Friday 31 May 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

The kids have been off school on their half term holidays from school and every day has felt like a Saturday this past week which is not a bad thing as I am very fond of Saturdays. I think Britain's Got Talent being on every evening has added to the confusion. We've been watching it each evening as a family and we're enjoying it. We have quite a few favourites.

I was going to say we haven't been up to much but we have been quite busy. I don't seem to have stopped! I did manage to finish watching The Handmaid's Tale, start watching The Big Bang Theory and rewatching Sex and the City.

I have started the organising, decluttering and packing for when we move at the end of next month. The amount of stuff we have donated and still have to go to the charity shop is unreal! Books, clothes, shoes and toys. I've not even started on the kitchen or kids bedrooms yet!

I have 3 black bags of my clothes, mostly winter things and a few boxes of things from the bedroom ready to move. Stu has sorted all of his clothes too. Next week we're buying a roll of bubble wrap so I can start packing ornaments and breakables from the living room.

We went to visit our happy place on Wednesday. Amble, a small seaside town here in Northumberland. 

It was a lovely day out despite the weather not being the best. The rain mostly held off and it wasn't too cold. We had our chippy dinner and walked for miles.

Becky went to school yesterday for a few hours of Geography revision. She hates that subject but she's making an effort. This past week she has done a couple of test papers for different subjects and has done well in them. I've had the job of marking them which is sometimes harder than the actual exam. lol Becky has 6 and a half days left at school and she's very excited to leave! 

Thursday 30 May 2019

Are you a kind person?

I would class myself as a kind person. I try to be nice to people online and in real life. If I see someone in need I will do the best I can to help.

A recent survey says that nine in ten Brits would describe themselves as "kind", yet a third would never give cash to someone begging on the street.

I really don't think that is being unkind. I think that is being careful. Many years ago. I was about 17 years old and there was always a man begging outside of my bank in my local high street. He looked so sad and needy. I gave him loose change when I could. One night I was having a night out and I spotted him in a nightclub wearing fancy clothes, he'd had a shave, looked clean and was flashing the cash. He was not a begger, he was not a man in need. He was a con man! I would much rather buy a homeless person a coffee and a sandwich now than give them money.

The average adult believes they do four kind things a day but 67 percent said it annoys them when they go out of their way to help someone and they don’t even get a thank you.

Do you do kind things? Do you help strangers?

You would help someone who has dropped something.
Yes! Many a time I was stood in the playground and people walked past and dropped things and I shouted them back. I am that person who picks up little gloves, hats and scarves off the pavement and puts them on walls or fences.

You hold the door open for people.
Always! I am left feeling like a mug when lots of people walk thorough & I'm left standing like an idiot with people passing by without saying thank you.

You give unwanted clothes to the charity shop.
Yep! Anything Becky grows out of gets passed on to Ellie but once she has finished with the item it goes to the charity shop. 

You take your trolley back to the designated trolley area.
If it is Asda I don't I will leave it where I can, that shop stresses me out. The sooner I get away the better but everywhere else I do.

You check in on elderly neighbours / relatives.
I used to. We had a lovely old lady who lived next door until she went into hospital and passed away. Stu would bring her wheelie bins in and out.

You help mums onto public transport with buggies.
Not so much now because public transport is more accessible but if I see someone struggling I will help.

You say hello to people you pass on a walk.
If I know them I will but not total strangers. 

You let people in front of you in the queue if they don’t have much shopping.
Yes always! I always get so annoyed when people don't do the same to me though.

You pick up litter in the street.
I don't. I wish I could be bothered but around here it is so bad. Let's not even get started on the amount of dog poo there is.

You pick up litter on the beach.
No, thankfully our beaches nearby are very clean. We always make sure to put all of our rubbish is put in a bin.

You always put spare change in charity collection tins.
I do if I see them. If I am paying for something at a till and something is 99p and I pay with a £1 of course.  

You take food around to neighbours if they’re sick.
No, I am not keen on my neighbours, sorry. 

You leave a tip for bad meal because the waitress was nice.
Yes and then I will come home and complain about it on social media. It is not the waitresses fault.

You always investigate if an alarm was going off.
hahaha! Live near me and you will get why I don't. The alarms are an annoyance now not a warning.

You offer to help friends and neighbours with the school run.
Both my girls walk to school themselves but I used to when they were getting picked up and taken to school. I have a good group of friends and we would all help each other out if needed.

You volunteer to help at school fairs.
I did when my girls were at primary school. 

You would lend money to a stranger who doesn’t have quite enough.
Yes, I would and have in the past. Someone was a few pence short in Iceland and I gave them it.

You let a stranger borrow your charger on the train.
As long as I could see it the whole time they were using it.

You compliment strangers.
Sometimes. I did when we were away at Christmas. I saw a woman in the toilets and her dress was gorgeous and I told her so. 

You give cash to buskers.
Always, if they are good! 

You pass the time of day with door to door salesmen / charity collectors.
No, they always seem to come late on an evening when I am at the end of my tether!

You listen to what cold callers have to say.
Nope! Don't even get me started on these. I only get cold calls from people who say my internet is sending out viruses which is a big scam!

You leave the pound coin in the shopping trolley.
I don't. Eek! I have one of those key rings with the fake pound coins on.

Do you think you are a kind person?

Wednesday 29 May 2019

I take one day a week for me!

I am a stay at home mother. I have been for the last 16 plus years. I am so lucky to have been in this position for so long. Some people can be judgemental saying it must be great to stay at home and laze about all day but that never happens.

As much as I am visible on social media, I do dip in and out. I am always up and down doing housework, cooking meals, dealing with family stuff, helping my dad out with his business and the list goes on. Even when I am watching TV or listening to music I do something around the house.

After Christmas or maybe just before, I can't remember when it started, one day a week I take for me! It is usually a Wednesday or a Thursday as those are Stu's days off work.

I will throw all the cliches at you. It's me time, a mental health day, time out, self care, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I need that break to just relax, not adult for a little while and forget about the pressures of real life, well after the kids have gone from school, of course.

This is how my "day off" usually goes:

I will get up with the kids, stay in my pj's and get them ready, fed and out to school. As soon as they are out of the door I go back to bed and sleep for 2 or 3 hours. 

This day is usually the day where Stu will take over doing the housework. It's one of his days off and he always has a tidy round downstairs and put a load of washing on. I really do appreciate it.

In the time that I am in bed the water has been on heating and then I will go for a soak in the bath. There is something about a daytime bath which I love. It seems like such a treat. Maybe it's because I know I will be left alone because the kids are at school. No interruptions! 

I will put clean pj's on and stay in them for the rest of the day.  They are always my best pj's which look smart and would happily answer the door in. I am comfiest in pyjamas and if I am not going out or doing anything special what is the point in getting dressed.

If my "day off" is a Thursday I use the time write a couple of blog posts. My Word of the Week post, recapping what has gone on over the past week and then something random like this. I will also start the weekly online food shop and do the meal planning for the next week. As much as I moan about doing the online shop I do mostly enjoy it.

Then the kids come home from school and my me time is over. It is nice while it lasts and most weeks it is needed. I feel so much better for it and feel ready to take on the next few days.

Some people have nights out, spa days, breaks from their day to day life, their own ways to unwind and relax but I am happy with the eight hours mid week.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Father's Day gifts from from Cadbury Gifts Direct and Green & Black’s!

Both my dad and my fella Stu love their chocolate and of course I will be buying them both some for Father's day. Obviously Stu's will be off the kids and they will probably help him eat it too!

Cadbury have a whole range of gifts for our amazing dads. There is the firm favourites such as Cadbury Dairy Milk or Heroes in a variety of boxes and hampers or go for something personalised to give it that extra special touch. Then there is fancier gifts from Green & Black’s. I always think of their chocolate as a real grown ups choice!

We were sent a couple of the gift boxes to have a look at!

The Cadbury Chocolate Dad's Gift is available from Cadbury Gifts Direct for £10.00.

The perfect gift to wish someone a Happy Father's Day! A gorgeous little box full of treats.

Inside the Cadbury gift box you get a Cadbury Dairy Milk 200g bar in a special No 1 Dad sleeve, a Cadbury Heroes Carton and your favourite Cadbury bars including a Crunchie, a Wispa Gold, a Curly Wurly, a Double Decker and a Flake Bar!

I think this is a great box with lots of my fella's favourites. I think the only one he isn't too keen on is the Curly Wurly but it won't go to waste as the kids will snaffle that from him.

The G&B's Father's Day Chocolate Gift is available from Green & Black's for £13.00.

G&B's mini organic chocolate gift, the perfect luxury gift for Father's Day. Green & Black's classic organic dark, white and milk chocolate flavoured bars along side the Organic Treat Collection with a selection of mini bars. All delivered in a recycled gift box and hand tied with satin ribbon. An indulgent chocolate gift for any Father's Day! 

I think this is a lovely gift for a dad. I know my dad will love it! He likes the fancier chocolate and I think I might have to pinch the Green & Black's Organic Milk with Butterscotch Chocolate Bar which sounds amazing!

Cadbury Gifts Direct are giving you the chance to win personalised chocolate for your Dad this Father’s Day!

Do you have a funny or unusual nickname for your father? Maybe something based on his job, personality or hobbies, or even how he looks? Or, do you have a special name for another father figure in your life, perhaps a stepdad or grandfather to show how important he is to you?

If you do, tell them his nickname and you could win 1 of 10 delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk 850g bars with the nickname printed on the sleeve!

All entries must be submitted by 23:59 on Sunday 9th June 2019. The winner's will be notified by email by 11th June 2019 and prizes will be posted directly to the winners choice of address within the UK. Good luck!

We were sent these gift boxes in exchange for this blog post.

Monday 27 May 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 27th May - 2nd June. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well. The big hit of the week were the Birds Eye Tomato and mozzarella crispy pancakes. The kids had them and loved them. I didn't buy enough to have them myself but I will be next time. The Mango and prawn stir fry went down well too. It was a quick meal to make and everyone loved it. It felt like a really summery meal.

This week the kids are off school for half term. We don't have much planned. Becky will be revising but I am sure she'll spend plenty of time relaxing too. We're off out to the beach on Wednesday so we'll be getting something from our favourite chip shop which sells the Beanies!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Chicken salad.
Tuesday - American BBQ sausages using a Schwartz mix that I spotted in Tesco with wedges.
Wednesday - Food from the chip shop at lunch so we'll probably just have a sandwich for tea.
 Thursday - A stir fry of some sort.
Friday - Home made pizza.
Saturday - Out for a meal.
Sunday - Corned beef pie and chips.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 26 May 2019

The revision seems to be never ending! #MySundaySnapshot

Becky is about half way through her GCSE's but is still revising lots. On Friday night at about 9pm she said she was bored of being on her laptop and was going to do a maths practice paper. I was left to mark it which I think was probably harder than the exam. I was tough on her and she got 43 out of 80 which means with last years grade boundaries she'd have got a 4 which is an old school C! 

Yesterday was Geography revision and doing practice papers for Creative iMedia. (her least favourite subject). I looked through the paper and I think most bloggers could do well in it. hehehe It's all about pre-production skills, digital graphics, creating websites and all things online.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Week 21 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

This seems to have been a long week but we have made it to the weekend and now the kids have just over a week off school. Hooray for half term. It's been an ordinary week here. Quiet with not much going on. My photos show that. When I have nothing going on it's always food photos that I turn to. lol

Now for a photo every day!

137/365 - 18th May
Big burgers! Stu made his own tea and went big! He ate two of these. I don't know where he puts it all. 

138/365 - 19th May
We have a massive tub full of peanut M&M's at the moment which we are all dipping into. I don't usually like them but they're there and they are so tempting!

139/365 - 20th May
We were sent the DC Jelly Belly collection to have a look at. They're very tasty.

140/365 - 21st May
Just Becky on her tablet in her laze about the house clothes.

141/365 - 22nd May
I started watching The Handmaid's Tale on Monday and started the 2nd series on Wednesday! It is so dark and horrific to watch but it's so addictive!

142/365 - 23rd May

143/365 - 24th May
I spent all afternoon tidying and cleaning only for the kids to come in and ruin all my hard work in about 10 minutes! Clothes on the floor, things moved around, bags left, curtains half shut because it was too sunny and bits of paper on the floor. Why do I bother. lol

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

The Jelly Belly DC Comics Superhero Collection! - Review!

My fella is a big superhero fan and he is also a big fan of sweets and candy. We have tried different varieties of the Jelly Belly jelly beans over the years but there's a new collection featuring three of DC's most iconic characters: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

The new Jelly Belly DC Super Hero Collection features the DC Super Hero Mix of Jelly Belly jelly beans including shimmering versions of popular flavours Berry Blue, Blueberry, Cream Soda, Sour Lemon, Very Cherry and Wild Blackberry.

The collection comes in two different bag sizes: 28g and 60g!

These would make a fantastic gift for superhero dads this Father’s Day. We have hidden away a packet for my fella and I think he will love them.

These are something a little different and they are ever so pretty to look at. My girls and I tried these out and we all though they were delicious! The flavours came across really well and we could tell instantly what they were. My favourite was the Cream Soda.

You can find your nearest stockist on the Jelly Belly website and they are also available from Tesco, Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis, WHSmith and all the best department stores and independent confectioners. 

We also had the Sparkling Wine 'Bubbly Bottle to have a look at. The kids have no interest in these so they are all for me!

Toast any occasion with Sparkling Wine (Bubbly) flavour jelly beans. They have all the flavour of a glass of bubbly in a mini-sized bottle with none of the alcohol. Their iridescent finish will help to bring that extra sparkle to any special occasion or event.

I love this. It would make a fab gift for anyone for any occasion and only costs £3.00.

We were sent the Jelly Belly products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Friday 24 May 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

This past week has been one of those weeks where there hasn't been much to write about. It's been a pretty average and ordinary week. 

Becky has been getting on with her GCSE's. She has had a couple of exams that she was worried about this week. Maths and physics but after doing them she said they weren't as bad as she was expecting. We got a letter from the school yesterday that she is expected at school on Thursday for Geography revision. It's optional but she will be going. 

I think Ellie is playing detention bingo. Trying to get one for every possible reason. This past week she had a break time detention for "Inadequate Work". She said it was because she never read enough and on Wednesday and she also got in trouble for "Immature behaviour" in PE. She's served bans from the computer and we've had words. I think sometimes she gets a bit too confident at school and pushes her luck.

All the bullying issues that I mentioned last week have been sorted. The two older girls have left Ellie alone and one even went to Becky and told her to say sorry to Ellie for her. Becky told her to do it herself. hehehe From what I can gather they thought it was "just a bit of fun". It might have been for them but it wasn't for Ellie. 

Stu woke on Sunday morning with a sore shoulder. He said it feels like a trapped nerve. I love him to bits but he has moaned a lot instead of actually doing something to fix it. He was taking ibuprofen and that's it. I've made him soak in the bath, change his pillow in bed and sprayed deep heat spray on him. Nothing was helping. He went to the doctors yesterday and was given tablets which should help. I hope they do. 

My week seems to have revolved around the TV. I couldn't sleep properly on Sunday night because I was thinking too much about the finale of Game of Thrones! I watched it as soon as the kids went to school and I actually liked the ending! Then I started watching The Handmaid's Tale. Wow! It's shocking but so addictive to watch. I am well and truly hooked and I can't wait until the new series.

The kids break up for half term today and we are so looking forward to relaxing. We have one day out planned for next week, just to our favourite beach. We are trying to save the pennies as it's just over a month until we move house. All we'll have to buy is the bus ticket and of course fish & chips.

Thursday 23 May 2019

A blue kitchen wish list!

Last year I received a gorgeous food mixer to review. As our kitchen is too small it lives in the cupboard under the stairs. If I am having a big baking session I will get it out to use but I don't use it as much as I would like. When we move house there is going to be plenty of space and it means I can keep it on the worktop and use it all of the time. I love the colour and I have decided that when we move I will be buying accessories to match!

Swan Retro Fridge - AO - £319
Swan Retro Freestanding Microwave - Currys - £79.99
Swan Retro 2 Slice Toaster - £16.00 - Dunelm
Swan Retro 1.5 Litre Blender - £31.00 - AO
Swan Retro 6.5L Slow Cooker - £35.99 - Wayfair
Haden Heritage 1.7 Litre Kettle - £26.99 - Leekes

Typhoon Living Utensil Pot - £7.99 - Robert Dyas
Typhoon Living Pasta Jar - £9.99 - Robert Dyas
Typhoon Living Bread Bin - £18.99 - Robert Dyas
Candy Rose 30 Litre Pedal Bin - £24.99 - Dunelm
Swan Mug Tree - £12.00 - Argos
SWAN Retro 1 litre Canisters. Pack of 3. - £24.99 - Currys

Do you like the blue things I've chosen? Is there anything that you fancy?

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Before I was a blogger.

I have been blogging for 7 years in November and it really is hard to remember a life before blogging. When I started blogging Ellie was in year one at school and Becky in year 5. It seems such a long time ago. It's hard to remember what I did with my spare time.

Before blogging:

I used to play World of Warcraft. Stu got me into playing when Ellie was still a baby, way under a year old and I played it properly, every day until a few months after I started blogging. Something had to give and it was bye, bye World of Warcraft. Blogging well and truly took over! 

I did go back a few times and play it, usually over Christmas and New year when there wasn't much going on with blogging. Stu still plays it and sometimes I am tempted to go back and play. Usually on a lazy Sunday afternoon but no, I mustn't. I really do not have time for it.

I didn't really use social media before blogging, not how I use it now anyway. I didn't have an Instagram, Pinterest or a YouTube account where I uploaded videos. I used to watch YouTube videos but couldn't imagine making them. 

I had a Facebook account, didn't everyone but I only used it for myself. Now things have turned and I rarely post on my personal profile. I think the last time I did was last month and that was only to share an event my friend was organising. I used to put pictures and updates about the girls but now I'm blogging what's the point. I know all my family read here. 

I didn't meal plan and I could quite easily spend £150 on food per week only to throw half of it out and barely get a weeks worth of meals from it. I meal plan every week now and I am way more orgainsed when it comes to food.

I used to enter a lot of competitions, way more than I do now. One Christmas in the advent competitions I won something every day on the trot for 24 days. They weren't big or expensive prizes but they made a fantastic Christmas. I think the best prize I ever won according to the kids was an ultimate VIP package to see Disney On Ice from North East Family Fun. We had amazing seats, Pre-show hospitality & a lift there and back in a pink limo. In my opinion it was my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. I won it off Twitter the day it was released and it was delivered to me the next day. I still have and use that phone now. It was through entering competitions that I discovered blogs. I still discover amazing blogs through their competitions. 

Before blogging I knew a lot less people, yes the people I know through blogging are just "online friends" but I have seen their kids grow up through their blogs, saw their happiest and saddest of moment and there is a few that I would class as real, true friends.

What did you do before blogging? If you aren't a blogger could you ever see yourself blogging?

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Pop Pops Pets - Slime and bubble popping fun! - Review!

Ellie's two favourite things are slime and collectables so she was very pleased to receive some of the new Pop Pops Pets to have a look at. We were sent a box full of the Series 1 packs to open!

Pop Pops Pets offers a combination of several of the best things in the world: fluffy slime, bubble popping, and the hunt for cute collectables.

The packs come in different sizes. 3, 6, 12 and 15 packs.

Ellie couldn't wait to get into them and get popping! 

You simply put the bubble on a flat surface and press until it pops, pull the slime out and see if there is a pet in there!

There is over 60 pets to collect in the series and I was glad to see that out of all the bubbles that we opened there was no duplicates. It works out there is one surprise pet inside for every three bubbles.

Once you’ve popped all the bubbles you can play with the oozey, gooey slime and add your new Pop Pops Pets to your collection!

Ellie is quite an expert when it comes to slime and she said this was good slime. It is gooey but not too slimy and if you keep it in a sealed container when you are not using it, it will last quite a while.

Ellie loved these and they are fantastic for any slime and collectable fan. The only negative about these is that there is so much plastic waste left over from the little pods. 

The Pop Pops Pets are available to buy from Smyths Toys store and online.

We were sent the Pop Pops Pets free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Monday 20 May 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 20th - 26th May. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well. We didn't have the meatballs and spaghetti. I never got around to making it and it got to the point where I was all set to order a takeaway but Stu offered to cook and made sausages, mash and onion gravy. It was good.

Letting Becky choose the meals last week kept her happy during her GCSE's and I think it helped keep her stress levels down. So she has had a lot of input this week too. Thank goodness it's nearly half term where I can take full control of the meal planning again. hehehe

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread.
Tuesday - Leftover bolognese in tacos.
Wednesday - Birds Eye Tomato and mozzarella crispy pancakes and potato wedges.
 Thursday - Fish fingers and baked beans in tomato ketchup wraps.
Friday - Pizza.
Sunday - A roast chicken dinner.

What are you eating this week?