Thursday 31 October 2019

The Halloween Tag!

Happy Halloween!

I really don't where I found this tag. I have had it in my draft blog posts for a couple of years and I've never got around to posting it until now!

Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick or treating?
Trick or treating. I think it is way more fun and you get more sweets. hehehe

Favourite horror or Halloween-themed song?
The Time Warp. It's just a jump to the left, And then a step to the right, With your hands on your hips, You bring your knees in tight, But it's the pelvic thrust, That really drives you insane, Let's do the Time Warp again!

Witch or Vampire?
Vampire! I was a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and when I think of vampires I think of Angel & Spike. I love them both.

What’s your favourite non scary Halloween film?
Hocus Pocus for sure!

Scariest horror monster or villain?
Samara Morgan from The Ring! Child villains are the scariest! She is the reason I don't watch horror films anymore! When I first saw The Ring I was all for taking the TV out of my bedroom so she couldn't crawl out of it and strangle me. lol

Have you ever played with a Ouija Board?
Yes when I was a teenager. It was the "in" thing to do. One of my friends must have been pushing the glass, surely!

If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it?
No way, no chance! I have seen episodes of Most Haunted and just watching it on TV is enough for me. I am too much of a scaredy-cat.

Which urban legend scares you the most?
Slender Man! The urban legend tells of a scary man with long floppy arms who lives in the woods and preys on children. Slender Man is 100% not real, he was invented on the internet in 2009 by Eric Knudsen but the fake story made its way into urban legend so fast that kids started believing Slender Man was real. 

If you got trapped in one Halloween movie, which would you choose?
Casper! He's a friendly ghost so not scary at all. hehehe

In a zombie apocalypse what is your weapon of choice?
It would have to be Negan's baseball bat off The Walking Dead. That has been great for killing things and people.

What's your favourite thing about Halloween?
Seeing my girls getting dressed up and getting way too excited!

What was your first Halloween costume?
The first one I remember was a witch's dress!

Do you enjoy Halloween?

Wednesday 30 October 2019

(Ad - Gifted) Pull My Finger - A butt load of fun for all the family!

We love a monkey here so when I saw the Pull My Finger game we needed to give it a try. It combines 2 things everyone laughs at: Monkeys and Farts!!

Pull My Finger doesn't take any time at all to set up. We had it out of the box and were playing within minutes. There are no big rules to learn and it is straightforward to play.

Players take turns spinning the banana spinner, then pull Mr. Buster’s finger the number of times indicated. With each pull his butt inflates more and more until he lets out rip roaring bottom blast! Whoever avoids the monkey’s funny farts is the winner. It is as simple as that. 

The only thing the girls were a little disappointed with was the fart sound. It wasn't as loud as they expected it to be. It's more of a poop sound than a fart. It didn't ruin the game and they still thought it was hilarious!

The girls both played this game while we were trying it out but we have since played it with my fella and I joining in and it's such a giggle. I am hosting Christmas this year and it's going to be one of the games the kids will have great fun playing with their grandparents!

Included in the box is an extra monkeys butt. I am guessing in case the first bursts as the bottom does inflate quite a bit. We have played this quite a bit and so far so good with the first bottom!

Pull My Finger is for 2 or more players but my youngest has played it by herself as she finds it so much fun. Suitable for 4 years old and upwards this is the perfect way to get the family away from their screens and having fun together.

You can buy Pull My Finger from Smyths Toys for £14.99.

We were sent Pull My Finger free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Shortbread Witch Fingers for Halloween!

Every year we do a bit of Halloween themed baking. We had to do ours last week because that was when my two had their half term from school and college. I think I would have much preferred it this week! Hmmf!

I cheated and bought the Halloween Witches Fingers Biscuit Kit from Asda. I got a box each for the kids and if I knew what was in it I wouldn't have paid £2.20 each as it was just a shortbread mix, white chocolate buttons and red icing.

To make simple shortbread you need:

125g/4oz butter.
55g/2oz caster sugar, plus extra to finish.
180g/6oz plain flour.

To make:

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth.
Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste.

For these fingers you divide the mixture into however many portions you are making and dust a work surface with flour and roll each portion into a sausage shape. Put each one onto a baking tray and squash the end of the finger down flat to about half the size as this is where the finger nail will sit. Then mark out the knuckles with a knife.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until a pale golden brown colour.

When cooked you use a red gel icing pen to stick a white chocolate button on for the nail and put a dribble where the finger has been severed. Eek!

These are so simple to make and my girls did them all themselves. I was just there to take photos and keep the peace when they were arguing over silly little things. lol

The girls had great fun and got a little competitive. They made me judge which was the best. I of course wasn't going to say one's was better than the other and I was very impartial. The fatter fingers were Ellie's and I said the nails and the blood looked better but Becky's looked thinner and more like witches fingers. hehehe

Have you done any Halloween baking?

Monday 28 October 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 28th Oct - 3rd Nov. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well until we got to the weekend again. Instead of the curry I made a stir fry and on Sunday we had pies, mash and veg. I'm not to fussed, everything else was eaten on the days it was supposed to so I will class that as a win!

The kids are back at school and college today after half term. We had a lovely break, I won't go as far to say they're raring to go but they're not as tired as they were before the holidays. Now we're in the run to Christmas. Eek!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Sausage casserole, mash & veg.
Tuesday - Leftover sausage casserole with chips.
Wednesday - Leftover roast dinner pie. I had a portion of the filling in the freezer so just need to make the pastry.
Thursday - Picky party tea. Corndogs, sausage rolls, chicken on sticks, garlic bread and onion rings.
Saturday - Waffle pizza fries.
Sunday - A fry up. Bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans, toast.

What are you eating this week?

Saturday 26 October 2019

Week 43 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

Well that was half term. The kids have been out with friends on the dry days and on Thursday when it was chucking it down we had the loveliest day. They played Minecraft on the xbox, played a board game we were sent to review and did some more baking. Days like that where they are home and playing together are few and far between now they are older. 
We have had a lot of family time this past week come to think of it. It has been a good week!

Now for a photo every day!

290/365 - 19th October
Saturday and of course we went to the local auction. The bargain of the week was a upright freezer for £26. It's obviously 2nd hand and needed a clean but it works brilliantly. I can't wait to fill it with Christmas food! hehehe

291/365 - 20th October
We had a day of watching films. We started with The Neverending Story. The kids hadn't seen it before and thought it was a Halloween film as it was quite scary. Then Ellie went to play out so Stu, Becky and I watched The Breakfast Club! She loved it, it is a brilliant film. Then the girls and I watched 13 going on 30. 

292/365 - 21st October
I have pinched these gloves off Ellie. They're so cute and very warm. They are fingerless one's then the cats flip over to cover your fingers. Very handy!

293/365 - 22nd October
Becky came home just as I was getting the washing in. Of course I made her help!

294/365 - 23rd October
The kids were going out. Ellie with her friends and Becky with her's. I made them get some lunch before they went. I didn't want them coming in at tea time feeling hangry!

295/365 - 24th October
The girls did some baking. Shortbread witch fingers and Bat cupcakes. I felt like we needed to do some Halloween things because they're at school next week. Hmmf!

296/365 - 25th October
I think I went a bit overboard buying the treats to hand out on Halloween. In my defence I was supposed to remove the Haribo before I finished the online grocery order. What doesn't get handed out to trick or treaters will definitely not go to waste with my family. lol

Friday 25 October 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

This week was the week that I officially started the Christmas shopping! Getting one big present has really helped me feel more relaxed about Christmas.

For once Becky my teenager is easy to buy for. All she's asked for is a couple of years is an xbox one and this is the year she's getting one! I bought it Sunday and it was delivered on Monday along with a few games. I think I got a good deal. I could have held off until the Black Friday deals but I wanted it bought and done with. Now all I have to buy for her is smaller, stocking filler presents. Bath stuff, pj's, sweets and things like that!

Ellie is being a nightmare to buy for this year. She wanted a scooter but then ended up getting 3 second hand ones for £2 from the local auction and now she has her heart set on an instant camera. One of the Instax one's which are about £70. Yes they look pretty but the film you buy for them is £19.99 for 20 shots. So that works out a pound a photo!!! If it's blurry or she takes a photo of something random it's a total waste! I am trying to convince her to get a digital camera and I've even said I'll buy her own printer to go with it. This is the first year of her not believing that Santa brings her presents so she is being rather demanding. I am putting my foot down and she's not getting an instant camera. Eek! I feel mean about it but I know I am doing the right thing. It's a fad. She would use it once and then never again.

This year for Christmas my dad has said that we're only allowed to spend £5 each on him and his partner Sarah. That ain't going to happen. I already know what I'm getting them. I want to treat them after all they've done for the past few months with helping us getting settled in here. Before we moved in here Sarah went through the house cleaning it top to bottom and my dad of course helped us move and helped us out a lot since. He spoils the kids rotten and I want to buy them something nice.

Stu has been shopping for my birthday presents this past week. It's my 40th next month so he knows they've got to be good. hehehe All I've really asked for is a Harry Potter bag from Primark so he better have got that. He's hidden the presents well, I've looked. lol I am 99% sure he's put them in the loft and I am not venturing up there. I still haven't decided what I want to do on my actual birthday. I think shopping and lunch out, another meal out with my dad & Sarah and of course cake! I've already spotted the Harry Potter cake I want in Asda. hehehe

Thursday 24 October 2019

My favourite slow cooker recipes.

I love using my slow cooker at this time of year. I can fill it up in the morning leave it all day and then come in to a warming, hearty meal! There is something comforting about food which comes out of the slow cooker.

I have my favourite recipes which are always a big hit with my family. One's I can cook and they will go back for seconds and sometimes thirds.

My favourite slow cooker recipes.

Sausages and baked beans are always a huge hit here and this was the first recipe I made in my current slow cooker a few years ago. I have made it plenty of times since.

This is a Saturday night meal for us and we have the pulled pork in either buns, tacos or wraps.

I sometimes cheat and use packet mixes in the slow cooker and the Schwartz are the best in my opinion. The kids love the Beef and Ale one but I skip adding the brown ale because it's something I would have to buy as an extra then throw most of the bottle away. It tastes good without it.

Mince and dumplings.

I will cook mince and veg in the slow cooker all day. Mince, onions, mushrooms, swede and carrots and cover it in gravy. Then half an hour or so before we eat I add the dumplings. We will have it with mashed potato and the next day there is always leftovers so I will add a couple of tins of baked beans to fill it out a little and then make a cottage pie but instead of using normal mash I'll use sweet potato mash.

I am a lazy cook and this curry is about as lazy as you can get. Jars of curry sauce are used and you just whack everything into the slow cooker and leave it.

What is your favourite thing to cook in a slow cooker?

Wednesday 23 October 2019

(Ad - Gifted) Grubs Frostline 5.0 Mid Calf Insulated Black Wellington Boots - Review!

When we moved house in the summer we moved from a big town, full of concrete and I was lucky to walk on grass once in a blue moon. Now we live in a large village/small town surrounded by countryside and lots of mud!! For the last few months I have been living in flip flops, sandals and trainers, enjoying the sunshine. Now the weather has most certainly changed and I needed something a little more for my feet! That's where The Internet Gardener comes in.

I was lucky to be sent a pair of Grubs Frostline 5.0 Mid Calf Insulated Black Wellington Boots to try out.

The Frostline black 5.0 short wellies are new to the Grubs Frostline range this season. The mid height makes for a more practical boot which can be slipped on and off with ease. 

This boot contains a polyester fleece and has a SUPER-DRI lining to keep your feet warm and small lugs on the front and rear of the boot to provide grip for difficult winter conditions. 

To provide extra insulation the foot bed has a removable 6mm NITROCELL bubble structure which also adds extra cushioning for a more comfortable experience.

I couldn't wait to get them on and try them out. The timing was perfect as I was helping my dad out with some gardening, chopping down bramble bushes and weeding. It really put them to the test. There was plenty of mud, uneven ground and puddles.

These boots are fantastic. They might look big and clunky but don't feel much heavier than a normal pair of boots. I imagined my legs aching after spending about 5 hours in them but they didn't! They are so comfortable, I would say even more comfortable than my trainers.

It was quite a chilly day and the only time my feet felt cold was when I took them off. They are super warm and I can't wait to try them out on much colder days! They kept my feet and lower legs protected from the bramble bushes and I splashed through puddles and they are fully water proof right to the top!

I did worry about the sizing as I have chunky calves and struggle to get boots on but they were true to size with a little room to spare. Phew! These boots come in sizes 3 to 13 and they are unisex boots so anyone can wear them! My dad has already asked for a pair for Christmas!

I can't fault the Grubs Frostline boots at all. I have nothing negative to say about them at all. When they've been used they wipe clean and I can honestly say they are the best wellington boots I've ever had and I've had a few pairs over the years! 

I would say they are of course fantastic for gardening but also going on Autumn/winter walks. I think these would make a fantastic gift for an outdoorsy person for Christmas or a birthday. It's my 40th birthday coming up and I would have been overjoyed to receive these!

At the moment they cost £64.99 and I would say they are worth every penny. I can see them keeping my feet warm and dry over the winter and lasting for a few years at least!

I was sent these wellington boots free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Ways you can manage your stress during the school holidays!

The half term holidays are here and I always struggle with these holidays. Skint from the summer but trying to save for Christmas too. The weather sometimes isn't that great and the kids are always so tired.

As parents the most important thing we can do is keep our cool. Easy to say but if we're worked up and stressed the kids will most definitely be impacted by your mood. Here is some advice on how to enjoy a stress free half term holiday.

Go easy on yourself!
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when the pressure of the school holidays gets to us. Social media can be awash with your parent friends posting pictures of their perfect life. It’s hard not to compare yourself to them especially if you’ve spent the day listening to your children bicker. Remember, their posts are unlikely to reflect their real life, rather just a split second highlight of their day! 

Don’t forget to have some well deserved ‘me time’. Even if all you have time for is a long bath with a book, ensure you have that opportunity to switch off and recharge. Your children will notice that you have relaxed and appreciate having a more tranquil and centred parent!

Turn the guilt off
Of course you love spending time with your children, but there is no need to feel guilty for wanting downtime. If you have to work it’s easy to feel as though you’re letting the children down and having to juggle parenting and work. Remember you certainly aren’t the only parent in this position. Talk to other mums who are having to balance work, perhaps even make a group chat where you can all air your frustrations and support each other throughout the holidays. You might pick up tips from them or even be able to co-ordinate regular childcare with them.

Be smart with your time
Just because the children are off school it doesn’t mean that clothes don’t need to be washed and the floors don’t need to be hoovered. Unfortunately we never get a break from household chores. Why not try and co-ordinate a day where you can enlist the children to support you with age appropriate chores? You could even use the time to cook together perhaps even do some baking!

Plan as much as possible!
If you can try to go to bed each night with a plan for the day ahead not having an idea of what the day will bring can often lead to unproductive time with nothing being achieved. Keep an eye out on the weather and plan around the forecast. If the weather isn’t set to be great phone round friends and other parents to arrange a few play dates. If the children have someone to play with you won’t need to battle against rainy day boredom. You never know, they might just return the favour and invite your children round at a later date.

Let the children have input!
Nobody wants to drag around a moody child who would rather be anywhere but where you have chosen to go around. It will make the day feel twice as long and painful. By allowing your children to have input on the schedules they will feel involved and willing to accept doing something they wouldn’t necessarily chose as they know their suggestions may be happening afterwards. Remember the more involved they feel in the planning process the more willing they will be to go along with it, even if it’s just choosing the evening’s meal.

Don’t break the bank!
Finally, make sure you don’t break the bank. You can make memories and have fun with your children no matter what your budget is. Be creative and remember to enjoy this time, as after all, it won’t last forever. Quality moments don’t need to cost the earth and the best, most memorable times often happen in the home!

These precious school holidays with the children will be what you look back on in the future and the times they enjoy the most about their childhood. Making sure you’re at your best during the holidays will go a long way in ensuring your children have fond memories of the time you spent together.

Will you be finding some times for yourself during the half term school holidays?

Monday 21 October 2019

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

Last weeks meal plan went pretty well. I think we ate just about everything. I of course swapped a couple of days around but nothing went to waste as everything was coming out of the freezer or cupboards.

This week the kids are off school for half term and we have a couple of days out planned but not much else. I am guessing we'll have a baking day and I really do want Ellie to make the sausage rolls that she made at school last week. They were so good!

We were at the local auction over the weekend and I got myself another bargain which will help with my meal planning. I bought a 4ft, 6 drawer upright freezer for £26 and I can't wait to start using it. I am planning on doing more batch cooking and it also means I can start buying for Christmas. Buying a little every week will make the big Christmas food shop a little cheaper.

This week on the menu we have:

MondayFish fingers, chips and spaghetti hoops.
TuesdaySlow cooker Italian chicken stew with garlic bread to dip in.
Wednesday - Baking day! Sausage rolls and cakes.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - A curry of some sort.
Sunday - A roast chicken dinner.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 20 October 2019

Red hair, I don't care! #MySundaySnapshot

I've been wanting to dye my hair a bright colour for ages but have never got around until a couple of days ago. I had planned to do it over the weekend but I wasn't doing anything Friday so it was the perfect time!

I had to lighten it first. My hair was a dark purple colour before I started, a couple of blonde dyes did that and then I added the red!

When I was rinsing the red off Becky saw it before I did and shouted "oh my god!, it's so red! lol That was the whole point! hehehe 

It turned out well. I think it did anyway. I think I'll be keeping it for the time being! 

Saturday 19 October 2019

Week 42 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

Last Saturday I was feeling pretty down in the dumps and full of cold but now I feel so much better. I got over the cold, we've had a couple of sunny day's and I dyed my hair bright red!

Today is the first day of the school holidays, half term. We seem to be having it a week earlier than everyone else. Hmmf. I think I would have much rather of had it the week Halloween was in. Oh well, we've not got much planned. We're going to have a day out shopping during the week, Stu has said I have to go and sit in a coffee shop while him and the kids buy me some birthday pressies. (I'm 40 next month), we're of course going to do some baking and I am sure the girls will spend some time out with their friends.

Now for a photo every day!

283/365 - 12th October
Ellie did some baking. She couldn't wait to show me and come barging in while I was in the bath. The cookies were so good!

284/365 - 13th October
I went through so many tissues this past week. I'm all better now though, even the cough has gone!

285/365 - 14th October
Ellie brought home some conkers that she found!

286/365 - 15th October
Ellie made sausage rolls at school. She has her orders to make more at home next week as they were so good!

287/365 - 16th October
I ventured into Becky's room to get her dirty washing. As messy as her floor is she always keeps her shelf tidy. It could do with a dust though.

288/365 - 17th October
New boots for me!

289/365 - 18th October
I decided that I needed a change and dying my hair was it. Pillar box red! I may have had a few moments of panic but it turned out well. I'm using the photo tomorrow for my Sunday photo. hehehe

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Friday 18 October 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

This time last week I felt rotten. I had came down with a cold and it hit me hard. I don't think the grey, wet weather has helped. I had a sore throat and a snotty nose which then developed into a cough. I haven't been sleeping properly which hasn't helped me feel great and when I did sleep I was snoring something terribly. Stu said he couldn't sleep through it and for 3 nights this week he ended up coming down onto the sofa to sleep. 

Stu and the kids were great over the weekend helping with the housework. They let me just relax and take things easy. Over the last couple of days I have felt much better thankfully and yesterday I was just about back to normal. Well as normal as I get anyway. hehehe

I have been quite lazy for the past week. Just pottering around the house and I finally finished rewatching Breaking Bad so I could watch the new film El Caminio. I also painted some of the living room wall. There was a patch where a cupboard had been which didn't match the rest of the room. I found some paint in the shed which was a close enough match and got that job done. All the walls look the same colour now and it looks so much better.

I pushed myself to go out yesterday. The kids were at the dentist for a check up. It was our first time with the new dentist and he was tough on them. Their teeth are find and don't need any work done but just had a nag at Ellie about brushing right at the back and told Becky to cut down on the fizzy pop. She came out and said "how does he even know?". I am guessing he knows all teenagers go to college and drink too much pop. hehehe As harsh as he was I do think this new one is better than our old dentist! 

It was such a lovely day yesterday. I popped to my dad's to help him out with some work on the computer and ended up staying and helping with some gardening. It was so warm compared to what it has been.

Becky had a good week at college. She handed in her first module to be marked. She did better than most of her class, the majority still haven't handed the work in. Eek! Ellie has done better at getting home when she's supposed to be in after playing out with friends. She brought a whole tribe of them home with her last night. It was raining and I said they could hang out in the garage! I am officially the coolest parent! hehehe