Wednesday, 16 June 2021

(Ad - Gifted) Ocean Free Fantasy Hand Sanitiser for Children!

A couple of years ago hand sanitiser wasn't a big thing then the virus came along and just over a year ago along with loo rolls, pasta and tins of tomatoes hand sanitiser was impossible to buy. Now things are getting back to normal and we can now buy everything that was in short supply but even though life is getting back to normal we are keeping up with the hand sanitising.

The UK's leading manufacturer in hand sanitisers and disinfectants, Ocean Free have released a kids range of sanitiser products.

Ocean Free Fantasy Hand Sanitiser for Children

The Fantasy Hand Sanitiser kills 99.999% of many common germs and is also proven to be effective against enveloped viruses and yeast. It contains 70% ethanol to ensure quick effective hand sanitisation which is ideal for children.

Rigorously tested to all current applicable BS EN standards, the tried and tested formula quickly evaporates leaving hands feeling soft and refreshed due to its moisturising properties.

Use and application of hand sanitisers need to be supervised, and only a pea-sized applied to a child's hands to ensure effective hygiene and safety.

Using Hand Sanitiser

A lot of hand sanitiser stinks. You can really smell the alcohol and when you sniff your hands it hits the back of your throat. This smells amazing! It makes me think of candyfloss. With it smelling nice and it being pink it would really appeal to children. The unicorn on the label is just an added bonus.

Both Ellie and I have been using this and she really likes it. It has left our hands feeling great and it is something I wish was around this time last year.

The Fantasy hand sanitiser gel comes in a 500ml bottle which is available to buy from the Ocean Free website for £5.99 along with a 5 litre container which is ideal to refill the smaller pump dispenser bottle. The 5L container costs £15.99.

If you don't fancy the pretty pink scented hand sanitiser you can always opt for the non-scented and choose the handy tubes which will fit in to bags or pockets.

Hand Sanitiser Gel

I was sent a selection of hand sanitiser in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Memories of my Great Aunt.

I had quite a few great aunts but one by one, over the years they have passed away. My Aunty Jean was the last of that generation and passed away late on Thursday night. She was unwell for a few weeks. She broke her hip, had surgery, came home from hospital but then started to struggle with her breathing. She had COPD which didn't help but was just too weak to fight off the chest infection. She died peacefully with her daughter and niece holding her hands which brings me some comfort.

My grandmother passed away just before I was born so her sister, my dad's aunt, my great aunt took the role of a grandmother and she has always been in my life.

My great aunt, brother and me.

My Aunty Jean was a massive part of my life. I remember going to her house every Friday night when I was kid. She would always make my parents a cup of tea and then bring her little tables out and fill them with plates of sandwiches and cakes. Tinned salmon sandwiches were her thing. She always kept a cupboard full of toys for my brother and I to play with but I used to really enjoy her trying to teach me how to knit. I was never good at it but she was always so patient.

Until she retired she used to work in a crisp factory and would bring big bags of about 50 packets of crisps, the one's that had faulty packaging. Those crisps would always taste better than the one's my mum would buy even though they were sometimes the same brand and flavour.

My parents both worked full time when I was a child and Aunt Jean would help out when it came to decorating. She was amazing at wallpapering and really enjoyed doing it. She always used to tell the story about how she had decorated and the next week there was pen all over the newly papered wall. I had done it. Oops. I don't remember her telling me off but I am sure she must have had words with me.

She was the one who took me to the hospital when I fell down the stairs when I was little. My grandad rang her because my parents were out working and couldn't be contacted, there was no such thing as mobile phones almost 40 years ago. I can just to say remember her shouting at my grandad for letting me eat cereal. I think she was worried I might have needed surgery, I didn't. She never let my grandad forget that. hehehe

My great aunt with my eldest

When my mother ran off with a man she met on the internet and my dad was obviously devastated and Aunty Jean was first person I phoned and she came to help me help my dad. Since then she always worried about my dad and was so happy when we moved just up the road from him. 

My Aunty Jean was the one who taught me how to bake, my scones have never been as good as hers but I am getting better at them. She was also an expert at making muffins. Whenever she visited it was chocolate one's for me and banana one's for Stu and the girls.

She has always doted on the girls. She didn't have any grandchildren of her own so adored my two. She would spoil them rotten. It was always pj's for Christmas from her and stationery for their birthdays and the return to school. Apart from Stu she was my biggest support when the girls were diagnosed with their heart problems and had their surgeries. She was always there at the end of the phone. She worried so much about the girls but as they have got older she was so proud of the young ladies they have become. 

I remember wanting to tell her that Becky had a girlfriend and Becky wasn't keen. She is an older generation and Becky didn't want to upset her. I took the plunge and told her, she asked if Becky was sure and that was it. She was happy for her. She was the one who first joked about the fact that there would be no surprise babies appearing. lol

My great aunt and my girls

The last time we saw my Great Aunt was just before Christmas 2019. Then Covid happened and we never got to see her again but I am glad. I am happy to remember her how she was and not how was at the end. My dad said she had a good innings and she did. He saw her a few weeks ago and said she looked so frail and old. She's always looked old to me but I knew what he meant, old as in tired. I think the last year of not being able to get out and about because of Covid and hardly seeing anyone wore her down. We used to ring her and send her cards and letters and it makes me sad we couldn't do more, visit and have more time with her.

I could write so much about my Aunty Jean but I think I will leave it here. I couldn't not write anything as she was such an important person in my life. Her daughter said she was an important person in so many lives and she doesn't think my Aunty Jean realised how important she was. She is going to be missed by me and many others.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Our weekly meal plan! 14th - 20th June. #MealPlanningMonday

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Last weeks meal plan went well. We ate everything apart from the burgers in buns on Saturday because it was just Ellie, Stu and me at home and Stu suggested getting a takeaway. I think it was just to cheer me up. After the news on Friday morning of my great aunt passing away, I'm OK, it was expected, being woken up by someone doing DIY, not getting my lie in and getting my 2nd vaccine I wasn't in the best of moods on Saturday. The takeaway did cheer me up and it was a bonus that I didn't have to cook. We had leftover pizza on Sunday and then just a sandwich for tea. It was just too hot to cook anyway.

Becky was at her girlfriends over the weekend and had a couple of takeaways including a McDonalds. Eesh. lol Her and her girlfriend have decided they are doing a weekend here and then a weekend at the A's house. It makes sense and gives me a break from having them both here every weekend. It also gives A chance to see her mum a bit more.

I have decided for the next few weeks while the football, Euro 2020 is on I will be making meals which are quick to make or can be easily reheated because there isn't much time between matches and I want to watch as many as I can. I am not a football fan until it comes the the big tournaments.

On the menu this week we have:

Monday - Burgers in buns with fries.
Wednesday - Jacket potatoes with baked beans or whatever toppings the kids want.
Thursday - Sweetcorn Fritters with salad.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Chicken stir fry with noodles.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

What are you eating this week?

Meal planning linky

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Into the thick of it. #MySundayPhoto

 Thanks to TikTok I have had a song in my head for the last week. Into the thick of it, from the kids tv show from years ago, The Backyardigans. I remember Becky used to love it.

Into the thick of it.
Into the thick of it.
Into the thick of it (ugh).
We're tramping through the bush.
On and on, we push.
Into the thick of it.
But we can't see where we're going.

It makes me think of my garden. It is a little wild looking at the moment. The wildflowers are growing well and I could just imagine the The Backyardigans trampling around in it. 

My wild garden

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Week 23 of #Project365. 5th - 11th June. A photo every day for a year!

I seem to have fallen in love with taking photos again thanks to getting my new phone & playing around with all the different photo settings. I thought the camera on my old phone was OK but looking at the difference in photos from my new phone it really wasn't.

Becky has had her 2nd vaccine and had no side effects apart from the sore arm which was great for her because she has gone to her girlfriends for the weekend. I get my 2nd vaccine today. Eek! I am not looking forward to the side effects as I felt rotten for about 24 hours after the first one but it will be worth it to know we're a little bit more protected from the virus.

We had the news about my great aunt that we were expecting. She passed away late Thursday night, 10 days short of her 89th birthday. Like my dad said she had a good innings and lived a great life. I'm OK. I've had a few tears but I think I did all of my crying a few weeks ago when she got taken back into hospital. Now I am thinking of all of the good times I have had with her.

Now for a photo every day!

My eldest sat in bed and a thistle
A win on Fortnite and bubble bath and a face mask
A covid vaccine sticker and my great aunt

156/365 - 5th June
My fella got the swingball set back out and we all had a play on it. My girls and Becky's girlfriend spent a good while playing and having fun.

157/365 - 6th June
I don't know how Becky managed to be under her blankets and in a hoodie. I went into her room to open the window as it was so hot. She was video chatting with her girlfriend.

158/365 - 7th June
A thistle I think. It's grew from the wildflower seeds that I planted, I think.

159/365 - 8th June
A new season of Fortnite and my first win. It was so funny when it happened. Becky had said the update and downtime had finished so we both rushed on to have a look at the new map. She said we'll have no chance of winning a game as all the pro's would be playing to make their You Tube videos of their first impressions of the update. I only went and won. I don't think there was any pro's in my group though. lol

160/365 - 9th June
Home alone on Wednesday so I had a bit of a pamper. A soak in the bath and a face mask. It was nice not to be disturbed. I timed it right though, just as I got dried and dressed the postman knocked at the door.

161/365 - 10th June
Becky is fully vaccinated and even got a sticker which I am quite jealous about. I am hoping to get one today. hehehe

162/365 - 11th June
It's only now that my great aunt is no longer with us I realise how few photos I have of her. The majority of the ones I do have are when I was a baby. This one is me and my younger brother.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, 11 June 2021

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

This week my Word of the Week is:


We have had a good week. The kids returned to school and college and we have dropped straight back into our routine which has made things easier. Usually the return to school takes a few days to get used to but this time it was a success. I think it's because we're in the home straight to the summer holidays and the excitement is building! Ellie has worked out that she has just 30 more school days before the end of term. I don't know if she's more excited for the summer holidays or going into year 10 in September and starting her GCSE's.

I was worried with her dropping behind while we were doing the home learning as she was struggling with being moved up to a higher set after Christmas. She had assessments just before half term like they do every few months and it turns out I needn't have worried. She has had great success with them. She got 75% in her English assignment which is more than she's ever got and higher than a lot of her class. I think being in a different class away from her best friends has actually helped her knuckle down and get on with her work.

After the success of Becky staying at her girlfriends for a couple of nights a couple of weeks ago myself and "A's" mum have decided that they do a weekend here and a weekend there which I think is a great idea as it means I get a break from having both of them every weekend! Fingers crossed Becky is going to A's this weekend. She the 2nd dose of the vaccine yesterday so it all depends on how she's feeling. She is hoping she just gets a sore arm like after the first one but we're going to have to wait and see. I am getting my 2nd vaccine on Saturday so I am expecting to feel the same as after my first, not good. I was tired, achy and hot and cold. Eek.

I finally feel like I am having some success in the garden. The wildflowers I planted ages ago are growing, my tomato plant which wasn't doing too well is sort of coming back to life and I think my parsnips and carrots are growing too. All the rain we had a few weeks ago then all of the sun we've been having has really helped.

We have had success with the meal planning this week. Last weeks was a write off, the plan didn't go to plan at all but this week so far so good. Our kitchen gets all of the sun until about 6pm so it's always so warm in there but I have found that cooking and eating later in the day is helping. We might change things tomorrow as it's just Stu, Ellie and me eating. I think we might get a takeaway. I'm using the excuse that I'm getting my vaccine and might not feel well enough to cook. hehehe

I hope your week has been a good one?

Word of the week linky

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Ways to get the kids to help around the house.

I used to think that I was the only person to notice the mess in our house. The kids were oblivious to it and I would have to nag them and shout to get them to help with the tidying and cleaning, even if it was their own mess. Thankfully over the years they have got better at helping around the house and the nagging has just about stopped.


These are some ideas how you can encourage your children to help around the house.

Start them young.
If they are old enough to get toys out they are old enough to learn how to put them away. It’s never too soon to start teaching them how to tidy up their toys or get them to walk around with a duster. There are plenty of pretend cleaning toys like hoovers and sweeping brushes. Make cleaning part of their life from a young age.

Start small!
Give the kids easy jobs to start with, nothing that takes any great skill but when they have completed the task you can heap the praise on them.

Give them choices!
Do they want to do the dusting or hoovering? Washing or drying the dishes? Give them a choice and it will make them feel like they are in control.

Make a to-do list!
Everyone likes ticking off something they have achieved and kids are no different. It makes them feel like they are accomplishing something and gives them the goal of getting the whole list completed.

Take it in turns!
If you have multiple children rotate their chores regularly so they don’t get bored of doing the same job. My girls always used to prefer what the other was doing so they would often swap jobs and they felt like they had got one over on the other.

Accept jobs won't be done perfectly!
Sometimes when children are learning they will not do a job to the standard that an adult would, accept it! They are just learning. Again heap on the praise and be positive that they tried.

Work together!
Doing the housework together as a family can be fun. I like to put some music on, on a Saturday morning and we all have a good giggle while we're dancing about getting the cleaning done.

Give them pocket money!
As children get older you could think about giving them pocket money in exchange for helping around the house. Some people feel that they should muck in and help as they are part of the household but paying for chores is a good way of motivating tweens and teenagers.

Create a rota!
It will help stop arguments about who is doing what and when they are doing it.

Don't give chores as punishments!
If you hand out cleaning tasks as a punishment children will start to associate chores with something negative and will hate to do them instead of just accepting them as part of every day life.

Do your kids help around the house? Do they enjoy it?

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

(Ad - Gifted) Happiness Habits Jars - 30 days of inspiration.

If the pandemic and lockdowns have taught us anything over the past year or so it's that we need to look after our mental health and do something every day which brings us a bit of joy.

The small business adbra have been helping spread positive vibes during lockdown with their Happiness Habit jars. The jars help you form habits for happiness and well being.

Happiness Habit jars

Each glass jar is handmade in East London and packed full of 30 colourful notes and depending on which jar you choose the cards show different things, quotes to provide encouragement or mini activities that support self development.

The 7 different jars are:

Journalling - A month of Journalling Prompts. Perfect for anyone needing the inspiration to start or develop their journalling practice.
Self-kindness - 30 Challenges to help you prioritise your self-care. 
Motivation - 30 Inspiring quotes to help you achieve your goals.
Mindfulness - 30 Challenges to Inspire You to Reconnect and Find Peace in Your Daily Life.
Positive affirmations - A month of Motivational Messages. Get Inspired and find peace.
Sustainability - A month of Inspirational Challenges to live a more Eco-Friendly Life.
Friendship - A month of Motivational Messages. Get Inspired and Reflect on your Friendship.

Mindfulness Jar

I was sent the Mindfulness Jar. Which encourages a month of living mindfully. Included are 30 challenges to inspire you to reconnect and find peace in your daily life.

The mindfulness challenge jars are the perfect gift for anyone interested in how they can live more mindfully. On each card there is an activity where at the beginning of every day you simply pick one and see how you can experience an impact on your well being.

mindfulness cards

These jars are such a great idea to bring some positivity to your day and the mindfulness ones are simple tasks which I have been completing for the last few days and I do feel more relaxed and calmer with taking a few minutes to myself each day. None of the tasks take any great effort and can be done by anyone.

As well as being useful the jars are very cute too and the the cards inside are so simple and pretty. Just looking at the jar makes me happy.

month of mindfulness card

Each jar costs just £12.50 and as well as a lovely treat for yourself they would make a great gift for friends or relatives. After the month is up and you have used each card the jar can be passed on which means it's a gift that keeps on giving.

The affirmation cards are helping people find a bit of positivity in their life. You can try them for 30 days and if you don't fall in love with them, you can simply request a refund and get your money back.

Each jar sold contributes towards humanitarian projects that adbra support to offset 100% of their carbon emissions and have both a social and environmental impact.

I was sent a Happiness Habits Jar free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

People look down on me and judge but I don't care!

It is natural to judge other people even though you say you don't judge people. It's human nature but looking down on someone because of what they wear, how they look, how much they earn or whatever other reason is wrong.

I am probably one of billions who have had people looking down on me all of my life. It used to really bother me but over the last couple of years I just think stuff you. I just think it's funny, especially as a lot of those people looking down on me are not perfect and they probably have the totally wrong idea of me.

Me with blue hair.

At school there was always those who had the latest trainers, the most fashionable clothes and the coolest bags. I didn't come from a poor family but my mam and dad were sensible with their money. Why buy a branded pair of trainers when you could pay a fraction of the price for an unbranded pair, save the money and treat my brother & I to a great day out to a theme park or save it for a holiday. It was sensible but of course being a child and then a teenager I didn't understand that and I was looked down on because I didn't have the coolest things. I wanted the best and most expensive of everything but now I understand it. Now I buy mid range things for girls. Not the cheapest things but not the most expensive either.

I have always looked young for my age. I am 41 now and I sometimes still get asked for ID to buy a bottle of wine. lol People look down on me because I look young for my age. There is one moment which stick in my mind. I was in my late 20's when Ellie was born, we were still in the hospital and Ellie was sweating so I took the hat off they put on her after being born. I was being patronised and talked down to by a midwife who didn't look much older than me. She thought I was a new mother who didn't know any better. They failed to realise I was heading towards 30 years old and already had a 5 year old. A midwife actually said to me that she thought I was a teenage mum who needed a bit of guidance. It actually turns out the sweating was a sign of Ellie's heart defect and it turns out my motherly instincts were right.

For a long, long time I didn't have my own URL on here. I used the free blogspot address and I was looked down on by PR companies and some bloggers because of that, despite blogging daily for over 5 years at the time. I was called unreliable and was told that I wasn't a real blogger. Now I have my own URL there is still people who look down on me. You really can't please everyone.

Having a hair colour which isn't natural causes people to judge. People assume that because I have a loud hair colour that I am loud, confident and trouble which I am not at all. I am the exact opposite. At least with those people who do give me a chance, my hair colour gives us something to talk about.

When we first moved here there was a few people locally who judged and looked down on me and my family. I remember an acquaintance of my dad's that used to just grunt at me when I said good morning or afternoon. He had his own ideas of why I moved here and his ideas couldn't have been any further from the truth. Now he has got to know me and knows I am not a threat he is quite chatty. I am not that person he thought I was. One of our neighbours said she didn't like the look of us when we moved in but now she's got to know us her view of us has changed. Phew!

I am actually past caring now when people look down on me and judge me. If they can't take the time and get to know me for who I am they are really not worth my time!

Do you get bothered when people look down on you or judge you?

Monday, 7 June 2021

Our weekly meal plan! 7th - 13th June. #MealPlanningMonday

Our Weekly Meal plan

The less said about last weeks meal plan the better. It didn't go to plan. We didn't eat anything off apart from a roast dinner of some sort which ended up being sausages, mash and veg. There was no real reason it didn't go to plan, we were just busy with other things, Becky spent a couple of nights at her girlfriends and it was too hot to spend much time in the kitchen. Around about tea time our kitchen gets all of the sun so once the oven is on it is roasting in there.

The kids are back to school and college this week after a lovely half term break. We're into the home stretch heading towards the summer holidays. Becky has 3 more days in college but spread over 3 weeks and we worked out Ellie has about 7 weeks until she finishes year 9. This week Becky and I will be going into town where she will be getting her 2nd vaccine. She is looking forward to it.

On the menu this week we have:

Monday - Meatballs and pasta.
Tuesday - Leftover meatballs in sub rolls, covered in cheese.
Wednesday - Tuna rice salad.
Thursday - Greggs pasties and probably a cream cake.
Friday - Fish & chips.
Saturday - Burgers in buns with corn on the cob.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

What are you eating this week?

Meal planning linky

Sunday, 6 June 2021

I couldn't decide on just one photo. #MySundayPhoto

I usually just add one photo to my Sunday post but this week I couldn't choose between the two.

First up is the Pinata cake Ellie and I made which worked out surprisingly well considering they look so complicated to make. It tasted good too, it was just a baking mix from Home Bargains and well worth the few pound I paid.

Pinata Cake

I got a new phone during the week and I love it. My old phone was old and it was starting not to support the apps I had on it. Anyway when Stu bought me it I never even thought about the camera, it turns out it is 4 times better than my old one and it shows. I would never have got a photo of a dandelion like this with my old phone! 


My Sunday Photo linky

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Week 22 of #Project365. 29th May - 4th June. A photo every day for a year!

We have had a good week, a really good week. It's been half term, the sun has been shining and the kids have been having fun. It feels like summer is almost here and I am ready for it. I am happier when the sun is shining.

We don't have much planned for the weekend. TV, computer time and lots of yummy food.

Now for a photo every day!

Wii Bowling on the TV.
Watering can & my fella cutting the lawn
Fake blue nails
A Pinata cake being made
New phone and me.

149/365 - 29th May
More playing on the Wii. This time the bowling. I am rubbish at it. The kids always beat me.

150/365 - 30th May
After a few weeks of not having to water the plants I had to get the watering can back out to water them.

151/365 - 31st May
I didn't think the grass needed cutting until Stu started cutting it. It looked so much better when it was done.

152/365 - 1st June
Ellie got it into her head that she wanted fake nails so I got some from Primark, they were only £1 so didn't break the bank. She loved them for the first few hours and after one had fell off during the night, then another she took them all off. I'm glad I only paid £1.

153/365 - 2nd June
We made a Pinata cake. It was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be. It was just a packet mix one that we got from Home Bargains but it tasted so good.

154/365 - 3rd June
I got a new phone. It is a very early birthday present. I love it so far but haven't used it as a phone yet as I am waiting for O2 to send me a new sim card. The huge one in my old phone doesn't fit. Hmmf.

155/365 - 4th June
I have been faffing around with the camera on my new phone and realised the front camera on my new phone is almost as good as the main camera on my old phone.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, 4 June 2021

This week my Word of the Week is: Half-Term! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Half term

We have had such a lovely week. We don't usually do much during half term, it's just a week and we usually just use the time to relax but every day over the past week has seen something fun or exciting happening.

Stu had his 2nd vaccine on Saturday and apart from feeling a bit hot, cold and tired that was it. He didn't even get a sore arm this time. I should be getting called for mine soon and Becky has her 2nd vaccine next week.

We didn't get up to much over the bank holiday weekend. We took those days to chill. Stuart cut the grass in the garden and realised that our strimmer has stopped working. It's fine, we'll just get another from the auction. The strimmer that broke came from our local auction and it's lasted nearly two years. Not bad considering my dad only paid £2 for it.

Tuesday was when the fun started. Becky, Ellie, my dad's partner Sarah and me had a girly day out shopping. We just went to Scunthorpe but it was nice. It gave Sarah a chance to have a good look around the shops because when she goes with my dad he's the type of person who just gets what he needs and does no browsing. We came home with a big bag full of things each but to be honest we didn't spend that much thanks to getting quite a few reduced things from Primark.

Ellie got it into her head that she wanted fake nails and didn't mind paying £1 from Primark to oblige. Years ago she had the same idea and I got as far as putting one on before she screamed, didn't like it and wanted it off. Easier said than done when they're glued on. Anyway I went with it and this time she loved the nails. They didn't last 24 hours before they started falling off and Ellie realised they were more hassle then they were worth especially when it came to playing on her computer. Long nails are not good for gaming. lol

False nails

Just before we went shopping Becky's girlfriend rang and asked if Becky wanted to go to the beach with her and her family on Wednesday. I of course said yes and as it's a 2 hour drive Becky went to stay the night at "A's" house so they could get an early start. They had a fantastic day in the amusements, on the rides and of course on the beach. They didn't get back until late so instead of "A's" mum driving more than she had to Becky stayed another night and ended up coming home yesterday.

On Wednesday Ellie and I did some baking. A Pinata cake and some cookies. The Pinata cake was easier to make than I thought it would be and we had great fun. We ate far too much raw cake mix and icing but that's the best bit about baking. hehehe

A few months ago I went to use my online banking app, on my phone and couldn't. It said it needed to be updated but couldn't because my phone was too old. I didn't use my phone for banking much so just forgot about it until the other day when the Tesco shopping app said the same thing. I said to Stu that I need a new phone and he said he had planned to get me one for my birthday. He had seen a decent one in Argos, the Samsung A12 and when we looked on Wednesday evening it was on sale with £20 off. I convinced Stu that it was a sign and now I have an early birthday present. My new phone arrived yesterday and it turns out I need a new Sim card for it. A nano one. The one in my old phone is one of the big one's. I've had the old sim card at least 8 years and technology has changed so much in that time. I have set my new phone up though, with all the apps I want and need on it so now I just have to wait for the new Sim card to arrive and then ring O2 back to activate it and transfer my number over.

So after a few weeks of not much happening here and life being a bit boring this last week has really cheered me up. There still isn't any news about my great aunt. She's still in hospital, oxygen has been reduced and it's just a matter of time.

How has your week been? What have you been up to?

Word of the Week linky

Thursday, 3 June 2021

10 ways to make family meals more enjoyable.

We try to eat together a few times a week at least, all around the dining room table. It's a great way to catch up and have some quality time together as a family. Sometimes it can be a chore getting us all together but it is really worth the effort.

Eating around a table

Making family meals fun is important. We don't want to be sat around the table in silence. Here are a few ideas how to make family meals more enjoyable.

Don't rush meal times!
Make sure you have plenty of time for the meal. It is no fun rushing your food and not having chance to talk and spend time together. If you or family are watching the clock it will feel forced. Set aside at least half an hour for a family meal time. We have the rule that no one leaves the table until everyone has finished which encourages the speedy eaters to slow down a little and enjoy their food a little more.

Make regular times to eat together!
If you can plan certain days and times that you will have a family meal there is no excuse for family members not being there and having other plans. We always eat together on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday evening because I know my family will all be here.

Make sure they come to the table hungry!
There’s nothing like hunger to encourage a child to try something they might not like. My girls will eat anything when they are hungry and are way less fussy. If we are having a family meal I try to limit after school snacks.

Get everyone involved!
Involving your kids in choosing and preparing family meals increases the chance that they’ll eat it. It could also encourage fussy eaters to try new foods. There are life skills to be learned: laying the table, cooking, washing the dishes and tidying up.

Be creative!
Have fun with the meals you prepare. Give some new recipes a go or get the kids to try out cooking the evening meal. On a weekend we sometimes try to cook a takeaway type meal which we always enjoy.

Invite other people over!
Now that lots of the Covid restrictions have been eased we can have people visiting again. It is sometimes nice to have extended family over, after all we have a year to catch up on. Inviting your children's friends gives you chance to get to know them better and will keep the kids happy too.

Use meal times as a time to talk.
Family meal times a great way to have a chat and catch up with what's going on in everyone's life. I find more out about my girls now that they are older around the dinner table than at any other time.

Have no distractions!
We have the rule of no phones at the table and I make sure the TV is switched off so there is no distractions. The kids are more likely to talk if there is nothing else going on in the house.

Have a good dessert!
The nights we eat together we always have a fancy dessert, something we wouldn't normally have if we were eating at different times. Banoffee pie, apple pie and custard or something like chocolate fudge cake and ice cream.

Take the night off from nagging!
Make family meal times the night where you don't worry if the kids don’t clean their plate or only take 3 bites of their veggies. Look the other way and relax.

How do you make meal times fun?

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

(Ad - Gifted) Things to make with Haribo for Father's Day!

We all love Haribo right? I know I do and my family certainly does. Father's day is coming up and a great treat for any dad would be HARIBO!

A family favourite for over 25 years Starmix which now has real fruit juice is a great mix of iconic fruit and cola gummy sweets and features the ever popular Bears, Rings, Fried Eggs, Heart Throbs and Cola Bottles. The Starmix gift box will certainly deliver a moment of childlike happiness for Dad.

The bags of the Football Mix which are fruit flavoured foam & jelly sweets in the shape of footballs, shirts, trophies & football boots you’ll be sure to score with this pocket money gesture for all those footy fans out there. 


Both products are stocked in Heron Foods, B&M, Sainsbury’s, Spar, the Co-op and other places you would expect to find them.

Haribo is good for eating just as it is but it is also good for decorating cakes or using in other ways and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things you can make with HARIBO for our dad's and those important men in our lives.

Chocolate bark

This is meant for Easter but could be decorated with any HARIBO sweets. It's good for any time of the year and doesn't have to be limited to Easter!

Haribo ice lollies

I am hoping for some sunshine sometime soon and there is nothing better on a warm day than an ice lolly. A few years ago we made our own using lemonade and HARIBO.

This fun anti-gravity cake topped with HARIBO Starmix sweets is easy to make and is sure to wow everyone who sees it!

A four-layer vanilla PiƱata cake frosted with strawberry flavoured buttercream and a surprise centre filled with Haribo Starmix sweets.

Gummy bear cookies

Do any of these take your fancy?

I was sent a selection of Haribo free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

What I loved in May 2021.

I know I was a few days late writing the What I loved in April blog post but May seemed extra short. I laughed at Ellie making lists and plans for her birthday but when I think about it August isn't that far away! Eek!

May has been a tough month to find things to love. The weather hasn't been great and life has been pretty average and I have been worrying about my great Aunt. She's still in hospital, it's just a matter of time. 

A heart card in an envelope

Grey's Anatomy. (still)
I started watching Grey's Anatomy at the end of April and I'm now 13 series into it and it's still amazing. There has been a few annoying storylines but on the whole I am still loving it. I've laughed, cried and have been shocked plenty of times. All the surgical interns are now proper surgeons and they've grown up so much. Many of the originals have left but one of my favourites is still in it and I am warming to one of the characters that I really hated when he joined.

The Wii.
Every time I ever think about throwing the Wii out the kids decide they want to play on it or I do. lol For a long time we hadn't used it because a part or wire was missing but Stu found it and we're off again, obsessed with it. The Just Dance games are still my favourites and the Tennis on the Wii Sports game.

The Wii with Wii Sports on.

Having visitors.
With the Covid restriction's being relaxed we have had a few visitors. My dad, his partner, Ellie's best friend and Becky's girlfriend. It was so strange having people in the house again. (They were all here at different times, not all at once) but nice. It feels like life is just about back to normal for us. Becky's girlfriend has been to sleep over a couple of times and it has been lovely for them to spend some time together. They have been brilliant over the last year, sticking to the rules and social distancing and now they are enjoying seeing each other when ever and where ever they want.

The Friends Reunion.
I never got into watching Friends until after it had ended but since then I have seen every episode numerous times. Over the last few years the girls have got into it too and we were all excited to watch The Friends Reunion! It was brilliant. I laughed and I cried but could have done without James Corden. I would still love one more proper episode though.

More vaccines.
My dad, his partner and my fella Stu have all had their 2nd vaccines and it feels such a relief. I am still waiting for the doctors to get in touch with me for my 2nd vaccine but it shouldn't be long. I was two weeks after Stu in getting my first one so it could be any day now.

Getting out when we can.
The weather has been rubbish for the past few weeks. I was starting to think if the rain would ever stop so we have had to make the most of getting outside whenever we could. Having half an hour in the garden between downpours or rushing to my dad's between showers. We have managed to go for a few walks and bike rides and Ellie has been to the park a few times and wanders with her friends. Thankfully the weather seems to have turned now and we've got plenty of sunshine.

What did you love in May?