Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Taking back the kitchen! #LittleKitchen

Recently I was contacted and asked if I would like to get involved in an exciting new campaign with Wren Kitchens called ‘Take Back the Kitchen’. It sounded a lot of fun and I thought why not....


For Wren, the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is where families experience some of their most memorable moments – it’s the ideal place for the family to gather, natter, laugh, and most importantly cook and enjoy wholesome, nutritional meals together – however we understand that getting the little ones in the family to eat their 5-a-day can sometimes prove quite a challenge!

A study on 2,000 parents was conducted with children aged 0-16. The study shows that nearly 3 in 4 parents admit their family could be eating better with nearly half saying it is a daily struggle to get their families eating healthy and nutritious meals....The poll also reveals that 1 in 10 British parents admit to cooking from scratch and sitting down as a family only once or twice a month. With these results in mind the ‘Little Kitchen’ hub was created....

I meal plan and try to cook a couple of meals a week from scratch....I think we eat reasonably well but we could always eat better....We sit down as a family on a weekend to eat but the rest of the week it depends on what time Stu finishes work and how hungry the girls are when they get in from school.....

We were sent a recipe book and a whole heap of goodies to help us have fun in the kitchen....The recipe book is great and is full of things I would have never have thought of making....As it's an e-book you can have a look for free

Becky got on with designing an apron.....She is the artistic one in the family...hehehe


Usually when the kids are off school they have sandwiches and a cake or biscuit for lunch....Yesterday I decided to get some fruit out and give the girls some skewers....


The skewers were only £1 from Tesco....I chopped the fruit. Watermelon, mango, pineapple, grapes and let them get on with it.....

They had their normal sandwiches and then ate so much fruit....Eating it off skewers was more fun they said....


When their bellies were full we decided to make something for dessert after tea....

Chocolate covered banana & peanut butter bites.


These were so easy to make...I think even a toddler could manage making them....All you need is bananas, peanut butter and dark chocolate....Adding coconut or crushed almonds at the end is optional. We never bothered.


I think these are so cute....They are easy to make and we will be making them again....Without the recipe book I would never have thought of making these....We all loved them.


Later on in the week I will be sharing a couple more recipes including Coconutty chicken strips and colourful egg fried rice....

We were sent a goodie bag & a shopping voucher to cover the cost of ingredients for the recipes.

Warcraft: The Beginning!

Stu and I are huge fans of the online game World of Warcraft...We have both played on and off for years. I was sucked back in over Christmas and have been playing a little since...hehehe

If like Stu and I you are a fan of the game you will be well aware that the film Warcraft has been released! It has been talked about for years and now it is finally in the cinema!


The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.


As soon as we can find a baby sitter Stu and I will be paying a visit to the cinema to see it.....Usually we don't like the same films but Warcraft is one thing we have in common! 

To celebrate the release of the Warcraft movie, Bravado – the world’s leading music merchandising company has partnered with Primark on a range of official t-shirts.

The t-shirts are being sold exclusively and are priced at £5.00.


We got one to have a look at and Stu loves it just as much as I do....I think it will be an item of clothing we share or fight over....hehehe

If I hadn't have been sent this and I saw it in Primark I would have got Stu it for fathers day....It's such a great price and looks fab too!


I was sent the t-shirt in exchange for mentioning it on social media....I was not obliged to write about it on my blog but did because I love it.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Last weeks meal plan did not really go to plan....I can't even remember why but we didn't have the Spaghetti bolognese and therefor that messed up the jacket potatoes with bolognese the next day....We ended up having a Domino's which fed me for lunch the next day too....lol

I am taking part in the Wren Kitchens, Take back the kitchen campaign....They have sent us a box of goodies and a recipes book which we will be taking some recipes from this week....Of course the desserts have caught my girls eyes....I will be blogging about them later this week!

It is half term this week and we have a couple of days out planned....I'm planning the meals but can't say what day we'll have them....It all depends on the weather.

This week on the menu we have:

Coconutty chicken strips & Colourful egg fried rice....
Chicken casserole, mash & veg....
Sausage rolls, sandwiches, crisps and cakes....
Fish finger sandwiches....
Bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes....
We're out at Newcastle one day so we will get something on the way home....I have no idea what?

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, 28 May 2016

A photo everyday for a year! #Project366 - Week 21

This week has flown over....The weather at the start of the week was glorious towards the end of the week not so good...We've even had the heating on a couple of times...The kids broke up for half term yesterday so I'm hoping for some sunshine over the next week. Fingers crossed!

Now onto a photo for every day....I did cheat on Tuesday. It got to bedtime and I realised I hadn't taken any photos so a screenshot from Timehop is the best I can do...


142/366 21st May.
I sorted out the craft box....We now have two boxes. lol One full of bits and bobs and this one full of paint and glue...lol

143/366 22nd May.

144/366 23rd May.
Crafting outside....We made some keyrings.

145/366 24th May.
It's 6 years since Ellie gave up her dummies....The dummy fairy worked.

146/366 25th May.
It's hard to tell what is Ellie and what is her teddies....lol

147/366 26th May.
Stu's new t-shirt.

148/366 27th May.
Waiting for the bus to go for a hearing check up! Her good ear is perfect and her she's still deaf in her bad ear....We didn't expect that to change so the news was good.


Friday, 27 May 2016

All the emotions #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:


We've had all the emotions here this week.

Over the weekend Ellie and Stu spent most of their time making a model of Hadrian's wall and the fort.....We were so happy with it. Ellie was so excited to take it to school....


They were going to be judged and 3 winners. 1st, 2nd and 3rd....As soon as I found this out I said to Stu that I don't even have to see the other projects to pick the winners I guessed it would be the popular kids....

I'm not doing the whole bitter, sore loser thing but it's a fact that in Ellie's class there is favourites. It's always the same 4 or 5 children picked for everything.

Ellie came out of school quite sad and said "him, her and her won obviously!"....She said "what's the point in trying when they win everything, every time!". I can see where she's coming from but I told her she has to keep trying....I was so proud of her effort....She's a winner in my eyes! 

We have had dealings with our landlord which really made us happy....We asked for a new tenancy agreement at the beginning of this month and we finally got it this week! We thought it would just be for a year but it's for two and the rent stays the same!! Hooray!! We also asked if we could paint the awful tiles in the bathroom....She said "Paint whatever you like it's your home" which I thought was so lovely! We were always under the impression that we were to keep everything white.....That is not the case. We're allowed to add a bit of colour! I am so pleased!

There isn't much news about Becky....She has been in a great mood this week....I think it's because I have been letting her to stay up and watch the Britain's got talent semi finals....hehehe She's been going to bed at 9pm and I've been telling her the results in the morning.

The excitement is building for the half term school holidays....We have some great plans for next week! I had a lovely delivery of goodies for the Take Back the Kitchen campaign with Wren Kitchens....We're going to be doing a bit of cooking as well as having family visit and a day out at the Life Centre in Newcastle

Today we are also going to Newcastle for Ellie's hearing test....As I've mentioned before she is deaf in one ear so the hearing tests are just to keep an eye on her good ear. I always worry about these appointments even though deep down I know her good ear is fine....

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Mummy Tag...

The lovely Rachel from Parenthood Highs and Lows recently tagged me in The Mummy Tag. I do love a tag and it's been a while since I've done one.


1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum or a Working Mum?

I'm a stay at home mum and I have been since Becky was born over 13 years ago....Eesh! That seems a long, long time not to work outside the home....

2. Would you have it any other way?

Sometimes I do think that I would like to go out to work but it just isn't practical at the moment...I am happy being a stay at home mam....I love it most of the time....There are days like the middle of the 6 week summer holidays where I would love a break from the kids....hehehe but this is what I've chosen and I'm fine with that....

3. Do you co-sleep?

It would be a bit odd if I did considering my girls are 13 & 8. There is the odd time when one of them is poorly that they sleep with me and Stu goes in there bed....I have never done the co-sleeping thing with them.

4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?

A baby bouncer...It was a sanity saver for me. I could put the girls down especially Ellie and give myself 5 minutes.


At the age they are now it is their tablet computers....They are great so I can have 5 minutes peace and especially good for when we have trips to the hospital. They keep them amused for the long journey.

5. How many kids do you plan on having?

No more! lol I'm done at two. I do have quite a few reasons why....Heart problems and traumatic births have put me off any more....

6. Date nights? How often do you have them?

Err...Not very often at all. Stu and I rarely go out together without the kids.....We have the odd lunch out but that's about it. 


We do try to have some time on a Saturday evening when the kids have gone to bed to watch TV and have few drinks together....

7. Your child’s favourite show?

Ellie loves Topsy and Tim and Paw Patrol. Becky doesn't really watch TV apart from Supervet and One Born Every Minute. She prefers to watch YouTube videos. Stampy, Miranda Sings and Zoella. Ugh!

8. Name one thing you brought before you had the baby and never ended up using?

I don't think there was anything we never used. The closest to that was The Bumbo Seat....lol We used it once with Ellie. She hated it. Then Becky sat in it and got herself stuck...lol

 9. Your child’s favourite food?

Pizza! Chocolate! Chinese....lol

10. How many cars does your family have?

None. Neither Stu and I drive but I have been thinking about it lately....

11. Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now?

I have no idea....I was a size 12 before I had kids....The largest I've been is a size 24 now I am a size 16 to 18 depending on where I shop....

12. Dream holiday with your kids?

It has to be Disney World! One day we will get there...

13. Dream holiday without your kids?

A road trip around America....The kids would only moan at all the traveling....hehehe

14. How has your life changed since having kids?

Completely! It's amazing how much it has changed. I don't have wild night's out anymore (well not every week. lol) I sleep a lot less....I do more washing....The housework is never ending and I don't get to use the bathroom alone BUT it is all amazing! 

15. Finish the sentence “It makes heart melt when…”


my girls play nicely together...It rarely happens so I appreciate it when they do....

16. Where do you shop for your kids?

Asda, Tesco, Primark and charity shops....I have got some lovely clothes all at great prices.

17. Favourite make-up and skincare products?

I rarely wear make-up and my skincare is none existent unless you count soap and water...Eek!

18. Huggies or Pampers?

I used neither with both of my girls....Huggies brought Becky out in a rash and pampers were just leaky. This is going back 13 years though. They have probably changed since then. I used Boots own brand.

19. Have you always wanted kids?

No. I was determined that I was not having kids until I fell pregnant.....I didn't like kids before I had them. I don't really like kids now apart from my two.....hehehe

20. Best part of being a mum?

Seeing them grow up....The laughs, the cuddles and knowing I will love them no matter what....

Consider yourself tagged to answer these questions.....

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A messy bath. #wickedwednesdays

A couple of weeks ago when I was running Ellie's bath she tipped a whole bottle of Radox bubble bath into the bath! I banned her from having anymore baths....She was to make do with showers....

After she had been painting on Saturday she obviously covered in paint and needed more than a shower....I forgot about the ban and ran her a bath....

Our bathroom is right next to the kitchen so when Ellie is in the bath I can get on and wash the dishes and potter about....

In the 7 minutes that I was in the kitchen she had emptied two bottles of talc, a bottle of body lotion and two tubs of hair gel into the bath!!


I was beyond livid.

I pulled the plug and showered her.....Then got her to clean the bath out which resulted in a lot of shouting, stamping and huffing....Not just from me, from her too! 

She really is banned from baths now!

brummymummyof2

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Fathers Day Keyring Kits from Baker Ross.

After being busy all weekend making her Hadrian's Wall model I thought Ellie would have had enough crafting for one week but no, she asked to do some more. We still had a few bits to try out from the latest box of Baker Ross goodies. The sun was shining so we decided to venture outside and do some crafting in the sunshine....

Ellie was keen to get started on the Fathers day Wooden Keyring kit....

A pack of 8 keyrings costs £2.95.


There are eight assorted designs - car, guitar, crown, cup, t-shirt, tie, star & circle. Each wooden shape is supplied with a metal keyring and is made from 3mm plywood...


Ellie had a great time with these and instead of wanting to give them all to her dad she made a few for family we have visiting at the weekend and of course one for herself to hang on her school bag....

They are something I would buy again....The killed some time and they looked fab when they were complete....I think the people who receive these will love them....


We are part of the Baker Ross Blogger Network and we were sent a box of crafts free of charge to try out....All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Best of British: 101 Ideas for having fun with the kids this summer.

The weather is getting warmer and in a couple of months the summer holidays will be here.....I always struggle to fill the six weeks holidays with fun activities so when I was contacted by someone who said they were contacting 101 of the best British bloggers to contribute to an e-book I was interested....

I was asked to provide one of our favourite unique trips, activities or days out that we love to do over the summer....I did and it was included in the Best of British 101 Ideas for Having Fun with the Kids this Summer eBook


There really is 101 ideas to fill the summer holidays in this e-book.....There are days out, crafts, ideas to have fun in the garden and lots more. 

The e-book isn't for profit and is free to download.....

In case you were wondering.....Here is my idea!


Monday, 23 May 2016

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Last weeks meal plan went pretty well....The kids ate everything it was Stu and I who let the team down. There were a couple of meals we just didn't fancy....

The BBQ yesterday didn't happen. It wasn't the nicest day and looked like it was going to rain all day. It never did. Ugh!...We ended up having Doner kebabs which I haven't had in years....My mouth was burning and I was stinking of garlic but I really enjoyed them.

I managed to empty the freezer a little last week and with the shopping at the weekend filled it up with ice-creams....hehehe

Last week we had sausage mash & Yorkshire puddings on the menu which caused Ellie to have such a strop. She wanted Toad in the hole....In my eyes sausages & Yorkshire puddings are nearly the same as toad in the hole....Grr! Kids. lol

We're at the hospital on Friday for a check up on Ellie's hearing so we will get fish and chips because after sitting on a bus for nearly 4 hours there and back I know I will not feel like cooking....

This week on the menu we have:

Tuesday - Spaghetti bolognese with Garlic bread....
Wednesday - Jacket potatoes with left over bolognese....
Thursday - Baked bean curry....
Friday - Fish and chips....
Saturday - Pork stir fry....
Sunday - Toad in the hole, mash & veg....

The finished craft project....

Ellie had a craft project to do as part of her homework....In all her years at school she's only ever had written homework or to draw a picture.

She had to make part of Hadrian's wall and one of the forts.....She could make it out of anything. Lego was suggested but I didn't want her taking our Lego to school for it to go missing....

I shared the start of the project as My Sunday Photo yesterday and here is the finished piece of work!


Obviously she had a bit of help (mostly from Stu) but she did do most of it herself....

The bricks on the wall were the fiddliest and messiest part. We used cotton wool but I think the wall looks great!

The living room has been filled with crafty things all weekend but it's done now and I am very impressed with it...

The weather was perfect for carrying it to school...I hope her teachers likes it as much as we do....

Pink Pear Bear

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Hadrian's Wall Craft Project #MySundayPhoto

Ellie has been learning about the Romans and part of this topic has been learning about Hadrian's Wall....For her homework she has to build part of the wall and a fort....

It is a work in progress but we're getting there.....



Saturday, 21 May 2016

A photo everyday for a year! #Project366 - Week 20

Another week of photos....Ice cream featured a lot this week. Ellie is fighting fit again and the weather has been a bit nicer....Well apart from a few showers.


135/366 14th May.
I stocked the freezer with ice lollies....

136/366 15th May.
A normal Sunday for Becky. Lots of time on her tablet.

137/366 16th May.
Cornetto! 

138/366 17th May.
On her way to school. Rocking the hat!

139/366 18th May.
Birds eye breakfast waffles for dessert! They taste so good.

140/366 19th May.
Bacon sandwiches for breakfast. A great way to start the day.

141/366 20th May.
She is making a start on her homework. Making a fort and part of Hadrian's Wall....


Friday, 20 May 2016

I have been planning. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:


At the beginning of the week the sun was shining and it made me start to think about the summer and the fact we are going to go and visit my dad....I have been researching train ticket prices and somewhere for us to stay....I know my dad and his partner would love us to stay with them but I know they don't have the room....

Like I said I was looking at the price of train tickets....Eesh! They were expensive until I looked into railcards.....The train would have cost £144 for the 4 of us but with a £30 family rail card it goes down to £88. Wow! What a difference....

Then I got to thinking about going to visit my Aunty J over the summer....The only thing which has stopped us is the price of travel....She lives in a seaside town so we would stay overnight and weather permitting have a day on the beach....

The railcard will make is so much cheaper for us to travel and we are now thinking about days out a bit further afield. I just wish there was a train station where I live....You can't have it all though. We only have a short bus ride so it isn't all bad....

Before we get to the summer holidays we have half term....The kids break up a week today and we already have some plans.....

We have been invited to the Centre for Life in Newcastle to see their new exhibition Animals Inside Out who was created by Gunther von Hagens, that man who does the live autopsies....It looks an amazing exhibition and gives you a close-up perspective of what lies beneath the surface of many amazing animals. Their muscles, internal organs and skeletons....It's going to be very interesting....We will be making a day of it as there is so much to do and see at the Centre for Life....The kids and I can't wait.

My Aunty J is coming to visit during half term along with my nephew and his mam....It's my Aunty J's birthday a week or so after they visit so the kids have decided they want to make her an early birthday cake....Fine with me. They have been looking up recipes online and have got a bit carried away with themselves....They need to remember I ain't no Mary Berry. lol

Weather permitting we're also planning a day at our local beach....It seems ages since we last went but it was only last summer....Stu has the week off work so we're going to make the most of it!

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 19 May 2016

My biggest regret...

I don't have many regrets in life but one I do have is not passing my driving test.....


When I was nearly 17 years old I started having driving lessons from my dad.....We drove around a industrial estate on a weekend when it was quiet....I did quite well. I could change gears and not stall the car...I was heading in the right direction so to speak....I think I was doing quite well considering I was learning in a Morris Traveller. A car which was way older than me at the time....lol


On my 17th birthday I was bought an old Vauxhall Astra and some L plates....I was legally allowed to drive on the roads. My dad took me out and I did OK....Not as well as I was driving around the industrial estate but there I knew I was safe....There weren't any traffic lights, roundabouts or other cars moving!! Eek!

I drove whenever I got the chance....There were a few moments that stick in my head. The time when I saw my friend and waved and totally forget I was in control of a car and nearly went off the road....Oops and the time when my dad asked me to pull in the side of the road and I drove up the kerb....Nearly into a lamp post....Oops. My dad shouted, I shouted....lol

I don't know why I stopped driving....When I wasn't at college I was seeing my boyfriend...I just didn't find the time to drive...Nearly crashing into a lamp post certainly didn't help the situation but I don't think that was why I stopped....I wasn't a confident driver. If there were no other cars on the road I would have been fine I think but that isn't going to happen....

It wasn't until I moved up to Northumberland that I realised I regretted not passing my driving test....When I lived in Stockton and Thornaby there were plenty of buses and trains just minutes walk from where I lived and all my family were nearby....

When I met Stu he didn't drive but did have some lessons then the girls got diagnosed with their heart problems and all the spare money went on bus fares too and from the hospital.....He was going to start his lessons again then we moved house and that ate up all our savings....

It's come to the point now where one of us is going to have to think about driving....Most likely Stu as I get road rage when I'm just a passenger in a car....lol

I sometimes imagine what it would be like having a car....

We would be able to go and visit my dad in Scunthorpe instead of spending over £140 on train fares....We could also go and see my Aunty J for the day....She would be overjoyed to see the kids more....

We could go on spur of the moment days out....In the summer picking the kids up from school and just going to the beach would be amazing....

Any hospital appointments we have would not take two hours to get there like they do now by bus....I reckon the drive would take about 40 minutes at the most.

We could use different supermarkets like Morrison's and not rely on Tesco delivering. We could even go and do our Christmas shopping at the Metrocentre and not have to worry about travelling back in the cold and dark...

We wouldn't get soaked on the school run and in the winter we wouldn't have to freeze in the snow and wind....

Life could be so different.....