Thursday 31 January 2019

Baking with HARIBO Heart Throbs!

Every Valentine's Day I buy Stu some sweets or chocolates. Usually they I go for fun one's and there is nothing more fun than HARIBO!

This Valentine's day treat your loved one to a tasty treat from HARIBO, the Heart Throbs Gift Box is filled with pretty jelly and foam hearts and is the perfect present for the sweet lover in your life.

Instead of just taking a photo and telling you about them I thought I would put them to some use while baking. HARIBO's are amazing by themselves but it's an extra treat when cake is involved!

Poundland have a 3 pack of heart-shaped ramekins on sale at the moment which I bought a couple of weeks ago and I have been dying to use them. I wasn't 100% sure if they were oven proof but it turns out they were. Phew!

I used basic sponge mix and buttercream icing on the top with a little red icing in to make it pink! Of course I used the Haribo hearts to decorate. They're not perfect but they're cute.

I then found my heart shaped baking tin which only seems to get used at this time of year and made a chocolate cake. It was going to be a sandwich cake but I managed to burn the 2nd one when my food shop was delivered! 

Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing, of course decorated with the HARIBO Heart Throbs and some ready to roll icing that I found in the baking cupboard which I cut out myself. I was so chuffed with how it turned out and it tasted so good too!

So there you go. Haribo is good for eating and decorating cakes too!

HARIBO Heart Throbs are available in 140g and 380g gift boxes from the usual places that sell HARIBO.

I was sent a box of HARIBO products in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Sharing interests with my teen.

There is a lot of things which Becky my teenager likes which I don't understand. Roblox, Tik Tok, Snapchat, the music she likes and some of the clothes she wears but one thing we have in common is our love of YouTube and Instagram. She has introduced me to people to watch and I have done the same for her. 

I have watched the wonderful Brummy Mummy of 2 for years on YouTube and followed her blog for just as long. Now Becky watches because of me. When I get a parcel Becky will sing "What's in the box", when either of us mention a bath bomb we sing the song and we love big mugs and we cannot lie. Becky see's the lovely Emma as a celebrity and I just think of her as a normal person who used to run the Wicked Wednesdays linky. hehehe 

Becky followed a person called WillNE on YouTube who is from Newcastle. I asked Becky how to describe his YouTube channel and she said he has a square head, picks on kids and is a massive joker! I ended up following him too because he is funny. It seems so wrong that I like him. He is childish. He does videos titled: I Signed My MUM Up For Tinder, I Listed My Roommate On Facebook Marketplace & I paid strangers to do weird things on Fiverr. 

Through finding WillNE I found True Geordie, another Newcastle guy. He's not safe for little ears, he's a bit of a swearer but he tells it like it is. From what I can gather he started off just being a football YouTuber and then made it big. His podcasts with Robbie Williams and Alan Shearer are fascinating and the reply to the Logan Paul forest drama was so powerful! He talks about all topical things and he's another one I feel like I shouldn't like but he's fab and makes me cry with laughter. 

I am all for posting photos on Instagram but I very rarely use the Instagram stories. Up until about 6 months ago I had never watched an Insta-story. Becky doesn't really post on her Instagram account but loves watching Insta-Stories. She was the one introduced me to them and I am so glad she did.

Becky watched BrummyMummy on Instagram long before I did and said I was missing out on so much. She was right. 

The pair of us love KatyKicker. I knew her as a blogger but since watching her on Instagram she is so much more! If you need a kick up the bum to get motivated, you need to watch Katy! (I don't think that's why she's called Katy Kicker though. lol) She is so positive and real. Becky loves her because she is so honest about life.

Becky and I both love Toby and Roo. The faces she pulls are hilarious. I love that of course she loves her children but sometimes she will say she is not too keen on them. She says what we all think about our kids! Becky has actually said I wish Harriet was my mam, she loves her that much. Eesh! 

Another one of our favourites is Nyomi from Nomipalony. She was another one where I followed the blog, Twitter and YouTube but Becky found on Instagram stories. When Becky grows up she wants to be Nyomi! She is a cool mam! She is brilliant and is so honest, says what she thinks and really makes me chuckle.

One of our most recent finds is Rosie Ramsey, the wife of the comedian Chris Ramsey. She is brilliant. Brutally honest about everyday life, witty and just a nice person.

Do you watch the same things on social media as your tween/tweens?

Tuesday 29 January 2019

The You Complete Me Couples Jigsaw Keyring from Find Me A Gift!

When Find Me A Gift got in touch and asked me if I would like to feature something from their website for Valentine's Day how could I refuse! I love personalised gifts. They always seem a little bit more special. I was sent the "You Complete Me Couples Jigsaw Keyring" to have a look at.

The lovely couples jigsaw keyring set is the romantic gift for two that's sweet but not too mushy. Made from strong and durable walnut wood, this set of two interlocking keyrings fit perfectly together. Each keyring features the words "you complete me" and can be personalised with the recipient's initials (max 4 characters). Each jigsaw piece measures approx. 3.2 x 3.2cm. A heartfelt gift that's truly unique.

I think these are so cute. They are something a little bit different. As well as being perfect for a loved one they are a quirky way to mark your 5 year (wood) anniversary. They would also make a fantastic gift for a couple who have just got their first home together. 

It takes approximately 2-3 working days to create these personalised items and after the production time it will take approximately 3 working days to arrive with you.

The You Complete Me Couples Jigsaw Keyring costs £13.99 and I think it's well worth the price! It is a lovely little set.

I was sent the You Complete Me Couples Jigsaw Keyring from Find Me A Gift free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Monday 28 January 2019

Our weekly meal plan. 28th Jan - 3rd Feb! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan all went mostly to plan. Hooray! Ellie had cookery at school last week and made Cowboy beans and sausages and has wanted me to make it this week so I am. I am sure she just wants to compare who's is better. lol

I started with a cold yesterday so this weeks meal plan may not go to plan. Yesterday we just had scrambled egg on toast for tea because Ellie was poorly on Saturday night with a headache and sickness so a fry up was not the best idea. She is fine now. We had a lazy day yesterday and no one felt like cooking or even moving much. lol

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Tomato soup with ham sandwiches to dip in.
Tuesday - Fish, chips and mushy peas.
Wednesday - Cowboy Stew.
 Thursday - Sweet and sour chicken with rice.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Burgers in buns.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Baking without the kids. #MySundaySnapshot

Usually I only bake with the kids but on Friday I did a bit while they were at school. There was no nagging, no stressing and I got to lick the bowl out without having to share. It was brilliant. 

Saturday 26 January 2019

Week 4 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

This past week seems to have passed in a blur. I really don't know what I've done with my time apart from housework. It's been a good week but again I am glad it's the weekend. We are still struggling to get out of bed on a morning. I hate the dark mornings but I did notice that it was still light just after half past four last night. Lighter nights and warmer days are coming and I can't wait!

Here's a photo for every day!

19/365 - 19th January
The look of disgust from Becky when Ellie decides that she doesn't need hands to eat popcorn. lol

20/365 - 20th January
We finally got ourselves a Google Home Mini! I didn't think I'd use it much but I have been using it non-stop! 

21/365 - 21st January
I love my Cactus vase. From Poundland.

22/365 - 22nd January
Ellie cooked at school. Cowboy beans and sausages.

23/365 - 23rd January
My new print. Shy Bairns Get Nowt from Rosarts.

24/365 - 24th January
She decided my bed was better than her's.

25/365 - 25th January
I made microwave fudge. It's still setting as I'm writing this blog post. Eek!

Friday 25 January 2019

This week my Word of the Week is: Treats #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

The kids got their half yearly reports from school on Friday. If you have been reading here a while you know how much my fella and I have worried about Ellie at school. She has always been behind her peers. Sometimes a lot behind but after having 4 months at secondary school and doing all the tests it turns out she's pretty clever and is knuckling down doing her work. Her target for the end of the school year is +1 and she is already nearly there on most of her subjects and there for Maths already! I am so proud of her! Becky's report is fantastic too. She is expected to do so well in all of her GCSE's which she has in the summer. There is only Geography which she's not doing too well in but she's doing extra lessons at school and is revising hard at home. That's all I can ask for.

They both deserved a treat so I got them some things they had been asking for. A 5 Seconds of Summer hoodie for Becky (It's a pop group she likes) and Ellie got some new stationary which she had been wanting.

I thought we would treat ourselves to a takeaway on Saturday night. I wished I hadn't bothered. We got an Indian's Stu's meal was perfect, mine not so much. Watered down curry, under cooked naan bread and overcooked chips. At least the poppadoms and dips were perfect.

Before Christmas we saw that Argos was selling the Google Home Mini for £29.99 but we never got around to buying it. We had bills to pay and I forgot all about it until my friend mentioned that it was back on sale so Stu and I treated ourselves to one! 

We have had great fun with it and it is getting a lot of use. It's one of those things that when you get it you wonder how you have lived without one.

I also treated myself to a print for Rosarts. I have followed Ar on Twitter and Instagram for a while. She is so real and makes me laugh so much when I watch her insta-stories. She is also a very good artist! I love all of her art work but was drawn to the "Shy Bairns Get Nowt Art Print". It's what my friends keep telling me. It is gorgeous, I just need to get a frame for it!

I think I am done with spending money and we are going back to saving! The kids only have about three weeks left at school before half term and Stu has the week off work too so I think we're going to plan a couple of days out. I am hoping to go and see my great Aunt. With us going away at Christmas we never got to see her so we are due a visit. It's a bit of a trek on public transport but it will be worth it.

Thursday 24 January 2019

An afternoon tea at The Portland in Ashington through Buyagift.

Just before Christmas I wrote a blog post about the fab experience days that Buyagift have to offer. In exchange for that blog post I was gifted an Afternoon Tea - Smartbox.

This afternoon tea treat is the perfect way to celebrate traditional British culture whilst spending some quality time with a loved one. With many wonderful UK locations available you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

When I chose I was glad to see there was somewhere locally which accepted the vouchers. 

The Portland Hotel here in Ashignton, Northumberland offers a winning afternoon tea. The classic tea includes various tea and coffee options and to eat, a range of fresh sandwiches, scones and jam as well as some delicious cakes to finish.

I didn't have a great start to booking our afternoon tea. I tried to contact them via their website, email an Facebook and didn't get any reply which annoyed me. Especially on Facebook as they had seen my message and ignored it. Hmmf. I ended up phoning and spoke to a lovely lady who booked us in for Thursday at 1pm.

We arrived and was greeted by the same lovely lady who I spoke to on the phone. She was expecting us and showed us to our table away from the main seating area in the pub. It felt very special and fancy.

We were offered various teas, coffee and juice. We could have had all three if we wanted. We chose tea which was brought to us and told we could have refills.

Shortly after the food was brought out and I was very impressed. There was the most amazing Blini's. Half topped with prawns and half topped with chorizo, sandwiches. Turkey & cranberry sauce and cheese savoury. Sausage rolls, pork pies, scones, cream, jam and some fancy looking chocolate desserts.

The food was so good. I could have quite happily eaten a hundred of the prawn blini's. They were so good. The ratio of everything was just right. I was a big fan of the turkey and cranberry sandwiches. I think I ate them all and left Stu with the cheesy one's and the sausage rolls and pork pies were good.

 We were told the scones were homemade especially for us and you could really tell. They were absolutely amazing! I would go as far to say better than my Aunty Jeans who makes the best scones. hehehe

The little chocolate mousse dessert things were lovely to finish off our meal with.

We didn't manage to eat everything and what we left was kindly boxed up for us to bring home which I thought was a lovely touch.

I am so picky when I eat out and I usually find something to complain about but everything was perfect! The woman serving us was lovely and attentive, we were sat in a quiet area of the pub, the food looked and tasted so good and I couldn't have asked for more for my first afternoon tea!

I have already said to Stu that we should go back for more afternoon teas. It was a lovely treat to do something just for us and I have finally ticked something off my bucket list.

I was gifted an Afternoon Tea - Smartbox in exchange for a previous blog post which I used for the afternoon tea.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

A bit late to the party with the #10yearchallenge

If you haven't heard of the 10 year challenge you must have been living under a rock. It seems to have been everywhere. It's a simple challenge, post a 2009 photo of yourself next to a recent one to show how much you've changed!

Well this is me! 2009 and now! Well almost now. It was taken late in 2019. I haven't taken any photos of me this year! It's close enough though.

To me 2009 doesn't seem that long ago but wow! The hair! It was highlights gone wrong! There was far too much blonde which actually turned ginger. There was an emergency call to my great aunt who said bad luck chuck. If you want to mess with your hair you have to deal with the consequences. Harsh but she was so right! I have learned my lesson. I still actually have that t-shirt. lol

Becky was about 7 years old and Ellie was about a year and a half old.

I got carried away looking at photos from 2009 and there seems to be way more of me then compared to me now. I think it's because I didn't blog and the photos were just for me, my family and close friends.

Considering Ellie was only just over a year old I had quite a few nights out. It was my 30th birthday and a few family events to go to. Can you see the heels! I couldn't wear them now, I am all about the flats!

I used to love those green tops in the pictures above. I think I still actually have them but they only get worn now about the house as they are faded and have holes in. I hated that coat I had on in the middle photo! I don't know what possessed me to buy it. It wasn't comfy, it didn't have a hood and the material just didn't feel nice.

2009 was a big year for us and probably the hardest we have had! It was the year that we discovered the girls had problems with their hearts. It was only because of Ellie jamming her fingers in a door that it all came to light. You can read the full story here!

By the end of the year the girls have been through open heart surgery and were as fit as fiddles. We have the best Christmas. I went way over the top with presents and spoilt the kids rotten!

I love looking at old photos. I find it crazy that my girls used to be so little. They seem to have grown up so quickly!

Tuesday 22 January 2019

The Book of Everyone - The Romantic Edition!

Last year in the run up to Christmas I reviewed The Book of Everyone! My dad is so hard to buy for and he thought it was a fantastic gift. Stu my fella, the love of my life obviously saw the book and thought it was so cool. He wanted one of his own and thankfully I was contacted last week about reviewing the Book of Romance!

This is a one-of-a-kind personalised book for the one you love, the book of romance includes exquisitely designed personalised moments and messages of romance to celebrate why they are the one!

It is for that special someone, a heart-thumping, brownie-point scoring book celebrating everything that makes them the one for you. It's a keepsake they’ll treasure for years.

To make the book you go onto The Book of Everyone website and follow the instructions. You do not have to computer savvy to make a book. I think if I asked my 11 year old she would manage it easily!

In the book there are 53 pages and I was given the choice to edit 9 of them. All of the pages were cute and funny. Not overly mushy! Stu is romantic at times but he prefers funny romance instead of the soppy stuff. This was perfect!

When you have finished editing you go to the checkout. The book is available in three covers:

Simple & high-quality, our softback edition is a wonderful way to celebrate that special person in your life.

For a lifetime of re-reading, our hardback edition has a laminated hardcover making it the perfect keepsake.

For those important occasions, our deluxe edition is hand-bound with a padded cover and luxury presentation case.

You can add gift wrap and a card too. There is an option for free delivery but you can pay extra to get your book to you quicker!

After ordering on the Tuesday the book arrived on the Friday which is fab considering it took time to print and I used the free delivery! 

I loved the book when I was making it but when it arrived I loved it even more!

I never noticed the "Ant" page when I was creating the book and it really made me chuckle. I am sure Stu will be checking how his virtual ant is doing.

So far I have kept this book a secret from Stu and I will give it to him on Valentines Day. I know he is going to love it. 

Prices start from From £23.99 and again I am saying these are well worth the price! I have promised my teen when she finishes her GCSE exams I will buy her one.

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

Monday 21 January 2019

Our weekly meal plan. 21st - 27th Jan! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well. We ate just about everything. Stu and I did get a takeaway on Saturday night and I wished we hadn't bothered. The curry was watery, chips over cooked and the naan bread under cooked. Ugh.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - A roast dinner. Pork, mash and a ton of veg.
Wednesday - Jacket potatoes with baked beans and cheese.
 Thursday - Minced Beef Hotpot.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - A fake KFC. Chicken bits, coleslaw, corn on the cob and fries.
Sunday - A fry up! Sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding, beans, tomatoes, hash browns and toast..

Saturday 19 January 2019

Week 3 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

What a long week that was! I didn't feel too great at the start of it but an afternoon tea out on Thursday and busy day yesterday got me back into the swing of things. I even had a walk out to meet the kids from school. I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to have a look at Ellie's boyfriend. They were pretty shocked to see me. Ellie was mortified and he looked terrified. hahaha I was nice though. I didn't embarrass them and he looks OK. Phew! It was nice to put a face to the name. It was a good end to the week!

Here's a photo for every day!

12/365 - 12th January
Tea in front of the TV. Chicken noodle stir fry and prawn crackers.

13/365 - 13th January
 Becky's usual pose for a Sunday. I think the sofa was trying to swallow her. lol

14/365 - 14th January
My daffodils bloomed!

15/365 - 15th January
Lunch! Not the healthiest but the tastiest. Pot noodle and Jaffa cakes. 

16/365 - 16th January
Computer time for Ellie. She's sat right in front of me now so I can see what she's up to.

17/365 - 17th January
Our afternoon tea out. It was good. I have a blog post about it next week. 

18/365 - 18th January
Cheers to the weekend!

Friday 18 January 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

If you'd asked on Tuesday what my Word of the Week was I would have said tired, ill, grumpy or something along those lines. Thankfully by Wednesday afternoon things were getting better!

The kids have really been struggling to get out of bed this week and they have been tired. Being tired has meant they have been grumpy. One morning Becky went off to school hating me all because I made her eat breakfast before she left. She was never going to be late, she left at 8.06am. Six minutes later than she usually leaves. I have sent them to bed early a couple of times and it has helped. I think the dark and cold mornings are making it hard. I can't wait for the summer.

The first half of the week was not good for me. I did not feel great. Shortly after Ellie was born I got the contraceptive implant put in my arm and it has worked well for me. I've had it changed a few times and I have been one of the lucky one's who's periods just about vanished. Well they did until Monday. I don't want to go into too much detail but all those years of not having periods has caught up with me. I had all they typical aches, annoyances and pains which are associated with a period x10! I am not one for going to the doctors unless I am on deaths door but I said that if my body hadn't sorted it's self out by Thursday I was going to ring up for an appointment. Thankfully I didn't need to. I really hope this is a one off.

It was on Wednesday afternoon that I started to feel better and more like myself. I think it was all down to the fact I knew I had to feel OK because I had booked Stu & I to go for an afternoon tea yesterday.

I did panic a bit when it started snowing! We had no money in the house for a taxi and neither Stu or I wanted to go to the bank but thankfully by the time it was time to leave the blizzard had stopped and the walk wasn't too bad!

I will have a blog post all about it next week. Neither Stu or I have had an afternoon tea before and it's been one of those things which has been on my bucket list forever! It was such a lovely treat and way better than I imagined it to be. I am trying to convince him that we need an afternoon tea at least once a month. hehehe

The kids are hoping for a day off school today as more ice and snow was forecast for last night. Eek! I love them to bits but with not doing much at the start of the week I have a ton of stuff to catch up with. Housework, decluttering and writing blog posts.