Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Father's Day Gifts....

It's that time of the year again where I have to find the perfect gifts for my dad and for Stu.....The girls already have a fair idea what to get Stu...He is so easy to buy for but on the other hand my dad is so hard to buy for. He is someone who has everything. If he needs something he buys it. He doesn't really drink and doesn't have any hobbies. He spends all his time working....


 I have spent lots of time looking on the internet for gifts for fathers day....This is what I've came up with for the men in your life.....


The Book of Dad - The Book of Everyone - £23.95 
Chocolate Father's Day Gift - Morse Toad - £15.50 
Personalised Hammer - Not on the High Street - £19.90
Dad's DIY kit biscuit tin - Biscuiteers - £39.50


Game Of Gnomes Garden Gnome - Prezzybox - £15.99
British Cider Gift Crate - Funky Pigeon - £27.99
Stormtrooper Toiletries Duo Gift Set - Truffle Shuffle - £6.99
Personalised Dad By My Side Canvas - Find me a Gift - £29.99
Fathers day chocolate - Cadbury's - £20.00

Do you have a hard to buy for dad?
What are you getting for the dad's in your life?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

I love the warmer weather but..

All winter I complain about the cold and now it has started to feel like summer too I am still complaining....I have decided my favourite season is Autumn.....We don't seem to have a spring now. It went straight from winter to summer weather. No in-between.


I have to shave my legs....
All winter I can get away without shaving my legs....Now it's warmer, even thought I rarely show my legs outside I will wear shorts around the house.....If I didn't shave my legs I know someone would knock at the door and see my hairy, beastly legs....

I have to wear nicer clothes....
In the winter I can hide under a coat on the school run....No one see's my top with the bleach stain, no one will see my old woolly jumper with holes in....When it is warmer I have to wear "nice" clothes and I can't get away with wearing the same t-shirt 3 times a week even if I wash it after every day....Ugh.

I can't sleep properly....
Years ago I would quite happily sleep naked but with kids who will just walk in the bedroom I don't now. Even in a nighty or shorts and vest top I am too hot....I can't sleep without a duvet on me. I have tried just a sheet but I like the weight of something....

We have arguments over ice lollies....
I stock the freezer with ice lollies and of course when there is just one of one type left the kids will try to fight to the death over it.....

There is boob sweat....
I have had such a giggle with my teen over the last week about boob sweat....This is the first year that she has worn proper bras and she is feeling the pain that boob sweat. hehehe She said she has had enough of being a woman already! She's 14! She know's nothing yet.

The bugs come in....
Obviously I like to have the windows open when it is warm but that means that bugs come in....We've had bee's, flies and so many spiders. I do not like insects. Flies I can just about put up with but the rest have to be removed by anyone who is not me!

Food is rubbish....
I love hearty casseroles, stews and big roast dinners but I don't want to cook them when it's hot even though I would eat them....hehehe 

There is the pressure to do something outside....
I feel guilty if we stay indoors when the sun is shining....we should be outside enjoying the sunshine but sometimes I just don't want to....

I always burn....
I was out on the school run last week for 20 minutes. Of course I forgot to put sun cream on and the back of my neck caught the sun and all evening it felt like it was on fire. When I do put sun cream on there is somewhere that I always miss....Grr!

Do you like the hot weather?


Monday, 29 May 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Last weeks meal plan went to plan.....I didn't cook a roast yesterday....It was too hot to be faffing around in the kitchen. We will be having the roast today....


My girls tried Findus beef crispy pancakes for the first time last week....We had mixed results. Becky and I loved them. Ellie said they tasted like dog food in nasty pastry stuff. Oops...She won't be having them again.

I can't see this weeks plan going to plan....The kids are off school and Stu is off work on holiday too. We have a couple of days planned out but it depends on the weather when we go as we have rain forecast.

This week I am not planning what day we are eating things....We will just mix things up.

On the menu this week we have:

Roast chicken dinner....
A BBQ - Depending on the weather....
Fish & chips at the beach....
Pizza....
Chinese chicken thighs & rice....
Picnic food. Sausage rolls, sandwiches & cakes....
Tuna salad....


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Paddling pools and dolls. #MySundayPhoto

We went to fill the paddling pool up yesterday, ready for the girls getting in from school and it had a hole in. My fella made a mad dash to Argos and managed to get one....It's big enough for Ellie and her collection of dolls....



Saturday, 27 May 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 21 #Project365

Another week another set of photos for Project 365.
It has been such a strange week....It has been hard not to feel sad for most of it with what happened in Manchester. It has been such a glorious week weather wise....As I am typing this the kids are outside playing....Ellie is in the paddling pool. Becky is not. She says it's too cold. lol

Here's a photo for every day!



140/365 - 20th May
I went to check up on what my youngest was doing upstairs....In my bed watching Glee of course.

141/365 - 21st May
Last minute homework.

142/365 - 22nd May
Sat in the waiting room at the Orthodontist. Becky has been given a date to get her braces off! August 14th! Hooray!

143/365 - 23rd May
Sunshine! 

144/365 - 24th May
My new trainers! I was due a pair. My old one's were about 8 years old. lol

145/365 - 25th May
Outside but still playing on her tablet.

146/365 - 26th May
We had to buy a new paddling pool as the old one had a hole in.....We filled it up before the kids got home from school.


Friday, 26 May 2017

Manchester. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:


I had no intention of writing anything about the horrific events that happened in Manchester at the beginning of the week. There is a lot of other bloggers who have written much more eloquently than I ever could but I couldn't not say anything it has dominated the week....

This week I have spent hours watching the news watching events unfold....Crying as the deaths were announced but what has made me tear up more is seeing all the good and kindness which has came from this despicable act....

Ariana Grande offering to pay for the funerals of the dead, the homeless man who helped in the aftermath has had the chance to have his rent payed for 6 months, all the fundraising pages, the nurses and doctors who rushed back to work, the taxi drivers who offered free rides, the people who offered beds, cups of tea and food, the celebrities who have offered to pay for hotels for the families with loved one's in hospital and a million other people who have shown kindness......

Obviously I am aware of the terrorist attacks in the past but they seemed so far from me. Now they seem closer to home. Not just because it was further up North than London but because it was just a random concert....We go to concerts. People from up here in the North East were killed....My friends daughter was at Manchester arena a few months ago seeing a concert....It is scary to think about the what if's....

Watching the news made me want to go and get my girls from school just to give them a big hug and say I love them.....Parents did not get the chance to do that to their children on Monday night....

I have spoken about the terrorism attacks with my girls and Becky my teen really surprised me with her knowledge and maturity....It also worried me that she knows so much about terrorism....I want to shield my girls from what is going on in the world.

I was watching Sky news the other day and Ellie was flitting about and there was a group of people talking to a crowd and there was a woman who stood out who was wearing a Union Jack hijab and reading a poem she had written. Ellie stopped to watch for a few minutes and said "She is SO COOL. See not all Muslims are terrorist's". I asked her who said they were and she said the boys at school.....Eek! I went on to explain that all religions have bad people but the majority are good..... 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Life on the farm....Camping!

This is the third post in the series I am doing about the fun I had as a child when living on a farm....You can my first post here and the post about the vehicles I used to ride and drive....


Not long after we moved to the farm my brother and I tried camping out.....Just in the front garden in a huge tent....We didn't much like it....The cows mooching about didn't really didn't let us sleep properly and I think we were back in our own beds by about 4am after waking my parents up and causing chaos.....

A few years later.....I was about 11 or 12. There was a half build hut/shed in the corner of the furthest away field from the farmhouse. a good 10 minute walk away....It was built to store feed for the animals but never got finished. It was about 7 or 8 foot square so the perfect size for a den!

On the farm there was always plenty of wood and building materials laying about so we would load the Vespa Moped up and take it up to the hut.....It is quite surprising how much wood you can carry on one if you position it just right.....We borrowed tools from my dad and got building and repairing....

It was just a square hut...Four walls and a flat roof. We made a door out of some plastic sheets we found and put some on the roof to make it waterproof....It worked....It was pretty darn good....It was warm and dry. We couldn't have asked for more.

My friend was visiting and we jokingly said to my mam we should sleep in it....She said OK to our amazement. I think she expected us to come crawling back home in the middle of the night cold or scared.

It was the middle of the summer so it was warm and light until late....We'd already taken old sleeping bags and cushions to make it comfy and it was.....

We gathered supplies....Drinks, sweets, pop, bacon, eggs, sausages and bread....We needed to eat. We'd already made a fire pit....We dug a little hole and surrounded it with bricks....We found some wire mesh and an old frying pan and we had been trusted with matches.....We were kids but we were not stupid when it came to fire....I don't think I ever burnt myself as a child. As an adult I burn myself at least once a week on the oven. lol

We stayed up until late chatting and playing word games. We had a cassette player with batteries which worked well and listened to Chubby Brown songs. It was the early 90's he was big then and forbidden....hehehe

In the morning we started our fire and cooked our food....There was one thing missing though. Tomato sauce! My brother drew the short straw and went back to the house to get some on the Vespa of course....hehehe

From that weekend I think we slept in there every weekend until the winter....Even when it was raining!

It was so much fun and the skills we learned were valuable....I can start a fire, cook on it, boil drinking water, make shelter and survive a thunder storm.....Just call me Bear Grylls.....hahaha


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Planning some days out in Northumberland.

There are so many places to visit here in Northumberland....We are pretty lazy when it comes to days out though we seem to visit the same places over and over. Neither Stu or I drive so we rely on public transport so there is plenty of places which we can't visit due to the distance or lack of bus stops...

Now the weather is getting nicer and the six week summer holidays are just around the corned we have been thinking about days out....This year we are going to make an effort and get out and about.....



We live about a 15 minute walk away from Woodhorn Museum but we have never visited as a family....The kids both have and Ellie is off there tomorrow on another school trip. 


The Woodhorn Museum is recognised as one of the best surviving examples of late 19th century/early 20th century colliery life in the North East.

The museum contains original colliery buildings, mining artefacts, and some great social history exhibitions, while the Northumberland Archives cover over 800 years of the county's history, and provide an amazing record of the past....


When I blogged about our trip to Ridley park in Blyth Lindsay who blogs at Newcastle Family Life mentioned Carlisle Park in Morpeth and I had a look and it looks amazing....It is about a half an hour bus ride from us and it's somewhere we have never visited before.....

Situated on the south bank of the River Wansbeck, it has formal gardens, an aviary, play areas, a paddling pool, ancient woodland, picnic areas, toilets, tennis courts, bowling greens, a skate park and much more.

A Puffin Cruise in Amble.

We have visted Amble a lot of times over the years and have had some lovely days out....One thing we have never done is go on the Puffin cruise...


The boat trip lasts for one hour sailing out around Coquet Island and there is the chance to see Puffins, rare Rosetate Tern, Arctic Tern, common Tern, kittiwakes And the Grey Seal colony alongside much more magnificent sea life.

An adult ticket costs £10 and a child's £5. 


Since we visited Alnwick Garden a few years ago we have wanted to go back and visit the castle....It's a long journey. Two hours on the bus but if the castle is anything like the gardens it will be well worth it.....


Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the country; home to the Duke of Northumberland's family, the Percys, for over 700 years.

Entertainment includes fire-eating jesters, courageous knights, master falconers, and medieval artisans which takes place throughout the castle's open season.... 

I really fancy having a go at the broomstick training and battling dragons in the Dragon quest

Blue Reef Aquarium, Tynemouth.


I know it's technically not in Northumberland but it's up here near us and I thought it might be a good day out now...

We visited Blue Reef Aquarium years ago....Ellie was only about 2 years old and when we arrived the queue was huge. She saw the fish in the tanks at the entrance and that was it....She saw one fish and that was enough for her. She had no interest in the rest of them even if they all looked different. lol It was a waste of money at the time....

Now both the girls are older I think they would appreciate it more now.....Since we last visited they have added seals, monkeys and reptiles too....

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A family night out...

On Friday evening it was Stu's sisters 50th birthday party.....As much as we love Stu's side of the family it is very rare that we get to see them....We are all busy and have our own lives and to be honest travelling is usually a problem for us but this time we had a little spare money and made the effort.....

Ellie has had her outfit planned for weeks and wanted her hair curled.....Becky had a fair idea what she was going to wear, Stu and I had no idea....lol


When the kids got in from school we started getting ready....Yes it took that long. I curled Ellie's hair and I was very impressed with my efforts.....I usually suck at doing my girls hair. I feel so bad for them but I am not a girly, girl. I usually just slap my hair back in a ponytail....I managed to style Becky's hair which was acceptable to her and even managed to ditch the ponytail myself....lol


Ellie had a bit of a diva moment when it came to what shoes she was wearing.....She got it into her head that it was OK for her to wear my boots with heels...She didn't care they were about 4 sizes too big....lol Cue a huge tantrum that only ended when we said the taxi was nearly here and gave her the ultimatum of get some shoes on or we won't be going....



We were planning on getting the bus there and a taxi back but on Friday the weather was rubbish. We didn't fancy the 20 minute walk to the bus stop in the rain....We worked out the bus fare would be about £15 and thought the taxi back would be about £20.....We actually rang a taxi company and they quoted us £45. We rang another and they said £15 each way. That would do us!

We had a great time catching up with family and had a few drinks....

The girls sat with us for about 20 minutes....Then they saw the balloons and we lost them....They went off and played for a couple of hours.....


They even went and sat at their own little table. They were too cool to sit with their mam and dad...lol It seemed like a glimpse into the future....Give it a few years. Well more than a few but they will be out in pubs/clubs drinking without me. Nope. I don't want to think about. hehehe

They were one of the first one's up to the buffet and by the time Stu and I went to get some food they were half way through theirs....lol 

By ten past nine we were back in the taxi on the way home.....We would have happily stayed longer but the pub had it's rules that kids had to be out by 9pm. We had a great evening and it made us realise that we need to see more of the family!


Monday, 22 May 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Last weeks meal plan went to plan until we got to the weekend....We ended up having a sandwich on Friday then stuffed our faces at the buffet at the party we went to....Then on Saturday we were in a lazy mood and we fancied a takeaway so we had a Chinese....

I said at the beginning of the year we were going to cut down on them and over the past couple of weeks we've had pizza, Chinese and McDonalds.

Keep your fingers crossed for my teen Becky today....Today might be the day she gets her braces off.....The last couple of times we were there they have said next time so we will see....

This week on the menu we have:

Monday Pineapple And Coconut Mini Chicken Fillets with egg fried rice...
Tuesday - Baked potatoes with beans and cheese....
Wednesday - Findus beef crispy pancakes & chips....
Thursday - Tuna pasta bake....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Pork & apple burgers in buns with fries....
Sunday - Roast chicken dinner....

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Not the best picture but... #MySundayPhoto

I rarely get photos of my girls and I together so I appreciate them when I do.....It isn't the best photo but it's one I will be keeping!
  


Saturday, 20 May 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 20 #Project365

Another week another Project 365 post. A photo every day for a year....It's been a funny week weather wise....Two cold days of rain....Two sunny and warm and then yesterday it was absolutely chucking it down but really warm....Make your mind up please!


133/365 - 13th May
My fella was out which of course meant pizza and so many sweets....

134/365 - 14th May
Crafts and a lot of mess...

135/365 - 15h May
My teen had more homework. This terms topic is Macbeth.

136/365 - 16th May
She hates washing up. hehehe

137/365 - 17th May
My teen had her 2nd HPV vaccine injection & got a fancy bracelet....

138/365 - 18th May
Just listening to music.

139/365 - 19th May
All dressed up for a family party.


Tiny Tickers feature on BBC Lifeline this Sunday.

I have blogged about Tiny Tickers in the past most recently when it was Heart week.....


Tiny Tickers is the only national charity with a focus on improving the early detection, diagnosis and care of babies with heart conditions. Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) are the most common type of birth defect; it is our ambition that no baby should ever die with an undetected heart defect.

Tiny Tickers have been given an incredible opportunity to feature in a BBC Lifeline appeal which will be shown on Sunday 21st May at 4pm on BBC1 and repeated again on BBC 2, Wednesday 24th at 1pm. It will then be available on the BBC website for one month. 

They will be sharing very different stories of two babies born with heart conditions. Tommy and Rocco. The appeal demonstrates how our specialist sonographer training can save lives.

First, Tommy's mum Natasha will tell her story. 


Tommy had a Congenital Heart Defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries, which sadly was not detected before his birth. When he was born, he displayed all the signs of heart failure, which Natasha now knows about – his skin was a blue colour, he didn't want to feed, he was always asleep and cold to touch. Natasha knew something was wrong and voiced her concerns to numerous medical professionals but it was too late. Tragically, at 11 days old, Tommy passed away.

The second story has a far happier ending, but Rocco's mum says he owes his life to the sonographer who spotted his poorly heart. 


Like Tommy, Rocco also has Transposition of the Great Arteries. But unlike Tommy, his heart defect was detected at his 20 week scan. This enabled him to receive life-saving treatment as soon as he was born. At six days old he had open heart surgery. Today, Rocco is a happy, healthy three year old. He is also a huge Chelsea fan!

Both of my girls were discharged from hospital when they were babies with heart problems....No one knew, including me. It was only down to a freak accident of Ellie jamming her fingers in a door that their conditions were found.....In 2009 both of my girls had open heart, life saving surgery. Without the surgery they would have died in their teenage years.....The teenage years seemed a long way away then but Becky is 14 now. Without the freak accident and the surgery she may have been dead by now....

You can read our story....Part one and Part two....

My girls the day they came out of hospital after heart surgery. I have covered Becky up as she asked me to.

Once the initial appeal has aired Tiny Ticker's need as many people as possible to watch it and donate. Your help could make a huge difference to babies born with heart conditions....

£5 could pay for two ‘early diagnosis packs’ to be sent to expectant parents who have just been told the devastating news that their baby has a heart defect. This pack will help them understand more about their baby's condition, and what to expect during the rest of pregnancy and after birth.

£10 could pay for 1000 heart cards to be produced. These cards alert parents to the signs and symptoms of heart problems.

£25 could provide 40 doctors surgeries with life-saving information on spotting the signs and symptoms of heart problems in a baby, information they can also share with their patients.

£75 could pay for one sonographer to receive specialist training. He or she could identify a heart condition in a baby and save its life.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Parties and meetings. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:


Stu and I rarely have nights out.....At the weekend he had one and tonight we are all off out to a family party....

Someone who Stu works with has left to be a holiday rep. I am so happy for him as he loves traveling and he's such a nice lad.....There was a night out to Newcastle arranged on Saturday night and Stu of course went....He had a fantastic night and didn't get in until after 3am. He drank but not that much....He was appalled at the prices of the drinks in Newcastle but they were drinking in pubs and clubs which are shown on the TV show Geordie Shore. lol 


The girls and I had a great evening at home....We watched Eurovision, ate so much rubbish and played games on our laptops/tablets.

There was a gathering at school earlier in the week. Against my better judgement I went to the schools PTA meeting. Last year I left because there wasn't the support from the teachers....Again there was only the usual parents who turned up....Most of the parents at the school are not interested in helping out which is a shame.. It turns out I won't be helping out though.....I won't go into the ins and outs of it as I don't know who reads here but my time with the PTA is over which I am a little sad about but it's fine...

Tonight it is Stu's sisters 50th birthday party and we're off to that....The girls are so excited. Ellie has had her outfit picked out for weeks and Becky just can't wait to see her cousins. It will be nice to see some of Stu's family it's been a while since we had a catch up. It won't be a late night. Kids have to be out by 9pm which we are fine with.

In other news:

Becky had her second HPV vaccine against cervical cancer. It was a bit of surprise for her. I got a text from school the day before she had it. She said that was not enough warning....lol She did make me chuckle though. She said it's so unfair that boys don't have the injection. They should have it too to protect them against cancer. As soon as she said it she realised why they don't have it....They don't have a cervix. Doh! 

Stu had a little wobble at work....There has been a few changes at his place of work that he and most of the other staff are not happy about and there is a change in management happening soon which is worrying but his job is still very safe. He was all set for handing his CV in to other companies....We have had so many chats over the past week about it. It's all fine and well leaving but what happens if a new job only lasts say six months. At least the job he has is safe and long term....We have came to the conclusion that it's better the devil you know....


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Ellie's Story. Auditory Neuropathy. #DeafAwarenessWeek

Looking at Ellie my 9 year old you would never guess she is deaf in one ear....She just deals with it.

This week is Deaf Awareness Week and I thought I couldn't let it pass without writing something.....Sharing Ellie's story.


Ellie was born with some hearing loss in her right ear. It was discovered when we took her for the newborn hearing test....For a few years we were at the hospital every six months for more tests. They couldn't get a clear result. 

We went through all the baby tests where she had the probe things put in her ears....Then the toddler ones where she had to wear headphones and they would play a noise in them and the Audiology people would note down if she responded....

Ellie was about 4 years old she was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy.....A pretty rare type of hearing loss where the cochlea and all the ear seems to work but there is something wrong with how the nerves work....Basically all the ear works, the nerves going to the brain work there is just a loose connection somewhere in the middle!.....My girl really does have a screw loose....hehehe

When she was a toddler she had 95% hearing loss in her right ear and it progressed....By 2014 she was totally deaf in that ear....

The specialists have mentioned to us that they could do tests....MRI scans to see where the nerves are not working and maybe find out why.....It would help with the research of the condition but the results would not make a difference to Ellie...There is no fix for her ear so I have always said no.

If she wants to be a guinea pig when she is older she can be but I'm not putting my girl through an unnecessary medical procedure! Sorry! She has had her fair share of hospital visits and stays with the problem with her eyes, ears and her heart.....If there was a chance they could restore the hearing I would have said yes but not just to aid their research.....

We have got to the point now where we only go to the hospital once every couple of years just to make sure her good ear isn't losing any of it's hearing.....It isn't so far. Phew!

There are times where Ellie struggles at school especially if there is a lot of background noise but the school is pretty good now. We did have a few issues over the years, especially at the start of a new school year where her medical information was not passed on.....I complained and they have been brilliant ever since. She is sat nearest the teacher and they make sure she hears and understands everything.

There are over 45,000 deaf children living in the UK.
90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no experience of deafness or knowledge of how to communicate with a deaf person.
Four babies are born deaf every day.
Research suggests that more than 77% of school-aged deaf children in the UK attend mainstream schools where is no specialist provision and in which they may be the only deaf child enrolled.
Deafness is not a learning disability. There is no reason why the majority of deaf children should achieve any less than hearing children.

Ellie doesn't let her deafness hold her back....To Ellie being deaf is normal. There are times when she plays on it....She only has to stick her finger in one ear when she doesn't want to listen to me and pretends she hasn't heard me when I ask her to do something. Cheeky so and so. hehehe