Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Some random thoughts that I've had lately. Part two!

In July I wrote a blog post about the random thoughts that I have had and thought I would keep writing about my random thoughts. I have been writing them down for the last month or so and these are some of the things I have been thinking about.

Question marks

I now remember why I wasn't keen on series 10 of The Walking Dead. It was so dark. All the main stories happened at night or in caves. I've turned the brightness right up on the TV and I am still struggling to see. The same with the last series of Game of Thrones. Grr!

The weather has been rubbish. Hailstones in July and it hasn't been much better in August. Where has the summer gone? I'm quite glad I didn't buy a paddling pool.

My girls are so judgemental when they were watching the Olympics especially when someone made a mistake like falling off the bars in the gymnastics. I'd like to see my two try it. Eesh!

There was a special ticket only event at one of the local pubs which I fancied going to, a Pink tribute act. I was all set to book tickets but it was the weekend that Becky is at her girlfriends and I don't feel comfortable leaving Ellie home alone. I am so close to having nights out without worrying about the kids bit we're not quite there yet. 

Monopoly is a game invented by the devil. lol It always ends in arguments. 

The last episode of the series of Casualty made me think of Final Destination. Poor Lev and Fenisha. I cried, not as much as the Covid episode but a lot! All I want is Ethan to have a happy ending! I have since then to catch up on.

I never thought I would like exercise but I do! I now start to feel bad if I haven't exercised.

I love having Becky's girlfriend here but I am loving spending time with just Ellie when Becky stays with her girlfriend every other week. It's nice to have some one on one time. She loves it too as I spoil her. 

The summer holidays have flown over...again!

People who stand behind you at an attraction saying to their child "just wait, the lady won't be long then you can look" are very annoying. I heard her say the same to someone else and they said stop using your child to hurry people along. Eek! It was true though, the kid wasn't interested in seeing the fish at the aquarium she was.

Becky and her girlfriend got drunk. They now know why I don't get drunk. The hangover is not worth it. lol

I should have thought things out when I planned my pregnancies with my girls. Having my fellas and both girls birthdays over the space of a month is expensive especially when you add in the cost of back to school things too.

Why don't they send out the plastic National Insurance Cards anymore? I know it will probably all down to the cost of them. Now they just send a letter and Becky has to go hunting for it every time she needs the number even though I've told her to save it on her phone or computer. I still have my NI card. It snapped in 2 but I've still kept the two halves. I was always told to keep it so daren't throw it away. lol

Is there a white zinfandel shortage? I love my rose wine and enjoy a bottle or two over the weekend. It has been substituted with the grocery order for the last month and I am struggling to get it in our local shops too!

Jaffa Jonuts are wrong! Jaffa cakes should not have been made into doughnut shape.

Becky has been applying for a lot of jobs and has been turned down for a lot so now she's started emailing back and asking why. Most said lack of experience. How can someone get experience without a job. Thankfully she has a job now.

All the series of The Walking Dead have been on Sky TV but the final one has been moved over to Disney+. Some people are so keen to watch it they will have subscribed and will have to pay for at least 2 months to watch the whole series. I've been clever. I'm waiting until next month then I can binge a few episodes and then only pay for one month to watch the rest and see how the show ends.

What random thoughts have you had lately?

Monday, 30 August 2021

Our weekly meal plan! 30th August - 5th September. #MealPlanningMonday

Our Weekly Meal Plan

After the disastrous meal plan a couple of weeks ago I am pleased to say last weeks meal plan went much better. I think the fact we had a fun weekend planned made me stick to the meals during the week.

Our weekend was fantastic fun. We went to the cinema on Friday to see Peter Rabbit 2, the trampoline park on Saturday and a meal out and then it was Ellie's birthday yesterday and we had a party tea and cake. She had fantastic weekend.

We have one more week of the school holidays and we're hoping to have a day out at the beach depending on the weather and if we can fit it in. We're not going today as it's a bank holiday and it will be busy, we have Sky coming to fix our internet, apparently we have a fault and Ellie has to go to school to have a Covid test before the return to school.

On the menu this week we have:

Monday - Leftover party food.
Tuesday - Sausage casserole, mash & veg.
Wednesday - Fish & chips at the beach.
Friday - Pizza.

What are you eating this week?

Meal planning linky

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Happy birthday to my youngest! #MySundayPhoto

My little baby who isn't much of a baby anymore turns 14 today. It's a cliche but where has the time gone.

She has grown up so much over the last year. Personality wise and height wise. She is nearly as tall as me now and fits in my trainers. She does love to borrow them. hehehe Her love of unicorns has gone and has been replaced with Anime and still anything to do with Japan.

Youngest in disguise

I am so proud of my girl. Ellie has done so well at school despite all of the home learning, she's had a few troubles which we've worked through and she is very excited for the new school year to start so she can move into year 10, start her engineering GCSE and begin her dream of becoming a structural engineer. She already has her plans for her life: engineering at college and maybe uni, get a job, save money and then move to Japan.


Ellie is the youngest in her school year and some of her friends are almost a year older than her. At this age it is a big difference but I know that Ellie acts a lot older than her age, in a good way. She is a sensible lass most of the time and isn't easily led even when she's with her friends. I have seen the videos. (Her friend is successful on YouTube). hehehe 

Ellie had her birthday day out yesterday to a trampoline park and a pub meal. Today is all about the presents and a party tea. 

My youngest

My Sunday photo linky

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Week 34 of #Project365. 21st - 27th August. A photo every day for a year!

It has been a busy week for me and we have a lot to be excited about. The back to school shopping is done, all the prep for Ellie's birthday on Sunday is done and Becky went and got her self a part time job in a care home which fits around her college hours.

Ellie's birthday celebrations started yesterday with a trip to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit 2. It was a fun film, we all enjoyed it and then we had a burger from our favourite place in town and I may have bought the girls and extra present or two for their birthdays.

This week has been a bad week for photos, I do apologise. There is nothing exciting despite us having a busy week. This is our life though.

Now for a photo every day!

A pigeon and a chocolate doughnut
Carrot cake and Pringles
My youngest on her computer & a flowerPrimark bags

233/365 - 21st August
We had a visitor to our garden. We get a lot of birds but not usually pigeons and certainly not one's that hang about on our little shed roof for a couple of days. It turns out other people had locally had noticed a couple of racing pigeons that might have got lost. I didn't see it again so I hope it got to where it needed to be.

234/365 - 22nd August
A yummy chocolate filled doughnut.

235/365 - 23rd August
We stopped off for cake and a drink when we were doing the back to school shopping. It was a cafe we'd never tried before. I wasn't that impressed. A 15 minute wait for 3 slices of cake, 2 coffees and a bottle of pop. It was expensive too.

236/365 - 24th August
I found some Doner Kebab Pringles in Home Bargains and they are not nice. They were too spicy for me but Ellie loved them.

237/365 - 25th August
Ellie on her computer. Multitasking playing Roblox and watching TikTok.

238/365 - 26th August
One of my flowers in my garden.

232/365 - 27th August
I said I was finished with the birthday shopping on Monday but I just can't help myself.

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Friday, 27 August 2021

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

Excited

Last week I used the word Celebrating and I could have easily used it again, this week and probably for next week too. I have gone with excited because this week we have a lot to be excited about.

Becky has been applying for a lot of jobs over the last couple of months. She's applied for shop work, cleaning jobs, bar work and a couple of weeks ago saw a part time care job which sounded perfect for her. She took the chance, filled in the application form, then another set of forms then answered interview questions and finally had an interview over the phone where she was offered a job. She was buzzing and we were are so proud of her.

I'm not going to say much about it because she has to keep things confidential with it being a care job but as I am writing this she is reading and signing the contract. She just has to wait for the DBS check to come back before she can start. We're not worried about that, she's had one done every year at college with doing health & social care. Waiting to start working is for the best because by the time she can start the job she will know what days she's in college. The employer has said they are fine to work around her college hours so it's fantastic.

We went and did the last of the back to school shopping on Monday. Everything is bought and there was no arguments about school shoes. Hooray! I bought the girls some more presents. I just can't help myself, I do spoil them but they were only little things. 

Ellie is excited to be going back to school and I am excited for her to go back to school and Becky to go to college and with her having a part time job I might actually get more than one day home alone. It's going to be so strange. I have got used to having at least one girl here 6 days a week.

The plan for Ellie's birthday on Sunday was to have a day out on Saturday which we are still doing but now the celebrations have been brought forward to today too. We are hopefully going to the cinema. I spotted that out local cinema has kids films on for £2.49 which is basically half price and seems such a bargain.

The food shop has been ordered. Fingers crossed the birthday cakes arrive, I do always worry that they won't be delivered and we'll be stuck as nowhere locally sells proper birthday cakes and it would mean a trip into town. We're in town on Saturday so there's no worries apart from the fact the supermarkets are a bit out of our way. I've ordered party food for Sunday and treats for breakfast too. I think we're going to have such a fun weekend.

I hope you have all had a good week?

Word of the Week linky

Thursday, 26 August 2021

New Fruit-tastic recipes from Fruit Bowl!

I refuse to believe summer is over even if the weather hasn't been that great lately. I am hoping the weather does what it usually does and turns back to summer when the kids go back to school. hehehe

Summer fruits

This summer Fruit Bowl are on a mission to help parents get their kids outside and active! They have created activities which provide parents with all the inspiration they need to get kids away from screens, outside and active play. Just what we need for the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays.

As part of this Summer campaign, Jemma Loi has teamed up with Fruit Bowl to create some fun Summer recipes that are quick and easy to put together, cost effective, and encourage kids to enjoy fruit in an exciting way!

Mango and Yogurt Lollies

You will need:
Blender / food processor
Horizontal lolly moulds and sticks

Ingredients:
Fruit Bowl Juicy Yogurt Raisins
4 tbsp Greek Yogurt
150g frozen mango
1 tbsp honey
50ml orange juice

Lay your lolly moulds on a work surface and fill the middle strip with Fruit Bowl Juicy Yogurt Raisins, then cover with a tbsp of Greek Yogurt.
In a blender, whizz your mango, orange juice, and honey until smooth and pour over the yogurt mixture.
Leave to set for 5 to 6 hours and you have a tasty, healthy treat with a fun hidden surprise

Mango ice lollies and watermelon ice lollies

Watermelon Lollies.

You will need:
A blender / food processor
Upright lolly mould and sticks

Ingredients:
1/2 a small watermelon or 1/4 of a large one
3 kiwi fruits
Fruit Bowl Blackcurrant Flakes

Chop your watermelon and puree in a blender.
Divide a bag of Fruit Bowl Blackcurrant Flakes between four lolly moulds, pressing some against the side walls of the moulds as 'pips'.
Pour in the watermelon puree until about 1cm from the top and freeze for 2 - 3 hours.
Peel and puree the kiwis and remove the moulds from the freezer. At this point the watermelon should be starting to freeze enough to insert the sticks. Then top with the kiwi puree and leave to freeze completely

Fruity Treasure Parcels.

A fun and simple way to encourage kids eat more fruit, in an exciting and tasty way! These Fruity Treasure Parcels can be filled with any fruit or Fruit Bowl products of your choice, making them great for using up leftover fruit and ensuring every time is a surprise!


Makes 4

You will need:
4 sheets of Vietnamese Rice Paper
4 - 6 different types of fruits chopped up:
A handful of blueberries
A handful of strawberries
2 chopped apricots
1 kiwi
Fresh pineapple
Your favourite Fruit Bowl products.
Fruit Bowl Strawberry Peelers
Fruit Bowl Raspberry School Bar
Fruit Bowl Blackcurrant Flakes
Fruit Bowl Strawberry Yogurt Flakes

To dip:
Fruit Coulis, Yogurt, Chocolate Sauce

To prepare your rice paper, soak in water for 1 - 2 minutes until it starts to soften, then lay on a chopping board.
Fill the middle with the fresh fruit and Fruit Bowl products of your choice, ensuring you leave an inch at each end.
Fold the end edges in towards the fruit then roll the long sides up and wrap around the fruit, like you are rolling a burrito!
For the dips, you can keep it super simple and healthy with fresh yogurt or fruit coulis or be a bit decadent and melt some chocolate!

Recipes created for Fruit Bowl in partnership with Jemma Loi as part of Fruit Bowl’s #5in5Let’sGoOutside campaign. More information and recipes can be found on Fruit Bowl’s website.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

(Ad - Gifted) Tasty cheese snacks from Eatlean.

My girls like to snack. I prefer if they ate something which was somewhat healthy instead of cakes and crisps so I tend to point them towards the fruit bowl and the fridge for cheesy snacks. They love cheese. For a long time I didn't eat cheese because it gave me migraines as a teenager but thankfully I grew out of that. I don't eat a lot of cheese but do like a little now and again.

Recently we were sent some cheese products to try out from Eatlean. Their cheese is high in protein, low in fat and big on taste.

Eatlean products

All of the Eatlean cheeses are handmade, using 100% British cows milk, by expert cheesemakers on their family dairy farm in Cheshire, bursting with benefits for a leaner or healthier lifestyle choice.

Eatlean Tasty Snack Bars.

The newest product from Eatlean is the tasty snack bar in a super convenient 30g size, which is ideal for any snacking needs from kids lunch boxes to great tasting snacks on the go!

Eatlean Tasty Snack Bars

This mature cheese has 35% fewer calories, 60% less fat, and 30% more protein than regular cheese. Each bar comes in at 80 calories and 4.3g in fat which is half the fat of cheddar. They are also lactose-free and vegetarian.

Ingredients: Pasteurised cow’s milk, salt

The snack bar is the type of thing that I always have in the fridge, the kids love the brand we usually buy and they have tried these and they love them too. They said they taste no different than other cheese sticks or bars but that is a good thing. Sometimes you get something which is healthier and you can tell, it tastes different if you know what I mean. They come in packs of 7 and retail for around £3.00

Eatlean Spreadable Cheese.

Eatlean Spreadable Cheese

Eatlean Spreadable Cheese can be used in, well, just about anything! From spreading it on a cracker, to making a sumptuous carbonara sauce. How about a cauliflower cheese, or you can even use it in cheesecake if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous! The meals you can create with are endless, making Eatlean Spreadable Cheese a real fridge must have.

I love this type of cheese on crackers but do use it for cooking too.

Eatlean Nibbles.

Feed your hunger with the Eatlean Nibbles. Get ready to dip, dunk, and nibble away your snacking cravings!

Eatlean Nibbles.

The BBQ one's are a rich and smoky classic! Including Eatlean Cheese sticks and a mix of veggie protein bbq flavoured roasted seeds and beans with a portion of sugar free smoky BBQ sauce.

These are the type of things my girls love. They like anything that they can pick and dip at. Ellie ate this and really enjoyed it. If I had offered her the roasted seeds and beans by themselves she would have said no but because it came with cheese and a dip she was happy to eat it. She was shocked when I told her what the seeds and beans were: roasted broad beans, pumpkin seeds, giant corn, green peas and yellow peas.

Eatlean Cheese Bake.

Eatlean Cheese Bake gives you a perfect blend of Eatlean Cheese with mozzarella and a hint of cider for the ultimate healthier hot cheese snack, and for only 123 kcal for half a bake you can not go wrong!

Eatlean Cheese Bake.

Simply cook it in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes (stir half way through) and dip your favourite dippers such as bread sticks, crisps, carrot sticks, crispbreads, celery or even go all cheesy and dip the Eatlean Snack Bars!

All of these products are available to purchase over on the Eatlean’s website and supermarkets nationwide.

What would you like to try from Eatlean?

We were sent these Eatlean cheese products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Wasting their summer holidays in bed.

When any of the school holidays come along I get very excited and happy that we don't have to rush to get out of bed, get dressed and be out all before 9am. When the summer holidays started not having that morning rush around meant that we got to eat breakfast together and have a slow start to the day. It was quite lovely especially when the sun was shining and we could sit outside.

Lazing in bed

We are about half way through the summer holidays and now my girls have got lazy! No matter what time I send them to bed they are struggling to get up on a morning. Some mornings I have fancied staying in bed when it has been grey and damp out but I have got up and not lazed in bed like them. I'll admit I am not getting up most mornings until about half eight or nine but no later. Most days I ask them nicely to get out of bed at about 10am and an hour later I am shouting "get up now!" and can easily still be shouting coming on for midday. By the time they get up, have something to eat and get dressed it can be 1pm. 

I know my girls are off school and college and have this time to relax but it feels such a waste to stay in bed. On a weekend I don't mind but not every day and certainly not during the week. If we have somewhere to be the girls do get up, quite easily so it proves they are not tired. On the days that we don't have to be anywhere they will lay there in bed and doze or watch TV. They just can't be bothered to move from their pits. 

 I told Becky this is the last proper summer holiday she will get, ever!! Next year she will have left college and will be looking for a full time job if she hasn't got one already. She should make the most of this time and not spend it in bed!

When I was my girls age I would always want to stay lazing in bed but my parents made sure I was up and about and I do appreciate them for it. I would have kicked myself now if I spent most of my time in bed during the summer holidays. I hope my girls realise this and appreciate all the times I shout at them, get out of bed!

I know I am not the only one with teenagers who love their beds a little too much but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Monday, 23 August 2021

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

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Shall we just forget that I meal planned last week? It did not go to plan. lol We ate 1 meal from my plan, the Hawaiian BBQ chicken wraps. It all started going wrong on the Monday. We phoned up to get Stu's birthday Chinese takeaway and it was closed because the owners are on holiday for 2 weeks. Hmmf. No other takeaways locally are open on a Monday. We could have ordered off Just Eat but everywhere wanted £5 delivery so we decided to leave the takeaway until Tuesday and have beans on toast. On Tuesday we had takeaway pizza. We also had fish fingers, chips and baked beans, sandwiches, chicken stir fry and pie and mash which wasn't on the plan.

Some weeks go to plan and others don't. I have learned to accept that. I always find it hard to meal plan when the kids are off school and this time of year makes it hard to decide what we're eating when the weather changes so much. Over the summer holidays I haven't been planning on what day we eat what but I will be for the next couple of weeks because we have plans set in place and I miss having some organisation.

It's Ellie's birthday at the end of this week and she's very excited. She hated the idea of her birthday being on a Sunday but has come around to the idea once she realised that the celebrations will be going on for a couple of days. We're having a day out on Saturday with a pub meal and a party tea on Sunday.

I didn't get a food shop delivered over the weekend like I usually do partly to save a bit of money and partly because we have more than enough food in. We need a week of eating out of the freezer and cupboards. All I have to buy is bread, milk, wraps and salad.

On the menu this week we have:

Monday - A roast dinner using up bits that we have in the freezer like parsnips, roast potatoes and random veg.
Tuesday - Chicken nuggets in wraps with salad.
Wednesday - Vegetable fingers and BBQ pasta which is just pasta mixed with mayonnaise & BBQ sauce. I will try and sneak some sweetcorn in too
Thursday - Cottage pie.
Friday - Chicken fajitas.
Saturday - A meal at the pub.
Sunday - A picky party food with sausage rolls, pizza, sandwiches, chicken bits, onion rings.

What are you eating this week?

Meal planning linky

Sunday, 22 August 2021

My new favourite photos. #MySundayPhoto

When we take family photos when we are out and about there is always one of us missing from the photo because someone has to take the photo after all. I did get some lovely photos of us when we had a day out on Monday and I think these will end up in frames on the wall or even on a canvas.

Me and my girls.
Stu and the girls
Me and my fella

My Sunday Photo Linky

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Week 33 of #Project365. 14th - 20th August. A photo every day for a year!

We have had such a fun week. Stu's birthday, a day out at an aquarium and just fun times as a family. It has been really nice. We have a quiet weekend planned. Ellie and I had a walk to our local auction yesterday to see what was on offer but there was nothing which took my fancy and Stu didn't fancy anything either so we're having what seems like a rare Saturday at home. Becky is at her girlfriends for the weekend so it's just the 3 of us and we have no plans at all, well no plans which involve moving much. lol I want to sort through the photos that I took on Monday, Ellie wants to finish whatever she's building on Minecraft and Stu wants to just play Fortnite in peace.

Now for a photo every day!

Ornaments and the kids doing crafts.
Hull marina with all of the boats
Chocolate cake and Game of Thrones on the TV
Cheesy snacks and my youngest sat drinking pop

226/365 - 14th August
A couple of things I got from the local auction. I bought a box of random things for £3. I wanted 2 matching red vases but the red and silver vase, giraffe and a boxed baby oleg came with it too. It was quite the bargain.

227/365 - 15th August
The kids were making canvases with their hand prints on for Stu's birthday. It was something they'd seen on TikTok. I wasn't bothered where they seen it, I was happy that they thought of a thoughtful present and were off their computers.

228/365 - 16th August
We passed through the marina in Hull on our way to The Deep, the aquarium. We spent ages looking at all of the boats and on the way back it was a nice spot to stop and have an ice cream.

229/365 - 17th August
Some of Stu's birthday cake. It was good.

230/365 - 18th August
I've been rewatching Game of Thrones and some parts are still just as amazing as the first time I watched them. The Night King still terrifies me.

231/365 - 19th August
We were sent some cheese to try out and Ellie was a big fan of these BBQ nibbles.

232/365 - 20th August
Ellie and I went for a look at the auction and stopped off at a cafe on the way for sausage, bacon and egg sandwiches.

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Friday, 20 August 2021

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

Celebrating

It could have easily been busy. I feel like I haven't stopped or had much time for myself at all. It has been a good week though, we have done a lot of celebrating.

Early on in the week it was Stu's birthday. He had a lovely day. He is so hard to buy presents for so we came up with the idea of having a day out instead of a pile of presents. He of course got a few presents but we went to The Deep in Hull, an aquarium. It wasn't a cheap day out but it was well worth it especially since once you pay you can go back any time over the next year!

The last time we went to an aquarium was when the girls were little. I think Ellie was about 2 or 3 years old so Becky would have been about 7 or 8 years old. The queue to get in was massive and there was little tanks of fish to look at while you were waiting. The girls saw those fish so by the time we got in they were bored of fish. lol

Now that they are older they took their time to look at all of the fish and appreciate them. There was so many to look at and penguins, frogs, sharks and other creatures. I of course have a blog post coming soon all about our day out.

Shark

We were going to get a Chinese takeaway when we got home and rang up to order but they are closed for 2 weeks while they're on holiday. Hmmf. We were gutted especially since we realised no other takeaways in our small town were open on a Monday. We could have ordered from Just Eat and got something delivered but everyone wanted £5 delivery so we decided to carry on the celebrations and have a takeaway on Tuesday. We got Pizza, kebeb meat, garlic bread, chips and onion rings. Yum, yum.

We have also been celebrating 12 years since my girls heart surgery. This time 12 years ago we were just coming through the worst time in our lives. Both my girls had surgery to fix holes in their hearts and they were on the road to recovery by now. Thinking about that time makes me feel anxious but now I feel so glad that they are fit and well. 

This week was just the start of the celebrating. Ellie's birthday is next Sunday and because it's a Sunday we're going for a day out on Saturday and the week after is Becky's birthday. Her birthday is the Friday and as Ellie is at school we've decided to have a day out on the Saturday too.

I like these birthdays which last a couple of days. I will have to remember it when my birthday comes around. Mine is on a Sunday too so I will have to have a weekend long celebration. hehehe

I hope you have all had a good week.

Word of the Week linky

Thursday, 19 August 2021

(Ad - Gifted) Getting ready for going back to school with Wynsors.

 When I was a teenager my school shoes were always bought from Wynsors. We were lucky enough to have one quite close to us but since I have grown up, moved around a bit and had my own kids the shop has gone right out of my head until now and it turns out they don't just sell in shops, they sell online too! 

Recently we were sent a couple of things perfect for the return to school and college for my girls. As well as selling the normal school shoes and trainers they also sell school bags in all shapes and sizes and lunch bags and bottles.

Wynsors Back to school bag & lunch box.

My girls are in secondary school and college so the cute pink, unicorn or Peppa Pig back packs will not cut it anymore and they want something a little more grown up. For a good few years both of my girls have harped on about wanting an oversized handbag which I didn't think was practical for school or college but I took the chance and ordered a Wynsors Cube Black fashion handbag. 

It is a Large fashion handbag with over arm straps and a detachable cross body strap. There is a zip close with 2 open and 1 zip close pockets to the inside and a zip pocket to the back.


It really looks fab and so much more grown up than a backpack that younger children might use. My girls have said they would share it but I have said I will buy another from our local store.

It is a good size and could fit books, pencil cases and even A4 size folders in easily with room to spare. I like that it can be carried 3 different ways. Over the arm or shoulder using the short straps or over the body using the longer strap.

The bag is well made and I think it will last a whole school year. It is on sale from Wynsors for £10 which I think is such a bargain. As well as being great for a youngster for school it could be good for someone to use when they go to work.

Wynsors Cube Black fashion handbag

My girls usually get a meal at school or college but do like to take snacks. Usually fruit, crisps or something sweet. We could use little food bags or cling film but like to do our bit for the world by reusing little lunchboxes. The rubbish thing is that they always go missing, they always turn up but the more we have the better.

lunch boxes
Game Over Snack Pots

We were also sent the Game Over Snack Pots. They are 3 little boxes which when not being used can be stored inside of each other.

I love the design on these snack boxes and they are perfect for my girls who do love their computer games. The boxes are a good size, they are solid and the lids are secure. The three snack boxes cost just £3.

Think we are just about ready for September and the return to school and college. How are you doing with the back to school prep?

I was sent the bag and snack boxes free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

12 years since my girls heart surgeries.

This week marks 12 years since my girls and I spent a week in hospital where they both had open heart surgery, yes both of them. Each year I like to write about it to remember how lucky we are and to share our story to raise awareness about heart defects! you can read our full story here.

A broken heart

I was born with a hole in my heart and thankfully didn't need any heart surgery. The hole was small enough to close up it's self. Both of my girls were also born with holes in their hearts which were missed at birth. I would say it was just bad luck but the hospitals don't have the greatest reviews and reports. Becky's I could understand being missed but Ellie's was spotted by a young trainee doctor. He spotted a murmur but was told it was nothing by a more senior doctor.

The girls heart defects were only discovered after Becky shut a door on Ellie's fingers. She needed surgery to straighten her them where the murmur was again discovered. It was a freak accident but that accident saved both of their lives. If Ellie didn't have that accident they could have been dead by now. I have been left with the thought of all the what if's?

Both of the girls had Atrioventricular septal defects (AVSD's). An atrioventricular septal defect is a large hole between the upper filling chambers (atria) and the lower pumping chambers (ventricles) of the heart. The hole allows more blood to flow from the left side of the heart to the right. This increases the pressure of the blood travelling to the lungs, making the right hand-side of the heart work harder and function less well.

The causes of congenital heart defects, such as AVSD's among most babies are unknown. Some babies have heart defects because of changes in their genes or chromosomes. We have looked into what caused my girls heart defects and nobody knows. It could be a faulty gene from me, it has to be from me as the girls both have different father's or it could just be bad luck. There is no real way to know. The girls can choose to have tests when they were older but I wasn't going to push them into it a few years ago. It is only really going to effect them when they have their own children and then they will be monitored closely.

My girls when they were little

We went into the hospital on Sunday the 16th of August, Becky had her open heart surgery on Monday and spent a night on PICU, Ellie had her surgery on Tuesday and took Becky's place on PICU. They both recovered well and quickly and the following Saturday we were allowed to go home.

It was honestly the worst time of my life. I did write about the reality of open heart surgery but even that can't get across how I was feeling. Taking one child for surgery is bad enough but taking another less than 24 hours later was unimaginable. I don't know how I did it, I really don't. 

After the heart surgery both of my girls were left with leaking heart valves but they are fit and well at the moment and I hope it stays that way. Their heart issues don't really effect their day to day life apart from in the winter when Becky feels the cold more and her lips sometimes have a blue tinge to them.

My eldest getting her heart checked.


Over the past year there is only Becky who has had a check up on her heart and it is all good. Well as good as it can be with leaking valves but the detrition which happened for about 8 years after her surgery seems to have slowed down and there hasn't been any change in a couple of years which is fantastic. 

I am putting the lack of check ups on Ellie down to Covid and the fact that she isn't an urgent case. Becky was seen at the end of March and it took until the end of June to get the report from the doctor who had looked at the scan of her heart. We keep getting letters from the hospital to say Ellie is on the waiting list and will be seen in time and it's the same for me. I was told when Ellie had her check up in November 2019 that I needed a check up to and was referred to the hospital. Every few months I get a letter telling me they haven't forgotten about me.

Things are fantastic at the moment which is completely different from what I felt this time 12 years ago!

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

(Ad - Gifted) New launches for Mr Lees! Breakfast porridge & Instant congee.

I am always on the lookout for new foods to try. Over the years I have tried lots of food through my blog and have then went on to buy it regularly with my food shop. I think we have found something else to add to my shopping orders.

One thing I am amazed we've never tried is anything from Mr Lee'sMr Lee's is a brand of gourmet instant noodles and congees made using the finest ingredients and nothing artificial. Gluten free with vegan options.

New launches for Mr Lees

Following on from the sad death of Damian Lee. (the creator of this range) in January 2021, Mr Lees are honoured his wishes and launched some new products. These products were developed with Damian and continue his legacy of delivering healthy alternatives to a market requiring quick, simple foods.

New to Mr Lees is Breakfast Porridge. Mr Lee’s are expanding into the porridge market by offering a new healthy, no nasties breakfast solution with real fruit. The porridges are gluten free and certified both vegan and low in sugar, they are the perfect healthy breakfast solution.

Mr Lees Breakfast Porridge

The Porridge comes in three flavours: 

So Very Berry, a blend of three grains with real pieces of strawberries, raspberries and goji berries which will give you energy to start your day right.

Salted Caramel for those with a sweet tooth but still wanting a healthy breakfast. A blend of three grains, naturally sweetened with coconut blossom sugar.

Finally, the Original flavour, a blend of three grains for a delicious traditional creamy porridge that you can tweak to your preferences.

We have tried the So Very Berry & the Salted Caramel and can say they are delicious. I am on a bit of a health kick at the moment and have been eating porridge for breakfast even before trying these so they came at a perfect time. They taste healthier than other porridges available and they will be going on my shopping list.

The second product that has launched is Asia’s number 1 comfort food – congee. Congee (also called konji, conjee, juk, jok and jook) is a traditional pan-Asian staple food recipe, enjoyed by millions across Asia. The dish stand outs for its versatility as it can be served in many different forms. It is usually prepared with rice although other grains and beans can also be used. The meal can be either savoury or sweet and countless combinations of ingredients can be added.


The savoury instant rice porridges feature two flavours, Original Congee Rice Porridge made with a unique blend of grains, soy sauce, real ginger and pieces of spring onion and Chicken Congee Rice Porridge made with a unique blend of 3 grains, freeze-dried shredded chicken breast, mushroom, real ginger and pieces of spring onion.

This comfort food is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner and boasts benefits of being low in sugar and fats, made with no artificial ingredients and gluten-free. Congee has been thought to nourish the body by improving digestive functions and boosting energy as well as enhancing sleep quality and helping blood circulation. Due to it being low in calories it is also the perfect solution for weight management.

Original Congee Rice Porridge

I had never heard of Congee before trying these and I must say I am very impressed. I did prefer the chicken flavour more than the original just because it had more flavour to it but the kids preferred the original.

To make these you just add boiling water, stir and leave for about 4 minutes. They are simple to make and are perfect for eating on the go as long as you have a spoon.

These are all available from Amazon, the Mr Lee’s website, vending machines and Ocado at the RRP of £2.25.

We were sent these new products from Mr Lees to try out free of charge in exchange for this blog post.