Tuesday 31 December 2019

The final one! A photo every day for a year! #Project365

Here we are at the end of the year and I managed it again, a photo every day for the year. I will of course be carrying on with my Project 365 posts but in 2020 it will be Project 366 as it's a leap year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, we certainly did. We ate far too much, watched so much TV and got into playing Fortnite thanks to Becky's new xbox. lol

Here's a photo for every day!

355/365 - 21st December
This is what happens when you have a baby on the Sims. lol I didn't just have one, I had twins. I may have given one away though. Eek! I also noticed you can feed them with a bottle and you can breastfeed. How fab!

356/365 - 22nd December
We went to visit my great aunt in Hartlepool and we went out for a meal. It was lovely to see her.

357/365 - 23rd December
My finished Christmas cake! I was so impressed with it but so much work went into making and icing it. I think I will be back to buying one next year. It did taste good though.

358/365 - 24th December
My two elves and a Santa on Christmas eve! Despite hating the pj's on first inspection the girls loved them once they got them on. hehehe 

359/365 - 25th December
Christmas dinner!!! We had my dad and his partner over for the afternoon. We had a lovely day!

360/365 - 26th December
Who'd have thought we would all love Fortnite. Stu and Becky playing it and Ellie and I watch shouting out useful or not so useful advice. hehehe

361/365 - 27th December
I love these trays. They are perfect for teas when all the kids want is things to pick and nibble on. They love them too and know they're in for a treat when I get them out.

362/365 - 28th December
The kids were both off out with their friends.

363/365 - 29th December
Computer time for Ellie.

364/365 - 30th December
The Christmas decorations are packed away for another year. It feels so bare in here.

365/365 - 31st December
Party food for tonight which needs cooking! Happy New year!

If you fancy a challenge why don't you join in with Project 366 in the new year. Take a photo every day and then put them into a blog post. There's the linky where you can find everyone else and a Facebook Group where you get the linky code from and join in with the chatter. The linky runs from midday Saturday till Sunday evening.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Monday 30 December 2019

My top blog post from the last year! 2019.

At the end of every year I like to share some of my blog posts which I have posted in the previous 12 months. Last year I posted the top 10 things I'd reviewed and the year before it was my most viewed posts of the year

This year I am going with my most viewed posts of the year again. I had a fair idea of a few posts that might be included but there was some surprises in my top 10!

Here they are:

I knew this would be somewhere at the top. It was the biggest thing to happen over this past year. We have no regrets and we are all so happy living here! It was the best thing we did for all of our family!

This one was a bit of a surprise to find in my top 10 but The Portland Hotel did share it a lot of their Facebook account. Stu and I had a lovely afternoon and it was my first ever afternoon tea. It was such a treat!

I guess people love a jumper!

Changing the name of my blog was such a big deal to be. I had been Northumberland Mam for over 6 years with moving out of Northumberland it had to be done. I think it was the most stressful few hours of the year. lol It all went smoothly and I feel so happy as Life As Kim.

I have carried on joining in with Project 365 and have the last post of the year on Tuesday. I don't know why Week 30 was so special, I do like the photos though. It was not long after we moved here and we were in the middle of the summer. Ahh! The memories.

If you are up for a challenge Project 365 is a great one although it will be Project 366 next year as it's a leap year. Take a photo every day, put them in a blog post and link up with the nicest bunch of bloggers on a Saturday. It's a great way to record those every day memories.

This was such a random one to be in my top 10 but I am glad it is. I do love joining in with Raisie Bay and her Word of the Week linky which runs on a Friday. It is a fab way to write about those everyday moments which don't warrant a whole blog post. This one in March proves why I love it so much. We have had problems with our washing machine for years and I could read back on my blog when I moaned about it every time in my Word of the Week posts. lol It broke again a few months ago and I could go back and tell Curry's exactly when it was last broken. hehehe

I love this recipe and it looks like other people do too.

I had a feeling this would be in my top 10 because one of the photos appeared in my top 9 photos for the year on Instagram. Ellie loved these keychains. They are very cute.

Ellie had a rough time in year 7 but there was a few lovely moments too like the time she was invited to a party. It was such a big deal to her especially because in primary school all the girls in the class were invited to a party apart from her and another girl who were "different". 

I always like to write some blog posts about Congenital Heart Defects during heart week in February since my girls and myself have dodgy tickers and I am glad this one is included in my top 10. Finding out your child has something wrong with their heart is the worst feeling in the world but just know you are not alone!

Have you read any of these blog posts? If not why don't you now. hehehe

Our weekly meal plan! 30th Dec - 5th Jan. #MealPlanningMonday

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!! Last weeks meal plan went well. We all ate so much and it was all thoroughly enjoyed. I have finally perfected cooking the Christmas dinner. I found cooking as much as I could the day before worked well, not just preparing but cooking! Once everything was cooked I put it in bowls and covered it in clingfilm. On Christmas day I just warmed everything in the microwave! It all tasted delicious and there was enough leftovers to feed us until Friday with slices of roast pork and beef put in the freezer to use over the next few weeks.

The kids still have the whole of this week off school and I think Stu goes back to work on the 3rd so there is plenty of time to eat more yummy food and make pigs of ourselves. hehehe We have New Years Eve for party food, a new years day roast and a meal out this week.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Leftover bolognese in wraps. 
Tuesday - Party food!
Wednesday - A roast dinner of some sort.
Friday We're off to town and will eat out for lunch so it will be a sandwich or something light for tea.
Saturday - The last of the party food and nibbles.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 29 December 2019

I couldn't decide which photo to use. #MySundaySnapshot

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We had the best day.

I only usually use one photo for my Sunday post but I couldn't decide between these two! The aftermath of opening the Christmas presents and my girls being sassy and cool. lol

Saturday 28 December 2019

Our Christmas! - 2019

I knew this Christmas was going to be a special one with it being the first in our new house but I never thought it would go so well.

The big Christmas food shop was delivered and Asda excelled themselves. Just about everything was delivered and that which wasn't was substituted for better. I overbought and had to bring the little fridge in from the garage to fit everything in. Oops. I decided that I wasn't going to spend Christmas in the kitchen so I cooked nearly everything on Christmas Eve. All I left to do on Christmas day was the pigs in blankets, parsnips, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. 

On Christmas eve we went into the town to sing carols around the Christmas tree, we got a takeaway and spent the evening in front of the TV. All the wrapping was done so all we had to do was bring the presents downstairs. The kids were so excited. I thought some of the magic of Christmas would be lost now my girls don't believe but it was just a different kind of magic.

The kids were up just after 7am. I heard them chattering about what they were finding in their stockings. They came into the bedroom just after half past then it was downstairs to open the presents.

They got everything they wanted and more. For Becky the xbox one and the dartboard were her most loved presents and for Ellie her scooter and the Barbie wheelchair were the most loved.

The morning was spent with me in and out of the kitchen and having a glass or 3 off bucks fizz. The kids were so excited to show me their presents and I think Ellie kept forgetting I already knew what her gifts were but I went along with it anyway. She was so excited. It got to the point where she just left all her presents and came and helped me in the kitchen. The excitement and festive cheer was just too much for her. It gave Becky and Stu chance to set the xbox up.

My dad and his partner arrived at around half one and I got on with finishing off the dinner. I dished it all up and everyone ate and loved it. My dad actually said he didn't realise I was such a good cook. He was impressed. He's a fussy old so and so and always has a complaint about everything so to have nothing but good things said about my cooking was amazing.

Crackers were pulled and fun was had. We all left the table stuffed with no room for Christmas pudding. We introduced my dad to the Google Home speaker thingy and the kids had such a laugh with him. It was a lovely afternoon.

When my dad left we all changed into our pj's, Stu washed the dishes and I sorted all the leftovers. There was enough to feed us for the rest of the week! Hooray! I never actually got sat back in my armchair until about 7pm and then rang my great aunt to wish her merry Christmas. 

The highlight of our evening was the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special. I was so tempted to pause it halfway through just to take it all in. All the kids and Smithy having a girlfriend! I am guessing she was the most hated person on Christmas day. hehehe I really thought we were going to find about about the fishing trip and that ending! They have to make more, surely! 

It was the best Christmas! I say this every year but it really was this year! Everything went to plan, it was practically stress free and most of all everyone was happy.

On Boxing day we all had a well deserved lie in. After a busy week I think I deserved it. We didn't get dressed and we just snacked all day. Yesterday was much of the same. It has been perfect!

I hope you all had a good Christmas too?

Friday 27 December 2019

This week my Word of the Week is: Family!

This week my Word of the Week is:

It has been the best week which has included a lot of family time and of course Christmas day.

On Sunday we travelled up north to see my great Aunt. She hasn't been great health wise, nothing serious, just old age. My dad and his partner took us so it was a real family day out. It took about 3 hours there and 3 hours back but it was worth it. There was a lot of singing and chatter in the car. We had a blast.

The kids got to meet my dad's cousin, her husband and the dog. Becky is usually terrified of dogs but she took a shine to this one, didn't panic and even stroked it. We went out for lunch and had a lovely day.

It was my dad's birthday on Monday and we popped up to see him and take him a birthday cake. It was nice to be able to do that. Last year we spent his birthday with him when we were away on holiday but any other time I just couldn't pop in to see him. It makes me so grateful that we live so close to him now.

We had a lovely Christmas eve. We went out into the town centre on Christmas eve to sing carols around the Christmas tree and it was such fun, we had a takeaway and it was such a relaxed evening. There was no rushing the kids to bed as I had got all the wrapping done and there was no sneaking about because the kids know the truth about Santa.

On Christmas day my dad and his partner came to ours for lunch and it was the best. I have never cooked Christmas dinner for my dad before and he had nothing but good things to say about it. He actually said that he didn't know I was such a good cook. Eesh! 

Yesterday Stu, our girls and myself spent a lot of time together. We played board games and we all got into Fortnite on Becky's new xbox. Becky & Stu playing and Ellie and I shouting instructions. Before yesterday afternoon none of us were interested in Fortnite and hadn't really played it. Now we love it. lol We also spent time watching TV. Worzel Gummidge was fab and we of course watched Paddington 2.

I hope you all had a great Christmas too. I am hoping for a lot more family time before the kids go back to school and Stu goes back to work.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Spam Bubble and Squeak - Recipe!

Bubble and Squeak is the ultimate ‘leftovers’ meal, especially on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Just one 340g can of Spam Chopped Pork and Ham can bring those leftover Christmas Day leftovers back to life and tasting amazing!

This quick and easy dish is ideal when you’re feeling a little tired after the Christmas celebrations and just crave satisfying, comfort food with all the family.

Made from a minimum of 90% shoulder pork and leg ham, this iconic meat can be easily sizzled in the pan, straight from the can to revive those sad Christmas Day tatties and veg.

Why not give this hassle free, money saving recipe a go:

Spam Bubble and Squeak
Serves 4

1 x 340g can of Spam Chopped Pork and Ham - diced.
500g potato, cooked and mashed.
100g cabbage or sprouts cooked and finely.
chopped) Or 300g of other cooked vegetables.
200g cooked parsnips and carrot cooked and
finely chopped.
100g leeks, finely sliced.
1 clove of garlic, crushed.
20g Butter.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Fresh parsley, finely chopped .

1. Fry the diced Spam Chopped Pork and Ham in a large dry pan until golden. Put into a warm bowl and keep warm.
2. Clean the pan and melt the butter.
3. Lightly fry the sliced leeks and crushed garlic in the melted butter, stirring constantly over a low heat until softened but still retaining their colour. 
4. In a medium bowl mix together the cooked vegetables, season well with salt and pepper and add to the pan, stirring well to combine and heat through.
5. Add half of the diced cooked Spam to the vegetable mixture in the frying pan, stir well until hot, top with the rest of the diced cooked Spam .
6. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Spam Chopped Pork and Ham is available from all major UK supermarkets.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just a quick one to wish you all a Merry Christmas.
I hope you all eat, drink and get merry! 

My dad and his partner Sarah are coming over for the day and I am doing the cooking. I refuse to wash the dishes though, they can fight over that honour between them. hehehe

You are not alone! There is help out there.

Christmas can be the happiest of times. The food, presents and celebrating but it can also be the saddest of times for many reasons. It can be a time of joy and spending time with loved ones but it can also be a stressful and lonely period.

No one should have no one to turn to. You might need help, advice or just a chat. There is always someone there.

Phone them: 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI)
Email them: jo@samaritans.org (UK) or jo@samaritans.ie (ROI)

They offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way about whatever’s getting to you.

Phone them: 0808 2000 247

The 24hr freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) is available on 0808 2000 247 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls to the domestic violence helpline are free from mobiles and landlines.

Phone them: 0808 802 9999

12 noon - 2.30pm and 7pm - 9.30pm every day of the year.

Phone them: 0800 9177650 

If you seem to be having trouble with your drinking or if your drinking has reached the point of where it worries you get in touch.

SANELine: 0300 304 7000. 
Mental Health helpline offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. Open every day of the year from 16:30 - 22:30.

The Silver Line - 24/7 support
The Silver Line has a free, confidential helpline dedicated to helping older people, who may be feeling isolated, confused, or lonely. It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Call 0800 4708090.

Help for adults concerned about a child
Call on 0808 800 5000

Help for children and young people
Call Childline on 0800 1111

Phone them: 0808 800 4444
Emergency helpline: 0808 1644 660

Phone them: 0808 2000 247

Refuge supports women and children who experience all forms of violence and abuse, including domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, and human trafficking and modern slavery.

NHS Direct

Phone them: 0800 055 6112 
8am-7pm - 365 days a year.

Age UK Advice is a free, confidential, national phone service for older people, their families, friends, carers and professionals.

Urgent Help.
If things have got so bad you’re feeling unsafe the quickest way to get help is calling 999 or going to A&E.

You are not alone!

Tuesday 24 December 2019

What I will be watching on Christmas Day!

It's the most wonderful time of year especially when it comes to what's on TV. I saw people grumbling about what BBC & ITV have to offer but I am quite happy with what is being shown over Christmas!

I will be too busy cooking, serving and eating the dinner to watch much TV on Christmas day but I will be recording things until I get chance to sit down.

On Christmas day I will be recording or watching:

Top of the Pops - BBC1 - 11:35am - 12:40pm.

Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo present a festive edition of the programme celebrating the biggest hits and most successful acts of the year concluding with the all important Christmas Number One.

I have watched the Christmas Top of the Pops for as long as I can remember. I think this year I will struggle to know who most the singers are. I feel like I haven't kept up with today's music. Eek! I am showing my age now.

The Snail and the Whale - BBC1 - 2:30pm - 3:00pm.

Animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's book. It tells the tale of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and hitches a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale. Sally Hawkins and Rob Brydon head the voice cast as the title characters, with Cariad Lloyd and Diana Rigg.

I love the Julia Donaldson animated films that are shown at Christmas. They are not just for the kids. I always find myself smiling and laughing along.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special - BBC1 - 4:40pm - 6:00pm.

 Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman present the traditional festive edition for Christmas Day, which sees the return of six old favourites from past series. Chizzy Akudolu, Gemma Atkinson, Richard Arnold, Debbie McGee, Joe Sugg and Mark Wright take to the dancefloor to perform special Christmas-inspired routines.

Strictly has become a firm favourite in my house over the last few months. Even my fella has got into it and we can't wait for the Christmas one. It's a shame I already know who wins it after it was leaked a little while ago. Hmmf!

Call the Midwife - BBC1 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm.

Mother Mildred declares that God is calling her to set up a branch house in the Outer Hebrides so she is joined by several other members of the team, including Dr Turner, Shelagh, Trixie, Sister Julienne, Valerie, Lucille and Fred, many of whom have been struck down by flu and like the idea of convalescing in the fresh Scottish air. However, as they set about establishing an antenatal clinic and treating the local population they must battle not only the weather and challenging terrain but the suspicions of the islanders.

I only got into Call The Midwife earlier on this year and watched what I thought was all the episodes until I found out that they had special Christmas one's too. I watched them all earlier this month and sobbed and smiled in equal measures. I can't wait to watch the Christmas special the same time as everyone else!

Gavin & Stacey - BBC1 - 8:30pm - 9:30pm.

The Shipmans travel to Wales to spend Christmas with the Wests, but for Gavin and Stacey, parenthood continues to present them with several challenges, and their 'baby' is now nine.Smithy also continues to commit to his fatherly role, making the journey to Barry at weekends and every second Wednesday to see 12-year-old Neil the Baby. Nessa has adopted her own style of mothering, while Pam, Mick and Gwen have become the epitome of doting grandparents. On Christmas Eve, Dawn makes a shocking discovery about Pete that jeopardises their marriage - again - while a visit to the pub becomes an eye-opener in more ways than one.

I can't wait to see this! It's crazy to think the last time we seen them was 10 years ago. I really hope it's not a let down!

We will of course be watching a film or two. Finding Dory is a must, we love that one and I will be recording all the soaps as they seem to clash with everything on BBC1. Even Neighbours is on Christmas day this year, I think for the first time ever! 

Will you be watching any TV on Christmas day?

Monday 23 December 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 23rd - 29th Dec. #MealPlanningMonday

Here we go the run up to Christmas. If all is going to plan my Christmas food shop should be getting delivered today. Eek! I hope there isn't many substitutions. I do have a backup if the veg is short, there's the farm shop up the road and the little Tesco in town. Please let Asda be good and deliver everything. I really don't have time to go looking and buying things.!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - It's my dad's birthday and we might be going out for a meal. If we don't we will be having pizza out of the freezer. 
Tuesday -  A takeaway of some sort. We haven't decided yet whether it will be a Chinese or pizza.
Wednesday - Christmas dinner then leftovers and snacking out of the fridge.
ThursdayLeftovers and snacking out of the fridge.
Friday - A fry up. Sausages, bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, fried eggs, tomatoes and baked beans.
Saturday - Party food and nibbles.
Sunday - Spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread. I think we'll need a proper meal by now.

Apart from Christmas dinner, what are you eating this week?

Sunday 22 December 2019

My top 9 on Instagram. #MySundaySnapshot

Every year a highlight of using Instagram is seeing my top 9 photos. It is a nice way to look back on the year that was.

I already knew one of the photos would be in my top nine. I think it's one which received the most likes ever in my Instagram history and it was to support a lovely woman and a great cause!

#1 Piss Off Phyliss was to support the lovely Emma from Island Living 365. A large group of bloggers came together to support Emma and her fight against bowel cancer! It was all about raising awareness. Emma called her cancer Phyllis hence the Piss off Phyllis hashtag!

#2 My teen's GCSE results! She did so well. Better than we expected. I couldn't have been prouder of her.

#3 The first photo I took when we moved house. I am not tired of this view yet. Throughout the 6 months we've lived here I look out of the window and notice something new and different.

#4 This is one I didn't expect to see in my top 9. The S.W.A.K Kissable Keychains. They are fab little things. Ellie really loved them. 

#5 A throwback Thursday post using the Timehop app. It was a random Facbook status. Ellie had jammed her fingers in a door. Little did we know that the next day we would find out she had a problem with her heart and it was the start of the worst 6 months of our lives. Heart problems, open heart surgery and a lot of tears!

#6 This was taken on the day when I added my own URL to my blog and went from being Northumberland Mam to Life As Kim. It felt like such a big change but now I am used to it. Phew!

#7 I had to look back and see what I said about this photo as it was so random. It was just Missandei off Game of Thrones. It turns out I said something like "I still think of her as Sasha Valentine off Hollyoaks. lol

#8 Easter Eggs! Who doesn't love Easter eggs!

#9 A reduced raid from my local Tesco. I think this was my best until a few weeks ago when I got £14 worth of smoked salmon for just over £4, a ton of £2 odd sandwiches for 60p and loaves of bread for about 25p each!

If you don't already do follow me on Instagram.