Tuesday, 28 February 2017

What I loved in February....

February seems to have gone over in a flash. I know it's a short month but it really didn't last long at all.....


Lighter mornings and evenings.
It seems so much easier to get up on a morning when it is lighter and I feel so much better for Becky. During the darker days she was leaving for school when it was just getting light and getting home as it was getting dark....Ugh! It is a sure sign that spring is coming....

Friends.
I obviously love my friends all of the time but this month, especially over the last couple of weeks some have really been there for me when I've had things going on. Online and friends in real life....I really don't know where I would be without them!

Trying new recipes.
At the beginning of the month I was sent a recipe box from the Co-Op and made Roasted Vegetable Couscous....


We had fun decorating cakes, I made Sloppy Joe's at the weekend and Ellie had some fun baking some World War 2 recipes for a school project that I have a blog posts about soon.

The Walking Dead.
At the end of January I realised that The Walking Dead was back on Sky Box Sets....I decided to rewatch it from the beginning hoping to get all caught up by the time it returned on the 13th from it's mid-season break.....I did well but only got as far as the 2nd episode of series 7. Watching it back reminded me of so many things and people I had forgotten about....Dale, Hershall, Merle and Carols daughter.....I still say Negan makes The Governor look like such a nice fella....

The Body Shop.
I was lucky enough to win some products from The Body Shop from Mummy Constant aand also a gift voucher at the beginning of the month....I spent the voucher last week when we were at Newcastle....I got quite a few things from the Satsuma range and the Mango gift box. They are fantastic and smell so good.


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Ellie's school is joining together with other schools in the area and is putting on a performance of Joseph. She is in the choir and has been practicing the songs a lot.....I think I have seen the full showing of the play on YouTube about 30 times this month. lol and I have heard Ellie singing every song so many times....For the next couple of weekends they are having practices on a Saturday which Ellie is so looking forward to....

Half term.
It was lovely to have some family time....We watched films, did crafts, visited a museum, went shopping, watched more films and relaxed....

Smiggle's Amazing customer service.
You all probably know about the drama we had with Ellie my 9 year old having a little shopping spree with Smiggle. We had to return everything my girl had bought and their customer service people on the phones were brilliant. They were understanding, helpful and only laughed a little.

What did you love in February?

Monday, 27 February 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Last weeks meal plan went pretty well considering it was half term and Stu was off work....Meal plans never go fully to plan when they're all off. hehehe 

The Sloppy Joe's went down well and they were so easy to make which was a bonus. They will be getting made again.


This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Sweet & sour chicken and rice....
Tuesday - Pancakes!....
Wednesday - We have Becky's parents evening so it will be something quick when we get back like beans on toast....
Thursday Tuna pasta bake....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Gammon, pineapple, fried egg, chips and peas....
Sunday - A roast chicken dinner....

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 8 #Project365

Another week another Project 365 post.....


49/365 - 18th February
Sometimes our meal plans don't go to plan. We had a change to ours and had burgers!

50/365 - 19th February
Ellie's Monkey just relaxing.

51/365 - 20th February
Painting.

52/365 - 21st February
The best ever sausages from The Geordie Banger Company....They have a stall at our local market now.

53/365 - 22nd February
We stopped for ice cream while out shopping.

54/365 - 23rd February
I had the best bath with all my new treats from The Bodyshop.

55/365 - 24th February
Just playing.


Friday, 24 February 2017

A Rollercoaster of Emotions. #WotW

This week has had so many up's and downs....This post might get a bit long as so much seems to have gone on. I do apologise.

This week my Word of the Week is:



It really feels like I have been riding a roller-coaster this week and now I am ready to get off....It has been an emotional week....Bad and good. I am ready for a calm life again....

Last Friday there was an incident in the school yard with Ellie being bullied....It was supposed to be resolved and Ellie's teacher said that she or the head would ring me on Friday after school when the head was out of her meetings....There was no phone call. 

On Monday there was relief. We got the money back from Ellie's Smiggle shopping spree.....She still hasn't been allowed online on the computer or laptop but she seems fine with that....I think she has learned her lesson. We sure have.

On Tuesday evening I found out my mother was dead. I haven't seen my mother for about 13 years or spoken to her in at least 8.....Last time she spoke to me she told me I was dead to her....I found out just before Christmas that she had cancer.....I randomly checked online on Tuesday and saw her death notice on her local newspaper website....Not the nicest way to find. I guess her husband could have had the decency to let my brother and I know but so be it....

I blogged about what happened with my mother ages ago and that is only half the story there was a lot I didn't say....I stand by all the decisions I have made and I regret nothing....After everything she put my family and I through I felt nothing but relief when I read of her passing. I don't feel sadness but at the same time I don't feel glad she's dead either....I wouldn't wish that on anyone....A very lovely lady said "I hope it gives you peace and closure" when I shared the news on Facebook. It does. That was the word I was looking for. Closure!

I don't need sorry's or condolences. I said that on my Facebook status but a lot of people had some lovely words to say which made me feel fine about feeling nothing. I was actually feeling bad for a little time about feeling nothing. I am not heartless. I said my goodbyes years ago....

The kids have been on their half term holidays this week and Stu has been off work too....We have had a brilliant time. We have had plenty of time to relax, be together as a family and have a lot of fun. 

We had a fantastic trip to Newcastle on Wednesday which involved a visit to The Great North Museum. I of course have a blog post all about it next week....We had a great time.....After the museum we had a look around the shops and the girls were spoilt rotten....



We found the Disney Store in Eldon Square which must be quite new as it wasn't there last time we went to Newcastle. We spent a good half hour looking around making lists in our head of what we want to buy....Ellie want's everything, Becky wants all the cups and Stu want's all the Star Wars things....lol

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway and the prize was some Body Shop products and a £50 gift voucher. I spent it wisely on so much bath stuff.....hehehe The Satsuma range is amazing. 

Today we are doing Ellie's homework from school.....She has to bake a World War 2 recipe. Take photos, write the instructions, recipe and a review of them....This is right up my street. hehehe We are making oat cookies and a syrup loaf cake....

Even with the rubbish things that have gone on this week it doesn't feel like a bad week....There were bad things but I didn't let it ruin our moods. Half term has whizzed over and I can't believe in a couple of days we will be back to normality of school for the kids and work for Stu....



Thursday, 23 February 2017

25 Question Food Tag....

I saw this tag over on Anca's Lifestyle absolutley ages ago and wanted to answer the questions too.....I do love my food. hehehe


1. What’s your favourite breakfast?
I do love a full English breakfast but don't have them often enough which is probably a good thing for my waistline.....Sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, tomatoes, black pudding, beans, toast. Fresh orange juice and coffee....

2. How do you drink your coffee?
With milk and 2 sugars....I have 2 or 3 cups a day. I have recently discovered iced coffee too....Wow!

3. What’s on your favourite sandwich?
A foot long tuna sandwich from Subway with tomato, cucumber, onion but no lettuce....

4. Soup or Salad?
I would have to say salad....I do love a Prawn cocktail salad. I'm not too fussed about soup. I always seem to spill and slop when I eat it....lol

5. What’s your favourite cookbook?
I don’t have a favourite cookbook. I tend to get most of my recipes from online. Mostly from Tesco or Netmums.

6. No more sweets or no more hearty foods?
As much as I love sweet food and desserts I could give them up....I love hearty foods. Especially in the winter or when I'm feeling grumpy.

7. What’s your favourite Cuisine?
Chinese....I could quite easily eat it every day....Not just the takeaway. I am quite good at cooking Chinese food too.

8. What’s your favourite food movie?
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

9. What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Jaffa Cakes. I can't just eat one. Most of the time it's the full packet. Oops.

10. What’s your greatest inspiration source?
Blogs and the internet.

11. Cooking at home or going out for dinner?
I would love to go out for dinner every night but it would soon get boring so I would have to go with cooking at home or even cheating and getting a takeaway....hehehe

12. High end or low profile?
With the kids we prefer low profile chain restaurants....McDonalds, Frankie & Benny's, TGI Fridays, Brewers Fayre... 

13. What’s your favourite restaurant?
Brewers Fayre. The food is good, reasonably priced and it has an indoor and an outdoor play area for the kids. Stu and I get to eat and chat while the kids play.....

14. I do my grocery shopping at:
Tesco. I get it delivered most weeks.

15. The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was:
Some chicken pie when I was in hospital having Ellie....It was amazing. I have tried to make my own since and have bought one's but nothing comes close....

17. Coffee with George Clooney or Heston Blumenthal?
Coffee with George Clooney of course.

18. What should not be missing in your kitchen?
The microwave....It is great for reheating, defrosting and a quick meal...

19. What is your favourite snack?
Sour Cream & Onion Pringles.

20. What’s on your pizza?
Tomato sauce, pepperoni, ham, ground beef, sausage, red onions, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese....Also known as the Mighty Meat from Domino's....hehehe

21. What food do you really dislike?
Broccoli and cabbage.

22. What’s your favourite food blog?
There are so many of them, but I’ll name three: Eats Amazing for amazing kids food ideas. Hijacked by Twins which is a great mix of recipes and family life and Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.

23. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I don't think I've eaten anything really weird....Just the normal strange things like frogs legs, octopus, deer & oysters.

24. What’s on your food bucket list?
Go out for a proper afternoon tea, growing our own veg and eating it and having a pizza in Italy!

25. I couldn’t live without:
Bread....I probably eat too much of it but it is handy for toast in the morning and a quick sandwich at lunchtime...

BONUS question: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Scampi, chips and peas. It is one of my favourite meals which I wouldn't get sick of.

I’m not going to nominate for the tag but if you fancy doing it go ahead....

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Bargain Pyjamas....

We love our pyjamas here....I think I own more sets of PJ's than I do actual clothes....In the colder months as soon as my girls get in from school they change out of their uniforms and straight into their PJ's which means they go through at least 7 pairs each a week....

It's been ages since the girls got any new ones.....Well they did at Christmas but only a couple of sets. Most of Ellie's older ones were getting short on the leg and lots of Becky's were just looking old.....


I noticed an email a couple of weeks ago that Character.com had their winter sale on and there was bargains to be had....I knew this website had great prices as I got the girls Christmas Pj's a couple of years ago but I didn't expect the prices to be as low....

I got Ellie 7 sets including Bratz, Monster High, Hello Kitty, Marvel, Zootropolis and The Amazing World Of Gumball....They all cost £1.95. I got them in size 11 to 12 so there was room to grow into them and there is plenty of room....Hooray!


I got Becky 5 sets....There seemed to be less choice for older kids but she still did well.....She got sets featuring Hello Kitty, Spongebob, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Marvel and Minnie Mouse......

The Spongebob and Minnie Mouse one's cost £2.95 which I think are still a fantastic bargain and the rest again cost £1.95....


These should keep the kids going for a while....They were very happy with everything I bought them and so far everything seems to be washing well.....

The kids weren't the only one's getting spoilt....I bought a new set of Pj's for myself and a t-shirt for Stu.


I have bought Stu t-shirts from this site before and he has always loved them. He is a big fan of the superheroes so this Batman one was perfect....It cost £1.95.

The Minnie Mouse Pj's for me only cost £2.95...I wish I had bought more as they were such a great price but I wasn't sure about the female sizes. I bought them in a size 18 to 20. I like them loose and to have room to move....They were accurately sized but the bottoms were rather long on me...I blame my short legs. lol

In total this shopping spree came to £30.30. I qualified for free delivery as I ordered over £25.....

I ordered around Thursday tea time and everything arrived via Royal mail on the Monday....

I love this website especially when they have a sale on....

I was not asked to write this....I payed for everything with my own money. I just wanted to share my bargain buys.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

When bullies make you cry....

There has been a girl bulling Ellie my 9 year old on and off for at least a year.....She's one of the cool kids who has a little group of followers and as Ellie is a quiet child she just doesn't fit into that group....It keeps getting "dealt with" but the bullying continues...


On Friday morning I was stood in the school yard waiting for the bell to ring....Ellie was stood in her line chatting to a boy and a girl.....Another girl came over and started saying horrid things to her for no reason....She was making such a scene....Shouting smelly Ellie, making wretching noises and other things.....Ellie was just ignoring her....I couldn't though.

I walked straight over wanting the shout and scream at this vile child who was being awful to my girl....I didn't. She is one of those children who would twist it and make me out to be the bad one....I just gave her a look. Her face when she saw me walking over was a picture. She didn't see me in the yard. I took Ellie away from her to stand with my friends and I....I took a few minutes to compose myself and we went to see the headteacher who assured me it would be dealt with.....I was nearly in tears. 

It was horrible seeing my girl bullied right in front of me....I was there to stop it in this instance what about the times when I am not there?

Ellie says she just ignores it but I feel like some of the cruel words said stick in her head.....What if she is one of those kids that you hear about who are bullied and bullied and then one day just kill themselves....I have cried thinking about this. I am 99% sure that on days when Ellie comes out of school in a mood she has been bullied by this girl but Ellie just ignores her....

I have been giving Ellie so many hugs and a lot of attention....I feel so sad for her....I have cried many tears because of this vile bully. Nobody should be crying because of a bully especially not me.....

A few weeks ago the girl was away on a school residential trip and it is the best week Ellie has had at school in a long time....She was coming out every day happy and did some fantastic work.....Coincidence, I think not.

After school on Friday I went to see the head but she was in a meeting....I spoke to Ellie's teacher who knew nothing about it. Which I am not happy about at all. Surely she should have been made aware of what had gone on in the morning in case it carried on in the class room....Ellie's teacher assured me that either her or the head would ring me after the head had got out of her meeting.....I'm still waiting for the phone call.

I had a quick look through the schools anti-bullying policy and it made interesting reading....My girls school is not sticking to their own policy....The kids are on half term this week so on Monday morning I will be in first thing to see the head....This needs sorting now!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


It's half term! Hooray! I have been looking forward to this week....I think myself and my girls were ready for a break from school and Stu is off work too so that makes it even better....We have a few plans for this week which I am looking forward to. A trip to the cinema and a shopping trip to Newcastle!

Last weeks meal plan went pretty well until it got to the weekend....I didn't fancy chicken fajitas so we ended up having burgers in buns and fries....On Sunday Stu came down with man flu, didn't feel like eating so I didn't feel like cooking the Sunday roast. That has been bumped to today.


This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Roast chicken dinner....
Tuesday - Sausage, chips and beans....
Wednesday - Out at the cinema so probably just a sandwich when we get home....
Thursday - Hot dog spaghetti...
Friday - Out at Newcastle so we will eat there....
Saturday - Sloppy Joe's....
Sunday - Pie, mash & veg....

What are you eating this week?


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Playing nicely together. #MySundayPhoto

Both my girls were serving bans from their tablets and laptops last night....They decided to play together with Ellie's dolls....They can get along when electronics are not involved!


Don't ask why the dolls have no clothes on....I have no idea!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 7 #Project365

Thank goodness this week is just about over....It has been a little stressful. The girls are now off school for 9 days! Hooray for half term! 

Now for a photo every day....


 42/365 - 11th February
Just chilling surrounded by teddies and dolls....

43/365 - 12th February
Someone thought it would be fun to fill the toilet roll tube with talc.....Someone was made to clean it up and was in trouble. (My 9 year old. hehehe)

44/365 - 13th February
We had a fab delivery from Character dot com....I got 12 pairs of pj's for the kids, one for me and a t-shirt for my fella for £30.30. Bargain! 

45/365 - 14th February
My 9 year old did a bit of online shopping. £155 worth of stuff from Smiggle. We will not be staying logged into PayPal again! 

46/365 - 15th February
It was sunny and dry so we stopped off at the park on our way home from school.

47/365 - 16th February
I want my teens pj's. So cute.

48/365 - 17th February
On her way to school.


Friday, 17 February 2017

This week I found out.... #WotW

What a week....I don't want to use a negative word like stress, worry or angry because we have had good moments and now we can laugh about what happened this week. 

This week my word of the week is:


This was the week we found out that Ellie my 9 year old did a bit of online shopping....The short story is that she spent £155 on the Smiggle website and paid using Stu's PayPal account which was left logged in.....I of course wrote a blog post about it as a warning to others....


I think we gave the staff at Smiggle quite a giggle....Tthe things she ordered were delivered to our neighbours who brought it to us. Thankfully. We got the paper work out, got a return slip and sealed it all back up....Stu took the box to the post office yesterday to be returned.....We are getting all of our money back but it was a stressful couple of days....To some people £155 might not be a lot of money but to us it is....

I knew Stu had a week of holidays to take soon but for some reason I thought he was taking it at the end of February. It was great to find out that he is taking the holidays next week when my girls are off school for half term which means we can have some family time and some days out....We are so ready for half term.....

Becky has found a new YouTuber to obsess over.....Superwoman Lilly Singh. I have watched quite a few of her videos and she is hilarious....I found myself nodding along to what she has to say and I am now subscribed to her too.....

Sorry if you are a beauty blogger/vlogger but I found myself laughing so much at this....This is why I couldn't be one too. lol I know one make up look, my make up bag is a disgrace and I never wash make up brushes....Oops.



This week 8 years ago was the week where our lives changed forever and we found out for starters Ellie had a problem with her heart....I blogged about Congenital Heart Defects and tried to raise a bit of awareness....Seeing the photos and statuses appear on my Timehop still hit me hard even after all this time.....

The weather has been brilliant this week....After having a bit of snow on Friday and Saturday there has been signs that spring is on the way.....The mornings have been so light and bright and we have had sunshine every day this week! It's still cold but there is signs of spring and I have found myself smiling more and feeling happier. I hate the winter and it really effects my mood. We even had a short visit to the park midweek. I can't wait for some warmer weather....

Last week we were at the hospital with Becky when she fell off her scooter and landed on her face. Thank you for all the kind wishes but amazingly I don't think she actually broke her nose....The swelling has slowly gone down and it looks just about back to normal. Most of the grazes have gone and she's looking fabulous again. Phew!


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Jucee Drinks - Review.

My girls drink a lot of juice...I would rather they drink that than fizzy pop so I am always on the look out for drinks that have no added sugar.....Recently we were sent a selection of Jucee drinks to have a look at and try....My girls have had these in the past when we have been out and about but before now I hadn't thought of buying them regularly....


Jucee drinks are perfect for lunchboxes, days out and family time.....These drinks were shared between my girls and my teen has saved them to take to school....Instead of buying a drink full of sugar she has been enjoying these.....

None of the Jucee products contain any added sugar and are free from artificial colours and flavourings....

200ml serving of Jucee fruit juice counts as one of your recommended daily intake of five portions of fruits and vegetables a day.....

There are three types of product in the Jucee range and we were sent two of these to try.....

The 100% pure juice.


We were sent three of the flavours to try.....Orange, apple and cherries & berries. All contain pure fruit juice and absolutely nothing else. They are available in small cartons with a straw, which are perfect for lunchboxes and picnics.

These come in 200ml Single cartons, 3 Pack & 6 Pack varieties.

Jucee juice drinks.


These come in 3 flavours....Orange, Cherries & berries and Apple and blackcurrent....They come in a 250ml bottle with a re-sealable cap. They are perfect for on the go. 

These are available in individual bottles, 4 packs and 8 packs.

Both of my girls love these drinks....They would be perfect when the weather is warming for days to the park or beach....At the moment they have been drinking them as a treat with their tea each evening....

All Jucee products are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans and are available in a wide variety of outlets including supermarkets and independent retailers....


We were sent these free of charge in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

We learned a lesson the hard way.....

This isn't a dig at the Smiggle website. They have been nothing but helpful! This is a warning of what a 9 year old can do on a computer when they are unsupervised for such a short time....

Stu leaves himself logged into nearly everything on his computer....Ellie goes on it now and again and will usually go on the Cbeebies/CBBC website, she plays Minecraft and Roblox that's about it.....She will browse shopping sites but Stu rarely shops online so isn't logged in to those....He did leave himself logged into PayPal though....

Ellie visited the Smiggle website.....In case you didn't know Smiggle sells stationery aimed at kids....I saw her on it at the weekend and thought she was just browsing like she does with websites like Argos, Smyths and Toys R US....Making a list of things she wants like she usually does....

Yesterday I checked my fella's bank to see that a direct debit had came out and noticed another for £70.95 had came out too and was paid to Paypal. Stu was at work so I couldn't log into anything and see what it was for. I had to wait until he got in from work which caused me so much stress.....

He logged straight into PayPal and seen that a payment had gone to Smiggle for £155!! £85 off his PayPal balance and the rest out of his bank account.....

Excuse the black marks...I wanted to blank out personal details.

It turns out that Ellie my 9 year old had placed an order. She bought books, pencils, pens, rubbers, etc, etc.....She went on the website, filled her basket, made an account using a totally made up email address, clicked pay with Paypal and because Stu was automatically logged in the order went through....

Ellie doesn't know what email address she used. It wasn't hers so there was no way to log into the website to do anything.....We noticed on the PayPal receipt that the address is wrong but it is one of our neighbours. Stu had to knock on their door to say they will be getting a parcel for Ellie to their house....They were quite understanding. Phew! 

We got straight on the phone to Smiggle and spoke to a lovely lady who I think was trying not to laugh....We were not at that point of being able to laugh about it at the time....She gave us some great advice and said the order has been dispatched so they can't cancel it but as soon as the order arrives get in touch with them and we can return it for a refund....She was so helpful and understanding. Phew!

Luckily we will get our money back eventually....We have learned a lesson the hard way. 

Ellie knew exactly what she was doing. She knew if she bought something someone had to pay. She said she thought there was enough money in the bank....She knew it was wrong and is now serving a ban off the computer....She actually had the cheek to ask if we can keep everything....No, no, no! She is sorry but not sorry at the same time....

It seemed so easy for Ellie to go onto the site and spend over £150. It has given us quite a scare. It just goes to show even 5 minutes of being unsupervised on the computer can cause a whole heap of trouble and I feel so guilty for that....

At the same time it was a relief to see that Ellie had been shopping online....I had spent all afternoon worrying and stressing thinking Stu's PayPal had been hacked and they were working on taking the rest of the money out of the bank.

Our lesson has been learned.....Now we are making sure we log out of everything especially on the main computer and supervision will be stricter.