Saturday, 31 December 2016

A photo everyday for a year! #Project366 - Week 52

I did it! I shared a photo every day for a year!! I feel so chuffed with myself....It was quite a challenge especially in the later part of the year when the dark nights came around and the kids were at school but I did it!!

I am not stopping here though...I will be carrying on again next year. It is a great project to record everyday life. Moments and things I probably wouldn't normally photograph.....

For the final time this year here are my photos from the past week.....


359/366 24th December
Our Christmas eve pj's....

360/366 25th December
Christmas day!

361/366 26th December
Becky's favourite present. Her foot spa.

362/366 27th December
The girls playing a game....

363/366 28th December
Another game....5 Second Rule. It is such fun!

364/366 29th December
My teen made a robot hand.

365/366 30th December
The Christmas decorations are down and everything looks so bare...

366/366 31st December
I'm ready for tonight....hehehe Happy New Year!


My Money Resolutions....

For the first 7 months of the year we don't really have much to pay out apart from the usual bills...I will hold my hands up and say we waste a lot of money on things we don't need and impulse buys.....Then August hits and we have the kids off school for the summer holidays, Stu and the girls birthdays and paying for new uniforms for the new school year....Then there's my birthday and buying for Christmas.....

My new years resolution is to take more care of our finances and prepare more for the back end of the year....This year I am changing things around here.....I am hoping to get some money in the savings account before August rolls around.....


I will continue to Meal Plan.....I will take more notice of what we already have the freezer and cupboard.....

Once a month I will have a week where we don't get the shopping delivered....We will only buy milk, bread & fruit and will eat out of the freezer and cupboards....I tried it in the run up to Christmas and it really helped. Without buying fresh food, treats and chocolate we saved about £60.

Instead of buying cakes and treats I will try and bake more.....The Carrot cake mix from Tesco costs £1.69 and the Chocolate Sponge Cake mix only 99p. A lot cheaper than buying ready made cakes.

I am going to stop buying fizzy pop....I drink far too much of it and I know it's not good for me....Drinking diluted juice would be better and save money too.

I am going to crack down on how much electricity is used here....Things will be getting unplugged when they are not in use and the kids will learn to switch lights out. hehehe I can try.

Takeaways are a no, no unless we're out late and get something on the way home....If we really fancy one we will have a Fakeaway

I will stop paying for buses or taxis and walk more.....

I am going to start shopping for the kids birthdays now!! If I over buy I can always save it for Christmas....

Instead of buying batteries I am going to make use of the rechargeable one's we have which are just sat in the box with the charger.

When my dad came to visit he brought us 48 industrial size toilet rolls....So I am already saving at least £4 a week what I would usually spend on toilet rolls....That £4 is going to be put in the savings account.

I am going to look at our gas, electricity, phone and broadband bills to check we are getting the best deal because I don't think we are at the moment....

I am going to look into getting a new boiler fitted....Ours is ancient and the guy who did the last gas check said it would be good to get a new one....We private rent and should be eligible for a free one....We've had the free lost and cavity wall insulation done and it has made such a difference to the warmth of our house....

Instead of buying books I will take the girls to the library.....

Instead of phoning or texting people I will make use of Facebook more and private message them....

In the school holidays unless it is something awesome I won't pay for days out.....We will find free things to do.

I will make more use of the 15 or so charity shops we have in town....The girls have so many clothes they've grown out of so I will donate them and shop in there instead of buying new.....

Will you be doing anything to save money in the new year?

Friday, 30 December 2016

We had a perfect Christmas. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:


We had the best Christmas and the best week too.....
Our Christmas all went to plan! It was so relaxed because I was so organised....The only disaster we had was burning a pan when I was boiling the turnip. It burned dry. Oops. The turnip was saved though....Hooray!

I got to spend Christmas eve doing nothing much....Tesco delivered everything. We had such a lazy day, Domino's for tea and the kids went to bed just after 9pm and actually went straight to sleep! Stu and I played at being Santa and wrapping everything in advance worked well...It was so easy.


The kids woke up at about 7am and brought their stockings into our room....It gave Stu and I chance to wake up properly! By 9am all the presents had been opened and the girls were so impressed with everything.....There was a lot of screaming and squealing...Becky loved her foot spa....So much for it being a joke present. lol


The girls played with their presents all day of course.....I made dinner and joined in when I could.....We managed to eat dinner just as Frozen was starting and we all enjoyed it.....We spent the rest of the evening watching TV and the kids playing with their toys.....Boxing day was spent playing more and eating far too much....It was fantastic! 





Virtual Reality Headsets are amazing. lol Becky keeps finding scary videos just to freak me out....The candy grabber is so much fun....I am quite tempted to put all the girls sweets in there and they can only get them if they win. hehehe Mini Drones are crazy! There has been a lot of shouting "duck". lol Hatchimals are fantastic when they have hatched!....When they are in their shell they are frustrating....Instructions will be lost and Google will be a lifesaver.....Two days after Christmas we started to crave healthy food....It is impossible to tidy up when the kids toys are everywhere....We have lived in our pj's....Watched so many films and had a lovely relaxed week!

So that was Christmas.....Months preparing and all over in a flash....We had the best time and I would go as far to say it was perfect....

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Our favourite reviews of the year....

Over the past year I have been very lucky to be sent some fantastic products to review....I am very grateful for everything we receive to review and I earn major mam points with my girls. The best mother ever award goes to me. hehehe


In no particular order....



In 2015 we reviewed the HUE Animation Studio and last year we were sent the HUE HD Camera to have a play with.....We loved it and I have been using it since for various things....The favourite thing that I captured with it was the Candle Time Lapse....It is such a fab gadget!



I am part of the Baker Ross Bloggers Network and over the past year we have been sent quite a few selections of craft kits to try out and we have loved just about everything! I think the Spring and Easter pack was my favourite though.....Everything seemed bright and colourful and it was the end of winter....Hooray! 



I drink a lot of fizzy pop. Probably too much and I was interested in trying these drinks....Out of the three there was only one that I didn't like but that is just down to personal taste....I do usually shy away from energy drinks due to their high level of caffeine but the Aspire drinks have no more than an average cup of coffee...Since I reviewed these I have bought them when I've been out and about....



My girls ended up receiving a flowerpot each and they are a perfect as an introduction to gardening for little one's....They are very cute and we loved them.



Sometimes I get asked to review things and don't even have to think about saying yes! Cake is one of those things! These cakes were fab. They were really tasty...The fact they were personalised was even better! 



Bookawoo is a subscription service that sends your child a monthly box with 3 to 4 new books for them to learn and expand their imagination......Each month has a new theme and is designed to stimulate their love of reading.....

I was very impressed with this box....It really made me smile. The creators were so thoughtful when it comes to the look and personalised items.....As for the books they were perfect for Ellie's age, reading ability and are of a great quality.....



It really is the best numeracy game out there! Ellie who is reluctant to sit and learn her times tables usually was learning without even realising.....It is a fantastic game to play and one of those games where everyone can be involved and play unlike many games that are aimed at one age or ability! This game will last a lifetime!



This was such an superb day out.....You would think seeing animals without their skins would be disgusting and stomach churning but it really wasn't.....I think the exhibition is so educational and interesting....I really cannot express in words how amazing it actually was. I actually had to write about it in two blog posts....One about the exhibition and one about the rest of the Life Centre.....




The girls were obviously keen to give these a try....Opening the packet I could instantly smell the malty smell you associate with Soreen....The texture of them is the same as malt loaf too but the flavour is totally different....The chocolate one's were good but we all preferred the toffee one's....



Boxcitement is a UK subscription box for people who love gifts, crafts and stationery....Every month they pick a theme that they think you will love, design items associated with the theme, produce them, box them up in letterbox friendly boxes and send them....

Everything in the box was tasteful and was really well thought out...You could see a lot of thought had gone into it....The personalised items were such a lovely touch. It made it feel like it was just made for me....



Koalapak provides parents with a convenient way to inspire their children to discover and learn new things every month as well as spend quality time together by delivering a pack full of fun, educational, hands-on projects straight to their home...

It was a perfect activity to cure the boredom of the school holidays...We spent a good couple of hours completing everything in the Koalapak....It would be something I would pay for in the future. It's educational, fun and everything you need is included.

I am so grateful for everything we have been sent to review....

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

What have you searched for on Google?

I use Google a lot.....It has all the answers. hehehe I always take an interest at this time of year to see what the most searched for terms throughout the year are....


In the UK the most searched for terms were:

1. Euro 2016
2. Pokemon Go
3. David Bowie
4. Donald Trump
5. Prince
6. EU referendum/Brexit
7. Alan Rickman
8. Olympics
9. US election
10. Deadpool

I think I searched for all of those things apart from Deadpool....lol I still haven't seen that film. I just said to my fella that I don't get why it's in the Top 10. He went off on a rant telling me why it's so popular. lol Oops. 

I became such a sport lover over the summer....lol I had a website favourited at one point telling me who was playing who and when the Euro 2016 tournament was on.....I am not usually a football fan but I got right into it this year! I really wanted Iceland to go all the way! Hooray for the underdogs. Then the Olympics! I watched most of the Equestrian events and the gymnastics.....It was so good. 

I never really got into Pokemon go but I did Google it....It's no fun when you use a Pay as you go mobile like me. It was either spend a small fortune on data or stay where there was Wi-Fi access. Hmmf.

The celebrity deaths this year have been unbelievable especially since the likes of David Bowie, Prince & Alan Rickman were not that old....I was not a real fan of them it was more the deaths of Caroline Aherne, Terry Wogan & Victoria Wood which got to me....

***Since I wrote this last week there has been more losses! Status Quo's Rick Parfitt, Liz smith who played Nana on the Royle Family & the amazing George Michael! If this list had been written today I am sure he would have made it into the top 10 searched things*** 

I still can't believe that Donald Trump won the U.S election or the results of the referendum.....They were things that I never thought would happen but they did. I remember laughing about it when I heard Donald Trump was in the running to be president. It was funny at first. It was never supposed to happen..... Eek! 

This year really has been crazy! 

I really thought Tim Peake would have made it into the top 10.....He's had quite a year and I Googled him quite a bit, James Corden too. He seems to have been everywhere! 

I think my most Googled thing this year has been "The Walking Dead spoilers". hehehe

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My top blog posts of 2016.....

Last year I did a recap of my top blog posts in 2015.....This year I am doing the same and sharing my top blog posts from this past year....

I haven't included giveaways as they are always popular, Project 366 posts, My Sunday Photo posts or reviews. I have another blog post coming about the favourite things we have reviewed this year....




I wrote about Ellie and how She stopped eating at home after a healthy eating topic at school.  It prompted me to write about how much stressing we have done over her and all the medical conditions she's had....



Stu got busy and did a bit of DIY. He bought a cabinet from a charity shop, painted it and it now looks fab!



I wrote about Becky's 14th birthday....How! How do they grow up so quickly!



I took part in Blogtober....I usually blog everyday but I went a month writing posts with various themes/prompts throughout October...It was a lot of fun! Sharing some little secrets was probably my favourite of the month.....I'm glad people could relate to my secrets and it left me feeling a little less embarrassed about them....hehehe



We had a fun day out having genetic testing.....We were sent because of my girls heart problems. We found out a few things but nothing major....It was interesting.



The girls had a great time cooking this meal and an even better time eating it....I actually forgot all about this recipe. I think it will have to be on the meal plan in the new year.


It was 7 years ago this year since we made the journey to hospital for both of my girls to have life saving heart surgery.


Becky forged a note to get out of PE....I couldn't not link up with Brummy Mummy and her Wicked Wednesday linky. I am still gutted that the linky is no more.....



Ellie had a craft project to do as part of her homework....This was about it....She was very proud and I was too!



Ellie had the best birthday this year.....She loved her wooden kitchen and her beach bbq party. It was such a good day!



We have 3 parks near where we live....We ended up visiting two of them in one afternoon....It was such a lovely day.



My girl came up with such a thoughtful idea for Mothers day...She made and decorated a cake for me. It was so lovely and tasted so good too.



In September I saw a few blog posts about parents who's children had recently started school and were worrying about the school run and making friends in the playground with other parents....I thought I would write a post to say stop worrying and included some tips about surviving the school run!



I do love a tag and I really enjoyed doing this one....It gives a bit of an insight into how I blog.



The weather wasn't the best but we had a fantastic day out seeing the Tall ships at Blyth in the summer....There was so much to see and do.

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate all the comments and support. All the best for 2017!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Usually I write my meal plan on a Sunday evening. Obviously this week I didn't as I had a couple of days off from blogging with it being Christmas.....This meal plan was written at the middle of last week so hopefully things haven't changed too much.

This week is such an easy week to plan....Leftovers and party food....

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Leftovers from Chistmas dinner and picking out of the fridge ....
Tuesday - Leftovers again if I can stretch them this far and more picking out of the fridge....
Wednesday - A fry up. Sausages, bacon, hash browns, eggs, black pudding, tomatoes, baked beans and toast....
Thursday - Corned beef and onion toasties...
Friday - Lasagne and garlic bread....
Saturday - A party tea....
Sunday - Chicken Parcel with Sage & Onion Stuffing, mash and veg!....

What are you eating this week? I am guessing plenty of leftovers too. hehehe

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A photo everyday for a year! #Project366 - Week 51

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are all ready for tomorrow....I am! The shopping was delivered yesterday....There were a few substitutions but nothing ridiculous. It means for the first time in years I don't have to go out on Christmas Eve! Pj's all day! Hooray!!

Now for a photo every day! 


352/366 17th December
I won this from Moonpig on a giveaway on Twitter.....One of the Me to You 21st anniversary bears.

353/366 18th December
Chocolates!!

354/366 19th December
Ellie made such a mess crafting but had a great time.

355/366 20th December
Becky broke her tablet. Ugh!

356/366 21st December
Christmas pressies for us all from the lovely Jayne who blogs over at Sticky mud and Belly laughs.

357/366 22nd December
Our elf hiding in the cereal....

358/366 23rd December
The Christmas food shop arrived....

Friday, 23 December 2016

We're ready for Christmas. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:


It has to be doesn't it....The big day is nearly here.
My girls are beyond excited....I am too!

During the week I started to panic for no reason....I felt like I was forgetting something or needed to do something but there is nothing.....This year I am so organised. I have never been this organised and it has unnerved me a little. 

The presents are ready (no wrapping at midnight on Christmas eve! Hooray), the food has hopefully all been delivered this morning, I have the Christmas eve treats ready, I have everything set on the Sky planner to remind or record and the meat is getting cooked tomorrow....All I have to do is relax.....

My dad and his girlfriend came to visit at the weekend and it was lovely to see them....They brought the girls so many presents and gave them money too....I said they could wait to spend the money until after Christmas....I didn't see the point of them buying toys this week when they will be getting lots on Sunday.

It's a good job I made them wait. Becky had a slight accident with her tablet. I say slight accident but she dropped it on the floor and the screen is broken....Oops.

I have said she can put her Christmas money towards a new one and we will pay the rest....It may teach her to be more careful with it if she has paid for it herself.....

This week we have watched so many films, finally got around to watching the Cbeebies panto (I don't like Mr Bloom's new haircut) done some crafts, baked and enjoyed some quality time together. 

I have had a couple of unexpected deliveries this week....Well they were expected when they arrived but a few weeks ago I never imagined they would. I had a lovely delivery of presents for us all from the lovely Jayne who blogs over at Sticky mud and Belly laughs and I mentioned on Twitter that I had won a certain little person a toy they had been dreaming of. I'm not saying here in case she reads....That arrived which has really made Christmas even more special....I predict a lot of screaming and excitement on Christmas day! hehehe

I want to take this time to say Merry Christmas to you all....I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.....

Eat, drink and be merry!