Monday 30 September 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 30th Sept - 6th October. #MealPlanningMonday

Where did September go? It has flown over. I can't believe that it's October tomorrow! Last weeks meal plan went well. We missed a couple of meals but nothing went to waste so it's all good.

I did a big shop this past week to fill the freezer. We had got to the point where there was only ice cream and potato products left. There was no chance of getting the shopping bill to under £100. It was one of those weeks where we ran out of random things like pasta, custard, condiments and cleaning stuff. Not things I buy every week but things we use most days!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Jacket potatoes with baked beans and cheese.
Tuesday - Scampi, chips and peas.
Wednesday - A roast chicken dinner.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Lentil and bacon soup.
Sunday - Leftover soup.

What are you eating this week?

Saturday 28 September 2019

Week 39 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

I have had a frustrating week with mix ups with appointments, the weather and the faff around with the washing machine. We have a new one now and hopefully it shouldn't need any repairs for a few years! 

Now for a photo every day!

262/365 - 21st September
We went blackberry picking and of course I had to make a crumble and for the non-blackberry lover (my fella) an apple pie.

263/365 - 22nd September
We watched the remake of Aladdin. I wasn't expecting much from it but I really enjoyed it.

264/365 - 23rd September
Ellie was waiting for her friends to knock for her to play out.

265/365 - 24th September
Ellie made a pizza at school for cookery and everyone had to try it, even if they weren't keen! hehehe

266/365 - 25th September
I discovered that I can fit into Ellie's shoes. Very handy for when I couldn't find mine in a rush.

267/365 - 26th September
My fella and my dad went to get the new washer first thing and it was soon plumbed in! I love it!! I got 5 loads of washing done which was needed.

268/365 - 27th September
I risked putting the washing on the line despite the grey clouds and forecast rain. I got them 99% dry before it chucked it down and managed to get them in before they got wet again!

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Friday 27 September 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

I have found myself getting very frustrated with various things over the past week, most of the frustrations would not be there if people would do their jobs properly. Grr! 

It started with a letter Becky received from the hospital, a referral to the audiology department at the hospital for hearing tests and a check on her deafness in one ear. She's not deaf in one ear, her sister is though. The doctor had got them mixed up when we went to get the referrals for the heart checks and hearing tests for Ellie last week. I spent 20 minutes on hold to the doctors then another 10 trying to explain to the receptionist what the problem was and for her to get it straight in her head and make a note for it to be changed. Now we wait for another appointment. Ellie did get her appointment for her heart check up. January 2020. It seems a long way away but I bet it's here in no time.

We haven't had a washing machine for 2 and a half weeks. It broke and the engineer came out to fix it on Saturday and said they needed to order a part. We have the repair plan with Curry's and pay so much a month for repairs and if it can't be fixed a replacement. 10 days we waited for the part to appear and it didn't. We rang up to ask what was going on and for a replacement and the man on the phone said the part needed was rare and it should have been written off on Saturday. Grr! I was fuming! We went over a week longer without a washing machine than we should have! We were told to email for compensation because they messed up. We are due money back for the phone calls we've had to make and the inconvenience.

We rang Tuesday and we given the voucher code to get a replacement washer on Wednesday and yesterday my dad and Stu went off to pick a new one up from Curry's. It's takes a bigger load than our old one and looks very fancy. Yesterday I spent the day washing, sorting and folding clothes. Thankfully the weather was nice, a big change from what we've had.

It seems to have rained all week which I have not liked one bit. Since we moved house I have been out and about most days and the rain stopped that! I have felt so frustrated being stuck inside.

I have been frustrated with Ellie's homework. Most of it is to do online and it's taken a while to get the log in details. She was stressing about not doing homework and I was stressing that she was stressing. They all seem to be working now apart from the maths one but I am sure Ellie can live with that. hehehe I've left a note in her planner and hopefully a teacher will see it and sort it. They do seem to read the planners unlike Ellie's last school as I got a text on Friday telling me I must sign it every week. I forgot. Oops.

Thursday 26 September 2019

Arguments about shoes!

Forget arguments about homework, screen time and junk food. It's the humble shoe which causes the most rows in British households according to new research!

The nationwide study found British parents can spend a whopping 10 minutes hunting high and low for their children’s shoes every single day which is a staggering 61 hours over the course of the year!

I can quite believe that!! I try to enforce the rule that shoes get taken off at the front door but it doesn't help when the kids sometimes come in the back door and their shoes could end up anywhere in the house, sometimes upstairs even when they're not allowed.

I have all the day to day shoes at the front door and all the others in the cupboard under the stairs. Once a week I clear the bottom of the stairs of random shoes which shouldn't be there like my boots which my teen borrowed, Ellie's trainers for PE or wellies which Stu wore when he was strimming the nettles in the back garden. (It obviously means he walked through the living room with them on! Eesh!)

Almost one in 10 British mums and dads said that locating and putting on their children’s shoes when leaving the house meant they were routinely late for everything.

Every morning I can easily say to Ellie get your shoes on about 4 or 5 times before she actually does! It drives me crazy. When she does go to put her shoes on it seems to take an age to get them on her feet. Becky is not much better. She always seems to wear hi-tops for college which seem to take forever to lace up.

It’s not just hunting for shoes that causes friction. The study also found that British mums and dads are at loggerheads with their kids when it comes to buying new footwear, with one in ten parents confessing to being livid at having had to fork out on new shoes as their child had lost them at school.

Thankfully that hasn't happened to us. I would be furious if either of my two lost their shoes, especially at school!

There is also the arguments about shoes being scuffed beyond repair with 22 percent saying that scooter usage routinely ruins their children’s footwear and leads to huge rows.

We have had that before. It took me a while to figure out why Ellie's shoes were so scuffed until I saw her using her foot as a brake when she was using her scooter! Grr!

One in five of mums and dads admit to splashing out on expensive trainers that their child doesn’t need because of constant badgering from their little ones to keep up with the latest trends.

I am one of those parents. I bought Ellie some new trainers for PE just so she would look good at her new school and Becky is always wanting the latest, fanciest trainers. She doesn't always get them but I have bought her them in the past. I do make sure the kids have either worn the latest pair out or have grown out of them before buying new one's. I think branded, expensive one's do last longer than the cheap one's. I have a pair of Nike one's which I wear nearly every day that I've had for two years and a cheap pair which are dropping to bits which I've only had a few months.

Do you have arguments over shoes with your children?

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Our Autumn bucket list.

I love this time of year, especially when it's still warm out but not sweltering. I like the darker nights and now we're settled I think we can have a good try at a bucket list even after our summer one didn't go to well.

Go blackberry picking and bake with them.
Buy some autumn scented candles.
Carve a pumpkin.
Toast marshmallows on an open fire.
Make a Halloween playlist on Spotify.
Find some conkers and have a conker fight.
Make some homemade soup from scratch.
Go trick or treating.
Take lots of photos of the changing season.
Go blackberry picking.
Watch some scary films (not too scary though)
Make toffee apples.
Get some new boots.
Take a flask of hot chocolate on a bike ride.
Make Halloween cupcakes.
Play in the leaves.
Get some Halloween bath bombs from Lush.
Put some Halloween decorations up.
Make some bird feeders.
Bake cookies and eat them warm from the oven.
Get some new jumpers.
Plant something for spring.
Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Go to a Fireworks Display.
Start Christmas shopping.

Do you have any fun plans for Autumn?

Tuesday 24 September 2019

The real reasons why we moved from Ashington, Northumberland.

Way back at the beginning of May my Word of the Week was moving and I skimmed over why we were wanting to move and didn't mention where we were moving. As you all know we moved from Northumberland, over 150 miles away to Scunthorpe. Since then I've said more about why we moved but it's always been a censored version. I missed so much out of why we were not happy living here and why we wanted to move.

To be closer to family.
My dad is just over 70 years old. He's not getting any younger and I miss being close to him. Close as in distance not as in father/daughter relationship. We spoke on the phone most days before I moved. I have spent about 12 years only seeing him for a few hours once or twice a year, well apart from Christmas last year when we spent a few days together which made me want to be nearer to him. Stu and I have been talking about moving nearer him for the past few years but Christmas just made us even more sure we wanted to move. I wanted him to get to know the kids and them to get to know him too and make some memories. The whole reason we kept where we were moving secret was because of family drama which I'm not going to go into.

I was done with my girls school.
Both of my girls were not happy in their school. Thankfully Becky was at the age to leave after finishing her GCSE's. There were things which happened in Becky's school life which left a real sour taste in my mouth which I haven't blogged about regarding the school. Many a time I have been in tears over the stress and worry they caused, I've been furious but they were avid readers of my blog I had to keep quiet. It's all over now and I'm glad. Becky was out but Ellie was stuck there unless we moved or moved her from a not very good school to an awful one. At one point I was all set to home school my girl. Ellie had a great start to year 7 at the secondary school but it went downhill. She was bullied and it didn't really show any sign of stopping despite the school trying to help. The school really needs to take a harder stance on pupils who cause trouble and not try to reform them. My girls needed a fresh start and they've got it.

It was really rough where we lived and was getting worse.
I was scared to let my girls out. When they did go to the park I stressed. Majorly stressed!! My teen was bullied from reception class to year 8 by a girl. When I saw a video on Facebook of a gang attacking a random girl in our local park I wasn't surprised that one of the girls was that bully. It left me sickened but glad it wasn't my girls being attacked. It could have easily have happened. We had dealings with the girl. About 6 years ago she took a liking to trying to kick my back yard gate in, throwing things at the front window, she once climbed onto my back yard wall and told Becky that she was going to get someone to rape her! Becky didn't even know what rape was at the time thankfully. I don't think 10/11 year old's should know words like that! We rang the police and when we mentioned the family name they said are you sure that you want to take it further? The family are the type of family that if you report one, ten of them will come and smash your windows! We took it no further but the girl saw the police coming to our door then had the cheek to knock at the door and say she didn't mean any harm. Really! The stress it caused was unbelievable. I still stressed until the day we moved in case the girl and her friends caught Becky alone!

We were sick of the house.
There was nothing majorly wrong with the house we rented but lots of little things which were never fixed or addressed by the landlord. We didn't have a cold bathroom tap that worked for about 3 years. If we needed to add cold water to the bath we had to use the shower, the electrics were ancient. We couldn't use normal light bulbs, they would blow so had to use the LED one's which stayed put. The boiler was a back boiler under the fire. Every gas man who came to do the safety check said it needed replacing but luckily it always passed the tests. The windows were not air tight and in the winter we may as well have had them open for all the use they were. Our landlord wasn't a bad one, all the major repairs were done and we can't complain because the whole time we were living here she was undercharging us with the rent. When we handed our notice in she thought it was a two bedroomed house. It was a 3. Oops.

My neighbours were utter nightmares!
Now I can freely say this! We had Mr Antenna to the right who had to be told by the council to take his radio antennas down. They were effecting our internet. He had the warning and then put them back up. I am assuming they got back in touch because they were taken down and weren't seen again. The family were creepy. If they heard me in the back yard they would go into their back yard, every time! There was also the "feral kids" who used to come to our street to play. I lost count of the times I had to shout at them to get our of my garden, off the wall or out of the old fella's garden over the road. They were a nuisance and vandals too. The mother didn't care. If they weren't under her feet she wasn't bothered what they were doing or where they were. I often saw the toddler wandering off, crossing busy roads and yes I reported her to Children's services! I don't think anything was done. Then there was our neighbour to the left who must have loved the sound of her own voice! I swear she never stopped shouting. Even when she was home alone she would be on the phone shouting about something.

When we moved to Ashington it was a lovely little town but it has really gone downhill which is such a shame. Where we are living now is so peaceful, friendly and I feel at ease here.

Monday 23 September 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 23rd - 29th September. #MealPlanningMonday

Monday again already! This month seems to be flying over! It seems like I am hardly seeing the kids now a days. They are out with their friends most evenings. Eesh! The peace is nice but I am missing them, even their arguing!

As of writing this yesterday the washing machine still isn't fixed, it's been broken for over 2 weeks now and the company are debating about writing the old one off and giving us a replacement! Grr! To be honest I am past caring! All I want is a working washing machine! I just know as soon as it is fixed the weather will turn and I won't be able to get it dried on the line. 

Last weeks meal plan went well. The food cooked in the slow cooker was amazing and kept my family happy. It meant we could eat whenever we wanted. I ate earlier than the kids who were out and when they got in they could just help themselves.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Slow cooker pulled pork with potato wedges.
Tuesday - Leftover pulled pork in tacos or wraps with salad.
Wednesday - Fishcakes, new potatoes and peas.
Thursday - Stuffed peppers (Ellie has asked for them, I don't know where she got the idea from but we're giving them a go.
Friday - Tuna pasta.
Saturday - Pizza.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

What are you eating this week?

Saturday 21 September 2019

Week 38 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

I don't know where this week has gone. It seems to have flown over. I've been for a day out shopping with my teen, to my dad's helping him out with some painting and I don't seem to have stopped.

The washing machine still hasn't been fixed. Two weeks without it has been no fun. Thankfully my dad and his partner have came to the rescue and let me use their washing machine. The company that we have the repair plan with had until today to fix it so now we can request a replacement. I bet as soon as we do the part turns up and they're out to fix it. I am past caring, I just need a working washing machine.

Now for a photo every day.

255/365 - 14th September
We were sent a couple of dolls to review. The difference from these and normal fashion dolls is they come with a green screen and an app to use to change the background, hair and make up. It's really quite clever.

256/365 - 15th September
My dad did some of our washing. He wouldn't didn't dry it though. I'm not complaining, I am so grateful.

257/365 - 16th September
The chicken casserole spent all day in the slow cooker. It was so good.

258/365 - 17th September
Ellie had her first proper cookery lesson at school. She made bread rolls.

259/365 - 18th September
Ellie rushed in from school, did her homework and then rushed out to play with her friends.

260/365 - 19th September
Another pretty sky.

261/365 - 20th September
Becky getting ready to go out with her friends.

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Friday 20 September 2019

This week my Word of the Week is: Learned. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

This week seems to have been a week of learning for my girls and I. We have learned lots of little things. Some which will change our lives some which won't.

On Monday we were at the doctors to find out which hospital we would be going to, to get the girls hearts checked. I have been worrying about this since we moved house at the end of June. We were actually supposed to be at the Freeman Hospital this week for their yearly check up but I put my foot down and said no, we would be visiting a hospital here in North Lincolnshire. There is a few to choose from and all apart from one are a couple of hours by bus away. We used to do that type of journey so it wasn't an issue but I did hope it would be the local hospital half an hour away.

Anyway we had a lovely chat with our new doctor who really put me at ease. He said if the girls were to need surgery or urgent care they would most likely end up at Sheffield but they have outreach clinics every week at Scunthorpe hospital which we could go to for the yearly appointment. There is no guarantee that the kids will have their appointments on the same day as Ellie is still a child and Becky is now classed as an adult but I can live with that. 

It was a real weight off my mind. I spent all day worrying again for nothing. The doctor did make Ellie's day though. You all know about her favourite stuffed toy, Monkey who is actually a lion. Ellie still carries him around, especially if she goes to new places. When she went into the doctors room he said hello Ellie and what a fine Monkey you have there. She grinned from ear to ear and now can say when anyone says it's a lion that a real doctor actually said it was a Monkey. hahaha

Ellie learned that she is expected to work more at her new school. lol Well not so much at school but at home. She has now had more homework in a couple of weeks from her new school than she did for the whole year at her old school. She is not happy about it but she'll have to get used to it as the school are quick to let me know when she hasn't completed homework. She didn't do her French homework and I was sent a text. In her defence it was online homework and she didn't have any log in details. She now has double to do now.

Tell me I'm not the only one who didn't know that Narwhal's are real creatures? Ellie had to print out sea creatures for her art homework and said she was going to print out a narwhal. I said no, they're not real. She argued, made me Google "are narwhals real?" and proved me wrong. lol I really thought they were mythical creatures like unicorns. Oops.

On a Tuesday Ellie has cookery and PE which means she has an awful lot of stuff to carry. She was furious about how much and said she was going to complain. hahaha I mentioned it on Twitter and learned that Ellie actually has it quite easy. At least she doesn't have to carry a musical instrument too. Ellie did learn how to make bread buns from scratch in cookery and she is planning on making more at the weekend.

We did have a little drama yesterday which Ellie learned what it was like to be grounded. It got to 3.50pm and I started worrying. She usually gets in at 3.40pm. I tried ringing her and her phone was off, I rang the school at 4pm and Stu went out to look for her. She decided to walk the long way home, via the park with her friends. Grr! 4.10pm she got in here, half an hour late to a hug and then a good telling off. She knows she shouldn't have gone off with her friends without telling me and knows she should have had her phone on. If she had kept in touch I would have said it was OK call in the park on her way home. What I was angry was that I didn't know where she was.

Her friends knocked for her later on and took all the blame and apologised for worrying me, bless them. They said they were dawdling and messing about and would have been home just after the normal time if it wasn't for their antics but at the same time Ellie should have known better and came straight home. I think she's learned her lesson.

My dad's partner wanted something buying offline and she isn't the most tech savvy person so wanted me to buy it, she of course gave me the money and I was wanting to pay it into the bank. I was rather annoyed because to go to the bank is a £7 return on the bus (she offered me that too) but then I learned that you can pay money into a bank account at the post office which is just a 10 minute walk away. How did I not know this before. I thought using the app to pay in cheques was good but this is a game changer.

Becky has had a good week at college. Don't ask me what she's learned because she can never remember. Some things never change but she has enjoyed it. The first couple of weeks everyone was lovely but now 2 cliques are forming. The older people on the course and all the school leavers. The tutor had to have words and tell the older students to grow up. Eek! It's the old story of they should no better. 

Thursday 19 September 2019

Snacking on the kids leftovers.

It’s no secret that us parents often sneak a chip or two off  our children’s plates but new stats reveal that this extra eating is causing us to pile on the pounds with the average Brit gaining half a stone each year thanks to picking at their kids food alone!

I am guilty of this! I don't just pick at their food before I give it to them I eat their leftovers too! It seems daft throwing it into the bin when I could eat it, usually if they have had their tea before me which sometimes happens, especially if they come in from school/college and are hangry!

Fish fingers, chicken nuggets, spaghetti hoops, chips and Alphabet or Smiley potato shapes always taste the best when stolen from a plate. Proper kid food as my teen calls it. She always rolls her eyes when I say we're having fish fingers, spaghetti hoops and chips. She thinks she's too old for that food but when it's given to her she always wolfs it down and loves it!

The average Brit consumes an extra 443 calories a week from polishing off their children’s leftovers during term time with this jumping to 506 calories during the school holidays!

The kids won't eat crusts on their sandwiches so when I am making them I will eat the crusts even if I am making myself a sandwich afterwards. Oops.

41% of us admit we’ve secretly hoped our child wouldn’t finish their pudding so we could finish it! I know I have. My girls get puddings most evenings and sometimes they are just too nice and I always want more than my own portion. I have been known to try and convince them that they may not like the pudding that I am serving up just so I can get an extra portion or two. hehehe

Trifle and any type of crumble is my favourite leftover desserts to eat. The kids never seem to leave much though. Hmmf!

If picking from our children’s dinner plates wasn’t enough, we’re also racking up the calories by sharing their snacks. 12% of us admit we eat our kid's snacks every time we give them one. 

I am guilty of this too. Kids snacks are the best! I am a massive fan of the Fruit Bowl blackcurrant yogurt flakes, the little boxes of raisins, Frubes, Babybel, Dairylea Dunkers and crisps aimed at kids like Pom Bears and Wotsits.

Do you snack on food that is meant for your kids?

Wednesday 18 September 2019

(Ad - Gifted) Playing with the #Snapstar Dolls. - Review! #SnapstarSquad

Ellie loves playing with dolls, some might say still as she is 12 years old but so what! She loves fashion style dolls and has plenty but when we were asked to have a look at the Snapstar Dolls, I was interested. 

We were lucky to be sent a surprise box with two dolls and two accessory sets.

Enter the world of Snapstar an immersive world of fashion, beauty, music, photography and design. There is a lineup of six dolls, each with her own unique personality and style that kids can dress up, customise and pose!

The dolls come with a removable outfit with accessories and removable hair. You can buy additional outfits and hair separately for more fun.

The two dolls we were sent were:

Echo: Bedazzled Babe
Echo is a dreamy damsel who floats through life with an easy-breezy outlook. Although she embodies the shimmering grace of a mermaid, she is never a “fish out of water”. Echo is a hair and makeup pro whose beauty tutorials have made her a social media superstar no wonder all the girls
like getting ready at Echo’s place!

Lola: 99% Unicorn!
Lola is a ball of positive energy who sees the best in everyone and the beauty in everything! Although Lola is passionate about changing the world for the better, she believes kindness is the key. She is always bubbly and giggly all the girls love having her around because she makes everyone around her feel great and want to be their best selves!

These dolls have 15 points of articulation which include a moving head, torso, legs, arms, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. Way more than the average doll.

Each doll comes with a green screen and a green doll stand which can be moved to help you create the best pose. The green screen allows kids to take photos of their dolls through the Snapstar Studio app and add backdrops that make the green screen and doll stand disappear, add makeup, change the hairstyle, add stickers and so much more.

The Snapstar Studio app is free to download and is compatible on devices with Apple App store or Google Play access.

Within minutes Ellie was showing me how to use it. She had it figured out in seconds. It is straightforward to use and pretty self explanatory. There is different sections for the background, hair, eyes, lips, blusher, etc.

You can then save the photos to your phone and upload them to social media if you want to.

What we thought:

Ellie loves these dolls and the app. She has played with them over the last few days and shows no signs of getting bored. She thinks the dolls are fantastic, the way she can move them and put them in different positions. She loves the different outfits, accessories and the fact that she can go onto the app and change their look.

I think these are great too. They are for over 5 year old's but I think they are perfect for tween aged children. Ellie did start asking for social media accounts to share her creations as that seems to be encouraged by the packaging but I said no, not until she is old enough. She still has a year to go before she can legally use social media.

For kids who have no interest in the social media aspect the fashion doll element alone is enough to keep them entertained even without using the app. The app adds an extra element and fun.

There are six very different looking dolls in the series which means there’s a high chance of at least one appealing to your child. On a whole really like them. The rest of the collection is for sure going on Ellie's Christmas list.

The dolls have just started being sold in Argos and retail for just under £20.00. 

We were sent these dolls and extra outfits free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

How our summer bucket list went...

I had big plans for the summer. It was our first in the new house with a big garden and being surrounded by countryside and nature. I planned a lot of things for our Summer Bucket List.

When I wrote the list we'd been here less than a month and I think I got a bit carried away and set my sights a little too high. Out of the 28 things on the list we did about 9 of them and some of them not fully.

I also didn't count on the fact that the kids would want to spend more time at my dad's house than I thought they would. I'm not complaining about it though. 

What we did do over the summer off our bucket list was:

Go for a family bike ride.

We actually bought another bike from the local auction so we all had our own. Stu's cost him £17 and mine £11 so they were real bargains.

Over the summer we went on so many bike rides. We were skint from moving and paying for new school uniform and the kids birthdays so the cheaper the day out the better. All we had to do was make a packed lunch and we were off. We cycled miles, exploring and going on adventures. Becky and I are still going on bike rides when she has her days off college.

Have a barbecue or 10!
We had quite a few BBQ's. Most of them were spur of the moment things when the weather was nice and I didn't fancy standing in the kitchen over the cooker.

Visit a farm shop.
We found a fantastic one a few weeks after we moved here, just up the road. It's about the same distance away as the local shop so if we need fruit or veg we go there. It works out a lot cheaper too. Roll on October when they are selling pumpkins!

Do some gardening. Planting and hopefully growing something.

We didn't do much with our garden over the summer apart from mowing the lawn but we did do some gardening at my dad's place. He had a lot of work to do in his garden and we helped out. Becky learned how to drive the ride on lawn mower, I had great fun chopping down bushes and tree's with a machete and Ellie had great fun making friends with ladybirds, stray cats, pigeons and feeding fish. 

Visit a new park.
The kids have! There is a park local to us which they say is better than any park they have ever been to before. I have walked through it and it does look lovely!

Decorate the kids rooms.
Mostly! Ellie's room was done a little while ago and Becky's room was finished over the weekend! Hooray! 

Camp out in the garden.

We did get the big tent out and the kids spent a couple of hours messing about in it but they didn't sleep in it.

Go to a car boot sale.
We have been to a couple but we much prefer the local auction. The people who run it are lovely, there is some amazing bargains and the kids would rather spend their pocket money there than in shops now. 

Star gaze.
Yes we have! There was a point at the start of the summer where I thought we were never going to see any stars. It just didn't seem to get dark enough but then it did and the stars are amazing! We spent many evenings sat outside just looking up!

I am not bothered at all that we didn't do much off the summer bucket list and the kids aren't too. The crafty things we can do over the winter and there's always next summer.