Monday, 22 July 2019

(Ad - Gifted) The BIC KIDS Young Artist Award is back!

For the 3rd year running the BIC KIDS Young Artist Award is back to encourage creativity in children across the country.

It is giving proud parents across the UK and Republic of Ireland the opportunity to see their child’s drawings graduate from the fridge door to billboards and it can also give the kids something to do for the first couple of weeks of the summer holidays.

BIC KIDS Young Artist Award logo

Open to all 5 to 11 year olds, entrants are encouraged to exercise their artistic flair, let their imaginations run wild and draw with complete freedom. 

To be eligible to enter, entries must:

Be from children aged 5-11 years old.
Be drawn on plain, landscape A4 paper.
Be drawn in pencil, felt tip and/or crayon.
Be the original work of the entrant, and not include any recognised characters or logos.
Be received by 11.59pm on Sunday, August 4th, 2019.
Be submitted to the BIC® KIDS website by the child’s parent or legal guardian.
Be the only entry of that child.

Judges will award points for everything from creativity and use of colour, to composition and subject matter. The expert judging panel will select 13 finalists to represent their region, with their work being displayed on their very own, local billboards from late August. A public vote will then decide the ultimate winner, whose drawing will go nationwide in late September. In addition to priceless public recognition of their work, the winner will receive BIC stationery goodies and a creative art party. 

If you need any new colouring products to help with your child’s entry, why not visit  Asda, WHSmith, Ryman or Amazon to stock up! 

A selection of BIC kids pens and pencils.

We were sent a selection and Ellie was overjoyed. It's a brand we all recognise and use. My two girls are a little too old to enter this competition (Ellie will be 12 by the time it's judged. Hmmf. hehehe) but if they were younger they would be joining in. Ellie is instead using these pens and pencils to get creative and draw plenty of pictures.

We were sent a selection of BIC products in exchange for this blog post.

Our weekly meal plan! 22nd - 28th July. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well. We ate just about everything. Ellie turned her nose up at the lemon chicken saying it tasted like washing up liquid but the rest of us enjoyed it. The Slow cooker salmon & lentil curry was OK. It filled us but it's not something I'd make again. It was a bit meh!

Last week I blogged about a new cookbook I was sent to review and this week I am going to try some recipes from it. I have been thinking about the pork & apple burgers for nearly a week! 

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Pork & apple burgers with fries.
Tuesday - A picnic tea. Sandwiches, sausage rolls, cakes and crisps.
ThursdaySloppy Joes.
Friday - Pizza.
SaturdayA lazy chicken curry and rice.
Sunday - Mince and dumplings with mash.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 21 July 2019

She suddenly seems so grown up. #MySundaySnapshot

On Friday my teen had her interview at college. It went so well. She's due to start at the end of August for the induction days. Eek! Anyway she got some new clothes from my dad's partner which were perfect for the interview.

She suddenly seems so grown up. Wearing fancy clothes, going to college and last week filling in the form for her provisional driving licence. Eek!

my teenager all dressed up for a college interview.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Week 29 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

We've had a good week. Becky had her interview at college yesterday and it went so well. She got a glowing reference from her Health & Social Care teacher from school. We met one of the teachers who we really warmed to and had a good look around the college. We just have to wait for Becky's results now to find out what course she'll be doing. It will be Health & Social Care but her results will determine which one.

Now for a photo every day!

Auction and sausage casserole
driving licence application form
sitting in the dark and my youngest eating her tea
sitting in a car and unicorn turkey burgers

192/365 - 13th July
On Saturday we went to a local auction hoping to get some 2nd hand furniture for the bedrooms. We did very well. We got a working PC tower for £5, an iron £2, a freeview box £2, 3 big chest of drawers £5 each, an office chair and a table to fit my youngest girls computer on for £3. 

193/365 - 14th July
A change to the meal plan. I cooked sausage casserole instead of toad in the hole.

194/365 - 15th July
Another big milestone for Becky. She got the form to apply for a provisional driving licence. Eek! She wants to learn to drive when she turns 17 in September. 

195/365 - 16th July
I sat here in the dark waiting for someone to come into the room to switch the light on. Very lazy of me but I was comfy.

196/365 - 17th July
Ellie just stuffing her face with a noodle stir fry.

197/365 - 18th July
I went out with my dad when he was off picking something up from the other side of town. I got to see somewhere different from the bus route. He took me on a tour of all the little villages around here.

198/365 - 19th July
Unicorn turkey shapes! Ellie's new favourite food!

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Our summer bucket list 2019!

We love to make a bucket list for the summer holidays. We have for the last few years and last year we didn't do too well with it but this year is going to be different!

I roped the girls into thinking up some ideas and they were fab! 

This summer we are (hopefully) going to:

Go for a family bike ride. We have 3 bikes now and we're planning on borrowing one of my dad's so we can all go out together.

Do some gardening. Planting and hopefully growing something.

Make our own ice cream.

Camp out in the garden.

Pick our own strawberries.

Build a sand castle.

Visit a new park.

Have a water balloon fight.

Do some baking.

Have a barbecue or 10!

Go to a car boot sale.

Play Just Dance on the Wii.

Go to the cinema.

All 4 of us play Minecraft on one world.

Visit a farm shop.

Learn to use chopsticks.

Decorate the kids rooms.

Complete a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Star gaze.

Be a vegetarian for a week.

Have an afternoon tea.

Go on a train.

Dye our hair a wacky colour.

Make a bird feeder.

I will say yes to everything for a day! I am not going to tell my girls I am doing this but when they ask something I will say yes even if it's something I will usually say no to.

What do you have planned for the summer?

Friday, 19 July 2019

This week my Word of the Week is: Nature! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Before we moved house we lived in a really build up, concrete area. There was countryside about a 20 minute walk away but there was nothing there apart from fields so we never really ventured there. The most nature we saw was if we went for a walk around the woods.

Where we live now we are surrounded by fields. Most of them are full of corn and whatever else farmers grow. They have been harvesting them this week and if I had a pound for every tractor I have see go past my house I'd be rich! 

This week we seem to have seen so many animals, bugs and nature. 

On Monday we were at my dad's house outside and the amount of bugs flying about was unreal! There was no wind and they were just all there crawling all over us. The farmers cutting their fields are the reason apparently. We have learned not to wear anything white or yellow!

A yellow flower covered in bugs and then another photo of lots of flowers and plants

Stu was out hanging the washing out one morning and noticed piles of poo in the garden. He was all set to blame next doors dog but then thought it didn't look like dog poo. He came inside and Googled it. We're 99% sure it's hedgehog poo. We've yet to see any but we are looking out for them.

Becky has been helping my dad with some gardening and she has been having the best time mostly. She did get stung by nettles which wasn't her favourite moment but she did learn about dock leaves and how they help.

Ellie has been fascinated by my dad's fish! There's about 15 in his pond. There is one little one which my dad said he didn't buy and it's a baby of one of the others. Aww! 

Orange fish in a pond and a pigeon in a nest in a tree.

My dad and Becky were getting rid of some bushes and trees and all was going well until they found Penny, the pigeon! It has been named because it doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon. She is sitting in her nest and we are assuming on eggs. They didn't want to disturb her so removing the trees has been put on hold for now.

We have also had some issues with birds. There must be a nest on top of our house because we have been finding dead baby birds just outside our front door this week. We are guessing they are falling out of their nest. Nature is rubbish at times.

In the past three weeks we have lived here I have seen more of what nature has to offer than the last 10 years living in our old house. lol I know there is much more to see. 

Thursday, 18 July 2019

(Ad - Gifted) The Quick After Work Cookbook - Review!

Since we moved house we have been busy. Most of the days we are out of the house with various appointments, visiting my dad or just exploring our new area. I have struggled with my meal planning and I'm relying a lot on the slow cooker but sometimes I just want to be able to throw something together quickly without it and I was running out of ideas. There is only so many times we can have something out of the freezer with pasta or rice.

I was recently asked if I would like to have a look at "The Quick After-Work Cookbook". 

The Quick After Work Cookbook features easy, speedy recipes and big satisfying flavours that just hit the spot!

Each of the recipes in this cookbook can be on the table in half an hour or less! You can take store cupboard staples, add a few fresh ingredients and prepare delicious food that’s good for you.

There is 80 easy to follow recipes including midweek meals, kids teas and desserts.

I have skimmed through the book and I can't wait to get started on trying the new and quick recipes. I think the first of the one's I will try is the Pork and Apple burger recipe. I think these could be cooked on the BBQ too. They seem perfect for the weather we've been having!

Pork and Apple burgers recipe

The chicken salad with berries looks interesting. I would never have put chicken and berries together even though I will happily have chicken and pineapple.

I love the look of the desserts and cakes in The Quick After Work Cookbook! I think I am going to have to try the Hot Bakewell Blondies. They look so good!!

Hot Bakewell Blondies recipe in a cookbook

This really does look like a great cookbook full of recipes my family will love. I will be trying some soon so do keep an eye on my weekly meal plan. Lots of the recipes use ingredients which I will usually have in anyway so there is no fuss in having to buy lots of random things.

The Quick After Work Cookbook is available to buy now for £8.99 which I think is a great price for what is included in this book.

I was sent The Quick After Work Cookbook free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A visit to my youngest girls new school.

Many, many weeks ago I applied for a new school for Ellie. She obviously couldn't go to her old one as it was over 150 miles away so a new one needed to be found. I applied through the council and waited and waited. There was no great rush as we hadn't planned on making her start until September.

We heard she was accepted to our chosen school a couple of weeks ago and went to visit it last Wednesday. We had read all the way through the website, looked at everything online and we felt it would be a good school for Ellie.

From the second we arrived at the school we felt at ease. It's more of a rural type school than an inner city one. There is just over 500 pupils. In comparison to her old school which had about 1500! 

We were welcomed by the deputy head and we felt welcome. She was lovely. She had been a teacher at the school for over 20 years and stays because she loves it. 

The deputy head was quick to explain that some schools in Scunthorpe and surrounding areas were given money to do them up and rebuild them but this school wasn't, she was on the verge of apologising but there is nothing wrong with old buildings. They seem more homely, new builds seem sterile and business like. Give me an old school building any day!

She also explained that the way they have tutor groups is different from other schools. They use the vertical tutor group system where the tutor group have children of all ages, rather than by groups of the same age. In each tutor group there is say 4 years 7's, 4 year 8's, 4 year 9's and so on! I think this is a great idea. It stops the year groups being stuck with each other and they get to know people right through the school. There is also 2 teachers in each tutor group so the kids get plenty of attention.

Ellie is overjoyed that there is no more shirts and ties. The uniform is more relaxed with a polo shirt and cardigan or jumper but still looks smart. I priced it up and 2 polo shirts, 2 cardigans and a PE top came to just under £70. Eek! Some things never change going from school to school.

We met the SENDCO woman who seems lovely who will make sure that Ellie is looked after with her hearing loss. We also explained about how at one point we thought Ellie may have Autism but it was diagnosed as Social Anxiety but since settling into year 7 she has been better than she's ever been at school. They are going to look into this and see how she gets on. 

We were shown the whole school and all of the classrooms where children were being taught. They looked so much calmer and more respectful than children at Ellie's old school. We were also shown the inclusion room where children are sent when they have been misbehaving or need a time out. She said it's not a negative room. If Ellie ever felt overwhelmed with the new school she could go there to take a break.

We explained about the bullying which Ellie had in her previous schools and how she was feeling a little worried about the same happening. The teacher said she can't promise bullying wouldn't happen because it does happen everywhere but they take a hard stance on punishing the bullies which was good to hear.

Ellie's favourite subject is music and she was very impressed with the music rooms. They were full of instruments and there is little soundproof rooms to make and record music. There was also a textiles room. Ellie has never studied textiles but she loves making clothes for her dolls so I think it will soon become one of her favourite subjects.

When Ellie starts the new school in September she will be buddied up with a few people until she gets her bearings. I feel happy with the new school and so does my girl. She can't wait until September!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

A weekend at the Winterton Agricultural Show!

Before we even moved down to Scunthorpe my dad told me about the Winterton Agricultural Show and that he was planning on displaying his two vintage tractor things and his vintage car. He of course invited us all to go and we have been looking forward to it for months.

The two day show has everything you expect to find at an agricultural show. Horses, sheep, chickens, Alpacas, craft stalls, music, motorbikes, floats, monster trucks, scurry racing, random displays in the main arena, dog shows, fairground rides, lots of different food and so much more! 

We arrived at the show at about 10am on Saturday and the kids were keen to have a look around. 

There was so much to see and watch. Every step we took there was something new and different. The kids were fascinated. It was the first time they had been to a show like this. They were amazing by all the effort people go to in the craft, baking and flower arrangement competitions and could have easily spent hours just watching the show jumping.

Lots of the different community groups in the town made floats and got to show them off by going around the ring. They had all made so much effort. There was one's from schools, playgroups and youth clubs.

The Imps Motorcycle Display Team which were on My Sunday Snapshot post were amazing! Some kids on the motorbikes looked so small and I think they said the youngest was 5 years old!

Towards the end of day one at the show all the vintage farm vehicles that had been on display all day got to do a lap or two around the main arena. My dad has his old lawnmower and his little tractor thingy. 

My dad drove the tractor and his partner drove the lawnmower. It was brilliant fun and the kids loved watching them!

Day two, the Sunday was a bit of a later start. There was a 10 mile run and then a fun run so there was no rush to get there.

We took a picnic on the Saturday but promised the kids that they could get something from one of the food vans on the Sunday. Becky went for chips & gravy, Ellie chicken noodles, Stu a huge cheeseburger and I had a pork & stuffing burger, then a hot dog later. hehehe

It was a more relaxed day on the Sunday as we had seen all the stalls so just hung around the music tent and the main arena, flitting between the two. The scurry racing was amazing! (Ponies pulling a carriage around a course in an attempt to get the fastest time.) Those little things go so fast and we saw all of the final round. Amazing!

We also saw a Freddie Mercury tribute act. He was such a good entertainer and all of my family are big fan's of the real Freddie and Queen. We were singing, dancing and clapping along.

There was wrestling to watch and the monster trucks. They were good but they took more time setting up the cars to be ran over than actually doing anything. I just thought they ran over anything they wanted but everything has to be positioned exactly which ruined the illusion a little.

The kids wanted to go on this huge inflatable slide and I cringed watching them on it. It was too high for my liking and they were bouncing all over. I couldn't watch and walked off to see what my dad was up to. He was getting his vintage panel van to go for a whizz around the main arena. I got the honour of riding along with him around the ring.

My dad's partner was the first one to notice me in the car, then Stu arrived at ringside and then a few minutes later the kids. There faces were a picture. hehehe They certainly didn't expect to see me there.

It was such a fab weekend. We didn't actually spend that much money with taking a picnic on the Saturday, getting free entry with the guest passes my dad gave us and the kids were rather spoilt and given money by my dad's partner which paid for all their fairground rides. Thankfully they didn't have enough money left at the end of Sunday to play hook a duck. They were going to try to win themselves a goldfish. Eek! lol By the end of the show we were exhausted with all the fresh air and the walking. It took me until Wednesday for my legs to recover but I think we will be back next year!

Monday, 15 July 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 15th - 21st July. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went OK. We changed things around to what day we ate things but nearly everything was eaten. We did have an unplanned takeaway on Friday from the chip shop. I had burger and chips and it was a good one. Probably the best I've had in years. I also scrapped the toad in the hole for a sausage casserole. I didn't want to be stood in the kitchen faffing around as it was too warm.

We have a couple of appointments this week so I'll be using the slow cooker again. We also have the look around Becky's new college.

This week on the menu we have:

Wednesday - Fish fingers, chips and baked beans.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Slow cooker pulled pork in buns.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort or salad if it's too hot.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Fun at the fair! #MySundaySnapshot

Last weekend we were at an agricultural show and there was a fairground too. I think they went on just about every ride but the big inflatable slide was their favourite!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Week 28 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

These weeks seem to be flying over. We've had a busy one. An agricultural show, a trip to the cinema, visits to my dad's house, a look around Ellie's new school and trying out Sainsbury's for the weekly food shop. It has been non-stop. I have found myself out of the house more than in lately and I like it.

Now for a photo every day!

my girls sat eating an ice cone each
A monster truck crushing cars and my family in the cinema eating popcorn
the anysharp knife sharpener along with a sliced apple
My teenage daughter trying not to smile when I take a passport style photo and my girls riding their bikes in a big field.

185/365 - 6th July
The first day at Winterton Agricultural Show. We took a break and had a sit down and the kids had ice cones. I have a blog post all about it next week.

186/365 - 7th July
Monster Trucks! They were good but they took more time setting up the cars to be ran over than anything else.

187/365 - 8th July
We had a trip to the cinema to see Toy Story 4. It was so good. Such a lovely film and we were the only one's in there.

188/365 - 9th July
I tried out he AnySharp knife sharpener and I was very impressed with it. I had thought about buying new kitchen knives a few weeks ago but now I don't have to.

189/365 - 10th July
I needed a passport style photo for Becky's bus pass for college. I must have took about 20 before I got one where she wasn't smiling, smirking or full on laughing. This one was one for the no pile.

190/365 - 11th July
Just over 2 weeks ago the kids could hardly ride their bikes now they are well away on them. They keep going to my dad's field to practice. 

191/365 - 12th July
I have come to realise since moving here we have to book the food shopping delivery early on in the week or there is no slots left. I tried to book one for yesterday morning and none of the supermarkets around her had one. The best I could get was between 12 & 1pm. It was the first time in a long time using Sainsburys. I did get money off the shop as I signed up as a new customer. hehehe

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Friday, 12 July 2019

This week my Word of the Week is: Out! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

The word Out.

We are well and truly settled in our new house. It doesn't feel like a new house anymore it just feels like home. It's crazy to think we've only been here a little over two weeks, it seems a lot longer. Downstairs us just about finished barring the decorating and some shelves that need putting up and we're still waiting for some drawers for upstairs. 

We have been out an about all over the place this past week. We spent Saturday and Sunday at a nearby country show. My dad was displaying his vintage tractors and cars and took us along for the ride. I do have a blog post all about it next week. It was a fab weekend with showjumping, animals, fairground rides, yummy food and a lot of walking and fresh air! The highlight of the weekend was riding around the ring in my dad's vintage car and being given a medal for doing so. hehehe

My girls on a trampoline and a gold medal from an agricultural show with a tractor on.

On Monday there was no rest, we were out again as we had an appointment in town and it was a great excuse to pop to the cinema to see Toy Story 4. The kids deserved a treat and I really wanted to see it too. It was such a lovely film. I cried towards the end.

The kids have spent the week popping back and forwards to my dads house. My teen went to help cut the grass on Tuesday. I had a day at home sorting upstairs. I was sick of living out of black bags. 

On Wednesday we were out again! We went to visit Ellie's new school. It really looks and sounds like a brilliant school. We had a good look around and it feels good. I think she is going to be happy there. I will be blogging about it next week as there was so many differences from her old school.

We were back to my dad's yesterday helping him paint his fences. The kids had free range of his big field with their bikes. It's crazy to think this time 2 weeks ago they could hardly ride them now they are flying about all over the place.

Before I moved house I could quite easily go 3 or 4 days without leaving the house. Now I am out more than I am in. I wished I had bought something to count my steps because most days I'm easily walking three or four miles. I can see that I am losing weight and I am feeling better for it.

We are out today to a local auction to see what they have for sale and if there's anything we will be out tomorrow too to do some bidding. We're looking out for some chest of drawers, a bike for me and I fancy a dressing table.

The word of the week linky button

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Making a house a home. (Downstairs).

We have been in this new house two weeks today and it feels like much longer. We are so settled already. We still have the decorating to do and we're waiting for the deposit from our old house to be returned which should be today so we can start buying paint to freshen downstairs up a bit and wallpaper for upstairs.

For the time being downstairs is finished! Everything is unpacked and has a place. Hooray! We still need a desk for Ellie's computer and some shelves put up but up but we're getting there.

The Living Room.

My fireplace

I hated the fireplace when we viewed the house but now I am loving it. It's great for having all my nick-nacks on. The canvas prints will be going on the wall in time along with the gorgeous Shy Bairns Get Nowt Art Print that I bought from Rosarts.

My living room. The Sky box and wires hidden with photos and the front window.

I hid the wires from the Sky box with some pictures in frames.  It's a short term fix, the Sky box is going to go under the TV on a shelf (when my fella gets around to it). It is so nice to look out of the front window and not look right into the house opposite. I love having the space to put things on the windowsill. I did think about getting blinds but there really is no need.

My new black leather sofas

My dad has been amazing with helping us move house. As well as moving us in a van he hired he also bought us a new sofa set. It was 2nd hand but there is nothing wrong with it and it looks practically brand new! There was a 3 seater sofa with it but if we took that too there would have been no room to move! It was huge! We are happy with the two seater which really is a 3 and the massive armchair.

The Bathroom.

My pink bath
A collage of my bathroom. Just a standard one. Toilet, sink and bath.

Our new bathroom is narrower than our old one but twice as long with shelving all around it. The bath is in a little alcove and it is so cosy to have a soak. There seems so much more space and behind the door there is some shelves which is amazing. We had no storage at all in our old bathroom!

The Kitchen!

I love, love, love the kitchen! There is so much space. Our old kitchen was the 3rd of the size of the new one. I had planned on getting blue accessories for the new kitchen but after putting our things into it I think we've decided to stick with grey! The cooker is a fixture of the house and is grey and we have everything else too so it will save a bit of money. I will be keeping my blue stand mixer out though. So what if it doesn't match the rest of the kitchen!

I never thought we would fill it but we have. lol All the things I had hidden under the stairs or on top of the cupboards in the old house now is in the kitchen within easy reach! The window is huge and it is so bright all day. We have a stable style back door and I love it. I can shut half of it and it doesn't feel as gusty blowing everything around the kitchen.

We won't talk around the dining room yet in detail. That is Stu's room and he is still sorting things out. That's not my department so in my eyes downstairs is just about done. hehehe

We did get a new dining room table and 4 white leather chairs from a local auction for a bargain price. They fit right in the corner of the dining room and so far have been used to eat from. Ellie was using it as a computer desk when I took the photos. We really do need to get her a proper desk! 

I can't wait to get started with the decorating. We're not changing much. Just a fresh lick of paint downstairs.