday 25 September 2018

A Tesalate beach towel - Review!

I was recently contacted and asked if I wanted to review a beach towel. I thought all beach towels were the same but this one from Tesalate is something new and very different! 

Text saying Tesalate beach towel review on a background of a brightly coloured towel

Tesalate is an Australian company selling an innovative beach towel. As well as being fantastic for the beach because sand does not stick to it, it's perfect for yoga, picnics and any outdoor activity. It is compact and light so it is great for travelers and it would make a great gift.

The vibrant beach towels are made from a cutting-edge fabric technology. Apart from its sand repellent feature, the towels are made with AbsorbLite fabric. It rapidly dries compared to regular ones and can absorb at least 1 (33 oz.) litre's of water. 

I was sent one to try out and it came all the way from Australia. It was ordered on the 18th of September and I was sent a tracking link. I really didn't expect it to arrive for a couple of weeks as it was coming from the other side of the world. It arrived on the 21st of September! Wow! The shipping was super fast. I was very impressed!

It arrived in a travel bag which I thought was a fantastic addition. It means if you use it when you are out and about you can fold it back up and put it back in the bag away from anything else you have.

I was really surprised how light it was. I knew it is advertised as being light but I did not expect it being so light. I removed it out of the bag and was surprised how big it was considering how little it weighed. The size is 160cm x 80cm / 63 x 31 inches. It is big enough to wrap around me and I am not the smallest person.

a bright coloured towel on washing line

I choose the Kaleidoscope design and it was so bright and colourful on one side and and had a black and white design on the other. There is so many colours and designs to choose from on the Tesalate website, there is something for everyone. 

the underside of the tesalate towel. A black and white checked design.

The quality of the material felt fantastic and so soft but different from typical fluffy towel feeling. To me it didn't feel like it would dry anything but after having a shower I gave it a go and it did dry my the same as any other towel but it didn't feel as damp as a regular towel when I had finished.

I put it in the washing machine along with a couple of regular towels and once it was washed it felt the same weight as the regular towels, I imagine it is because it absorbs more water. Afterwards I hung it on the washing line to dry and it dried in half the time of a normal towel. The two towels were next to each other on the washing line so I don't imagine the little sun we had made much difference.

I can't wait until the summer to try this out on the beach to see how sand resistant it is. It feels like it should be.

This would be fantastic for anyone who travels a lot because of how light it is and the size of it. When you fold it up it is more compact than a regular towel, a real space saver. It would also be great for when children have swimming lessons.

To me the only downside is the price. These towels cost £45. It is more than I would pay for a towel but if you were a regular beach goer or traveller I would say it is well worth the money as you would get more use out of it. That being said I do really like this towel and I am really glad I have it.

Just an image of the words saying "Tried and Tested

I was sent this towel free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday 24 September 2018

I am going to try making beanies this week. #MealPlanningMonday

Our weekly meal plan title. Text with a plate and knife and fork

We ate everything last week! Hooray! It was a good week for food. Every meal was eaten and enjoyed. Simple meals like Fish fingers, chips and spaghetti hoops even though my teen said it was a childish meal. Hmmf. What is wrong with being childish now and again. I told her to make her own tea if she wanted something different. She soon changed her tune.

This week I am going to try making "beanies". I think they are a north east thing? The only place we can get them from is the chip shop in Amble. I always get two when we visit Amble. One to eat then and one to bring home and eat later. 

beanies and chips from the chip shop

Beanies are baked beans wrapped in sausage meat which is battered and deep fried. I tried making them a good few years ago but I made them too thick and the sausage meat wasn't cooked in the middle. This time it will work and if they do I will write a blog post on how to make them.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Beanies (hopefully) and chips.
Tuesday - Chicken curry and rice.
Wednesday - Minced Beef Hotpot.
Thursday - Spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Burgers in buns with corn on the cob & salad.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

Meal planning linky button

Saturday 22 September 2018

Batman, books and not so nice dumplings. Week 38 of #Project365

Another week is just about over. I seem to have struggled with photos this week. The weather hasn't been great, in fact it has been terrible. The wind and the rain which makes me want to just snuggle under a blanket which I have done most of the week while catching up on what I have recorded off the TV.

There is so much on at the moment. I have watched all of Killing Eve this week which started on Saturday and it was brilliant. Her who played Villanelle is such a fantastic actress. I have also got into watching The Circle on CH4 which is so interesting and every evening I am having to choose between that and Big Brother at 10pm. 

Anyway, now for a photo from every day.

My teenage daughter in a batman t-shirt and the radio antennas against a cloudy sky.
My teenage daughter reading a takeaway menu and a selection of vegetable crisps
My youngest daughter eating chicken and mayonaise with chopsticks and a photo of the front cover of a book
Chinese chocolate and banana dumplings.

258/365 - 15th September
Becky just happened to be wearing a Batman t-shirt on Batman Day. It wasn't planned. I didn't know there even was a Batman day. lol

259/365 - 16th September
Next doors radio antennas have caused us a lot of stress this past week. Our internet has been running slow because of them. I can't prove it but Sky said it was highly likely as they can't see anything wrong with our line. Later in the week the wind one of them moved and was nearly on the phone cable. Grr! We ended up ringing the council who said they will look into it.

260/365 - 17th September
My teen was doing a bit of wishful thinking looking at a takeaway menu when I have said we are not getting any takeaways until at least the end of October.

261/365 - 18th September
I was sent the Emily Crisps Sweet Potato Stick range to try. The Salt & Pepper flavour is new and very tasty. 

262/365 - 19th September
Ellie had a quick snack of mayonnaise and chicken just to see her over until she got back from helping with the open evening at school. She has a new thing of eating everything she can with chopsticks.

263/365 - 20th September
A fantastic book! I was sent to review. I thought I knew everything about keeping myself and my girls safe online but it turns out I was wrong and Parent Alert! How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online has really opened my eyes.

264/365 - 21st September
I saw these in Tesco and needed to give them a try. It's a no from me. The chocolate was not nice. The kids loved them though.

A blue circle with a camera on with the text Project 365

Parent Alert! How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online - Book review!

My girls spend time online most evenings. We have a rule that their are no electronics upstairs and that I am free to check what they are doing online any time. I think that I am quite savvy when it comes to everything online but there is things that I don't know and haven't thought about. I was recently sent a fantastic book to have a look at and it has really clued me up about everything online!

In summer 2017, TV presenters, best friends and mums Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams posted a video exposing the dangers of children's locations being identified on ‘Snap Map’, a feature on SnapChat. Their video attracted 26 million views in just three days. 

Inspired by this the reaction from other concerned parents, and constantly worried about what their own teenagers were getting up to online, Nadia and Kaye teamed up with international security expert Will Geddes to write Parent Alert!​ How To Keep Your Kids Safe OnlineA comprehensive, go-to guide for parents and carers on the greatest digital dangers facing children online today.

The front cover of the book Parent Alert! How to keep your kids safe online featuring Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams.

What makes this book so unique is the no-nonsense, Q&A approach. For each topic, Nadia and Kaye describe real-life scenarios and ask the questions all parents face, and Will provides the answers, with jargon-free advice.

Each chapter provides easy-to-follow advice to help parents prevent problems their children may fall victim to online. Alongside these are clear action plans to resolve issues which may have already arisen, including tips on how to recognise the warnings signs if something is wrong, and when to seek professional help.

The contents of Parent Alert! How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online book

Sixteen chapters cover the crucial areas all parents of teens and tweens as well as younger children should be aware of including social media and the social networks and platforms your child is using, cyberbullying and trolls, sexting and nude selfies, online grooming, cyberstalking and tracking, cyber-crime, and other modern online threats.

I really think that as soon as a child becomes able to use the internet parents should be made to buy this book. It really is full of information and guidance. It was a real eye opener! 

Two pages from Parent Alert! How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online. The first page showing dangers when you take a photo and the 2nd about how to create a strong password.

There is plenty of hints and tips. Things like how to avoid oversharing when you take a photo or use a webcam and how to create strong passwords which I already knew but there was a lot of things which I didn't know about. How to spot fake apps, monitor what apps are being downloaded and how to set up a secure wi-fi connection.

An extract from the book Parent Alert! How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online. About how to avoid trolls when running a youtube channel.

The book is more than just stating facts. The facts are put into scenarios and questions are answered in a way that you can relate to. Nothing is too technical and everything is put in simple terms.

I found this book so interesting and very useful. I will be keeping it nearby so I can refer to it in the future when I have a point to prove about being safe online.

As a parent it is worrying how much danger there is online but after just skimming through this book I feel like I am more aware of these dangers and I am prepared to deal with it. Becky has been reading this book too and as a 16 year old it is really opened her eyes too about the dangers online. It has got us chatting about social media and how to use it safely.

If you have a tween or a teen I would highly recommend buying this. You can buy it from Amazon, Waterstones and most of the places where you would normally find books.

I was sent this book free of charge in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday 21 September 2018

This week my Word of the Week is: Helping. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

A picture of the word helping

The kids have had a good week at school. On Wednesday Ellie even went back to school to help with the year 6 open evening. I think the school likes to show off the year 7's and how well they have settled in to the kids who will be starting next year. Ellie was helping to sell the drinks and sweets. She had fantastic fun and was rewarded with cake. lol 

I was so proud of her to offer her time like this. Things like this are really boosting her confidence. I would have never imagined her doing anything like this while she was at Primary school. I really feel like secondary school is changing her for the better.

Becky has been doing revision for a couple of months in preparation for her GCSE's and it's only the last couple of weeks that we have found something which really seems to be helping her. It is a website called Seneca

A screen shot showing the Seneca website which is a tool to revise for GCSE's

She can choose the subjects she is studying from the exact exam board so she is not learning things she doesn't need to know. It's a mixture of facts which she is writing notes about, videos and questions. It is fun for her to use and information seems to be sinking in. 

We ended up on the phone to Sky and the council during the week asking for help and advice. Next door has erected some radio antennas. I don't know what they use them for and I don't really care but since they went up our internet speed has been dropping every evening. There is no point approaching them because even the lads mother asked him to take them down and he said no, they're OK. Stu overheard them when he was bringing the washing in.

Sky were a great help and said that the antennas are probably interfering with the wi-fi & told us to contact the council. We did via their online service but when we had the high winds on Wednesday one of the poles had moved and was nearly on the phone cable (their's not ours) so we rang the council. They said they need planning permission for the height that they are at least and in the wind it was a safety issue...They are sending someone out to assess the situation but goodness knows how long that will take. I am waiting for it to move onto the phone cable and then I will ring BT. I am sure they don't want their cables ripping down. 

I had a message from the lovely Sass who blogs at Thinking Out Loud during the week which really made me think about how I blog. 

Sass is blind and uses a screen reader to read blogs. I have got into a bad habit of putting a lot of full stops after a sentence and it turns out a screen reader will read every full stop out loud which is so annoying to her and I had no idea. I felt so bad. It's one of those things that I have never thought about. I also haven't been putting image descriptions into the alt text box when I upload a picture. The image description helps blind people who use screen readers get a visual description of what is going on in each of the pictures.

From now on I am going to make a conscious effort to not use full stops as much and add description to images so my blog accessible to everyone. 

Word of the Week linky button

Thursday 20 September 2018

Jean-Christophe Novelli Goes Gold! #BeBoldGoGold

Each week in the UK and Ireland, more than 30 children are diagnosed with cancer. Two out of ten children will not survive their disease.

Renowned celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has whipped up a delicious gold-themed cupcake recipe to raise awareness and money as part of a leading cancer charity’s #BeBoldGoGold campaign for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month which is happening now! 

3 different gold cupcakes

The French chef, whose young son Valentino was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer at just eight weeks old hopes lots of people will get involved and have a go at baking the quick and easy recipe.

Jean-Christophe’s golden honey and lemon cupcakes reflect the gold theme of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with supporters also being encouraged to wear a gold ribbon and help spread the word that cancer affects everyone, even children....


2 eggs
125g self-raising flour
125g margarine
25g runny honey
75g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon

Honey filling (optional)
75g sugar
55g runny honey
110g double cream
1tbsp butter

Honey buttercream
125g soft butter
175g icing sugar
25g runny honey

How to make...

Runny honey filling.
Place the honey and sugar in a small pan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is melted.
Allow the mixture to bubble gently without stirring for a few minutes until the mixture becomes caramel coloured.
Take off the heat and stir in the cream then the butter.
Let this mixture cool before putting it in the cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lay 10 metallic gold cupcake cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.
Put all the ingredients for the cupcakes in a bowl and beat together, ideally with an electric mixer, until combined and soft.
Divide the mixture between the 10 cases.
Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden and springy to touch.

Carefully beat the icing sugar and soft butter together until soft and creamy (this is easier with an electric mixer but the icing sugar can create a huge cloud of sugar dust, so beware!)
Add the honey and beat until combined.

Assembling the cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes are cool cut a hole in the middle and fill the hole with the runny honey filling. Top the cupcakes with buttercream.

To decorate:

Rose piping:

A cupcake with Rose piping

Use a piping bag with a large star nozzle filled with buttercream. Start piping from the centre of the cupcake and spiral outwards finishing on the edge. Finish with a puff of edible gold glitter.

Gold sprinkles:

A cupcake with Gold sprinkles

Spread the buttercream on to the cupcake using a butter knife then sprinkle gold crunch sprinkles on top. 

Smiley face:

an emoji cupcake with a smiley face

To make the gold dome, roll out caramel coloured sugarpaste and cut out a large circle. Gently lay the circle over a foam dome and allow to dry overnight. To make the face, pipe white dots using royal icing, cut out eyes and a mouth using circle cutters and black and white sugarpaste.

You can donate online or Text GOLD to 70700 to donate £3.