Tuesday 30 April 2019

April has been Bowel Cancer Awareness Month! #PissOffPhyllis

Did you know that April was Bowel Cancer Awareness Month?

I did but only because of a fellow blogger, Emma who is pretty amazing and writes at Island Living 365 is currently going through chemotherapy for bowel cancer! She has called her cancer Phyllis hence the Piss off Phyllis hashtag which you may have seen on social media over the last few days. A large group of bloggers came together to support her and raise awareness about Bowel Cancer.

Some Facts:

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK claiming more than 16,000 lives a year, that's over 44 people every day.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast, prostate and lung cancers.

Every 15 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s almost 42,000 people every year. Every 30 minutes someone dies from the disease in the UK. 

More than nine out of ten new cases (94%) are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases (58%) are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over. But bowel cancer can affect any age. More than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year.

1 in 14 men and 1 in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread.

If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit 
Unexplained weight loss
Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
A pain or lump in your tummy

Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP. 

Do go and have a read of Emma's blog where she is sharing what she is going through. She is also on social media too. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

As well as dealing with bowel cancer Emma is doing the Race for Life 5k to raise money and save lives. You can sponsor her via her page. She has already smashed her target but Every single pound donated makes a difference to Cancer Research UK’s groundbreaking work. 

Monday 29 April 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 29th April - 5th May. #MealPlanningMonday

After the disaster which was a couple of weeks ago with the meal planning I am glad to say last weeks meal plan went to plan! We ate everything. I skipped the beans on toast on Thursday and ended up having cereal. That is my go to meal when I don't know what I want and can't be bothered to make anything.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - A roast dinner. Chicken, stuffing and a whole heap of veg.
Tuesday - Chicken stir fry and noodles.
Wednesday - Pork and Bramley apple sausages and wedges.
 Thursday - Quiche Lorraine frittata with baked beans.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Prawn cocktail salad with tomato garlic bread.
Sunday - Chicken & bacon pies, mash & veg.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 28 April 2019

I think this photo really sums up what my girls are like. #MySundaySnapshot

I mentioned in my Project 365 - A photo every day for a year post that I didn't take many photos this past week. Those I did take got used for that blog post and the one's I took yesterday are to be used for a review post next week so I was a little stuck so I have gone back to the photos that I took when we went for A walk around Ashington Community Woods and spotted this one.

I think this photo really sums up what my girls are like. 

My youngest dancing! She never stops dancing. Walking to the loo she will do a twirl, on the way out of the house she'll do a shimmy. There is no stopping her. If she's not dancing she's singing. As I type this I am trying to watch Britain's Got Talent and she has her headphones on and is singing along to her music!

My teen of course is engrossed in her phone! She is all about the electronics! If she's not on her phone it's her tablet or laptop! We had a little tiff yesterday about how much time she was spending on electronics. Kids!

Saturday 27 April 2019

Week 17 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

My photos are rubbish this week. I haven't taken many at all and most days I only took the photo for Project 365. I always seem to get like this when the kids go back to school. I find it easier to take photos when they are around.

Now for a photo every day!

110/365 - 20th April
Our Easter eggs. The kids still actually have some left.

111/365 - 21st April
On Sunday we had such a lazy day. Of course eating lots of chocolate and watching films. Mary Poppins Returns was good but not as good as the original. The kids did love it though.

112/365 - 22nd April
It was such a beautiful day on Monday. The kids went to the park, out with their friends and I just pottered about the house.

113/365 - 23rd April
The Cornish Fudge Easter egg I got from Lidl was just about gone by Tuesday. I wished I'd bought a few. It was so good.

114/365 - 24th April
Salad for tea. 

115/365 - 25th April
I realised that I had 20 odd episodes of the old Coronation Street recorded on my Sky planner. I spent the after noon watching quite a few episodes. Bet is probably my favourite character ever on Corrie.

116/365 - 26th April
Another week where my youngest didn't bother doing her maths homework and rushed through it on the morning. Grr! She said she didn't have it until she pulled it out of her bag. She served a ban off her computer last night.

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Protect little one's with the Sambucol Kids range! - Review!

My girls have taken vitamins and supplements for years. I want them to be the healthiest that they can be. We have tried various brands and products over the years but one we haven't tried is Sambucol.

Carefully created for the youngest members of your family, Sambucol Kids is a delicious range of natural Black Elderberry supplements. Each product is packed with natural immune-boosting goodness from black elderberries and vitamin C to provide extra protection for little bodies. 

The Black Elderberry has long been associated with anti-viral properties and immunity-boosting, making it the ideal fruit for fighting class room germs and viruses. Not all black elderberry extracts are the same. Sambucol is the original Black Elderberry extract, introduced more than 20 years ago by a leading virologist. Only Sambucol uses the same proprietary, naturally balanced elderberry juice formulation used in the published scientific studies. This distinct method of manufacturing preserves and maximises the naturally occurring health benefits of the berries to guarantee consistent, immune supporting properties in every serving. 

Sambucol Kids Gummies (RRP £9.99).

These are suitable for children aged 4-12 years, these soft and chewy gummies are a great new way to get your little ones to take vitamins and they taste delicious too. These have no artificial colours and are gluten free.

 I tried them and Ellie has and they are really good. They taste just like sweets.

Sambucol Kids Liquid (RRP £8.99).

Suitable for children aged 1-12 years, Kids love it because it tastes delicious and parents love it because it keeps them fit for school. There is no artificial colours or flavours, it is suitable for vegetarians & vegans and is gluten free.

Ellie wasn't a fan of the liquid Sambucol. She said it tasted a little like cough medicine but she loved the gummies and said she will have one every day.

I preferred the taste of the liquid to the gummies but my opinion doesn't really count as these are aimed at children and nearly 40 year old women. lol

These are something that I will continue to buy as long as Ellie is young enough for them and as long as she likes them.

Sambucol is available from Boots, Holland & Barrett, Tesco, Waitrose, ASDA, Superdrug, Amazon, Ocado, Chemist Direct and independent health stores and pharmacies.

We were sent these free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Friday 26 April 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

Just like that the Easter holidays are over. We had a lovely Easter weekend. We stayed home, watched films and of course ate far too much chocolate. I have totally lost track to what day it is with the bank holiday. Next week we'll be back on track only for the week after to have a bank holiday which will confuse me again.

Usually after the holidays the kids are less than keen to go back to school but this week they have been fantastic. They have been getting out of bed without me having to nag, they've been eating a proper breakfast each morning, getting dressed quickly and have been leaving for school on time and yesterday morning they were ready to go 10 minutes early. I had to tell them to sit down and relax for a bit.

I think the summer term is the easiest terms at school. There seems to be plenty of holidays and days off, the light mornings make it easier to get out of bed and we seem to be on the countdown to the summer holidays.

Becky is loving school at the moment because she knows she only has a few weeks left before her GCSE's start and then she will be finished secondary school. She is actually looking forward to taking her exams, mainly so she can stop the revision. lol She can't wait for the leavers assembly but she's said she's not going to the prom. She doesn't want to wear a dress, I have told her she doesn't have to but she is dead against it. I'm not going to push her. She is also looking forward and is very excited about starting college in September and studying something she is interested in and not things like Geography, Statistics and Science which she is forced to learn.

Ellie has had a good week at school despite having a detention after school on the first day back. Before the Easter holidays she was in trouble for messing around at lunchtime. Her and her friends were planning to bunk off lessons by hiding behind and under some tables. They would have got away with it if it wasn't for another friend telling them they had to go to class. Ellie skipped the detention on the Friday so they reissued it on Monday. She really thought they were going to forget about it. hahaha Since the detention she seems to stayed out of trouble and during the week she even got on and did some homework without being asked to do it. I was amazed.

Thursday 25 April 2019

I've got caught up in the Avengers: Endgame hype.

I have never been a big fan of superhero films but my fella always has been. He's watched them all. Any superhero film you can think of he's seen it! 

I remember going to bed one night when Stu was watching the end of a film. I recognised the Hulk & Iron Man and that's about it. It was The Avengers. The one with Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Loki, Etc. Since then I have taken bit of an interest. They were full of action and a little funny.

I've watched the first Iron man film, I couldn't get into the following one's, a couple of the Spiderman films, one I watched thinking it must get better but it never did and another I really enjoyed. I am a big fan of the Thor films. Thor: Ragnarok is my favourite. 

I have also enjoyed The Guardians of the Galaxy films. I was a big fan of Dave Bautista from the wrestling where he was simply known as Batista and who doesn't love Groot! 

I think the only Marvel film I saw before my fella was Deadpool. It's hilarious. So different from all the other Marvel films I have seen. I wasn't a big fan of the 2nd Deadpool film which is a shame, the first was much better in my opinion.

My fella got the Avengers Infinity War film off the Sky Store and watched it well before me. One evening there was nothing on the TV and I decided to watch it and tortured Stu asking who he/she was, why are they doing that, what's that. I may have driven him a little crazy but he answered everything and I loved it. I found myself laughing, cheering and shouting at places and even crying at the end. Since then I've watched it about 30 times. It is my go to film when I want to watch a film and don't know what to watch. When I watch it the kids say, not again! hehehe

I have seen all the hype about the new Avengers film. Avengers: Endgame and I want to see it. I need to see it! It's the first film I have been excited about in a long time.

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers: Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe. Eek!

I am determined that my fella and I will get to see it at the cinema. We don't usually share the same taste in films at all but Avengers is one thing we have in common.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

A walk around Ashington Community Woods! #CountryKids

Last week I needed to get out of the house. We all did. Becky had been at a lot of revision classes at school and Ellie and I hadn't got out much! We had a touch of cabin fever. I decided we would go for a walk and the only place I could think of was Ashington Community Woods.

Ashington Community Woodland is a large woodland on the former Ashington Colliery site. This fantastic green space covers approximately 135 hectares, lying immediately to the north of the centre of Ashington.

There are set walks which are signposted but we just made our own way. When we got to a junction we voted left, right or straight on. We went on a total wander and it was lovely!

After crossing the railway lines into the woodland area you would never have guessed there was a main road, it was hard to hear the sound of the cars.

It was such a lovely day and it wasn't long before I took my hoodie off.

We saw plenty of nature. Plants, flowers and lots of bugs and critters. I don't think I've seen as many butterflies in one day than I did last week! 

It was fantastic to spend some time out of the house, away from GCSE revision and being together as a family!

Ashington Community Woods was somewhere we've never visited before but I think we will again!

Tuesday 23 April 2019

What to do with the extra Easter eggs.

No matter how hard you try, there always seems to be a surplus of chocolate left over after Easter. The kids got quite a few on Sunday and to be honest I think it will take a few weeks to eat them all. There is also the case of the shops are trying to get rid of all their Easter-themed stock. Meaning: loads of chocolate is really, really cheap, just because it’s in the shape of an egg.

Here's a few idea's of what you can do with those left over eggs!

Rice Krispie or Cornflake cakes.
An oldie but a goldie. Simple melt a couple of Easter eggs down and mix with cereals such as Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes. It’s a great, easy recipe to get young children ‘baking’ in the kitchen for the first time. You can also decorate with smaller eggs for a double chocolate fix!

Packed with biscuits, sultanas, puffed rice and lots of chocolate, these refrigerator bars are ideal for a kids' party.

Chocolate lollipops.
Lollipop moulds are always useful to have in the cupboard. Simply melt the chocolate, pour it into the mould, and leave to set in the fridge for around 30 minutes. Once set, remove the lollipops and dip them into melted chocolate, followed by sprinkles or edible glitter for a great effect.

You don’t need much to make this treat, just some Creme Eggs, some ice cream and milk and you’re ready to go.

Chocolate mousse.
Whip up a pot of Double Cream and add melted chocolate to the mixture, carefully folding it in before allowing it to settle in the fridge for thirty to forty minutes.

Easy chocolate trifle.
Double cream, muffins, milk chocolate! YUM!

A Fun Fondue.
Melt down the eggs, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and melt in a bowl over a gently simmering pan. Cut up some yummy fruit. Strawberries, kiwi fruit, mango and bananas, marshmallows too. Stab them with some toothpicks or a fork and dip them in the chocolate. 

Chocolate-Covered Bananas.
This dessert treat combines the healthy benefits of bananas and chocolate. It's a great way to get some fruit into the kids.

Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn
Have a family movie night tradition? Surprise them with a chocolate drizzle on their bowl of popcorn! Sometimes the best thing to do with excess chocolate is melt it and put it on everything!!

Do you have many left over Easter eggs?

Monday 22 April 2019

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

Last weeks meal plan did not to go plan! We ate two of the meals. The Chinese chicken thighs with noodles and the pizza.

It turns out we didn't have leftover bolognese in the freezer to go over jacket potatoes but I did empty the freezer a little and we had corn dogs, onion rings, chicken nuggets and corn on the cobs. On Wednesday we were not feeling great and we had chip butties for lunch and no one felt like much for tea so we had cereal. Thursday we went out for the afternoon and had McDonalds for tea. On the way home we called in Lidl and I saw some Bramley Apple sausages which I love which we had on Saturday and on Sunday we had a big fry up.

So those who are amazed that I meal plan every week, here's the proof that it doesn't work out every week! The upside to the meal plan going wrong is that this week I didn't have to spend much on the grocery shop. It came to just under £70 which included 2 bottles of wine and the Iceland meat deal where you get 4 meat joints for £10. I got 2 chicken, pork and a gammon which I will be using this week.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - A roast dinner. Chicken, pork and a whole heap of veg.
Tuesday - Bubble and Squeak with poached eggs.
Wednesday - Gammon and salad.
 Thursday - Baked beans on toast.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Leftover pork roast ragu with rice.
Sunday - Toad in the hole, mash & veg.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 21 April 2019

We're Easter ready! #MySundaySnapshot

I hope you are all having a wonderful Easter weekend! The kids have been spoilt rotten with their Easter eggs and my fella and I even have a couple too! Yum! Yum!

Saturday 20 April 2019

Week 16 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

I have felt a bit meh over the past week. The novelty of Becky being at revision classes wore off and I felt annoyed being stuck at home. Even more so on Wednesday when I'd planned a day out and we all didn't feel too good with different things. We did have a day out on Thursday, just a walk around the woods and a visit to McDonalds. It was just what we needed. 

We are having a nice Easter weekend so far. Stu was still working yesterday, today and Monday morning but at least he gets Sunday. I predict a lot of chocolate being eaten tomorrow. hehehe

Now for a photo every day!

103/365 - 13th April
Saturday night treats!

104/365 - 14th April
One of my favourite t-shirts of Ellie's.

105/365 - 15th April
Ellie was busy decorating her Sims house.

106/365 - 16th April
Becky reminded me that I hadn't taken a photo for today.

107/365 - 17th April
We had a lazy day. Films, xbox and chip butties for lunch.

108/365 - 18th April
Out for a walk around the woods.

109/365 - 19th April
We started on the Easter chocolate early. Off with it's ears. hehehe

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Easter is all about the chocolate now. Hmmf.

They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone and the saying is very true. We seem to have passed into a new part of life with my girls which does not involve decorating Easter bonnets, Easter egg hunts and Easter crafts.

For years I used to complain about decorating the Easter bonnets and eggs. It always seemed like such a chore. The kids used to have great fun though. They used to decorate them to be judged at school for the chance to win an Easter egg. Becky was never lucky enough to win but Ellie did in her last year at Primary school.

There has been none of it this year. Things like that aren't done at the secondary school and are certainly not cool to do at home. 

Ellie did make a pretty Easter scene using random things from the craft box while Becky was at a revision class and she had a great time. I offered to get her some Easter crafty things and she said no, thanks. She was just doing it to pass the time while her sister was out.

I was going to do an Easter egg hunt like we have done for the last however many years but they said they weren't fussed. I think if I had hidden the eggs they would have had a great time but I didn't want to risk spending the money and them just arguing over it.

I knew doing fun things over Easter wasn't going to last forever but it's one of those things which has just snuck up on me. Easter seems to have lost some of it's magic now the kids are older. They don't want to do all the activities that they did when they were younger. Now it's all about the chocolate.

Friday 19 April 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

This week can only be described as a failure. I had things planned which haven't worked out, the meal planning has been a disaster, I've tried to pay a certain bill online only for their website not to be working properly all week. British Gas in case you were wondering and I still hadn't got myself an Easter egg when I started writing this blog post.

It's been great that the kids have been off school for the past two weeks but it doesn't feel like we've had much of a holiday/break. Becky has been at revision classes at school most days which means there hasn't been as many lie in's as we'd like, revising has tired Becky out so she just wants to chill which is understandable. On Monday she did 6 hours of science and when she came home her head was done in. We've also not had any days out. It's not fair to take Ellie out without Becky. It doesn't really feel like we've had any school holidays.

On Wednesday I did plan a day out and when we woke the weather was lovely but then it started to go wrong. Ellie had a headache, we think a migraine. Becky had a sore belly and felt out of sorts and my back was aching. I felt so annoyed all day. It felt like a waste of a day. 

A lovely lady quoted Winnie the Pooh to me, ‘doing nothing, often leads to the very best of something’ and she was so right. It was only yesterday that I realised that we needed that day of doing nothing. We felt so much better for it. It wasn't a wasted day. We watched Ralph Breaks The Internet, a film we'd been meaning to watch for ages. It is a fab film and isn't just for the kids, we napped and had a rubbish lunch of chip butties and gravy from the chip shop. It was just what we needed.

Yesterday we did get to go out. Finally! We went for a walk around the woods which the kids grumbled about when I suggested it to them but they had a fab time. The promise of stopping off at McDonalds on the way home may have got them moving. hehehe

Now it's officially Easter weekend, I got myself an Easter egg from Lidl. It looks very fancy and only cost a few pound. I have said the kids could have one of their Easter eggs today. They have a few each so having one early isn't going to do any harm. They have been badgering me all week for them. They were put on top of my wardrobe in the bedroom and could see them but not get them. It's tortured them.

We don't have any plans at all for over the weekend. Stu is still working today and tomorrow. We might try to do something on Monday afternoon as Stu finishes work at lunchtime but the buses are on Sunday service which means half of them don't run. Ugh! Whatever we do I know we're going to enjoy it. Becky is having the weekend off revision and we're all fighting fit thanks to the lazy day we had.

Even though the week has been a bit of a fail it has still been a good one. It's made me realise sometimes we just need to stop, take a break and not feel guilty about it.

Thursday 18 April 2019

Bunny biscuits and Mini egg brownies.

Last week Becky was at school for some GCSE revision and Stu was at work which left Ellie and I at a loose end. I asked her what she wanted to do and she said baking. I should have guessed. She loves to bake and will do so at any given chance. I suggested we do some Easter baking and she thought it was a great idea.

We had some Easter cookie cutters so we thought we'd make some biscuits! 

We dyed some of the dough yellow and some pink! We popped them in the oven and they were baked quite quickly.

We were going to decorate them but they looked perfect as they were. We just added some chocolate chips for eyes on the bunnies.

 We then decided to make some brownies. I think brownies may be the kids favourite treat to eat!

Ellie's favourite part of baking is cracking the eggs and of course licking the bowls out.

Ellie came up with that if you add a Mini egg to something it makes it perfect for Easter so we did just that to the brownie mix! We added a few mini eggs before we put it into the oven. It's something we've never done before so we had no idea if it would work.

We popped it in the oven and left it to bake. When I got it out I though the Mini eggs had just melted but they hadn't! The batter had just risen over the top of them mostly. They were perfect. They are something we will be making again!

We had great fun baking. It was nice to spend some one on one time together without the distraction of other people and other things.

Have you baked any Easter treats?