Wednesday, 19 February 2020

(Ad - Gifted) The Disney Princess Face Mask Collection from Mad Beauty.

My girls are at the age now where they like to have a pamper and love things like bath bombs and face masks. We were recently asked if we would like to try something from Mad Beauty who create bath, body & beauty gifts and for adults & teens.

We decided to go for the Disney Princess Face Mask Collection

Disney Princess Face Mask Collection packaging

The Princesses are some of the most iconic & inspirational characters from the Disney stable. Mad Beauty are proud to release their latest range. This range of Face masks features one each with different soothing & calming properties with images of Jasmine, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella & Ariel.

The face masks come in a gorgeous fold out book.

Disney Princess Face Mask Collection opened up
Disney Princess Face Mask Collection packages.

Each face mask has different soothing & calming properties and scents.

Princess Aurora - with calming lavender to soothe your hard-working face.
Princess Belle - with rose water to impart a healthy glow.
Princess Jasmine - filled with green tea antioxidants to refresh and revitalise.
Princess Ariel - infused with cucumber to cool, hydrate and add a splash of moisturise.

Becky my teenager and I gave a couple a try. I have been full of cold so it was a really nice treat. We opened the packages and unfolded the face masks which was easy as they come a plastic backing.

Disney Princess Face Mask Collection ready to go on
My teen and I with the face masks on.

We put them on and had such a giggle. I wouldn't say the face masks look a lot like Disney Princesses but the idea is there. They're a novelty and they're fab! The smelled so good and felt lovely on my face, so refreshing. Becky was Ariel & I was Belle. After taking them off, our faces felt so soft.

Ellie has since tried the Jasmine mask and thought it was brilliant. She does suffer with slightly spotty skin and it treated her face nicely. She suffered no after effects and her skin looks better for it.

These are a lot of fun and feel so good. Costing £13.99 for the 4 face masks I think they would make a lovely gift for any princess one. I think I will be going back to Mad Beauty for gifts when it's the kids birthdays and Christmas. They do have some gorgeous things.

We were sent the Disney Princess Face Mask Collection free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Get A Different Name Day and Changing a child’s surname.

I think it was last week or the week before, in the United States it was one of those out of the ordinary National Days. "Get A Different Name Day". It gave me the idea to write this blog post. I haven't changed my name but Becky has, legally by deed poll.

When Becky was born her biological father and I registered her name together. She took his surname. We were supposed to be together forever but things don't always work out like that. Becky was fine with her biological father's surname when she was little but after Ellie was born she started to notice that her sister and Stu had the same name and she didn't.

In case you didn't know Stu is not Becky's biological father, he has been in her life since just before she was 4 years old. I'm not going to go deeply into why Becky's biological father isn't in her life but he does want it known that he had other commitments when Becky was little. Having 2 other children with his new partner then dealing with her having cancer. Now Becky is a teenager she has chosen not to want contact for various reasons but I am in touch with him and keep him informed about his daughter. Anyway, I digress. 

Becky has been calling Stu Dad since just after Ellie was born and started to realise the difference in surnames more when Ellie started school. We decided that if she wanted to change her name by deed poll she could when she was a teenager.

When Becky was at primary school we told the school we were thinking about changing Becky's name by deed poll and they said she could just use a "known as" name. They would use the new surname instead of the old one and for a few years we carried on like that. It was only when Becky started picking her GCSE options we thought we should do something more official so she could go into her adult life with her new surname. 

The most commonly used and effective process for legally changing a name in the UK is by deed poll. A deed poll is a legal document that proves the change of name and it can be used as evidence of your new title for the purposes of amending your passport, driving licence and other official documents. To apply for a deed poll you just go online, spend 10 to 15 minutes filling in an online form and then pay your money. You wait for your documents to be processed and come through. When the documents arrive you have to sign them in front of a witness, send them back and that’s it, it's done.

When changing a child's name you need the consent of each person with parental responsibility for someone under the age of 16 or a court order. I was the only one who had parental responsibility for Becky so we had no issues. Even though her biological father is on the birth certificate we registered her birth before the law changed in 2003.

It was simple and straightforward to change Becky's surname. I think we paid about £30 to change it but you can change your name now from about £9.99 if a Google search is anything to go by. 

Now when Becky has to show her birth certificate for anything she has to show the deed poll forms too. We have had no problems at all. We changed all the official things like Child Benefit, tax credits, hospitals & doctors and of course we informed her school. The only issue we've ever had with the change of surname is when we moved house to Scunthorpe and the local hospital could find no record of Becky in existence. Our new doctors failed to mention she had a former surname despite us telling them. It was soon sorted out when we took her deed poll to the hospital. The only thing Becky hasn't done with her new name is get a passport. 

When you change your name the only rules are that are your new name cannot include numbers, punctuation marks other than hyphens or apostrophes or any other symbols. It must be pronounceable and you can’t go above 250 characters for a first name and 50 for a last name. There are also a few religious and legal reasons that don't allow you certain names. Things like Jesus, Saint, Satan or Lucifer aren’t allowed because they’re all considered blasphemous, any name that promotes criminal activities, promotes racial or religious hatred, ridicules people, groups, government departments, companies or organisations and so on and so on. 

If your child is 16 years of age or over (or approaching their 16th birthday) they must apply for their own Deed Poll for which parental consent is not required. I think I would worry about this. When I think of people changing their names I think of Phoebe off the TV show Friends. Does Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock ring any bells. I would fear for a teenager picking a random, wacky name like that.

Have you or your children ever changed your name by deed poll?

Monday, 17 February 2020

Our weekly meal plan! 17th - 23rd February . #MealPlanningMonday

Last week really flew over considering it was the run up to half term, it usually drags. The meal plan went well. We ate just about everything. The romantic meal on Friday was scrapped, I came down with a cold and didn't feel like eating much and on Saturday we had an unplanned chip shop tea because Asda didn't deliver my shopping on time. It came an hour and 40 minutes after the delivery slot. Ugh! After weeks of having tons of substitutions I am really starting to fall out with their grocery department. I think I will be going back to using Tesco.

The kids are off school & college for half term this week and I have a feeling the meal plan will not go to plan. I think we'll eat everything but I will probably end up swapping a few days around. We have a few things planned and Ellie might be going for a sleepover to her friends which will be fun.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - We should be having a day out but it depends on the weather. If all goes to plan we'll be eating out.
Tuesday - Chicken fajitas. 
Wednesday - We're going to do some baking so sandwiches and what ever we've baked for tea.
Thursday - Something out of the freezer with chips and baked beans.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Eating out. I think we're off to the cinema.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort. 

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Great minds think alike! #MySundaySnapshot

Well this happened on Valentine's day, Stu and I bought each other the same card. I want to think that we're so in love and connected but it's probably down to the fact there was just one shop in the village selling any decent one's and there wasn't a massive choice. lol

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Week 7 of #Project366 - A photo every day for a year!

It seems lots has gone on this past week. It started with the massive storm, there was thankfully not much damage here, decorating Becky's bedroom, the week ended with the kids breaking up from school for half term, me coming down with a cold, Valentine's day and another storm being forecast.

Now for a photo every day!

My youngest daughter rolling around on my teens bed. Testing it was safe after we put it up.
A grey stormy view over the fields at the back of my house.
Bright green paint on a wall and snow hitting a window
Daffodils starting to bloom
A valentines day card and my youngest ready to go to school

39/366 - 8th February
Ellie being the lightest of course had to test out that her sisters new bed was safe to lay on and climb about on.

40/366 - 9th February
Storm Ciara hit. It damaged a couple of fence panels and blew the wheelie bins around our garden but we got off lightly. There was tree's blown down around the corner and the Humber bridge was closed which cause massive disruption.

41/366 - 10th February
Stu decorated Becky's bedroom. He put some wallpaper up because the walls were uneven and the last lot of paint didn't take well and painted it bright green. It actually looks brighter in real life but Becky loves it.

42/366 - 11th February
We finally had some snow, just a little and it was far too wet to lay. 

43/366 - 12th February
I love daffodils and I always buy some from the supermarket. They bloomed. 

44/366 - 13th February
My teen wrote her first Valentine's day card out for her boyfriend "D". (I've blanked his name out). She also bought a bar of Galaxy chocolate for him. Aww!

45/366 - 14th February
Ellie had a non-school uniform day at school and the only rule was they had to wear something red and pay a pound. She has the red well and truly covered. 

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Friday, 14 February 2020

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

It has been a week of DIY, upcycling and doing jobs around the house!

I mentioned in last weeks blog post that we had got Becky a hi-sleeper bed that was too tall for her bedroom and we had the idea of chopping the legs off it to make it a mid sleeper, it worked. She now has a newish bed and the best thing is it only cost £2! We saved our selves at least £98! The drawers are now underneath and there is so much more room.

She wanted bright green on one of her walls and when we last painted it the paint didn't take well so Stu found some white wallpaper and put that up and painted that. She now has a very bright bedroom. I am not a fan of it but she loves it so that's all that matters. 

A tub of bright green paint

On Tuesday I finished the glossing in Becky's room and then I couldn't stop, I did the windowsill at the top of the stairs which has made it look 100% better than it did and then started stripping the wallpaper going up the stairs which is going to be our next job.

We had the loft insulation put in our lofts earlier in the week, the one at the top of the house and the one above the bathroom in the extension. Within an hour we could feel the difference upstairs and in the bathroom. Our house isn't freezing but it takes a lot more to heat than what we are used to. We moved from a mid terraced house to a semi-detached so the whole of one side of our house is open wall and you can tell. We can't get the cavity wall insulation put in as there is no cavity. It's just taking a bit of getting used to especially in the weather we've been having.

I can't not talk about the wind we have had this past week. After the storm at the weekend it took until Wednesday for the wind to die down. We have had to fix a couple of fence panels and find a new place for our wheelie bins. We actually gave up picking the garden waste one up, it's empty so kept getting blown over. We have noticed that water is sitting on the top of our kitchen roof, it's a flat one so we'll be keeping an eye on that. I don't want any leaks and we have noticed we need the gutters cleaned out too.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Screen free rainy day activities for Teens and Tweens!

If it's the weekend or school holidays there is a pretty good chance it will rain! My girls given the chance would sit in front of a screen all day but I don't want them to do that. I would love them to find something else to do but sometimes they do struggle. They think if they say they are bored I will give in and let them back on the xBox or laptop. Nope I have a whole heap of ideas of things they can do without resorting to putting on the TV or computer. 

rain coming down onto a plant

Write letters.
Having a pen-pal as a kid was so exciting, I loved writing and receiving letters. Get your children to write proper letters to grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends. Once they're written and it's stopped raining they can post them.

Make some hot chocolate.
We made some unicorn hot chocolate last year and my girls loved it. There is hundreds of different hot chocolate recipes out there

Take the time to sit down and talk to each other. About school, future holiday ideas, what they like and dislike at the moment, any worries they have, anything! Be happy in each other's company.

Play a game of cards.
Playing cards is not only fun, it’s a great way to keep teens thinking. Learn a new card game that the whole family can enjoy. Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Old Maid fab! My two love to play poker and they play with the copper in the money jar.

Playing cards on a table

Make a scrapbook.
Gather paper, pens, scissors and glue, old magazines and photographs and make scrapbooks.

Help a charity.
Rummage though all your unwanted stuff, box it up ready to give to a local charity. It's a good way to declutter and to feel good.

Ellie still loves slime and is always looking for a chance to make it. Rainy day's are perfect.

Have a spring clean!
It might not seem like the most thrilling thing for kids to do on a rainy day but there are ways to make it fun, and you get a clean house out of it. Win win. Turn the music up, work as a team and make sure you have rewards for when you're finished.

Do science experiments!
There’re a lot of cool ones you can find online and most are pretty easy to do with household objects. One of ours was making a bouncy egg!

an egg in a glass of vinegar and then my youngest holding it showing it was soft to touch

Have a Rainy Day Bake Off.
My girls love to bake and there is nothing better than getting in the kitchen on a rainy day cooking up a storm. We usually go for home made pizzas and some type of cake so we can then eat it for tea! 

Make DIY Lava lamps.
With just 4 ingredients (water, oil, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer) you can easily make your very own lava lamp.

Get out the board games!
When the weather's rubbish, it's the perfect opportunity to dig out all your old board games and challenge the kids to a game or two.

Jump in some puddles!
There comes a point where you will be in the house going stir crazy. Put your coats on and go for a walk! No matter how old you get it is hard to resist jumping in a puddle!

How do you keep your tween's and teen's amused on a rainy day?

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

A night out seeing the Bon Jovi Experience!

Last year for my birthday my dad's partner Sarah bought me and her tickets to see a Bon Jovi tribute act. We decided to make a night of it and have a meal out before the show. On Friday we dressed ourselves up and headed out to Scunthorpe.

Just after we moved here the Blue Bell Inn in Scunthorpe closed for a massive refurbishment. It opened up again just after Christmas and it was our first time visiting. I had read reviews of it online and they weren't good. Food was being served cold, they were out of stock of simple items like eggs for the breakfast and it wasn't just teething problems with them just opening, it was happening as recent as last week. 

A plate of scampi, chips and mushy peas and another with lasagne and salad on.

We couldn't fault the service. It was packed when we got there at just after 4pm and we waited about half an hour for our meals which I think is an average time to wait, it was hot and the only complaint I had was that I didn't have many chips and a tiny amount of mushy peas. There was plenty of scampi though. Sarah was impressed with her lasagne. 

Just before 7pm we headed over the Plowright Theatre which is one of 2 theatres in Scunthorpe. I'd never been before and it looked a great place to enjoy a show. There was a bar upstairs selling reasonably priced drinks and the staff were all friendly and helpful. 

We were seeing what is said to be the world's leading Bon Jovi Tribute band. The Bon Jovi Experience is the ONLY tribute band to play on stage with the real Bon Jovi!!

The Bon Jovi Experience singers on stage

We had front row seats and we were encouraged to get up and dance. We didn't need asking twice and danced for most of the show. It was such a good evening with all the best songs being sung! The show lasted about 3 hours with a twenty minute break in the middle.

The Bon Jovi Experience singers on stage

They travel up and down the country and if you're a Bon Jovi fan and you get the chance to see them, go! They put on such a fab show and the lead singer sings, moves and looks like Bon Jovi. He also talks in an American, New Jersey accent which is very impressive!

The show finished just after 10 and when we came outside our ears were ringing. We didn't realise how loud the music was. Oops. Waking up on Saturday morning was fun. I'd not had a night out in about 8 months and I was aching. My legs from dancing, my throat from singing and my ribs from laughing so much. It was worth it though.

We're keeping our eyes out for more shows to see at the local theatres. There's a Freddie Mercury and Queen tribute on later this year that I might even take Becky to and the Monsters of Rock show that Stu would fancy!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week 2020

We're in the middle of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week and every year I like to write a blog post raising awareness of CHD's. 

My girls were both born with heart defects which weren't discovered until Ellie jammed her fingers in a door and needed surgery. I shared our story a few years ago. They both had open heart surgery over 10 years ago and at the moment they are fit and well. They had their latest check ups late last year and they both still have leaking valves.

Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are an abnormality of the heart which occurs soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. The defects can range in severity from simple problems, such as holes between chambers of the heart to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.

Most congenital heart defects develop when a baby is still in the womb. Researchers aren't sure exactly what causes defects to begin, but medical conditions, medications and genetics may play a role. 1 in every 125 babies born in the UK has a heart defect.

CHDs are present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. They can affect how blood flows through the heart and out to the rest of the body. They can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart).

Many doctors believe that CHD’s are genetic, although most people know nothing of Heart Defects till they have a child born with one

Around half of babies with congenital heart defects are diagnosed during ultrasound scans given to mothers while they are pregnant. Some are not detected until after birth or later in life, during childhood or adulthood. If a healthcare provider suspects a CHD may be present, the baby can get several tests (such as an echocardiogram) to confirm the diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms.

The CHD symptoms depend on the type of defect in the heart and common symptoms can include:

Bluish lips, skin, fingers, and toes.
Breathlessness or trouble breathing.
Feeding difficulties.
Low birth weight.
Chest pain.
Delayed growth and a small size or low body weight.
Abnormal heart rhythms.
Trouble breathing.

My girls really didn't show any of these to an excess. Becky my teen was always thin but it was put down to that's how she was and Ellie was always sweating, even on the coldest of days she would be dripping.


Children with minor heart defects may not need any treatment, some may heal on their own with time but some that have serious symptoms may need medical or surgical treatment within the first year of life. The treatment depends on the type and severity of the heart defect. In these cases, treatment may include the following:

There are various medications that can help the heart work more efficiently. Some can also be used to prevent blood clots from forming or to control an irregular heartbeat.

Implantable Heart Devices.
Some of the complications associated with congenital heart defects can be prevented with the use of certain devices, including pacemakers, defibrillators (ICDs). A pacemaker can help regulate an abnormal heart rate, and an ICD may correct life-threatening irregular heartbeats.

Catheter Procedures.
Catheterization techniques allow doctors to repair certain congenital heart defects without surgically opening the chest and heart. During these procedures, the doctor will insert a thin tube into a vein in the leg and guide it up to the heart. Once the catheter is in the correct position, the doctor will use small tools threaded through the catheter to correct the defect.

Open-Heart Surgery.
This type of surgery may be needed if catheter procedures aren't enough to repair a congenital heart defect. A surgeon may perform open-heart surgery to close holes in the heart, repair heart valves, or widen blood vessels.

Heart Transplant.
In the rare cases in which a congenital heart defect is too complex to fix a heart transplant may be needed.

Regular follow-up appointment are needed just to check on the heart, even if the patient has had successful surgery and is leading a very normal life. My girls go for check up's every year/eighteen months. This won't change. They will have these appointments for the rest of their lives because of the way their hearts are. In the past there has been talk of more surgery but to fix their leaking valves but it won't be for a long while yet.

Hearing that your child has a heart condition is devastating but remember that surgical outcomes in the UK are some of the best in the world and the vast majority of babies born with CHD survive into adulthood and live normal lives! Doctors now expect that around 96 percent of people who get a CHD diagnosis and receive hospital treatment will survive.

Just let it sink in that Congenital Heart Defect's (CHD's) are the most common birth defect's in the UK! If you don't know someone with one, eventually you probably will!

Monday, 10 February 2020

Our weekly meal plan! 10th - 16th February . #MealPlanningMonday

Another week and another meal plan! Last weeks meal plan went well, we muddled a few days up but just about everything was eaten. Ellie walked out of the house on Wednesday morning going on about the meatballs and I went into the kitchen and filled the slow cooker with them and the sauce. We weren't supposed to be having them until the Thursday and the kids having the leftovers while I was out on Friday. Oops. It didn't matter, there was enough left overs for everyone and the kids ended up having a Tesco meal deal on Friday.

This week we don't have anything on apart from the usually school, college and work. It is Valentine's day on Friday and Stu & I had contemplated going out for a meal but I think we'll just end up getting one of the meal deals from Tesco or Asda.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Burgers in buns with fries.
Tuesday - lazy chicken curry, rice and naan bread. 
Wednesday - Slow cooked beef stew and mashed potato. 
Thursday - Fish fingers, chips and baked beans.
Friday - A romantic meal deal for Stu & I and probably a sandwich meal deal for the kids, that's what they've asked for.
Saturday - Pizza.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort. 

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Week 6 of #Project366 - A photo every day for a year!

I have had a very productive week. All the jobs I put off last week have been done and I have been so motivated. January seems to have lasted an age but February is flying over! I think it helps that the sun has been shining for most of this week. Looking out of the window now it could pass for a summers day with the blue sky and the sunshine.

Now for a photo everyday!

My dining room and my teen's game of Fortnite.
My cross stitch pattern. The rabbit now has eyes and a nose.
My gas fire turned up full so I could get warm.
Meatballs and sauce in the slow cooker.
My teen folding the washing and a photo of my Bon Jovi tshirt.

32/366 - 1st February
We moved the dining room around and swapped Ellie's and Stu's computer desks. Now Ellie is in the middle of the room which will hopefully stop her bringing too many toys, books and things downstairs that she was storing on and under her desk.

33/366 - 2nd February
Becky won her first game on Fortnite. She has came 2nd hundreds of times but never first. Shortly after she won again. Her winning streak didn't last though, the next time she played she came 99th. lol

34/366 - 3rd February
The rabbit on my cross stitch is looking more like a rabbit now that it has eyes and a nose. I have cracked on with it this week and it's almost finished. 

 35/366 - 4th February
It was freezing on Tuesday. I gave in and put the central heating on and while I waited for it to warm up I put the gas fire on and sat in front of it.

36/366 - 5th February
I cooked meatballs on Wednesday in the slow cooker. They were so good.

37/366 - 6th February
Becky is planning to go out with friends at the weekend and needs more money. I said she can do some jobs around the house to earn some. She started with folding the washing.

38/366 - 7th February
I went to see a Bon Jovi tribute band last night. It was a late birthday present from my dad's partner. It was worth the wait!

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Friday, 7 February 2020

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

Last week was a week of procrastination but this week has been the exact opposite, mostly. All those jobs I was putting off last week and never got around to have been done. Hooray! It feels like this week we have made progress and steps forward in lots of little things.

Over the weekend we changed the dining room around. Ellie was in the corner with her computer desk and was getting quite a collection of toys and things that shouldn't be kept downstairs. Whenever we told her to take them back upstairs they were just getting put on the bookcase or under her table so now her computer desk has swapped places with Stu's computer desk. She's in the middle of the room now which will put a stop to her hoarding. So far so good!

We had been thinking about getting Becky a metal framed mid sleeper bed so she can put her drawers underneath. Her room is the smallest and we have to be clever with the space that there is. We had been pricing them up and had planned on buying one next week but at the weekend my dad noticed one in the local auction. We had a look at it and it was a tall one but my dad and Stu came up with the idea of sawing a couple of foot off the bottom of the legs and then it would be a mid sleeper. We paid £2 for it, even if it doesn't work we haven't lost a lot of money and if it does we've saved about £98. My dad also gave Becky some neon green paint. The green we painted her room over the summer wasn't bright enough for her so that needs putting onto her walls. Stu has a day off work on Monday so he is going to crack on with the painting and sorting her bed.

I try not to put the heating on when I am home alone but on Tuesday just gone it was bitterly cold. It got to mid afternoon and my hands were numb so I put the central heating on and the gas fire and sat in front of it for half an hour doing some cross stitch. This coming Tuesday we have the people coming to put loft insulation in. At the moment there is some up there but a small fraction of what there should be. I am hoping that when it gets put in we will be able to keep the house warm more easily. 

I was that motivated on Wednesday that I got carried away and cooked one of the meals I'd planned a day early. I am blaming Ellie, she was going on about the meatballs before she went to school so as soon as she left I filled the slow cooker. It was only when I went onto my blog I realised I had meant to cook them on Thursday. Oh well. lol

I did lose quite a few hours this week watching a new Netflix series, The Stranger. I had seen people talking about it on Twitter but then saw one of the main characters on This Morning talking about it and thought I'd give it a go. I was hooked from the first episode and watched it within a couple of days. I even stayed up past my bedtime to finish watching one episode.

The kids have had a good week at school and college. Not much has gone on with them. They have just one more week until half term and the thought of that is keeping them motivated but to be honest this set of holidays seems to come around so quickly after the Christmas break. Becky did actually think she had broke up this week and was hugely disappointed when I set her straight. hehehe