Sunday 31 December 2023

A photo every day for a year! 23rd - 31st December - Week 52 of #Project365

Here we are at the end of 2023. It's been a pretty good year for us, getting big jobs done around the house, GCSE's, a prom, new friends, a little holiday, seeing family, the girls growing up fast and a wonderful ChristmasI really don't have much to complain about. I am excited to for the new year even though we don't have any big plans. I feel like I need a year of calm with no worry about GCSE's, no stress of planning holidays, dealing with train strikes and fingers crossed no wasps nests. hehehe

We have had a lovely week, it's all been about spending time together, relaxing, watching TV and eating. Stu and Becky have had a few days back at work but they're both off today and tomorrow! Hooray!

Now for a photo every day!

Full fridge and farm shop
My girls with a couple of Christmas presents
Box of biscuits
Piles of Christmas presents
Me and gel nails.
Party food

357/365 - 23rd December
The big food shop was delivered, I was starting to worry as it didn't arrive until 40 minutes after my slot. The 30 substitutions weren't that bad and there were only 4 unavailable items. The fridge was full and we were almost ready for Christmas.

358/365 - 24th December
One of the unavailable items were parsnips which is a must for our Christmas dinner. I went off to the farm shop to get some, they had plenty and I couldn't resist buying a few extras like big pork pies, chutney and some lemon curd.

359/365 - 25th December
Christmas Day! We all got everything we wanted and more! One of Ellie's surprises was a Fluffie Stuffiez. You pluck all the fur off it to reveal a new one underneath and then stuff the fur into a plastic container to make a new one. It's very strange but Ellie was over the moon with it. lol

360/365 - 26th December
I thought my day's of getting the kids toys were over but even Becky got a doll, a Billie Eilish one. It's more an ornament, it has a stand, it's not one to play with. It's still a doll though. hehehe

361/365 - 27th December
It wouldn't be Christmas without a box of nice biscuits!

362/365 - 28th December
There was still piles of presents everywhere. Hopefully they have been put away by now.

363/365 - 29th December
Another set of PJ's. I did a couple of loads of washing and 90% of it was pyjamas. I think that sums up our relaxed week.

364/365 - 30th December
I have had this gel nail polish on since Christmas day and I love it! It still looks as good as day one. With normal nail polish it would be peeling off and chipped by now! I have had to buy some stuff to remove it as acetone free nail varnish remover won't do the job. Eek!

365/365 - 31st December
Party food that I need to cook today! I do love our New Years Eve party teas!

Wishing you all the best for the new year! Here's to 2024!

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Saturday 30 December 2023

Ring in the New Year with some teenage friendly celebration Ideas!

As the countdown to the New Year begins it's time to start thinking about how to make this celebration unforgettable for your teenagers. Say goodbye to the old and hello to the new with a bash that's as fun and exciting as the young souls you're celebrating with.

New Years Eve countdown

Grab your confetti cannons and let's dive into some ideas that will turn your New Year's Eve into the stuff of legends!

The Great Countdown Bash:
Turn your living room into the ultimate party zone with glittering decorations, streamers and funky lights. Create a countdown wall clock that builds the anticipation as the clock ticks away. Assign each hour leading up to midnight a different activity or game, keeping the energy levels high and the excitement building.

DIY Photo Booth Extravaganza:
Teenagers love capturing every moment for the 'Gram, so why not set up a DIY photo booth? Equip it with funky props, sparkly backdrops and polaroid cameras. This way, your teens can snap away and create everlasting memories of the night.

Themed Costumes:
Give your party a unique flair by choosing a theme for the night. Whether it's a Great Gatsby inspired affair, a masquerade ball or a throwback to the '80's or 90's. Having a theme adds an extra layer of fun and gives everyone an excuse to get creative with their outfits.

Gourmet Snack Attack:
Elevate the celebration with a spread that's both delicious and Instagram worthy. Set up a snack bar with a mix of sweet and savoury treats, from gourmet popcorn to build your own taco stations. Don't forget mocktails. Colourful, fizzy drinks that let your teens feel fancy without the morning after headache.

Dance 'til You Drop:
A New Year's Eve party wouldn't be complete without a dance floor. Create a playlist that combines the latest hits with throwback classics that will get everyone on their feet.

Memory Lane Movie Marathon:
Create a cosy movie corner with bean bags, blankets and an array of the best films from the past year. Let your teens vote on their favourites or choose a theme like "Nostalgia Night" with classic movies from their childhood.

Transform your living room into a stage and let the musical talents (or lack of) of your teenagers shine. Karaoke machines and a killer playlist will keep the party pumping.

Resolutions and Vision Boards:
Encourage your teens to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming one. Provide materials for creating vision boards or resolution cards. This not only adds a meaningful touch to the celebration but also helps them look forward to the future with optimism.

Escape Room Extravaganza:
Bring the thrill of an escape room to your New Year's Eve bash. Set up a series of puzzles and challenges that teams must conquer to "escape." It adds an element of excitement, friendly competition, and teamwork to the celebration

Outdoor Adventure:
If weather permits, consider hosting an outdoor celebration with a bonfire, a cosy setup of blankets and a telescope for stargazing. This provides a unique and memorable way to welcome the New Year.

DIY Fireworks Display:
If it's legal and safe in your area, bring out the sparklers and small fireworks for a dazzling display. Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines to ensure a night filled with sparkle, not trouble.

With these ideas, you'll be well on your way to hosting a New Year's Eve party that will have your teens talking for months to come. Here's to a year filled with laughter, joy, and unforgettable moments! 

What do you have planned for New Years Eve?

Friday 29 December 2023

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

This week my Word of the Week is:


We have had the best week and the best Christmas! I spend months preparing for it and if feels like it was over in a flash! Everything went to plan, I eventually got some parsnips and we had no dramas, well apart from Ellie having a tantrum about hating her new computer chair. It turns out Stu had put it together wrong and it was tipping forward instead of back. Oops. She loves it now. The girls loved all of their present and Becky laughed because every year for the last few years I have said she's not getting much and then she ends up with more than she is expecting.

I think my favourite present that I received for Christmas was the gel nail set, I got everything I needed to do gel nails. The base and top coats, nail colour and the UV lamp. All I didn't get was the stuff to remove the gel polish. I have loads of the acetone free nail polish remover but apparently that doesn't work so I have ordered some gel remover off Amazon which should be coming today. The gel polish sure does last longer than normal nail polish, I put it on Monday and it hasn't chipped of faded at all.

The highlight of the week on TV has of course been Eastenders. I thought building it up since February it was going to be a big let down but the Christmas day episode was fantastic! I do think some bit's after Christmas day have been a little bit silly and meh but I am loving Suki. Her and Eve are great together. I just can't work out how things are going to go with Nish, if he does wake up from his coma.

Here we are in that in-between stage between Christmas and New Year where I don't know what day it is and every day feels like a Sunday. We have been so lazy and I am enjoying every moment of it. Stu and Becky went back to work on Wednesday after a few days off but they are fine with that. Ellie and me on the other hand have been in our pyjamas all day, every day, we've watched an endless amount of films and we haven't stopped eating. I made way too much for the Christmas dinner that the leftovers lasted until yesterday. Even Ellie who usually isn't a fan of roast dinners had at least 4 over the past few days. Stu laughed when he saw all the pigs in blankets that I had made, he wasn't laughing as much yesterday when there was none left. hehehe

Now we're looking forward to the new year, well New Years Eve. Both Stu and Becky are off work so we can have some fun. Becky is off out with some friends but only after they've had some of the party tea that I am making and she said she'll be home before midnight to see the new year in, we'll see! I have said I am fine with her staying out. It won't be the first new year that we haven't spent with her as she has been at work over the last couple of years.

I hope you have all had a great week and wishing you all the best for 2024!

Word of the Week linky

Thursday 28 December 2023

The Highs and Lows of 2023.

For the last few years I have done this tag on recapping the last year! I think I originally got it from Woman on Thin Ice at the end of 2017. It is a great way to remember and recap the year. 

1. What was your happiest event?
My family and I have had a year filled with happiness when I think back over it. Ellie leaving school and settling in well at college, Becky having such lovely friends, Stu getting a pay rise and lots of praise at work and me just plodding along happily.

The happiest part of my year was our holiday back up to the North East. It all didn't go to plan and it was pretty stressful when I was planning it with all the train strikes but thankfully the break away went to plan and was wonderful. We spent a couple of days in Newcastle. If you look back over my blog posts in September most of them are about our little holiday. The whole reason we went away was to go to a family wedding. Stu's niece was getting married and it was so nice to see family and have a good catch up. It was also amazing to go back to Amble, our happy place! The wedding was of course a beautiful event and such a special day. I was pretty nervous about seeing some of Stu's family as when we left Northumberland we didn't leave things with them on the best of terms but we've all had things to deal with that have made us realise life is too short for silly squabbles. I spent a good few hours talking non-stop to a person who I didn't like because I thought she always judged me and looked down on me. Over the last few years a lot has gone on in her life and maybe it has changed her and I have become more confident and that has changed me. 

The Tyne Bridge

2. What was the saddest thing to happen?
I can't think of anything really sad to happen over this past year which of course is a good thing. There hasn't been one time I can pinpoint me sitting down and sobbing like past years. I have of course cried at TV shows, TikToks and silly things like that but I am glad to report my year seems to have been filled with happiness.

3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?
Ellie happened!! Everything about Ellie has surprised me this year. She has gone from being a tom boy to being such a girly girl loving dresses, make up and false nails. She even wore a dress for her prom when she left secondary school. She went on to cope amazingly with her GCSE exams and passed way more than I would have imagined a few years ago. Ellie was upset that she didn't pass maths but a couple of weeks after results day we got a phone call from Ellie's old maths teacher from school saying her maths GCSE papers had been sent off to be re-marked as she was so close to getting a pass. They came back and she got quite a few extra points and the pass that she wanted. She has gone from never catching a bus alone to being pretty amazing on public transport, her confidence has grown and she has turned into a beautiful, thoughtful, kind and sensible young lady!

My youngest dressed for prom

4. Who let you down?
I was going to say that I can't think of anyone but then I thought the only person to annoy me and make my life difficult is Hyacinth our next door neighbour. That's not her real name, I just call her that because she is like that woman of the 90's tv show Keeping Up Appearances Hyacinth Bucket. lol She has let me down because I expect better from someone her age.

5. Who supported you?
My dad of course, he is always there for us. It's the little things like helping with jobs around the house, giving us lifts places we would struggle to get to using public transport, offering advice and wise words and his endless supply of DIY stuff is a great help. (Yes, this answer is the same as last year but my dad is always there for us).

6. Tell us what you learned?
My girls are not girls anymore, they are young women. (Although I will still call them my girls.). My girls keep surprising me with how mature they can be. Ellie had boy issues and made some decisions which made me realise she has a good head on her shoulders for knowing who should and shouldn't be in her life and I am not going to say much about Becky but she has been so mature and sensible about things over the last year. They are needing me less and less which makes me sad but I am proud of the people that they are becoming.

7. Tell us what made you laugh?
The person to make me laugh the most this year has probably been my brother. The conversations I've had with him make me laugh and then retelling the conversations to Stu make me laugh all over again. He is a funny guy. My girls love him and think he is the funniest person ever! There isn't one conversation that I can think of as an example he is just funny even in the most serious situations. The girls say I am the sensible sibling and he's the funny one. lol

8. Tell us the things that made you cry?
There hasn't been much to make me cry in sadness this year. I cried on the phone to the landlord when we had a wasps nest in October. I think it was more our of frustration and tiredness as I had a cold and hadn't had much sleep. It got my point across and it was sorted within a couple of hours. I cried when I was trying to sort train tickets with upcoming strikes for our break away and I cried at Stu's nieces wedding as it was so beautiful.

9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud. Please miss this question out if you are not a parent.

Ellie smashed her GCSE's, is working hard at college and is learning to manage her own money.

Becky works so hard and is still loving being on permeant night shifts, she is managing her money better and I love how she is there for her friends.

10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.
This is a lot like last years answer. I have stepped up and out of my comfort zone doing things I wouldn't do if I had someone else to do them for me like making phone calls, dealing with our nightmare neighbour and budgeting our money well, 

11. Tell us the challenges you overcame?
Again the challenge is finding time together as a family. I encouraged Becky to change her sleeping habits so she can eat with us on an evening, I have made a point of us seeing my dad more and spending time with him as he's not getting any younger and I have tried to have more one on one time with my girls.

12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2024.
I would like to increase our savings more and I would also like to make time to read and do some crafty things.

Happy new year! Wishing you all the best for 2024.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Our Christmas 2023!

And just like that Christmas is over for another year. We have had a fantastic few days and it's been nice to have some time together as a family with Stu and Becky both having some time off work.

Christmas presents

Christmas for us starts on the 23rd on my dad's birthday. We went to see him to drop presents off and spend a little time with him. The big food shop was delivered and I did chuckle at all the substitutions, there was 30 of them. I think the person picking the shopping just got sick and kept sending pork pies in replace of the party food which wasn't available. 8 packs of six pork pies were sent, 6 were sent back. lol

The parsnips weren't delivered with the food shop so first thing on Christmas eve I went off to the farm shop who had plenty, I do love that place and bought some extra treats for us. A giant pork pie, chutney's and some cakes.

Farm shop

On Christmas eve I spent my time peeling and chopping the veg and cooking what I could in advance for the Christmas dinner. I spent my dad in the kitchen singing along to music and having a dance. It is one of my favourite days of the year. Stu was fantastic and spent his day doing all the other jobs like cleaning the bathroom and doing some washing. We got 4 loads dry out on the line, it was quite windy here which was a real bonus. Stu and Ellie decorated the gingerbread houses which we Ellie and I never got around to doing and they had a lovely time. I started in the kitchen at about 11am and finished at about 7pm when I went for a well deserved soak in the bath. 

Gingerbread houses

Becky went to work on Christmas Eve, doing a night shift, it was the last one so she at least had Christmas Day, Boxing Day and today off. Stu, Ellie and myself made sure we were up and ready to open presents for when Becky got in from work so she could go to bed when she had opened hers.

Everyone was very happy with the presents that they received. The girls mostly knew what they were getting but there were some surprises thrown in. I was beyond happy with my presents. I was well and truly spoilt! Along with bath stuff, candles, pj's and slippers some of my favourite presents were some Funko Pops, the Dobby and Marvel Infinity Gauntlet Lego and a gel nail set. The biggest surprise were the rings that Stu got me. Years ago I stopped wearing my old ring as my finger got to big so these were a replacement. I love them!

Funko Pops
Lego and painted nails

Due to all my preparation on Christmas Eve I didn't have much to do on the big day apart from cook some stuffing and the parsnips. I could spend the day relaxing and spending time with Stu and Ellie. I had a go with the gel nail set and it went pretty well, it's going to take some practice getting my nails perfect but the gel nail polish feels amazing and so much better than normal nail polish.

Becky got out of bed just before 4pm and we could finally eat. I was so hungry despite me eating chocolate and picking on things out of the fridge all day! We sat down at the table, ate and the dinner was amazing!

Dinner tableChristmas dinner

My work here was done, the way it works here is that I prepare everything in the run up to Christmas. Sorting the presents, most of the wrapping, the shopping and the cooking. As soon as we've finished eating it's my time to relax and Stu and the kids take over washing the dishes and tidying up.

We spent the rest of Christmas day watching TV and eating even more. Trifle, chocolates and cake. We still have the Christmas pudding to have, I think we might get around to that in January.

I hope you all had a great Christmas or break if you don't celebrate. I'm off to watch more TV and eat more. hehehe

Tuesday 26 December 2023

Mastering the art of laziness through the holidays!

We're into the the most wonderful week of the year, sandwiched between Christmas and the New Year, a time when the hustle and bustle of the build up to Christmas has gone and the excitement of Christmas starts to fade and the world seems to slow down. I love this part of the Christmas holidays. I have worked hard planning Christmas so I deserve a break!

lazy Christmas

Here is a guide on how to relax, unwind and master the art of being lazy!

Pyjamas, All Day Every Day!
The dress code for almost every day over the next week is pyjamas. Embrace loungewear and let your fanciest outfit be the cosiest pair of pj's that you own. You don't have to be stinky! Get up in the morning and just change into a clean set of pj's for the day. There's no extra washing to do as you would have normally been wearing clothes anyway.

Have a binge watch extravaganza!
Your mission is to become one with your couch and indulge in a TV series or movie marathon. Watch that show that you have never had time for or watch a series of films. This can be done easily with children too. We used to always watch the Toy Story movies or How to Train your dragon at this time of year.

Have a nap!
With all the food we have eaten over the Christmas season I know I feel like napping more. I tend to stay up later over this week so I am flagging by late afternoon and a little nap sorts me out.

Create a snack haven in your living room. Turkey sandwiches, cheese platters, afternoon drinks, tubs of chocolates, anything beige like sausage rolls are a winner. You get bonus lazy points for opting for pre-packaged snacks.

Mindless Scrolling!
Scroll through your social media feeds without a care in the world. The goal is to  lose track of time while simultaneously mastering the art of procrastination. I have found TikTok to be the best for this, everyone has more time at this time of year so those who make TikTok's have the extra time to make more.

Avoiding Adulting!
Between Christmas and New Year is the perfect time to ignore responsibilities. Bills, emails and chores! Let them wait as long as they are not too important. Everything will still be there in the New Year.

Be cosy!
Make the most of not going out into the cold and snuggle under blankets, have candles burning and treat yourself to a hot chocolate. I love to fill a hot water bottle and shut the curtains early, it always makes it feel cosy in here and it is so easy to lose track of time.

Create a playlist of your favourite relaxed tunes and let the music set the tone for your lazy escapade. 

Guilt free reading!
Grab that book you've been meaning to read and immerse yourself in a guilt free reading session. Whether it's fiction, non fiction, or a guilty pleasure novel. Let the words transport you to another world.

Embrace the Do Nothing philosophy!
Above all, remember to embrace the do nothing philosophy. Give yourself permission to enjoy the stillness, the lack of agenda and the joy of doing absolutely nothing without a hint of guilt.

Kick back, relax, and let the laziness commence. You've earned it!!

Monday 25 December 2023

Our weekly meal plan! 25th - 31st December. #MealPlanningMonday

Our weekly meal plan

Happy Christmas! I hope you are having a wonderful day whatever you are doing! I wrote this blog post in the middle of last week, with a few bits added yesterday, trying to get ahead with things so I can take some time off blogging and spend it with my family.

This is probably my favourite week of the year for food. If all has gone to plan I will be in the kitchen cooking which I don't mind, although I got most of it done yesterday after going on a parsnip hunt. Asda didn't deliver any but the local farm shop didn't let us down. Christmas dinner is the one meal of the year that I love cooking. I will have music playing and a glass of bucks fizz. We won't be eating until about 4pm when Becky gets up from sleeping after her night shift. Usually she would go to bed as soon as she gets in but there are of course presents to open and those are more important than sleep. hehehe

On the menu this week we have:

Today we are of course having Christmas dinner with all the trimmings! Turkey, pork, pigs in blankets, about 5 different types of stuffing (I love stuffing), mashed and roast potatoes, swede, carrots, broccoli, roast parsnips, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and lots and lots of gravy!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we will be eating leftovers from Christmas dinner. I always cook way too much and to be honest I like it better on Boxing day and the day after. We will also be eating lots of snacky food like sausage rolls, pork pies, cheese and crackers and of course chocolate.

Saturday we will eat a normal meal. We will have something simple. A fry up with sausage, bacon, eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast.

Then on Sunday, New Years Eve we will be having party food! I stocked up a few weeks ago when I went shopping to Iceland. Mini pizzas, quiche, sausage rolls, breaded chicken bits, sticky chicken skewers, garlic bread, onion rings, sandwiches, crisps nuts, mini chocolate eclairs, doughnuts and macarons.

What do you eat over Christmas?

Sunday 24 December 2023

Happy Christmas Eve! #MySundaySnapshot

Yesterday didn't feel like a Saturday and I doubt today will feel like a Sunday but I am sure it will feel like Christmas Eve. I have a lot to do but I like Christmas Eve. I will cook the turkey and prepare all the veg for Christmas dinner then have a lovely soak in the bath. I was out yesterday tea-time getting some last minute bits because everything didn't arrive with the food shop. I had 30 substitutions some of which I sent back and 4 unavailable items. lol Walking to the shop I had a clear view of the wall in the centre of town.

Christmas wall

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow. Merry Christmas! 

My Sunday Snapshot linky

Saturday 23 December 2023

A photo every day for a year! 16th - 22nd December - Week 51 of #Project365

It's almost Christmas and I am starting to get excited. We always say Christmas really starts today with it being my dad's birthday. We're off to see him today and get told off for buying him presents. My brother and his family will be there so I won't get all the flack. hehehe

Becky was in town yesterday doing some last minute shopping (presents for herself) and she said it was heaving! It was so busy the bus was running over 45 minutes late. Eek! Thankfully by the time she got home the buses had sorted themselves out and they were running on time when Stu finished work. I am glad I am finished with all of the shopping apart from the food shop which is coming this afternoon. I hope everything turns up, I will be keeping my fingers crossed.

Now for a photo everyday!

Voucher and my eldest wrapping presents
Boxes and Avengers on the TV
Text message and a chocolates
The back garden

350/365 - 16th December
Becky got a gift voucher from work, it's her Christmas bonus. She always forgets about it so when it comes as a nice surprise. She has already spent it but it's a nice gesture as all the staff at the care home do work hard.

351/365 - 17th December
Becky did most of her wrapping and I got her to do some of mine too. hehehe That girl does like wrapping.

352/365 - 18th December
I realised that the boxes inside the Gousto boxes fit perfectly in our bathroom cupboards. The cupboards are now a lot more organised.

353/365 - 19th December
I did my usual routine of watching Avengers Infinity War and End Game when I was wrapping presents. I was so happy to get it done. I hate wrapping!

354/365 - 20th December
Becky was at work and saw something I posted on Facebook and had to message me about it. She thought she was getting an extra present and was so disappointed when I reminded her that it was Ellie's computer chair, bless her!

355/365 - 21st December
The lovely Jayne from Sticky Mud & Belly Laughs sent me a gorgeous gift, lots of chocolate. Yum, yum! 

356/365 - 22nd December
Got up on Friday and checked the fences were still up! We had a couple of days of wind! I definitely thought at least one panel would come down.

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Friday 22 December 2023

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

This week my Word of the Week is:


Are we all ready for Christmas? I thought I was ready last week but this week I am really ready! At the start of the month I had all the Christmas spirit but over the past week I have felt a bit bah humbug. I think now the kids are older some of the excitement of Christmas is gone and this week has really dragged until Ellie broke up from college on Wednesday. She didn't really have to go into college on Wednesday but wanted to get her mark, there was only 3 of them there out of about 20. lol They had one practical lesson and then spent the rest of the day doing fun quizzes and watching movies. 

I finally got all the wrapping done that I am doing. hehehe I sat down on Tuesday with Avengers Infinity War and End Game on the TV, not Christmassy in the slightest but they're a great length to get everything done. There are still a couple of things to wrap, big presents but Stu will do them on Christmas Eve. I have my dad's birthday presents to drop off to him tomorrow and then I am done thinking about presents until I have to open them. hehehe

I got a text on Wednesday from Sainsburys saying my delivery was coming on Thursday! I had forgotten all about that, I had in fact had meant to cancel it as I had got one with Asda for the 23rd. Oh well, I thought I would make the most of it and it would save me going into town to get things like milk, bread, loo rolls and some things for the fridge that we were running out of and they do big packs of pigs in blankets since I found the one's I bought from Iceland a couple of weekends ago in the bottom of a bag that I thought only had biscuits in. Oops. Now it means all I need to get from Asda on the 23rd is the veg because Sainsburys delivered everything with no substitutions! Hooray!

Becky has had a couple of nights away and is coming home today, it feels like I have hardly seen her this past week with her working then going off on her adventures on Wednesday afternoon. It seems cheesy to say but enjoy your children when they are young and are at home, they grow up so fast! I am glad that she is out living her life but I do miss her sometimes.

I feel like Christmas will really start today. Becky is coming home and we're going to decorate some gingerbread houses and watch some of our favourite Christmas movies starting with Elf which I recorded off the TV because as far as I could tell it was only on Amazon Prime and I wasn't paying for it. Hmmf.

I hope you all have a wonderful day on Monday whatever you are doing!

Word of the Week linky

Thursday 21 December 2023

What I am looking forward to watching on Christmas Day!

One of my favourite things about Christmas is all the fantastic shows that are on TV. Of course the soaps pull out all the stops but there's the films and all the specials which make me happy too! I usually write about what I look forward to watching over the whole week around Christmas but this year on Christmas day the TV seems fantastic.

Christmas TV

These are some that I am looking forward to watching on Christmas day!!

Tabby McTat, 2.35pm, BBC One!

Tabby McTat is the latest festive animation by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer arriving on BBC One. Tabby McTat follows the story of busker Fred and his cat Tabby McTat who enjoy a contented life singing on the streets of London until one day while chasing a thief, Fred falls over and breaks his leg and is whisked away in an ambulance. What will become of the busker’s cat left alone on the streets of the capital city? 

The voice cast includes former Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker as narrator, alongside the voices of Rob Brydon, Ṣọpe Dirisu, Cariad Lloyd, Joanna Scanlan and Susan Wokoma. 

Toy Story 4, 3.10pm, BBC1

When Woody, Buzz and the gang join Bonnie on a road trip with her new craft project turned toy, Forky, the innocent little spork’s hilarious antics launch Woody on a wild quest filled with unexpected new characters – and one long-lost friend!

Doctor Who Christmas special, 5.55pm, BBC One.

The Doctor Who Christmas special 2023 will be the first full adventure for Doctor Who's 15th Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. It'll see Gatwa encounter mythical goblins as his life collides with Ruby his new companion.

The Masked Singer Christmas special 2023, 7.30pm, ITV1!

If you thought The Masked Singer UK was totally bonkers, just imagine what a Christmas special would look like. Well, we’re finally getting our Christmas wish as the part guessing game, part singing competition brings its very first festive edition to our screens. 

Call the Midwife Christmas special, 8.15pm, BBC One!

The Christmas Special begins two weeks before Christmas with Apollo 8 poised to circle the moon, but in Poplar more pressing matters bring our team back to earth. There are returning newlyweds, surprise visitors, unexpected parcels and unusual presents. There is joy, love and community but there are those who need it too. 

The 1% Club Christmas Special. 9pm, ITV

Lee Mack hosts a festive special of The 1% Club with all the Christmas bells and whistles. Every question is Christmas themed and our 100 contestants are hoping to make the holiday season even more special by winning up to £100,000.

We love this show, you don't have to be clever to get the answers right as it's just common sense. It's something we always watch as a family. 

EastEnders, 9.45pm BBC1!

In a flash, Denise, Kathy, Linda, Sharon, Stacey and Suki’s lives are permanently changed forever as a Walford male meets his fate in The Vic.

I am have read all the theories and I still don't know who dies. I want it to be Nish, couldn't care less if it was Keanu but I really want it to be Dean and I want Mick to come back and be the one to murder him.

Do you watch TV on Christmas day? What are you looking forward to?

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Christmas tree tear & share cheesy garlic bread - Recipe!

One of the best things about Christmas is all the picky food that we eat. Picture this, a Christmas tree shaped masterpiece ready to steal the show at your festive gatherings or for cosy evenings in sat in front of the TV when you don't want a full on meal!

Ideal for pre-Christmas or Twixmas get togethers this Christmas tree tear & share cheesy garlic bread is made with less than 10 ingredients in 7 easy steps. It is equal parts delicious and decorative!

Christmas tree tear & share cheesy garlic bread

Prep time: 1 hour. Cook time: 30 minutes.

500g of strong white bread flour.
1 tablespoon of sugar.
2 teaspoons of salt.
1 packet of fast active dry yeast (7g).
250g of unsalted butter, at room temperature.
250ml of warm water.
22 mozzarella cheese pearls or bits of mozzarella cheese.
1 teaspoon of garlic granules.
A handful of parsley, finely chopped.

A large mixing bowl
A measuring jug/scales
A baking tray lined with parchment paper
A small mixing bowl


Make your dough by combining the flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and yeast in the large mixing bowl, then add 100g of melted butter and 250ml warm water. Bring together to form a dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes before returning to the bowl, covering and leaving to prove for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, drain the mozzarella pearls and dry lightly with some paper towels and preheat the oven to 180°C (fan).

Divide the dough into 22 equal portions then take each one and flatten out into disc, place a mozzarella pearl in centre and pull the edges over to seal the doughball.

Place one at the top of the baking tray, then continue with the rest of the dough until you have created a tree shape, increasing the dough balls by one as you go down. Your biggest row will be 6 balls and you will have one left to use as the base/stump of the Christmas tree.

Place in the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden. 

Prepare your garlic butter whilst your tree is baking, by combining the remaining 150g butter with the other tsp of salt, the garlic granules and 2 generous pinches of chopped parsley.

When your tree is baked allow it to cool slightly before brushing with some of the garlic butter and sprinkling with the rest of the chopped parsley. 

Serve with the rest of the garlic butter on the side for dipping. 

This recipe is from the Easy Peasy Baking campaign, launched by UK Flour Millers, making baking simple. You can find more Easy Peasy Baking recipes and information on the campaign over on the Fab Flour website.

Tuesday 19 December 2023

My favourite things about Christmas!

The air is buzzing with excitement, the streets are lit up like Christmas trees, there's the scent of gingerbread is wafting through the air, presents are slowly being wrapped and all I am listening to is Christmas music!


These are my absolute favourite things that make this season the most wonderful time of the year!

Spending time with family!
Everyone is home for a couple of days this year, even Becky, my eldest who last year worked all over Christmas. It's going to be nice to have some quality time together when we don't have to go anywhere or have any commitments.

Mince Pies!
I have been eating them since October but they seem a little bit more special during the festive period. I love them warmed a little with cream. Yum, yum!

The presents!
I love seeing my girls open their Christmas presents, they know mostly everything what they are getting this year but they are still excited! Stu and I have presents to unwrap too. When the kids were little we didn't bother getting each other presents but for the last few years we have been treating each other.

Chocolate at Christmas is something different than usual chocolate. I remember opening selection boxes as a child on Christmas morning and being allowed to eat it. We still have the same tradition now. It's normal for us to have at least one bar of chocolate before breakfast on Christmas morning.

Matching pyjamas!
We all have matching pj's again this year and I love the tradition of it. I think this is the first year in a few where everyone has been 100% happy with them. hehehe There will of course be photos of them.

Cooking the Christmas dinner! 
It is the one meal a year which I love to cook! I do it over 2 days, prepping everything on Christmas eve and then cooking it on Christmas day. I love it when it all comes together.

The leftovers!
As much as I love cooking the Christmas dinner I never enjoy it when we sit down to eat but I always make more than enough and it lasts us a couple of days. I really, really enjoy it on Boxing day!

Christmas TV.
I can't wait to plonk myself in front of the TV when the Christmas dinner is done and then spend the next couple of days watching all the specials on TV. This year I am looking forward to Call the Midwife, Doctor Who and of course the soaps.

Bucks Fizz!
Why don't we drink it all year around? Buck's fizz is an alcoholic cocktail made of about two parts sparkling wine, typically champagne, to one part orange juice. I have my first glass on Christmas day after breakfast and a couple more when cooking the dinner. It's such a treat!

Lazy days! 
I love the lazy days between Christmas and New Years Eve. Stu and Becky will still have a few days of work but everything seems more relaxed. 

What are your favourite things about Christmas?

Monday 18 December 2023

Our weekly meal plan! 18th - 24th December. #MealPlanningMonday

Our weekly meal plan

Here we are, the week before Christmas! How did that happen? Christmas seemed ages away a month ago and it has now it seems to have came around quickly. I am feeling pretty ready for it. We have the big Christmas food shop coming this week which I still need to go on and check and make sure I have everything that we need although we don't need that much, mostly vegetables and all the fresh things like cream, milk, nibbly bits like pork pies and cheese. As much as I complain about doing the food shop throughout the year I do like doing the Christmas food shop.

Last weeks meal plan went well even though my Gousto Box wasn't delivered until almost 7pm on Tuesday but everything had a decent date on so has lasted. The only thing we didn't eat were the burgers in buns, we ended up having sausage sandwiches on Tuesday evening.

We have another Gousto Box coming today and it is making the week before Christmas easier as I booked the meals a few weeks ago and I haven't had to think about what we're eating and the shopping. I tried to go not too over the top with the Christmas meals this week and I am really looking forward to the Butter bean, sausage & egg breakfast bake. My family have realised they absolutely love butter beans which of course is a good thing.

On the menu this week we have:

Gousto - Salt & pepper chicken with egg fried rice.
Gousto - Crispy onion chicken & gravy dunking burger.
Gousto - Butter bean, sausage & egg breakfast bake.
Gousto - Sausage & pepper chilli con carne pasta bake.
Pizza. Home made maybe but probably just frozen one's.
Fish, chips and mushy peas.
A picky, party tea on Christmas Eve. Becky is at work so I don't want to try and get a takeaway delivered at the exact time that she will be ready to eat as they are usually so busy.

What are you eating this week?