Saturday, 19 August 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 33 #Project365

We have had a week of celebrating!....My teen got her braces off, it was my fella's birthday and it was 8 years this week since my girls had their open heart surgeries!

Now for a photo every day.

210/365 - 12th August
Someone left the washing up from the night before so had all the breakfast things to do too....hehehe

211/365 - 13th August
The last day of Becky wearing braces.

212/365 - 14th August
Her braces came off and she had perfectly straight teeth!

213/365 - 15th August
The girls wanted to help wrap Stu's birthday pressies....I let them do them all. hehehe I hate wrapping.

214/365 - 16th August
Stu's birthday cake! It was so good!

215/365 - 17th August
I took this photo of my teen.....At the same time that I took it 8 years ago she was in intensive care covered in tubes and wires after having open heart surgery. 

216/365 - 18th August
Shopping delivery day which means new flowers.

Men's Society Headphone Cleaning Kit. - Review!

When I am lucky enough to be sent things to review they are usually things for the girls or me....Stu is usually quite neglected but when Men's Society got in touch asking if I would like to review something from their huge selection of gifts I couldn't really say no!

Men’s Society is a brand which I had never heard of but it was founded in 2011 by a married couple Bella and Hugo. They sell products all over the world and you will find Men’s Society products on high streets in Britain, America, Japan, Australia and all over Europe

For Stu I chose the Headphone cleaning kit which costs £20. It seemed perfect for him...He spends a lot of his time on his computer playing games with his headphones on and they must collect a lot of dirt and dust. Eww!

Have you ever taken your headphones out and looked inside them? Trust us, you don't want to. If they're in-ear earphones, the dangers are obvious. Over ear headphones collect dust, dirt, grime and all sorts of particles that you really don't want near your ear drums! That's where this kit comes into play.

Inside the tube packaging there was a USB vacuum cleaner, a crevice scrape quite a large bottle of headphone cleaning fluid, two cloths and a handy guide instructing you how to use the kit..

Stu got to work giving his headphones a good clean and wow! The amount of dirt that he got out/off of them was shocking and quite disgusting.....I think he will be using this kit regularly now!

The only minor niggle we had about the kit was that the USB vacuum cleaner wasn't really that strong. The only way we could get it to work properly was the cover the gaps/holes in the middle of the vacuum cleaner. It was a bit awkward but it worked....

Top tip - As well as cleaning headphones this kit is fantastic for cleaning laptop and computer keyboards too!!

I think this is a great kit and would make an excellent birthday or Christmas present for those hard to buy men in your life.

Men's Society specialise in thoughtful, high quality male gifts and accessories. None of the products are tested on animals and all of their kits are produced in the UK by a dedicated team. All items can be sent by free delivery taking 3 to 5 working days.

While browsing the site I saw quite a few things which really caught my eye. I can't write this blog post without mentioning the Glitter Beard Kit!

I think that is such a fun gift....If Stu had a beard this would have been a whole different blog post....hehehe

We were sent the headphone cleaning kit free of charge for our honest review. This is it. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Friday, 18 August 2017

We have had a lot to celebrate this week. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

We have had a lot to celebrate this week....

On Monday Becky my teen got her braces off! Her teeth are so straight now and she is very happy....She has one last appointment next week to get a retainer and that's it. Her treatment it over....

She is still getting used to not having the braces on but she is getting there. She was scared to bite into things but soon got over her fear when I offered her an apple to eat. She hasn't been able to bite into a whole apple for nearly two years. Chewing gum was also a no, no but on the way home from the appointment I called into the Pound shop & bought her some....hehehe

On Tuesday I was celebrating the fact I got around Asda without shouting at anyone. I don't know what it is about our local Asda but it really stresses me out....The girls and I only went in for a birthday cake but ended up spending about an hour and a half in there just mooching around. I got the girls to try on some school trousers to work out what sizes they need. They didn't have any in the size Ellie needed so I will just get everything off their website. I've worked out I will be spending just over £50 on trousers, shirts and socks. Eek!

With Stu's birthday this week there was presents to wrap. I hate wrapping presents but they girls wanted to help so who was I to refuse...hehehe 

On Wednesday it was another day of celebrating....It has been 8 years since my girls and I traveled to the hospital so they both could have open heart surgery. 8 years yesterday for Becky's surgery and 8 years today for Ellie's.....It still gets to me...It was the worst few days of my life but we got through it and both of my girls are fit and well....

Stu was spoilt rotten on his birthday. He had plenty of cards and presents and even though he still had to go to work he had a great day. 

We had a huge Chinese takeaway and of course cake. We got the cake from Asda and it is one of the best one's we've ever had. It wasn't dry like some of the others and the chocolate icing was delicious. It was supposed to serve 26 but there isn't much left at

It has been a fantastic week....Lots of smiles, happiness and fun....Now we are on the countdown to Ellie's birthday (11 days) and the excitement is building.... 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

A back to school clothing guide....

It's time for me to think about shopping for uniform. Eek. Thankfully this year I don't have too much to buy. Just trousers and shirts. Becky's blazer still fits and my good friend gave me about 4 school jumpers for Ellie with the logo on which has saved me a small fortune....

Here are some top tips for getting ready for going back to school.....

Make a list of what you need and stick to it....Don’t buy extra things and don't buy things which might be nice to have. They are probably not needed.....School uniform can be expensive so don't spend more than you have to.

How much of everything do I need?
Assuming you do at least one load of washing during the week you will probably need...
3 Sweaters/ cardigans/ sweatshirts.
3 Polo shirts/shirts.
3 Trousers/skirts.
At least 10 pairs of socks - They will get lost.
A P.E Kit including plimsolls or/and trainers. My girls need plimsolls for indoor P.E and trainers for outdoor P.E lessons.
1 pair of school shoes.
A P.E bag.
A tie - If there's a clip-on/elasticated option use that it is so much easier than having to help a little one fasten a proper one each morning. Wet wipes come in handy for cleaning them.
A school coat - Waterproof and with a hood if you have to walk on the school run.
A school bagThe book bags are great for younger children but my youngest is going up into year 6 and throughout year 5 she had more things to bring home and take back to school than her book bag could have coped with. We have been using a backpack for a couple of years now.
If money is tight find out if there's a second hand uniform shop run by the school or try local Facebook selling pages....Even charity shops local to you may have uniforms....Even one's with logos.

If your family income is low, you could be eligible for funding to pay for uniform. Contact Citizens Advice or your Local Education Authority to find out more. 

If you’re struggling to afford your child’s school uniform, speak to a teacher or the head teacher at your child’s school. They may know where you can get discounts or find cheaper items. At the very least they will understand your situation better.

Double-check whether you really need it - Before you buy any item of school uniform. Many items are compulsory, but some are optional. On the uniform list my teen is said to need a netball skirt, rugby top and various other things. She doesn't.

Buy online - I went to Asda earlier in the week and had my girls try on the uniform they needed....It turns out they didn't have the size Ellie needed, or not that I could see so I thought stuff it I will just buy online. There seems to be more to choose from and certain items which are online exclusives.

At the end of the summer holidays supermarkets and high street stores are often tripping over themselves to tempt you with cheap uniform deals and BOGOFs. Buy items in the next size up.

Buy only what you have to from the official uniform store!! They are so over priced!

Instead of buying a school branded jumper, can you sew the school badge on to a generic jumper? This way you can buy cheaper items but still comply with the uniform regulations of the school.

Kids will grow - Buy as large as you can without your child absolutely swimming in the school uniform....I bought my teen the blazer in a couple of sizes bigger and folded up the sleeves....It will now probably last her until the end of school as long as she stops leaning on her elbows and wearing them out.

Don't forget to label EVERYTHING!! If you haven't got the time or the patience for sewing on name tags a biro will do!! Make sure to show your child where you've put their name, so they can check it themselves....It won't stop uniform being lost but it does help!

 If the school's uniform list gives options such as skirts or pinafores for girls and you're unsure about your child being the odd one out ask around among those with older children at the school or even look on the school website and see what the other children are wearing.

School shirts get filthy. Invest in some stain remover to soak stained polo shirts or shirts in before washing.

If your child is on the skinny side, look for trousers and skirts with adjustable waistbands....

Avoid tights for younger girls if possible.....When they do PE they will struggle to get them back on or even give them trousers to wear on PE days.

 Don't expect school shoes to last a full academic year! I have found they never do. Feet grow or they will get holes in especially when they scooter to school!

If the school list says black shoes only, don't be tempted to push the rules with blue or brown. Chances are you'll have to fork out for a second pair of shoes

Get Velcro shoes.....The teacher will struggle to help 30 children do up laces or tricky buckles on PE day....

Good luck! Happy shopping!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

An anniversary. 8 Years Ago. #CHD

Today is my fella, Stu's birthday. That is one of the reasons that today's date sticks in my head and we celebrate but it is also the anniversary of the day my girls and I traveled to the hospital so they both could have open heart surgery....

The short story is: One night the kids were messing about in their bedrooms and Becky shut one of the doors on Ellie's fingers....While getting her fingers fixed they realised Ellie had a problem with her heart and it was found she had a Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) (A hole in her heart) Becky showed the same symptoms so we got her checked out. Becky had the exact same defect on her heart as Ellie. We traveled to the hospital on the 16th of August. Becky had open heart surgery on the 17th of August and Ellie had her's on the 18th. We were in hospital for a week and they are now left with leaking valves which will probably need surgery in the future....

You can read the longer version of our story.....Part One and Part Two.

Over the last year nothing has changed with my girls....Well nothing that I know about anyway. The girls were supposed to have a check up in April but the people who organise the appointments are idiots. I don't want to bash the NHS but the appointment people are idiots. For 8 years we have told them we can't get there for 9am. It takes us 2 hours to get to the hospital so it would mean us leaving at about 6.30/7am which is ridiculous.

A new one was arranged for August! That was the first time they could get 2 appointments round about the same time on the same day...It just goes to show how busy the child's cardiac clinic is. Great! The girls wouldn't have to miss any school. We then got a letter saying that had to be rearranged and they sent more appointments out for just after 9am! Grr! Back on the phone and fingers crossed we should be seen in October! 

The girls are fit and well and I have no worries about their hearts...I wrote a blog post just after Becky's birthday last year and it sat in my drafts until a couple of months ago....Full of questions? Death? What if? I know come October when the girls have their appointment I will start to worry...Eek!

I think when we go to the hospital I will have to ask about the Cinema room that I won for the hospital where my girls were treated....

It was so amazing to give a little bit back to the hospital which saved my girls lives and because of that we appeared in our local newspaper....

So today we will be celebrating Stu's birthday and I will be spoiling my girls a little bit more than usual....

To some it may seem strange that we celebrate a day of worry, pain, stress and heartache but to us it means a lot. Every year which passes means my girls are fit and well. We are celebrating that we all got through one of the worst times of our lives and the girls are still here with us now....

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Organix Punk'd! A new no junk snack bar....

When I think of the brand Organix I always think of baby and toddler food....Up until last week I didn't think they made anything for older children but they do!

Organix Punk’d is a new no junk snack bar suitable for older kids. The bars are aimed at children aged 5 to 11 but my teen tried a couple too.

Research shows that parents are struggling to find good snacks for children as they grow up and are being forced to make a choice to enforce health or save the battle on snacks. In response to this Organix Punk’d is the snack food with attitude that rebels against junk with real ingredients, great taste and absolutely nothing else!

We loved the packaging it was very cool. It stepped away from the cutesy style and has gone for the more edgy look which is perfect for older children.

We were sent the two different flavours of bars to try out..

Strawberry & Vanilla Smash.

Organic strawberry & vanilla oaty bars containing a blend of organic wholegrain oats, sultanas, apple & strawberry juice with vanilla extract

Cocoa & Orange Crash.

Organic cocoa & orange oaty bars containing a blend of organic wholegrain oats, sultanas, apple juice, cocoa & orange oil.

My girls and I all taste tested both flavours of bars and in all honesty I can say I loved both. My teen did too but her favourite was the Cocoa & Orange Crash one

My 9 year old is a little pickier though....Ellie wasn't so keen on the Cocoa & Orange Crash one. She said it was too orangey. It did taste very strongly of orange but I wouldn't say it was too strong.....She did however love the Strawberry & Vanilla Smash one's and has claimed all of these for herself.

These bars are the perfect size for a snack. I'm thinking for after school or a packed lunch.

At the moment you can buy these from Asda or Ocado for £2.00 for 6 bars which I think it reasonable for these type of bars....

We were sent these free of charge in exchange for our review! This is it. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

We did it....We ate everything on last weeks meal plan! Hooray! I love it when a plan comes together. hehehe

Today is the day that Becky is getting her braces off! She is very excited. She has written a list of food that she hasn't been able to eat for the past couple of years....She is planning to buy toffee and chewing gum on our way home. lol We have no idea how her teeth are going to feel, whether they will be sore or not so today we shall be eating soft food.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Soup and ham sandwiches to dip in....
Tuesday - Sausage & tomato pasta....
Wednesday - A takeaway of some sort. It's Stu's birthday....
Thursday - Greggs bacon & cheese wraps from Iceland with fries or potato wedges....
Friday - Spaghetti bolognese & garlic bread....
Saturday - Leftover bolognese in Old El Paso Stand And Stuff Tortillas....
Sunday - Cottage pie....

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Our Skittles Experiment. #MySundayPhoto

A few days ago we had some fun with some Skittles. We found an experiment on Science Sparks and it looked like fun so we had to give it a try....We had great fun and the results were so pretty. I recorded a video and you can see it over on my You Tube account.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 32 #Project365

Happy Saturday! These weeks are flying over. I blame the fact it's the school holidays and it's the run up to birthday season in my house. My fellas next week, Ellie's a couple of weeks after then Becky's the week after that.

Now for a photo every day.

203/365 - 5th August
Fresh flowers always make me happy. I have been getting them most weeks with my shopping delivery.

204/365 - 6th August
Ellie asked to take my Sunday photo and of course she had to take one of Monkey.

205/365 - 7th August
Becky baked...Her cookies didn't work out well. They ended up too think and they burned but her chocolate cake was delicious.

206/365 - 8th August
I don't usually take much notice of my Tots 100 score. For the past couple of years I've been in the top 200. This month I found myself back in the Top 100 at number 66. I know it's just a glitch. Something to do with changing how they collect their scores and older blogs being ranked higher but I will take the ranking of 66 and go with it. heheheh

207/365 - 9th August
She had a lovely time doing some drawings. So many unicorns. 

208/365 - 10th August
We had some fun doing an experiment using the sweets Skittles that I found on Science Sparks. This was just before we started, they were so excited. 

209/365 - 11th August
We had some Organix Punk'd bars to try out....There will be a review coming soon.

In Solitary? I could easily spend 5 days alone....

I have seen a TV show advertised on Channel 5 called In Solitary....It see's contestants attempting to survive five days and nights in solitary confinement. Totally alone....No social media, no strangers, no loved ones...From what I can see they are in a PortaCabin, alone. They have things to do like colouring in, books and have everything they need to live like a bed, toilet and food.....

The adverts shows people breaking down and crying....What wusses! Five days alone would be my idea of heaven! My guess is the contestants were chosen because they have a busy social life, see their family every day or need company....Those type of people.

I could easily spend 5 days alone...

As long as I know my girls are looked after I would be happy to leave them for 5 days....They are 9 and 14 now. I know they would cope OK without me....They would probably be glad of the break from me too....

I never get this long to myself. I am not a people person. I'm quite the introvert. I like a gossip with my friends and love them to bits but I can go 5 days without speaking to them. 

Five days is 120 hours. That sounds like the perfect amount of time to spend alone.

In that time alone I could:

Sleep! I never get enough sleep.....I could sleep and sleep and sleep some more. Boring for viewers to watch but I would love it.

I could read. Since I started blogging I haven't really read any books. There are books which I have bought and would love to read but I have never quite got around to even opening them.

I have always wanted to learn to crochet or knit. 5 days would be long enough to learn?

I could stay in my pj's with no bra on! Comfort at it's best.

As I never have much time away from my girls and Stu it would give me chance to miss them and appreciate them.....

If there was a bath I could bathe in peace. No one coming in needing a wee, no one telling tales on their sister and nobody asking pointless questions...

If I had a pen and paper I could write ideas for blog posts. hehehe

If you had 5 days alone in one room, what would you do?

Friday, 11 August 2017

Feeling the pinch. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Every year it happens. This is the week where we are in the poor house....hehehe We have the usual bills and food to buy and then birthday shopping and birthday meals to budget for too. This is the week where we feel the pinch...People ask why we never go on a summer holiday, this is why! August is our most expensive month....

Over the next month is is Stu, my fellas birthday, Ellie's 10th birthday and Becky's 15th. 

The older the kids get the more expensive they get....They know what they want now and it costs more. They don't just want no-name trainers now. They want Nike ones.....They want all the latest gadget, books by Youtubers and a certain teenager has grown so much she no longer fits in children's clothes she now wears ladies clothes.

Ellie's present's are all bought and I bought the last of Becky's presents earlier in the week and they should be delivered early next week. I have one last present arriving for Stu's birthday. I hope it comes before Wednesday. Eek!

Stu will be working on his birthday so we'll be having a takeaway. The kids have decided what they want to do on their birthdays....Ellie wants to go to our local Brewers Fayre. She loves the indoor and outdoor play areas and Becky wants to go to another local family pub, The Old Ash Dene. I went there for a meal at Christmas with my friends but the kids & Stu haven't been yet. The food is amazing!! They have chosen their birthday cakes and all I have to do is buy cards and wrapping paper.

I do really need to start buying the kids things for going back to school....This year is a good year all I have to buy is shirts, trousers. shoes and a school bag each. I can pick all of those up in Asda. My good friend gave me some school jumpers for Ellie so that has saved me a small fortune. This time next year she will be having them back for her son as long as Ellie hasn't ruined them.....

I did get a few things while I was doing my online grocery shop. Quite a lot of the back to school stationery was and as of yesterday is still on offer. As Becky is starting her GCSE's in September and is taking Statistics as one of her options I thought a fancy calculator would be a good idea. I got her a Casio one reduced from £11.99 to £5.99. Bargain! 

I have decided this week to skip the food shop....The freezer is pretty full and the cupboards are over flowing! All we need is bread, milk, fruit and some more things for the fridge. I will pick those up from Iceland when and if we need them.....

We have enjoyed lots of inexpensive things this week.....The kids have played outside a lot, played on the computers and we had some fun with Skittles yesterday! We found an experiment on Science Sparks and had to try it.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

My teens birthday wish list from Wicked Uncle....

In June we reviewed some items from Wicked Uncle and my teen said she was going to make a list of things she wanted for her birthday and she has done just that....Her birthday is exactly a month away and I really need to start buying things!

Jellyfish Tank Mood Light - £18.95
Popcorn chocolate bites - Sweet and salty caramel - £4.95
Petal Perfect, Luxury pamper gift box - £17.95
Imagic - Smart magic for smart devices - £24.95
Lucky seven rings necklace - £34.99
Hop, skip & funk - Six odd socks - £10.99
Genetics and DNA experiment kit - £26.99
Mini arcade machine - 240 Multi-level games - £24.95

Becky even has a cake picked out from the Wicked Uncle website....She want's me to make her one this year and thinks this will be perfect. At £16.95 it isn't a bad price as long as I don't mess it up....Eek!

Obviously Becky won't be getting everything she has asked for...The prices are great at Wicked Uncle but I'm not made of money....hehehe

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Making Moon Sand....

Usually during the holidays we like to make Play dough but I thought this time we would try something different and make some Moon Sand. I had seen various recipes online some using corn flour, plain flour, real sand....There is so many but I chose the simplest one.

It takes just 2 ingredients to make Moon Sand.

8 Cups of flour.
1 cup of baby oil.

Adding food colouring is optional. We added it just so my girls wouldn't fight over who's was who's. lol

The girls made it all themselves with very little instruction from me....I was just there to keep count of how many cups of flour they had added to their bowl and open the bottles of baby oil....

The end result was a bit lumpy at first but after five minutes of playing with it, it seemed to smooth it's self out....

I sent the kids outside to play with it.....They could spill it on the floor as much as they wanted. hehehe They made pretend cakes, had Playmobil people in it and really enjoyed themselves.... 

Moon Sand was a cheap activity and it kept them amused for a long while....Well worth the few pounds I spent. 

We covered the bowls in cling film and the Moon Sand was good for another few days....

Have you made Moon Sand before? Would you?