Wednesday, 28 February 2018

I got closure. It's been a year since my mother died...

It's been over a year since my mother died.....I only realised it was the anniversary of me finding out because of the Timehop app.....We had no relationship for the last 13 or years of her life. She ran off with a man she met online....He isn't a nice man. When she left she took thousands of pounds of her and my dad's life savings....I wrote about what happened a few years ago....


I found out via a death notice online she had died and then was reminded about it via an app on my phone....Hooray for technology.

I shared the news on my personal Facebook profile last year....It was one of those things that I needed to get out....I can honestly, hand on heart say it wasn't for sympathy or attention. I found out at about 10pm at night and I had no one to talk too. Facebook was as good as place as any....


I had found out just before Christmas 2016 that my mother had cancer. Her husband had phoned the police? (I don't know why?) They got in touch with my dad and gave him a phone number to pass on to my brother and I....He made a big deal of not wanting to contact us directly....

I've had time to think don't believe for one second that she or the husband had sincere reasons for telling us the news of her cancer how they did. I feel they wanted to cause drama and a fuss. She read my blog, knew exactly where to find me on social media...Why make a big deal about announcing her cancer then not bothering to tell us she had died?

What annoyed me about the death notice....I know it is so wrong to be annoyed by an obituary but there was no mention of her children, my brother and I or her 4 grandchildren. Even though I hadn't spoken to her in over 8 years I still kept an eye on her online and she still kept up the pretence that she had children and grandchildren...If we/they were so special to her in life why not mention us....I really worry about what her and her husband told people about her past and her family....

I was told that losing my mother would "hit me" at some point but it really hasn't....I really don't think it will. I am an emotional person if it was going to get to me it would have by now...I am only writing this because her death is part of my life...

I did my crying and grieving many, many years ago when she told me I was dead to her because I wouldn't side with her over my dad when she ran away with the man she met online.....Finding out about her death was a shock...I still feel relieved, not glad she is dead but relieved that she cannot cause anymore drama or heartache for my family.....

If anything her death has made me a better person....

I have looked after my health more. I know she died from cancer but I don't know what type? I keep on top of my smear tests, check my breasts for lumps regularly and take general care of myself more than I used too....

I have made sure to be there for my girls....I am the mother to my girls that she never was to me....I make sure to take interest in their school life, hobbies and their interests. There is many a tale I could tell about my mother. Things I didn't think about as a child but now as a mother I know they were wrong....


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Kirstie Allsopp Fragrant Rose Soap Making Kit - Review!

Last week I blogged about some great Mothers Day craft ideas from Hobbycraft....Along with the canvasses and flower pots we also received the Kirstie Allsopp Fragrant Rose Soap Making Kit....


I was going to let Becky my teenager help make these soaps but she had better things to do....I went ahead and made them myself....I have never made soap before! The kids have. lol but I haven't....This seemed like a grown up kit so was keen to give it a try....

This kit each contains everything you'll need to get started. It includes white melt and pour soap base, clear melt and pour soap base, rose fragrance, rose moulds and pink powdered dye....Perfect whether you are a novice or a seasoned expert.


I went off to the kitchen and started cutting the soap base. I used half the white and half of the clear....You add it to a heat proof jug and and put that into a half filled pan of water....A lot like melting chocolate.....


I soon realised that I had added too much too much to the jug and had cut my pieces too big. It took a long while to melt the chunks down...I ended up splitting it between two jugs. Things like this are a learning process. I will know for next time....


When the first jug had melted I added some of the rose fragrance and the pink powdered dye and poured it into the moulds....It smelt amazing! With the 2nd jug I added less dye so it was a different colour....

When I added the mixture to the moulds I poured the first three and had a little mixture left so added it to the top of the 3 I had just put in the moulds....You can see on the middle one how that ended up....Oops! lol I think with things like this you just have to go for it and not hold back....


I left it all for a couple of hours to set and carefully prised them out.....I was very impressed with the end result! 


This is a great set....The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow...I made the soaps in the most basic of ways there is many ways to make it....You can try marbling it, adding rose petals, making it striped or whatever you fancy!



Whether you give this kit as a gift, create handmade soaps to treat friends or family with or simply spoil yourself, it'll be perfect.

The Kirstie Allsopp Fragrant Rose Soap Making Kit costs £20.00 and is exclusive to Hobbycraft.


I was sent this kit free of charge to try and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own...

Monday, 26 February 2018

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Last weeks meal plan went pretty well....The Meatball gravy subs were AMAZING! The girls have asked for them again which is a good sign...

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Sausages with Sticky caramelised onion Bbq sauce which we tried and loved a while ago. I will be adding mushrooms, onions and peppers & we'll be having it with wedges....
Tuesday - Home made corned beef pie, mash & baked beans....
Wednesday - Gammon, chips and peas...
Thursday - Toasties of some sort. We have Ellie's visit to secondary school....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Fried chicken, onion rings, garlic mushrooms and picky things.... 
Sunday - Some sort of meat & veg in the slow cooker....

What will you be eating this week?


Sunday, 25 February 2018

Thorntons Continental Statement Easter Egg Giveaway!

Tis the season of Chocolate.....It doesn't seem that long since Christmas when there was chocolate galore, then we had Valentine's day, Mother's day is coming up and then of course Easter! Yay!


Lift the lid off the beautiful box to unveil a large milk chocolate egg drizzled with elegant dark and white chocolate swirls. Also included is a box of 10 of our newly Remastered Continental chocolates, with refined recipes making them more exquisite than ever before.....

One winner will win the Thorntons Continental Statement Easter Egg....If by chance it is not in stock when the giveaway ends (It really should be) I will choose a product equal or above the £15.00 that the egg is worth....Don't worry you will get at leas £15 worth of chocolate!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules...We have to have them!

The Giveaway ends at 12am on the 18th of March.... 
One winner will win a Thorntons Continental Statement Easter Egg....
Entrants must log in via Rafflecopter and answer the question in the widget. This is the only mandatory task...You can gain extra entries by following on social media, tweeting, etc....
One winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter.... 
This giveaway is open to all UK residents who must be over 18 years of age.... 
I will contact the winner within 24 hours of the competition ending via email or social media....The winner must respond within 28 days of the notification e-mail or a new winner will be redrawn.

Having fun but still learning. #MySundayPhoto

Ellie's homework this weekend is to relax. She has her mock SATs next week. I wasn't going to let her just vegetate so it was an ideal time to review a new card game we had been sent to try....Having fun but still learning.



Saturday, 24 February 2018

Fletter the word game that makes you think fast but act faster!

Fletter is the fast paced word game for all the family and is sure to test even the quickest thinkers!  

You have to shout out words at rapid-fire speed from the letters placed before you before the other players can. Use your brain to string the letters into words and use your voice to claim them! The words claimed by you will then translate into the number of points you’ve made.


This seemed like a great game to get my girls thinking....Ellie my youngest has her SATs this year and mock SATs next week. She didn't have any homework this weekend in preparation for the mock SATs. I still wanted her brain working but wanted her to have fun too. This game sounded perfect!

Players put cards into the middle and the game starts as soon as there is enough to make a word....Fletter is played in 4 rounds....3 letter words, 4 letter words, 5 letter words and 6 letter words....Each round ends when all the players have run out of cards....


We decided to play with just 3 and 4 letter rounds....Ellie is clever but 5 and 6 letter words were a struggle for her but easy for her 15 year old sister. I wanted to make it a little fairer to them both....

At the end of each round you add up the points on each card to find the total score.....


The girls had great fun playing this and as I am writing this they are still playing....This really is a great game to get children using their brain but can be played by adults too. I imagine it getting so competitive. 

This is pocket sized and can be played on the go with a minimum of 2 players....Ideally it is for ages 8 plus but you could just play with 3 letter words for younger children....

Fletter costs £7.99 and you can buy it from their shop.

Pitting player against player on the basis of letters and language, Fletter is the ideal game for anyone who loves words, or a riveting dose of friendly competition. And there you have it. Fletter is really that simple. Play it to find out!

We were sent this game free of charge to play and review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Week 8 - A photo everyday for a year. #Project365

This week the kids returned to school after half term and my fella back to work after his holidays....None of them were happy to get back to work. I seem to have had a busy week. I got plenty of reviews up. The Fearne by Swan Stand Mixer, Mothers Day craft ideas from Hobbycraft, Vitamin D supplements, Great gifts from Gift Pup and The Children's Meditations in My Heart book....Way more than my usual one a week. 

Now for a photo every day....


48/365 - 17th February
Patiently waiting for her McDonalds....We had a lovely day out at Newcastle shopping....

49/365 - 18th February
Becky's new posters were put up. I love the Stranger Things one.

50/365 - 19th February
On Sunday evening my teen Becky told me her school shoes had holes in....They were on the top and noticeable. She had all half term to tell me but didn't. She had to go to school with holy shoes until we went out and bought her some new one's....She wanted expensive one's but she will have to make do with £9.99 one's from ShoeZone. 

51/365 - 20th February
Our internet problems were fixed on Tuesday. We were sick of it disconnecting so rang Sky. They sent an engineer out and he put a new box on the wall and our problems were solved just like that....

52/365 - 21st February
We changed the house around. The downstairs. We moved the living room to the front of the house and the dining room to the back....It was such a big job but we had a good clear out while we were on. 4 bags of rubbish and 4 for the charity shop.

53/365 - 22nd February
I took the photos for a book we reviewed.

54/365 - 23rd February
Ellie has her mock SATs next week and the teacher told the class they were not getting homework but then gave them homework. The nicest kind of homework. She just has to relax.


Friday, 23 February 2018

The Children's Meditations in My Heart - Book review!

Ellie my youngest hasn't been the best at going to sleep....She always thinks there is something more important to do than sleep. I saw a lovely book late last year on a few blogs called The Children's Meditations in My Heart and it sounded lovely. I was lucky enough to receive a copy to review and we have been trying it out over the last week.....


From ‘Hygge’ to parenting, the Danish way of doing things is often widely talked about and it would appear that bedtime is no different.

The Children’s Meditations in My Heart by Gitte Winter Graugaard is a collection of four meditations for parents to read to their children. Graugaard’s book shows parents how to teach their child the importance of self-esteem and self-love, enabling them to drift off into calming, reparative sleep, their hearts full with love.

The meditations are;
I fill my heart with love.
From my heart, I send love.
My cloud is full of love.
With the universe, I share my love.

I was open to giving this a try with my girl....My fella thought it was a bit airy fairy and new age but when the book arrived I let Ellie have a look through and saw her smiling when reading it....I could tell by her face that she was interested. 

I have never done any meditation before but there is a guide at the beginning of the book with some tips and instructions which were really helpful....

It is just lovely.....Heartwarming and even reading them to Ellie relaxes me.


I have been reading it to Ellie most nights this week and it is helping her relax at night time. The book is easy to read and is so different to what we usually read on a night but it seems to be working....She is a lot calmer and is more willing to go to sleep....

Ellie is not good at talking about her emotions....We think she has some sort of Autism. She has a support worker who comes into school to talk to her once a week which is a great help but when reading this book she has been opening up and telling me more about how she feels about school and life in general....It has been a fantastic breakthrough for us.


This book might not help all children....My teen thinks it's ridiculous but now my fella is coming around to the idea of it....Ellie loves it and has asked a couple of times to read "the love book" herself....She will sit on the sofa with a big smile on her face.

This book is available from Amazon. £3.03 for the Kindle version, £12.95 for the hardcover and £11.36 for the paperback....


We were sent this book free of charge in exchange for our review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Lots of good changes.... #WotW

This Week my Word of the Week is

On Saturday we went to Newcastle. We have now changed the way we go about our shopping....This time the girls had their own money to spend and it really made them think about what they were buying....They didn't ask us for anything then throw a strop when we said no....So from now on they will be given a budget on shopping trips and they can spend it how they want to....It really worked and we had a stress free day....


On Monday Ellie was a little late for school. The bell had gone when she went in and then she went to the toilet and must have taken her time because by the time she had got to the classroom the register had been taken and she must have been marked as absent. At about half past 10 I got a phone call from the school asking why Ellie was off school! I felt so panicked. She was in school. They had to go and check. Thoughts were running through my head. I was thinking all sorts...Obviously she was in school. Phew! I was fuming at the school but they were not at fault. Ellie being late and then faffing around in the loo made her even later.

So we have made a change on a morning....We now get up just 10 minutes earlier so we can leave on time with no stress and then get to school well before the bell goes. It seems to be working well so far. On Wednesday she was ready before 8am so we sent her off to breakfast club....hehehe

For weeks and weeks our internet has been rubbish. The broadband has been disconnecting a lot. On Monday we had, had enough and gave Sky a ring. Stu spent about 50 minutes on the phone going through everything and the woman on the phone could see how many times it had been disconnecting and said she would send an engineer out...

 The engineer came on Tuesday and was fantastic. He looked at the box on the wall and said it was ancient....He replaced it and did his tests and the speed increased by 2mb and the line was stable once again....Phew! It was such a quick fix.


He also asked what TV package we were on. The original one. He said if you phone up you can get a different package for the same price with all the music channels instead of just a few and all the documentary one's which we didn't get....We phoned up changed the package and added the kids channels too for £5 bringing it to £25 a month. I'm sure a few years ago we had near enough the same package and used to pay about £40.

It was Stu's day off work on Wednesday and he decided that it would be the day we swapped the living and dining room around....The dining room and kids toys were in the front of the house and the living room at the back....Now it has switched. It took all day but I think it looks so much more homely now. The living room seems more grown up and less cluttered and even with Ellie's toys the dining room seems better too...I really should have taken before pictures.


Next week we are going for a visit to the local secondary school....The one that Becky goes to. Ellie brought home the letter about moving into year 7 in September and the first open evening is next week. Ellie has been to the school a lot as it's where she does the big school performances and she's been for Becky's parents evening's. It's not all new to her like it was for Becky when she had her open evening. It feels familiar. It is still going to be such a big change for us all....I will have 2 children in secondary school....Eek and the girls will be back together. I am excited but nervous for this change....


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Great gifts from Gift Pup for Mother's Day.....

Mother’s day a fantastic opportunity to show that special lady in your life how much you appreciate her. Gift Pup have a huge selection of gifts that will make her smile....

I was lucky enough to be able to choose something off their site for myself to see how good they really are....All of Gift Pup's products come with eye catching designs that can be personalised with either their name, initials, photo or a message. It was hard to choose just one thing....

I ended up choosing the Moments Of Brilliance Classic Claudia Wine Glass which can be personalised....


This 190ml Claudia Crystalite Wine Glass is traditional in style but with a funny 'Moments of Brilliance' engraved design. This distinctive quality lead crystal glass has a facet ball in the stem. It's sure to go down very well with anybody who really appreciates a nice glass of wine. The glass dimensions are: 145mm high by 65mm wide.

When this arrived it was packaged so well. There was no fear of it breaking. I quickly opened it and I was quite amazed at how beautiful it is....It is cute and funny with the engraving but it looks classy....I really do love it. 

Personalising your items is straightforward on the site. Simply add the text you want and you can preview it or upload a photo....Previewing my name on the glass and seeing it in real life is exactly the same. The preview is totally accurate, there is no difference at all....I am very pleased with my new glass.

The majority of the personalised gifts are manufactured within 24/48 hours. On every product page there is a clock to the right of the product price. This shows how long it will take to manufacture your personalised gift from receipt of order.

On every product page there is also a Delivery Options tab. It shows the delivery services available for that product. The most popular delivery options are Royal Mail 1st class (1-3 days) or Next Day Signed For which is via a courier. Please bear in mind that while you may choose to pay a little bit more for next day delivery via a courier the product still needs to be manufactured so you need to also allow for the products displayed manufacturing time.

While browsing the Gift Pup website there was plenty of items which stood out....With gifts starting from £4.99 they have something for every budget to make a loved one's day extra special.

These are some of the items which caught my eye....


Super Mum Photo Upload Durham Mug - £4.99
Good Mums Black Glass Coaster - £6.99
Womens Small Photo Upload Wash Bag - £15.99
Wooden Photo Upload Keyring - £10.99
Silver Photo Table Mat - £14.99
Glad you are My Mum White Wine - £17.99


Kitchen Magician Women's Apron - £17.99
Reading Glasses Case - £19.99
XOXO Glass Candle Holder - £23.99
Amazing Mother Fine Bone China Pot Belly Teapot - £23.99
Mum One in a Melon Wall Art - £29.99
LOVE Mother's Day Conical Vase with Heart Design - £39.99

Is there anything you fancy?


I was sent the Moments Of Brilliance Classic Claudia Wine Glass free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A day out in Newcastle...

On Saturday we ventured to Newcastle for an afternoon of shopping....Usually we only go to Newcastle when we have hospital appointments so it was a bit of a novelty going just for us....There was no rushing about or worrying about what time it was.

We got the bus and arrived at Newcastle at lunchtime.....The kids had been dying for a McDonalds so off we went. It was packed but we found one of the screens to order on and a seat pretty quickly which was amazing. Usually we wander about for ages trying to find somewhere to sit.... 


The girls had their own money to spend....Left over from Christmas and some they had saved since....We said we would buy them food and drinks but anything else they would buy themselves and it made a huge difference to our day....

They weren't asking for toys and things all day. There was no "mam, can I have?" or tantrums because I wouldn't buy them something...They were actually really choosy about what they bought....

We spent a good 45 minutes in HMV. Becky had been after some posters for her bedroom and found about 20 that she wanted....She managed to narrow it down to 3. They were £3.99 each or three for £9.....Perfect!


We browsed in a lot more shops....A lot more. By the time we had walked through Eldon Square (the shopping centre) I was ready for a sit down and a drink. We stopped for a snack which was very much needed....

We then went to the Disney Store. Ellie's idea of heaven! I could easily buy one of everything in this shop. hehehe We spent a good half hour browsing. It took Ellie time to decide what she wanted....She went with the set of Disney Princesses for £24.99. I decided to treat myself too. I had a Chip mug but it got broken so I bought a replacement. This one will be treasured.....


I couldn't leave Newcastle without nipping into Lush and getting myself a few bath bombs and The Bodyshop and getting some lip balms....They are the best I have ever used and I do really need them at this time of year....


We didn't get home until about 6pm....Our legs were aching from all the walking we did but we had a great day....

I think in future we will be giving the girls their own money to spend on what they want. We had such a lovely day with them not asking for things and they really appreciate the things they bought themselves....


Vitamin D supplements from Vega Vitamins.

A few weeks ago we had the flu and we were all feeling pretty run down. It's that time of year isn't it...When we were on the mend I was contacted by Vega Vitamins and asked if we would like to try out some Vitamin D supplements...It came just at the right time. I know over the winter months we don't get enough sunshine on our skins....


The UK Government recommends that all members of the population supplement their Vitamin D intake throughout the Autumn and Winter months. Almost two thirds of the British public (64%) were found to be Vitamin-D deficient. With only 6% of British children supplementing their vitamin D intake...

Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium and promotes healthy bones, teeth and muscle growth as well as supporting our immune system. Recent studies have also found that vitamin D helps protect against colds, asthma and cardiovascular disease among other ailments.

We were sent a few products to try out as a family.....

RRP £5.95 for 100 tablets or £26.95 for 500 tablets


Vega EveryDay-D gives you an hour of vitamin D sunshine. Studies suggest that 400IU (10 micrograms) of vitamin D is equivalent to one hour's exposure of the face, neck and arms to sunshine during the autumn and winter months.

These easy to take blackcurrant flavoured chewable tablets and suitable for both adults and children from age 4 onwards. They are quite tasty and Becky has had no trouble in chewing them.....

RRP £7.95 for 60 tablets


Vega Urgent-D contains 2,000IU (50 micrograms). An intensive dose for adults wishing to supplement at a higher level offering the equivalent of four hours of sunshine exposure.

These are again the blackcurrant-flavoured chewable tablet and are designed specifically for adults and Stu and I have been taking these....They are tasty enough and it has became a routine to take one each morning....

RRP £5.95 for 200 sprays.


Vega EveryDay-D 400IU vitamin D3 spray is a hyper-absorbable orange flavoured spray designed for the whole family. It is very easy to use and can be sprayed inside the cheek or under the tongue for absorption directly into the bloodstream in less than four minutes.

For use by both adults and children from age 4 onwards this has been Ellie's choice of how to take Vitamin D. You simply spray it onto inside of the cheek or under the tongue then swallow after 30 seconds. It tastes like really strong orange juice 

I don't know if it's just in my head playing tricks with me but with taking the tablets I have been feeling brighter and like I have a little more energy. There has been no negative health effects that I have noticed....They seem to be keeping us well.

I think these are something I will have to take for a couple of more months to see the real results or until the sun starts shining again properly....

We were sent the Vitamin D supplements free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mothers Day craft ideas from Hobbycraft.

I love Hobbycraft. I only discovered them late last year. We don't have a store nearby so I was oblivious to them. I feel so ashamed, now they are my go to online store for craft supplies. I got the kids Halloween crafts and Christmas crafts last year and when I received an email about working with them on some Mother's day and Spring crafts a couple of weeks ago I jumped at the chance....

I chose a few things and it was only when the girls were busy creating their things I realised the items would be perfect gifts for Mothers day....I know I always prefer something the kids have made

The girls each got a colour in canvas. Becky chose the Love one and Ellie the Be Happy one....They both cost £4.50 each.


Take the current colouring trend to the next level with a Colour-In Canvas! With a beautiful, intricate outline printed onto a large canvas, you can add vibrant colouring and then display your works of art in your home when you're done!


I imagined these being a lot smaller but they are a fantastic size. The canvas is thick and perfect for using felt pens on....The girls spent an hour colouring these in over a couple of days and they are so proud of their creations. So proud they are now hanging in their bedrooms....


Our second craft activity was the Paint Your Own Flower Pot. As of writing this they are only £2.25 each which I think is a real bargain. They were £4.50.


The kit contains a ceramic flower pot, paint brush and six water based paints...

This is perfect for a gift especially if you buy a plant or something to go in it. With it being spring it would be the perfect time to grow something in it....


The girls had great fun painting these....I think the end results are brilliant. They are pretty solid and I can imagine these being around for years. We will be planting something in them very soon.



Hobbycraft have some fantastic ideas for Mother's Day....We still have the Kirstie Allsopp Fragrant Rose Soap Making Kit to try out....That will be in a blog post soon.


We were sent these products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.