Wednesday 31 July 2019

This is what I loved in July.

What a month July was. We moved house on the 27th of June so this past month everything has been new, different and exciting! I have never felt more relaxed and happy. It is a different way of life living where we do now. I still feels like a whole new world.

Schools & Colleges.

The girls have both been to see their new school and college over the past month. I have a really good feeling about both. I wrote about Ellie's new school and didn't write about Becky's college much. It is fab. We had a grand tour and I think she'll be happy there. Becky's college is about 40 minutes away and two buses but I think she'll manage OK. We had a right faff trying to get her bus pass sorted but it's done now. Hooray! 

The Auction.

There is an auction which runs near us every Saturday and before we moved here my dad helped out by getting us a sofa set, dining room tables and chairs and beds. They were all 2nd hand but you could never tell. Since we have moved here we've been nearly every week and we've got some right bargains. Chest of drawers for £5 each, a computer desk for Ellie for a few pounds, a working PC tower for £5, a strimmer, bikes and lots of other things. If we were buying the stuff new we'd have spent thousands and even buying it 2nd hand in Ashington where we used to live would have cost hundreds. I am so pleased with our bargains and it's quite addictive bidding on things.

Being outside.

In the last month I think I have spent more time outside than I have in the past year. lol We have been careful in the sun using bottles and bottles of sun cream but we have all still ended up with a lovely tan. I was the only silly one to burn on our first weekend here! We went to Winterton Agricultural Show on our 2nd weekend, we've spent lots of time at my dad's place helping out and lots of time in our garden. The kids have learned to ride their bikes over the past month and there's no stopping them.

The shops in Scunthorpe.

When anyone from here finds out we love Scunthorpe high street they think we're mad. Our old high street didn't have much. A Poundland, Poundstretcher, Asda, Wilko's about 15 takeaways, charity shops and a few banks. If we wanted B&M that was a 20 minute walk in the other direction. Primark in Newcastle (55 mins on the bus) and Home Bargains and the cinema in Cramlington (45 mins on the bus). Now when we go to Scunthorpe everything is 5 or 10 minutes walking distance from when we get off the bus. 

The cinema is right next to the bus station then there's all the shops. I've never been in Primark so much. I am getting annoyed with them though. When I find something they have it in every size but mine! The kids are loving it too. Ellie was in heaven when we first took her and saw there was Claire's Accessories and The Entertainer.

My daft girls with silly animal heads on.

I have found my love for music again! I used to watch This Morning every day but I've not seen it since we've moved house. All I really watch now is the soaps. I have been listening to a lot of music. Hooray for Spotify. Last week I worked my way through a playlist of every number once since 1986! There was tons of songs I'd forgotten about.

The new household rules.

When we moved house Stu and I both agreed that we would implement some new rules. Nothing too harsh, just things to make everyone's life a bit happier and easier. Things like no shoes in the living room, no food in there either. Meals are to be eaten at the dining room table and dishes will be washed when a meal is finished now that we have instant hot water. The kids are only have a maximum of 3 hours a day on electronics but to be honest they're not really bothering. They have so many other things to do.

What did you love in July?

Tuesday 30 July 2019

(Ad - Gifted) The Get More Vits multivitamin orange & mango drink for kids! #Review

Last week was a scorcher and we have been drinking a lot! Water, juice, tea and slushies, anything to try and keep cool and hydrated. We were lucky enough to be sent a fantastic drink to try.

Packed with multi-vitamins the Get More Vits water is the perfect drink to keep you and your children hydrated this summer.

A bottle of Get More Vits and a bag with the logo on.

Making sure children get the right amount of vitamins doesn’t just keep them healthy now, it can help them avoid health problems later in life too. Children get most of the vitamins they need through their food. This is a way for them to get a little more.

4 bottles of the drink Get more vits orange and mango.

These sugar free multivitamin drinks provides a blend of B vitamins to support energy levels and the immune system, plus vitamin D and calcium for growing bones.

Fortified with 50% NRV*of B1, B3, B6, B7, B12 & D.

These drinks are also suitable for vegetarians.

I had never heard of these drinks before I was asked to review them even though they have been around for a while. I think they sound like such a great idea. Vitamins in drinks. Fantastic! 

I left them in the fridge all day and after we'd had our tea my girls and I gave them a try. They were delicious and so refreshing! You could really taste the orange and the mango. My youngest usually isn't a fan of mango but she loved these, we all did!

I would definitely buy these drinks in the future. They are available from a range of shops including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Ocado, Spar, Nisa, WHSmith and Amazon. They cost around £1.50 per bottle.

We were sent these bottles of Get More Vits free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Monday 29 July 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 29th July - 4th August. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went pretty well considering how hot it was. The pork and apple burgers were a huge success and I will be making them again. The only meal we didn't eat was the Sloppy Joes. It was too hot to be stood in the kitchen cooking even if it was supposed to be a quick meal to make. We ended up getting tea from the chip shop. I thought it was a better idea to let someone else cook. hehehe On Saturday it rained most of the day so the curry I made was perfect and the mince and dumplings went down well on Sunday.

We're supposed to have rubbish weather this week. Rain, rain and more rain if the weather forecast is anything to go by. We're not too fussed. There is jobs that need doing in here. I bought the wallpaper for the kids bedrooms so hopefully that will get started.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Quiche and salad.
Tuesday - Sausages, chips and baked beans.
Thursday - Bacon and potato layer bake, peas and carrots.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - A fake KFC. Chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw, fries and baked beans.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 28 July 2019

The monkeys got new clothes. #MySundaySnapshot

Becky isn't one for wearing shorts. She hasn't worn them in at least 4 years so I've never bothered buying her any that fit. On Wednesday the hottest day of the year she was beaten and decided she needed some so she found some old jeans and cut them into shorts. 

She was about to throw the cut off legs into the bin when Ellie decided she had a use for them! Monkey clothes! All of the monkeys now have new dresses.

I know they're not all monkeys but Ellie calls them that. The original Monkey (which is a lion), the skinny one on the right is still her favourite and still goes everywhere with her, there's the big one Charlie, Monty on the left and Little Monkey at the front.

Saturday 27 July 2019

Week 30 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

What a scorcher this past week has been! It's been far too hot for me and since Wednesday I have tried my best not to leave the house during the day! On Tuesday I had to go into town and I actually wore a dress. I felt much cooler in it. I don't usually wear dresses and the girls were in shock. I even had a look around Primark for a couple of new one's but they either had nothing I fancied and what I did want they weren't in my size. Hmmf! 

Now for a photo every day!

My fella holding a star wars figure and also a rhubarb crumble
pork and apple burgers ready to be cooked
the new twitter layout and my laptop and glass of wine in the garden

199/365 - 20th July
We have been going to a local auction for the past few weeks. I made the mistake of Stu going alone last week and he came back with that Star Wars figure. I told him not to buy things we didn't need. Next time I'm going, to keep an eye on what he buys. lol

200/365 - 21st July
My dad was given a ton of rhubarb so shared it with us. I made a rhubarb crumble and a pie. It's the first time the kids had ever had rhubarb. At one point they were sat in the garden dipping raw rhubarb in sugar just like Stu and I did when we were kids. 

201/365 - 22nd July
My new favourite burgers. Pork and apple one's which I made from scratch. They are so tasty and don't take long to make either.

202/365 - 23rd July
I got the new Twitter layout. I don't like it one bit. I use my laptop 99% of the time and I don't like how you can be writing a tweet and it jumps down to show you the latest tweets. So annoying.

203/365 - 24th July
I sat out in the garden on Wednesday evening. It was cooler out there than in the house. It was lovely.

204/365 - 25th July
The fan was needed! The hottest day of the year so far! 

205/365 - 26th July
My dad has a patch of purple flowers which the bee's are loving. There must have easily have been about 50 of them. It's the most bee's I've ever seen in one place.

the project 365 linky button

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Friday 26 July 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

I could have gone for the obvious this week and used hot! What a scorching week we've had! I hid inside yesterday as it was just too hot. Even the kids stayed in, the heat has beaten them.

On Saturday Stu was at the local auction. We needed a strimmer to get to the weeds in the places the mower wouldn't reach. He managed to get one for a few pounds and set to work on Sunday sorting it out. I should have taken a proper before and after picture because now it looks so much different just with all the weeds gone. I didn't even realise there was a wooden border around the edges. hehehe

My fella mowing the grass and the weeded garden

Becky has been doing some gardening too. The other week she was helping my dad out and he paid her and she must have thought she was onto a good thing because now she has a little gardening business on the go. She went off on Wednesday to do some weeding and gardening for one of my dad's friends and was paid for her work. She thinks it's fantastic. She now has her own money which she is preferring to save instead of spend!

In our back garden there is always such a lovely breeze coming from the big corn field. On Wednesday evening I was sat in the house roasting and thought I will try sitting outside. I took my laptop and a glass of wine and it was lovely! The sun wasn't too bright and the breeze was lovely! I think I might do it every night! Becky came out an joined me, I did send her away after about 5 minutes as her ice cream was attracting so many bugs. hehehe

A glass of wine, my laptop and the sun setting

I am hoping that when it cools down a little we can move the purple slate stones that are down the sides of the back garden to the front of the house. At the front there is lots of pebbles but half of them are missing so we're hoping to fill the gap. Then when they have gone I can get on with digging the soil and hopefully planting something.

The Word of the week linky button.

Thursday 25 July 2019

Pork and Apple burgers - Recipe!

A few weeks ago we went to Winterton Agricultural Show where I had a pork, stuffing and apple burger, it was amazing and I have been craving them ever since. So when I received The Quick After Work Cookbook to review (free of charge) I noticed the recipe for Pork and Apple burgers in there! I was itching to give them a try and see how they compared to the one I had at the show!

Sage, 2 apples, a packet of pork mince and an onion.

The recipe is so easy to follow and all you need to make the burgers are:

2 Dessert apples.
500g of Lean minced pork.
1 small, peeled and finely chopped onion.
2 tablespoons of chopped sage.
Salt & ground black pepper.

Burger baps, shredded lettuce and tomato salsa or ketchup to serve.

To make it you grate the apples into a bowl, you can leave the skin on so peeling them is one less job you have to do. 

Chop the onion and add it to the bowl with the grated apple and add your two tablespoons of sage too. I used dried sage because I am lazy and didn't want to buy fresh and waste it. Then add the minced pork and give it a good mix. I just used my hands. It was easier than using a spoon and it made sure everything was mixed together!

When everything is mixed make it into burger shapes. The ingredients above make 4 burgers but I doubled the quantities and managed to make 9 burgers. I was worried about making them too thick and them not cooking in the middle.

To cook them you fry them with a little oil. I think these would be great on a BBQ too. Cook them all of the way through on a medium heat and serve in a bun. 

Instead of topping with tomato salsa or ketchup I put apple sauce on. You can never have too much apple.

All in all the burgers took about half an hour to cook from scratch and I was very impressed with them. I wouldn't normally make burgers like this myself but I think I will be in the future. My whole family loved them.

I got this recipe from the The Quick After Work Cookbook which I reviewed last week. I was not asked to write this blog post.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Modern or an old fashioned picnic?

I hadn't thought about what other people put in their picnics until I was sent an email about how hard boiled eggs, sausage rolls, coleslaw and jam sandwiches are the thing of the past and now it's all about cured hams, hummus and flatbreads.

When I was a kid and my grandad used to pack my brother and I a picnic there was always jam sandwiches or if we were lucky sugar sandwiches. Don't knock them until you've tried them. hehehe, scotch eggs, sausage rolls or cocktail sausages, crisps and some fruit. Usually an apple.

When I make a picnic it usually involves ham sandwiches with pease pudding on shop bought bread rolls, cheesy snacks like Babybel, crisps, sausage rolls and fruit. If I really plan a picnic ours would include pork pies, cocktail sausages and scotch eggs too.

I asked the kids what they would prefer in a picnic:

Items of picnics past: 
Jam sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, shop bought scotch eggs, cartons of cocktail sausages, pork pies, cans of lager, chicken drumsticks, quiche, sausage rolls, shop bought coleslaw, iceberg lettuce and white rolls.


Modern Day Picnic items:
Artisan Lemonade, cured hams (Parma, serrano), sandwiches made with sourdough bread, hummus, flatbreads, homemade bread, kalamata olives, champagne, Italian wines, rare roast beef and ginger beer.

Becky said that the modern day items were all fancy and grown up things. I think they are too. Ellie said she would like the picnic past items along with the hummus. lol She's verging on turning fancy. hehehe I don't know where she's got her love of hummus from because nobody else in the family really eats it or likes it.

On average Brits have 5 picnics each summer and the top places to have them are in the countryside, a park or on a beach. Buttermere, in the Lake District topped the list for best picnic spot, closely followed by Richmond Park, London and Devon’s Dartmoor.

When we have one we usually go to the park or the kids will sit outside in the garden. We wouldn't think of taking a picnic to the beach. When we visit the beach we have to have chips. hehehe When I think of a picnic on the beach I think of sand in the sandwiches. Eww!

Do you have many picnics over the summer?

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Year Seven and Eleven are done!

This past year for my girls at school has been a big one and probably the most stressful school year ever for me. I should have written this a few weeks ago as both my girls finished their school year at the end of June. My teen after her GCSE's and my youngest just before we moved house.

Last September seems such a long time ago. Ellie started year 7 and secondary school and Becky year 11. It was so strange the girls being at the same school again

My two girls in their school uniform

At primary school Ellie wasn't a fan of getting up and getting out of the house on time but in year 7 she was only late for school once and that was because her and her friend were looking at a rainbow. I shouldn't laugh but it is funny now.

Ellie wasn't great at primary school. She would daydream, not do her work and she struggled. We feared the same would happen at secondary school but it didn't, in fact she smashed all of her end of year targets and by the end of the year was higher than she should be in a few subjects. We couldn't have been prouder.

It wasn't a perfect year for Ellie, she did have her moments of messing around with friends in lessons, not doing her homework or handing it in late, losing her belongings and being given a few detentions. I can't complain though, I think she was just pushing the boundaries and her luck a little.

We were lucky to meet with the SENDCO woman every half term who kept us updated about Ellie at school and we could go to her with any issues we had. She was amazing! Over the year she saw Ellie grow in confidence and mature. When we told her we were moving she joked that she wouldn't allow it and said she wanted her to stay to help with the new year 7's in lunch club.

There were still issues with bullying but Ellie made a good group of friends. They were all lovely girls and there was a boyfriend. She was sad to say goodbye to them when we moved.

It's was a huge year for Becky! GCSE year! I am so proud of all the revision she did and how hard she worked. There isn't much to write about her school life as it was all work, work, work!

A geography revision book and an exam paper

When we went to her parents evening just before she left school we were told her predicted grades for her GCSE's after doing her mock exams we were gobsmacked. She had really improved and with all the revision and hard work she had bumped them up by at least a grade for most of her subjects.

I think when she was doing her exams I stressed more than Becky did. She took them all in her stride. She is glad to have left school, she hated it but did have a few good memories.

I'm glad this school year is over to be honest and in September a new chapter starts. Becky at college and Ellie at her new secondary school in year 8.

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?