Friday 31 January 2020

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

Today seems to be an exciting day. It's not only Friday, it's the last day in January, the month which seems to last forever. It's also the historic day that Britain leaves the European Union!

Today is exciting but the rest of my week has been pretty normal. It hasn't been a bad week just nothing much has happened so I am going to have to bore you with my life and what I've been up to, which isn't much. I have been the queen of procrastination! I have had a million jobs that I could be getting on with but I have found myself scrolling social media, watching films and just generally not doing what I think I should be.

It's been cold, freezing cold and grey. I lose all motivation when we have weather like this. Stu joked with me and said I've just had a week of self care, not every week has to be jam packed with busyness. He's right. The jobs I had to do could wait, if I did them this week or next week, it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. The shopping is ordered, the house is clean and tidy, the kids are fed, they are happy and I am on top of the washing so that's all that matters. 

I am also blaming the The 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster that I reviewed for getting me into watching films and taking me away from things that I should be doing. It started with The Matrix, I of course had to watch the other 2 films in the series as well and then The Terminator, you can't just stop at the first film. I always forget how much I love those films. Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the best but I like them all. I still have the newest one to watch and will be as soon as it's on Sky TV.

My girls are just as good as procrastinating as I am. Things that need doing now are washing trainers covered in mud (Ellie's), they need to put their clean clothes away that have been in a pile on their bedroom floors for nearly a week, homework, college work, washing and drying the dishes from tea, taking the piles of their belongings from the bottom of the stairs into their bedrooms. They always find something else to do instead. Something which I would say is less important. They do everything apart from what they're supposed to be doing.

Becky did make me chuckle yesterday. She said she was going to make a Spotify playlist to listen to music while she was doing some college work. She spent about 2 hours faffing about and listening to music and still hasn't done her college work. 

I do nag the girls but don't really have a leg to stand on when I have had a week like I have had, doing everything apart from what I should be doing!

Are you a procrastinator?

Thursday 30 January 2020

What I loved in January 2020!

The longest month of the year is nearly over! Doesn't January seem to drag. It hasn't been a bad month for me, well apart from being poorly and having my contraceptive implant changed. I have found a lot of little things to love over the past month.

This is what I loved in January:

I think I could put this on my list every month but it has been good over the past month. Breda McQueen was finally found out and Tony was rescued! Hooray! Warren is back and poor Jesse died! Becky is obsessed with Hollyoaks at the moment. It is the one TV show that she will sit and watch with me without moaning.

A new mattress.
Stu & I needed a new mattress and earlier this month we managed to get one. It is a Kingsize Foam Open Coil Mattress and we bought it from Wayfair for £99. I think it is well worth the price. It was firmer than what I was expecting and I was worried about getting comfy and sleeping on it but I needn't have worried. The first night I slept on it I had the best nights sleep and have slept brilliantly since!

Becky has got me into it. I don't make videos, I don't even have an account, I just watch other people's videos but it's brilliant. It's not so good that I can easily lose an hour just scrolling and watching but fun that I know some of the dances and great that I can wind the kids up doing them. Some of the videos are really clever and you can tell a lot of effort has gone into making them.

AJ and the Queen.

I am a big RuPaul fan and saw he had a new series on Netflix. A down on her luck drag queen travels across America in a van with a tough talking 10 year old stowaway. It features a ton of the famous drag queens such as Bianca Del Rio, Latrice Royale, Pandora Boxx,  Trinity “The Tuck” Taylor & many more. It's not the best thing on Netflix, it's predictable but it's funny and it's easy to watch! There needs to be a second season! 

Meal planning.
It is so nice to get back into a routine after Christmas and the New year. It makes me realise how much I appreciate meal planning. I have really enjoyed cooking up some new dishes over the past few weeks for my family. I am aiming for one veggie meal a week and so far it's going well, half the time they don't even realise.

Eating both breakfast & lunch.
I used to have just one or the other but this year I have been making an effort to have both. It has been hard coming up with ideas. Cereal or toast every morning and sandwiches for lunch does get boring but I've been eating fruit, porridge, eggs, cup a soups, cottage cheese on crackers, salad and pasta. I do feel better for eating better.

Cross Stitch!

My cross stitch pattern. The start of a rabbit.

I found myself taking up a new hobby this month. I was asked to review a cross stitch set and I love it! I am hoping to get it finished for Easter. It's slow going as I am a complete beginner but I find it so relaxing.

Saturday Night TV.
We love to sit down as a family and watch TV on a Saturday night and we are loving it at the moment. We have been watching The Masked Singer! It's so bad it's good. It is a great show to get us shouting at the TV. We're also loving The Voice and the new judge Meghan Trainor. We are big fans of her's here.  

What did you love in January?

Wednesday 29 January 2020

(Ad - Gifted) Fudge delivered to your door from STIRRD!

I love fudge, it might actually be my favourite sweet treat. I think it's because it comes in so many different flavours and always seems so indulgent. I was asked if I would like to try a new monthly fudge subscription box service from STIRRD and of course I said yes!!

STIRRD box of fudge

Each month STIRRD can deliver two flavours of delicious handmade fudge and one other confectionery delight straight to your door!

Hand made in Harrogate and made properly in old copper pans the flavour combinations change with the seasons. From zingy Sicilian Lemon in July to spiced Minced Pie in December and this month with it being Valentine's Day they have a limited edition Valentines box!

This month's box includes:

Salted Caramel Fudge with Ginseng Ruby Chocolate Drizzle.

Salted Caramel Fudge with Ginseng Ruby Chocolate Drizzle.

A favourite gourmet fudge, full of buttery caramel flavours, a sprinkle of sea salt and infused with ginseng to awaken the senses.

Cherry & Chocolate Brownie Fudge with Shimmer.

Cherry & Chocolate Brownie Fudge with Shimmer.

Bursting with real cherries and dark chocolate to put you in a feel-good mood, and finished with a love-heart-red shimmer.

White Chocolate Honeycomb with Chilli Flakes.

White Chocolate Honeycomb with Chilli Flakes.

Hand made honeycomb pieces, smothered in white chocolate and dusted with chilli flakes to dial up the heat.

What a treat this box was. The kids were there when I was opening it and agreed that it all looked so fancy! All of the treats looked so good.

I was obviously going to try them all but the Cherry & Chocolate Brownie Fudge with Shimmer appealed to me the most. The shimmer doesn't really show up on the photo but it is most definitely there. Wow! I've eaten plenty of fudge in my life but this was good. The Salted Caramel Fudge with Ginseng Ruby Chocolate Drizzle was just as good too. You could taste each of the favours and tell what they are which you can't with some other brands. The White Chocolate Honeycomb with Chilli Flakes was something different. The flavours worked so well together and it was absolutely divine! 

This whole box was a delicious treat and I am quite sad that it is all gone now. In the future I will definitely consider ordering more boxes for myself.

A selection of STIRRD fudge in trays

Sent in a in a letterbox friendly box and priced at £11.99 customers can subscribe to the monthly packs. You can choose from 1 box, 3 boxes or 6 boxes (delivered monthly). The boxes are normally dispatch on Wednesdays. You just select your preferred Wednesday dispatch date at checkout. If you've ordered more than one box it will be shipped monthly after that. 

 You can also send single boxes as a gift which would be perfect with Valentines's day coming up or Mother's day later in the year!

I was sent a STIRRD subscription box free of charge in exchange for this blog post!

Tuesday 28 January 2020

They're growing apart but there's still glimmers of hope.

My girls used to be as thick as thieves when we lived in Northumberland. They didn't really hang around with people from school or from anyone from where we lived until the last few months before we moved. They didn't play out much as it was too rough. They only had each other and were happy in each other's company. They would play together and they had the same interests. 

When we first moved house they were as still as thick as thieves but that was over the summer when they hadn't started school & college and didn't know anyone else around here, now they do I can see them starting to grow apart.

They have their own sets of friends now. Ellie has her's from school and Becky has her's from college and they don't really mix. Sometimes they will be at the park but each group at different ends of it. If Becky's friends come here they get on with Ellie and it's the same with Ellie's friends, they love Becky but they just don't mix because of the age gap which is totally normal. Becky goes off into town with her friends and so far I've said Ellie isn't with her friends. I still think she's a little young to go into town on the bus alone. She has a sensible group of pals but I don't know what they'd be like with a bit of freedom.

The girls are spending less and less time together even in the house. Becky is into things like TikTok and playing on the xbox. She would rather spend time in her bedroom than playing with Ellie and Ellie loves to do crafts, watch YouTube and play Minecraft. 

They are growing apart and it makes me sad. There is a 5 year age gap between my girls so I knew this would happen eventually but it doesn't mean I have to like it. They seem to have less in common now but there is still glimmers of how it used to be.

We had a lovely weekend. The girls played Minecraft together, they watched films together and they actually got along. It was like the olden days. We had an evening in front of the TV watching the Masked Singer and The Voice and they shared their sweets and snacks. It was lovely.

On Sunday afternoon one of Ellie's friends came and knocked for her and she said she wasn't going out, she was enjoying playing Fortnite on the xbox with Becky. On Sunday they played more and Minecraft. Ellie has finally decided that she likes the new Xbox One. It's not ideal them spending half the day playing on the xbox but it is nice to see them being together, having fun.

On Sunday night we all watched Doctor Who and it made me think I am going to more of an effort at getting the girls doing things together, especially on a weekend when they're at a bit of a loose end. If they're just wasting their time scrolling through TikTok or YouTube I will encourage them to play a board game, go out on their bikes or even do some baking. They are old enough now to be in the kitchen together so what's stopping them.

Have your children grown apart as they have got older? 

Monday 27 January 2020

(Ad - Gifted) For film lovers. The 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster! - Review!

On a Saturday evening Stu, Becky (my teenager) and I always watch a film together. She's at an age now where she can watch most of the films that Stu and I do. Sometimes we watch new releases and sometimes we go way back and watch some classic films. Lots of times we can never think of a film to watch so something to give us a little inspiration was always going to be welcomed.

The box that the 100 movies poster came in.

The 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster compiles 100 of the best films ever made from around the world and allows you to scratch the title off as you watch the film, unveiling a powerful image related to the film. It's a great way to keep track of what you've been watching.

The poster arrived in a triangular tube, the postman actually thought it was a giant Toblerone. It is a average poster size and the quality of the paper/thin card is fantastic.

There is a really good variety of movies from many genres, ages and some I would have never have thought of watching like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Miss Sunshine and Rosemary's Baby. Then there is the one's I know word for word like Dirty Dancing, Toy Story and Snatch. 

A poster with 100 movies listed

 I have probably watched about half of the films listed but some I haven't seen for years like Jaws, Alien and The Silence of the Lambs. There are others which I have never seen at all like Star Wars. I guess Stu will get my wish of me watching them. Who knows I might even enjoy them.

I am in two minds about watching films like Snatch, A Clockwork Orange and Se7en with Becky because of the violence and the language but she's 18 this year and is a big fan of horror films so I don't think any of these will scare or phase her. It also gives me a good chance to introduce her to iconic films like Blade Runner, Ghostbusters and The Green Mile.

The full 100 movies poster

I think this is going to be a lot of fun, working our way through the 100 films. I did already scratch a few off that we have recently watched just to see what it was like to scratch them and see what was beneath the silver. They were easy enough to scratch, I used a 2 pence piece.

The images when which were revealed when I scratched the silver off were brilliant. They really do sum up the films. Andy on the bottom of the shoe did make me smile, the girl in front of the bus made me chuckle and the red and blue dots did make me think, if you know, you know! hehehe

Out of the 100 films there isn't many for younger kids but I am sure Ellie will join us to watch one's like The Lion King, Wall-E, Up and E.T.

 If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the movie buff in your life, look no further than The 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster which is available from The Personalised Gift Shop for £12.99.

I was sent the 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Our weekly meal plan! 27th Jan - 2nd Feb. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well. We ate everything apart from the roast dinner yesterday. We had toad in the hole, roast potatoes and veg instead. I have decided to cook the roast dinner today. I do love a roast dinner on a Monday. It is a fantastic way to start the week. I still have pigs in blankets and some nice stuffing left over from Christmas in the freezer which will be an extra treat for us. 

I am sticking with adding a couple of veggie meals per week to our meal plan. My fella is starting to notice and is complaining but it's not stopping him eating the meals and enjoying them. The kids couldn't care less as long as their bellies are full. lol

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - A roast chicken dinner.
Wednesday - Red lentil spaghetti bolognese.
Thursday - Fish fingers, chips and spaghetti hoops.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Veggie fried rice with vegetable spring rolls and prawn crackers. .
Sunday - A fry up. Sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans and toast. 

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 26 January 2020

A bargain lamp shade. #MySundaySnapshot

A couple of weeks ago I shared a blog post about Our DIY plans for 2020 and the two rooms that I said didn't need much doing were the bathroom and the kitchen. I forgot to mention there is little touches needed like a few accessories need buying. I had been looking at grey lamp shades for the kitchen and couldn't find any that stood out and I liked. 

On Saturday Stu went to the local auction to bid on some computer parts. He didn't get them but did come home with a metal, grey lamp shade which was perfect for the kitchen. I'd seen similar for about £10 but he paid £2. Fantastic!!

Saturday 25 January 2020

(Ad - Gifted) A gift for him for Valentine's Day from Raw Naturals.

My fella Stu has a job where he works outdoors 90% of the time, in all weathers, rain, sun, wind, most likely snow when we have it and over the last few months his skin has taken a real battering. He has dry patches and in some places it's a little flaky. We have been on the hunt for something to help and just at the right time I was emailed and asked if he'd like to try some products from Raw Naturals, a men’s grooming range from Sweden.

A jar of styling paste and tube of Universal Face Cream

Raw Naturals is a natural, stylish range of body, skin and beard care products for men that is the brainchild of 3 Alpine skiers from Sweden who were looking for a high performance moisturiser that would only need to be applied once and see them through a full day on the cold, windswept slopes! The logic is that if the products work in the extreme temperatures of Sweden, they will work anywhere. Each formula combines caring ingredients of vegetable origin with natural oils from oats, coconut and olives, as well as natural honey extracts. 

The Universal Face Cream (£12.99) sounded like something that would do wonders for Stu's face. If it worked for skiers in Sweden it would be fantastic for someone in North Lincolnshire!

The tube of Raw Naturals Universal Face Cream

Hit refresh with this multi-function face cream that energises, strengthens, and hydrates your skin. Use it every day for naturally smooth skin that looks good and feels great.

The key ingredients are:

Black tea: protects skin and fights free radicals.
Xylitol: energising.
Oat oil: moisturising, soothing - reduces redness and irritation.
Olive oil: softens, moisturises and calms irritated skin.
Jojoba: protects and reduces skin oiliness by removing excess surface oil.
Vitamin E: caring, antioxidant.

Stu has been using this daily and he really likes it. He only has to apply it once, it's not greasy or oily and he said his face is feeling less dry and much more like it used to. I can see it too, it looks better and his is skin looks healthier. Stu would happily buy it in the future. At first he was a little put off by the price but it is one of those products where a little goes a long way and it's worth every penny.

Stu was also sent the Raw Naturals Money Styling Paste (£9.99) to try out. This is a unique styling cream for both gutsy and polished medium to long hairstyles. The soft, elastic wax provides a flawless matte finish and a firm hold without stiffness.

The tub of Raw Naturals Money Styling Paste

Stu has short hair and so far hasn't tried this out but will be when his hair grows a little and becomes unruly, that time before he gets to go for a hair cut. From the feel of the styling paste it feels great and like you would expect it to.

Both of these products are currently available exclusively in Superdrug along with a whole heap of Raw Naturals products. Everything from shower gel, cleansing fluid, beard oil, shampoo and conditioner and much more.

I think these would make a great addition to a hamper or a little gift for the man in your life for Valentine's Day. Stu already has a list of Raw Naturals products that he wants try in the future.

I was sent these two products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Week 4 of #Project366 - A photo every day for a year!

This past week seemed to last forever. It seemed to take longer than usual for Friday to come around. I'm glad the weekend is here. We have no plans but we're glad of the rest. January is such a hard slog. We haven't been up to much over the past week. School, work, college housework, all the normal things. 

It was such a sunny day yesterday and it put me in such a good mood. The sun seems to give me motivation and I got loads done. House work, blog posts written, we had a look around the local auction to see what's been sold today and I even popped in to see my dad.

Here's a photo for every day! 

my fella and my daughter riding their bikes down a country lane
A Chinese takeaway in a plastic bag and cottage cheese on crackers
A frosty morning scene, my back garden
The HPV leaflet and a photo of Morpheus off the Matrix

18/366 - 18th January
We went out for a bike ride on Saturday. It was a chilly but sunny day. The girls were not keen on going out but once we were out they didn't want to come home. Typical!

19/366 - 19th January
Our monthly takeaway! We got Chinese and it was so good! It seems such a treat now that we only get one a month, we enjoy it more and look forward to it so much.

20/366 - 20th January
My favourite lunch at the moment. Cottage cheese and pineapple on garlic crackers. It makes a change from my usual sandwiches or soup.

21/366 - 21st January
It was such a cold day on Tuesday. There was still frost on the ground at lunchtime. At least the sun was shining. I even managed to get some washing dried on the washing line.

22/366 - 22nd January
I got the form to fill in for my youngest to have the HPV vaccine. North East Family Fun wrote a great blog post with all the information about the HPV vaccine. She has the injection this week. Eek!

23/366 - 23rd January
I decided I wanted to watch a film and went for The Matrix. It's years since I last saw it. I have a feeling I will be watching the following 2 films soon. I doubt I will understand them but I do enjoy them.

24/366 - 24th January
We received the results of Becky's heart check up and there was more words in it that I didn't understand than did. lol Google helped me out. Translated it means there's no swelling in the heart, the hole that was repaired is still closed, she still has a leaky valve which has progressed (got worse) but there's nothing to worry about because they're going to see her in a year. The leaky valve issue is normal for us so I am not stressing.

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Friday 24 January 2020

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

I really struggled to come up with a word to describe our week this week. It has been normal, the kids have been to school and college, Stu has been to work and I've pottered about at home. There has been a few moments that have made me chuckle with my girls though. A couple with Ellie where if I hadn't have laughed at her I would have been shouting at her. 

Ellie went out with her friends early on in the week and when Becky came in from college she was going to meet up with her so she gave her a ring and had her on speakerphone. Ellie answered the phone with a swear word and then continued to use the odd swear word during her conversation. It was only when Becky said I've got you on speakerphone she went Oh! I could just imagine her face and could hear the panic in her voice. They weren't bad, bad swear words but they are words that I don't want her saying. I gave her a talking to and I think she learned the lesson that anyone could be listening if you're on speakerphone. 

Becky and I were watching Hollyoaks and a main character died but before he was announced dead she said he's either going to wake up with a hangover or he'll wake up dead. She really doesn't think about what she's saying. lol

Ellie has her HPV vaccine at the end of this month and I got a text from the school a couple of weeks ago saying the form will be sent home, it needed filling in and returned. Ellie never brought a form home she said they were getting handed out class by class so I waited and forgot about it until Wednesday when the school text again saying the forms needed to be in and they have spares at reception. I went and filled one in. I asked Ellie about the form when she got home and she said she had lost it, forgot it, the school had ran out of forms and that she can't actually have the injection because she's deaf in one ear. lol She isn't scared of needles in the slightest but has done everything she can so far to get out of having this one. She's having the injection next week.

I have got right in to doing cross stitch and up until this week it wasn't really looking like much but on Wednesday when Becky came in from school I showed her what I had done and she came over and patted me on the head and said "well done, I'm so proud of you". So patronising! lol I was also patronised by Ellie when I told her I had been nominated in the Tween and Teen Influencer category in the Mad Blog Awards. I got a well done and a pat on the back from her and then said I'm only nominated because of her & Becky. lol She's right, I wouldn't be writing about tween's and teens without them. I don't have a hope of winning but thank you to anyone who has nominated me.

Ellie went off to school with Becky's trainers yesterday for PE which caused a whole heap of arguments. They're a size too big but it didn't stop her. Her own were covered in mud. I am sick of telling her not to wear her PE trainers when she plays out but of course she doesn't listen. It was a battle of wills. She wanted them cleaned but wouldn't clean them and I wanted them cleaned but wouldn't clean them for her, she has to learn to do these things for herself. She did clean them and of course there was mud all over the bathroom sink which I made her clean up too. She was having such a stress about it, there was stamping and she shouted at me "just call me Cinderella because I do all the cleaning". She's such a little drama queen and it is so hard not to laugh at her when she's having a moment! 

Becky had a couple of friends over yesterday and they were supposed to be doing college work but I suspect they spent more time messing about on TikTok. It took me all my effort not to go into the dining room and see what they were up to but I had been warned by Becky not to be too chatty, not to embarrass her and definitely don't try to be a cool mum. Eesh! I stayed in the living room and minded my own business and wrote this blog post. hehehe

Thursday 23 January 2020

Big Energy Saving Week 2020

Did you know that this week is Big Energy Saving Week, a national campaign run by Citizens Advice to help people cut their energy bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.

The week focuses on raising public awareness of how to save money on energy costs by switching energy supplier or tariff, accessing discounts or grants, and making homes more energy efficient!

5 glass light bulbs hanging.

Find out exactly how much energy you’re using and what you’re paying for it. Talk to your supplier or local Citizens Advice if you think your bills are wrong or you have problems paying. You could be entitled to support to help you pay your bill.

 On average you could save up to £200 or more by switching energy supplier or changing the tariff. Switching energy provider is a quick and easy way to save money on your monthly gas and electricity bills and Citizens Advice have an energy price comparison tool to see if you can save money by switching.

Make your home more energy efficient by insulating lofts and walls where possible. You could save up to £130 a year on your energy bills by insulating your loft, and £150 with cavity wall insulation. Both can cost hundreds of pounds upfront to install, so it's worth checking whether you can get free insulation from your energy supplier first. Our energy supplier doesn't supply it but I searched on Google and found a company which would do it for free. We are getting it put in next week! 

You can cut your energy bills even further by being a bit more energy efficient. See if you can make any of these changes around the house:

Set the thermostat to come on only when you need it - 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and set it to switch off 30 minutes before you are due to leave. On an evening, set it to go off at least an hour before bed time, the remaining heat should keep you warm until you’re tucked up in bed.

Don’t leave anything plugged in that isn’t being used. A lot of wasted electricity occurs through leaving appliances plugged in that aren’t being used. Even charger cables that don’t have anything plugged into them but are still connected to the socket can waste electricity.

Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors but make sure your curtains aren't covering any radiators, as this will stop heat from getting into your room.

Always turn off the light when you leave a room, and don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.

When you are doing the washing try to fill up the machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads. Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees can help reduce your energy usage too.

Try and ensure that you only boil as much water as you need.

A dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in a single week to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they are fully turned off.

If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower. A water efficient shower head could save a four person household as much as £70 a year on gas for water heating!

If you turn down your main thermostat by 1 degree, you can around 10% on your energy bill. But make sure your home is warm enough during cold weather. Cold homes can damage your health.

Install a smart meter. If your supplier offers smart meters it’s a no brainer to install one. By clearly indicating where you’re spending the most on your energy, you can take steps to cut down usage wherever possible and save money.

There is several benefits which can help with heating costs especially in the winter.

Cold Weather Payment - A  payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days. 
You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

Warm Home Discount Scheme - You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2019 to 2020 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you  it’s a one off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.

Winter Fuel Payment - If you were born on or before 5 April 1954 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.

If you’ve tried to save energy but you are struggling to pay your bill, you should contact your supplier and see if they can help. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan if your energy bills are becoming too much for your budget.

Do you ever check your electric and gas supplier to see that you're on the best deal?

Wednesday 22 January 2020

(Ad - Gifted) Getting creative with LoveCrafts and learning to Cross Stitch!

January is a great time to start new projects or a new hobby. So when I was contacted and asked if I would like to try a new craft I thought why not. Crafts are great for self care, mindfulness and are perfect for taking time out from the busy parent life.

LoveCrafts is the home for all things crafting from knitting to stitching and even more. There are kits, patterns, supplies, tutorials, guides and lots of inspiration.

I decided to give cross stitching a go and was sent everything I needed in a kit. The one I chose was the Rico Hare Cushion Cross Stitch Kit.

The packaging of the cross stitch kit.
The rabbit cross stitch pattern and wool.

The cute Hare design cushion front kit comes complete with threads and counted cross stitch design. It seemed ideal for a beginner like me.

Cross stitch is simply making cross shaped stitches in an open weave fabric. I have seen and read about people doing it but I've never tried it myself, until now.

I opened the packaging and had a quick look at the instructions which were a little baffling, not because they were confusing but because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I went straight back to the LoveCrafts website and found a tutorial. How to cross stitch: A beginners guide! It was just what I needed.

a cross stitch pattern. It's a rabbit

The hare pattern looked easy compared to what I have seen, the colours are simple and the pattern looks straight forward. I think this was a fantastic kit to get me started. 

I cracked on and set to work. I may have got a little carried away stitching the red triangles and went right across the top of the square material. Oops. I had to un-thread the majority of it and leave some spaces. I have noticed that I have gone a little bit wrong with the space I need to leave for the rabbits left ear but I am carrying on regardless. My first try at cross stitch was never going to be perfect but I feel good about.

my first few stitches of my cross stitch project

Doing crafts like this is so relaxing and I am really enjoying it. I can see me continuing to cross stitch after I have finished this project and I will of course be updating you on how I get on.

It's not something which will be finished overnight. The above photo shows where I am up to as of yesterday and that has taken me a week. It is starting to take shape and look like the pattern. I kept showing the kids and they weren't convinced but yesterday they could see the rabbit ear. Hooray! It is time consuming but I am fine with that. I am going to be so proud of myself when it's finished. Whenever I get a free half hour I am picking it up and carrying on. My fingers are like pin cushions but it's not putting me off. lol

LoveCrafts has a massive selection of cross stitch kits and I am already eyeing up my next challenge.

 I was sent the Rico Hare Cushion Cross Stitch Kit free of charge in exchange for this blog post.