Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Saving Water & Money....

It can sometimes be difficult to understand why it is important to be careful with the water when we have so much of it in the UK....We take it for granted....I do anyway! 

Did you know 97% percent of all the water on the earth is salt water which is not suitable for drinking......Only 3% of all the water is fresh water and only one percent of that is available for drinking water.....The other two percent is locked in ice caps and glaciers.....I was quite shocked by this!

We must learn to save water now for the future.....Apart from air water is our most precious resource.....

Reducing the amount of water that we waste at home can help protect the wildlife that live in rivers and wetlands and reduce the energy needed for treating and pumping water for domestic use.....

Saving water is easier than you think....You don't need to make big lifestyle changes here are some Water saving tips to think about....


Don't fill your kettle if you don't need to - As well as wasting water a kettle uses a lot of electricity so try not to boil water you won't use....

Taps are not power washers - Wash vegetables and fruits in a large bowl or tub of water and scrub them with a vegetable brush instead of using your taps as a power-washer.

Boil food in as little water as possible - You just need enough to submerge your pasta, rice or veg....This will also save energy as there will be less water to boil...

Leftover water - Use the water left over from boiling to water your plants....Just be sure to let it cool down first!

Get a dishwasher- They almost always use less water than washing dishes by hand, especially with water- and energy-efficient models.....Just make sure to only run the dishwasher when it’s full.

I had a look at a Water saving calculator and it's true.....I thought Dishwashers always used more water......I was so wrong.

£32 a year is a lot of money to save and 103 hours a year.....That's just over 4 days....Crazy! I knew there was a reason I hated washing the dishes by hand....

Choose tap water over bottled – It takes about 6 litres of water to make a single plastic bottle....

Fill the washing machine - Make sure your washing machine has a full load before you switch it on and buy a water efficient washing machine.

Use leftover tumble dryer water - If you use a condensing tumble dryer collect the condensed water and pour it straight into your watering can or iron.  

Fix dripping kitchen taps - Broken kitchen taps can waste 12 to 20 litres of water a day. Crazy!!

Shower instead of a bath - A bath uses around 80 litres of water in comparison a shower uses around 35 litres.

Try to cut down on shower time - Take a timer, clock, or stopwatch into the bathroom with you and challenge yourself to cut down your showering time!

Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily - Dispose of tissues, and other rubbish in the bin rather than the toilet.

Convert your toilet to a low flush one - Place a plastic bottle of water in the tank to displace some of the water used for each flush.....Weigh the bottle down with pebbles or sand!!

Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face...

Washing the car - Wash your car with a bucket and sponge....A hosepipe can use up to 1,000 litres of water in an hour!!

Do you try and save water? How do you do it?

Sponsored Post

Monday, 22 September 2014

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

I missed meal planning last week.....We too part in the #Afterschoolchefs Challenge and enjoyed a lot of Birds Eye food....This week normal service will resume and we're back to the normal meal planning....



This week is a normal week for us....We have nothing on....Phew!....After the last few weeks of Birthdays, hospital visits and other appointments it will be nice to do nothing after school.....

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Chicken curry, rice and Naan bread....Using the leftover chicken from the roast dinner we had yesterday.....
Tuesday - Spaghetti bolognese & garlic bread....
Wednesday - Jacket potatoes with the leftover Bolognese sauce....
Thursday - Soup of some sort....
Friday - Spam fritters, chips and beans....
Saturday - Pizza....
Sunday - Toad in the hole, mash & veg.... 

As always I've joined in with the wonderful Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky....

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Saturday, 20 September 2014

A Birds Eye Week! #Afterschoolchefs

If you are a regular reader here you may or may not have realised that on Monday I didn't post my usual weekly meal plan...I had a good reason....I wanted to save it for this post....

Every week I meal plan....I have found it saves money by only buying what I need and saves on waste too....They tend to go to plan during school time but during the holidays they're a bit hit and miss especially when we decide to go for a day out and are not back in time for me to cook what I've planned......

Now the kids are back at school I am back to meal planning......It adds a bit of routine and I have found the kids are more willing to eat food if they know what they are having......
 
The girls are usually starving when they get in from school and if I haven't had chance during the day to prepare something it is handy to have a well stocked freezer....

I was recently given a great opportunity.....I was given £20 worth of vouchers to stock my freezer with fantastic Birds Eye products......Didn't we do well!!


So this week we ate from the freezer which is not as bad as it sounds.....This is what we ate!!

Sunday!!

We had Shortcrust chicken pie, Mashed potato and hearty farmhouse vegetables....Ellie ended up with some corned beef pie as I forgot to put the chicken fingers in the oven.....(She's not to keen on Chicken pie) She like's pastry and chicken but it in not pies!....Strange child!



It is the first time we've tried the vegetables in bags which you put into the microwave.....What a clever idea.....They take 3 minutes and taste the same as if you boil them..... They're very handy and I think I will be buying them in future as they save on waste too as we're getting the correct portion size!!

Monday!!



We had burgers in buns with onion rings....Becky's covered in red sauce and Ellie's in barbecue sauce....She's gone crazy about it lately.....She had a fried egg with toast for her breakfast on Sunday and had barbecue sauce on it....Eww! A nice, simple, quick meal for an easy start to the week.....

Wednesday!!

The kids had BBQ Mini Chicken Griddlers, I had 2 Sticky & Sweet BBQ Chicken Chargrills & Stu had 2 Sweet Chilli Chicken pieces.....We all had them with Super Noodles!

I always have a couple of boxes of the BBQ Mini Chicken Griddlers in the freezer.....They go with everything. Pasta, rice, noodles and we have had them in wraps before with salad....



Thursday!!

Vegetable Nuggets and a bag of rice fusions (Mediterranean one's) each of course covered in sauce!



Rice fusions are another thing I always have in the freezer..... They're very handy to have....Ellie isn't too keen on chips and will only eat them when she's in the mood for them so she tends to have a bag of rice if she isn't fancying chips.

Oh and I've just noticed Becky's pj's.....She has changed them she just has two pairs of them.....lol We're not tramps really!!

Friday!!

Friday is always fish day in our house.....I have always had fish on a Friday and carried on the tradition with my girls....

The girls had Fish Fingers, Mashtags and Spaghetti hoops...



As much as my girls loved the other meals I think Fish fingers will always be their favourite.....I remember loving fish fingers as a kid....It's just one of those things that most kids love....

So that's what we've been eating this week...

It's been a fun challenge eating a lot of Birds Eye food.....It is perfect for after school and hungry children....

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page

http://bit.ly/afterschoolchefs


I was sent £20 worth of Birds Eye vouchers to pay for the food to do this challenge.....All thoughts and opinions are of course my own. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Exante Diet Products - Review!!

Since Becky started secondary school I've been getting up at 7am with her.....I never ate breakfast.....I used to be up and out without eating a thing but now I seem to have plenty of time on a morning to get something to eat.....

When I was asked to try some breakfast products from the Exante Diet range how could I refuse.....Cereal and/or toast gets boring very quickly....

Exante Diet is proud to be the largest online VLCD Total Meal Replacement Company in the UK. There are not any 'off the shelf products' at Exante Diet. All the products are unique to Exante Diet and they continue to develop their range of products with the some of the UK's leading food technologists.

All of their soups, shakes, bars and food packs (porridge, pasta carbonara, shepherds pie etc) are Total Meal replacements products. By using 3 of the products a day to replace your normal meals you can cut down your daily calories and you'll still receive 100% of your Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamins and minerals. This means that you stay fit and healthy whilst you lose weight, because your body has all that it needs to enable safe and effective weight loss. 

I was sent a selection of products including....

Diet Shakes - £1.59 Each.

Including strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, toffee caramel and chocolate mint flavours....


Exante's Diet Shakes are deliciously thick, creamy and formulated specifically for weight loss. They are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and we've made sure that they contain NO aspartame, NO artificial colours, NO MSG and have NO genetically modified products!

I had one of these each morning and they filled me up until it was time for lunch....They took seconds to make and tasted lovely.....The chocolate and chocolate mint one's were my favourite.....The only way I can describe the taste is you know when you have leftover milk after chocolate cereal....Yes? Just like that....

Diet Bars - £2.20 each.

Including Raspberry and White Chocolate chips, Double Chocolate and Chocolate Orange flavours....

There big, tasty nutrition bars have NO aspartame, NO artificial colours, NO MSG and have NO GM products so you can indulge without the guilt!

These were delicious....If I happened to feel peckish mid morning these were ideal for a little snack....I loved the double chocolate one.....Looks just like a chocolate bar but surprisingly tasted much better.....Maybe it was the fact that I knew it wasn't as unhealthy as a regular bar of chocolate....

Orange drink mix - £4.99

It contains 0.4g of Carbohydrates....Simply add a teaspoon of the powder to water......Each tub contains 30 servings!

To me this tasted just like normal diluted orange juice....


Choco Balls - £2.20

 Choco Balls are the perfect fix for any sweet tooth. Low in carbs and high in protein. One packet contains 2 servings.

These were a lovely treat...They tasted so sweet but perfect if you have a sweet tooth like me.....

I don't know much about diet foods like the one's I've tried out this last week.....What I do know is they are usually expensive.....Exante Diet products seem very reasonably priced.....It is something I could imagine myself buying without breaking the bank if I ever wanted to lose weight....The products are very filling and more importantly very tasty!!



I was sent some Exante Diet Products free of charge to try...This is my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own...

Not the best or was it....

I really struggled this week to come up with a one word to sum up our week.....I finally came up with....

 
 It hasn't been the best week.....The weather hasn't been that good and we found out Ellie is totally deaf in one ear now but I've found some positives.....More than I initially thought.

The girls are still doing well at school.....Becky has decided cookery is her favourite lesson despite burning herself 3 times on the oven.....She came home with the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever tasted....Watch out Great British Bake off....lol She's keeping up with her homework and is actually enjoying it....Phew!


 Two days this week Ellie hasn't had to wear uniform which she thought was just the best.....Firstly for Roald Dahl Day she went dressed as a witch....From The Witches of course and today for Jeans for Genes day....

Ellie got the best seat on the bus both on the way to and coming back from the hospital.....Right at the front at the top....It's the simple things!!

We got our first letter about the famous secondary school trips that happen....

Two nights in London and sight seeing.....Pizza making at Pizza express, meals at the Hard Rock Cafe and another at the Rainforest Cafe....A visit to Madam Tussauds, the London Dungeons, The London Eye, the Science museum, a river cruise and to see a West end show....As well as a 3 hour guided tour of London.....We thought the £295 seemed a lot but when you add the price of all the attractions and the travel down there it's a fab price!! 

We've paid the deposit and now we have to keep our fingers crossed Becky is picked to go as only 20 children from year 7 and 20 from year 8 can go.....

Oh yeah and I'm the best mam in the world.....I won Niall out of One Direction....Well a cardboard cut out of him from a twitter giveaway....lol


I've said any fighting over him and I'll chop him in half then the problem with be solved.....Last night he stayed in Becky's room and tonight he's staying in Ellie's.....

So after thinking nothing good had happened this week it turns out it wasn't such a bad week after all....

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Every cloud has a silver lining.....

So on Tuesday we took a trip to the hospital....Nothing serious....Just a check on Ellie's hearing....We got to see the specialist....Well one of his assistants....Who I didn't think much of at all.....

Ellie was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy a few years ago.....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

You can read the full story and about last years appointment here.....

Last year Ellie was 95% deaf in her right ear.....We had a hearing test in April and Tuesday was result day.

The results were not good.....She has no hearing at all in her right ear now.....It's not all bad though her left ear has perfect hearing......

It may sound bad but Ellie is used to it. She has never had more than 5% hearing in her right ear and she copes well.....She's been like this since she was born so it is quite normal to her....

The specialist mentioned to us that they could do tests....A MRI scan to see where the nerves are not working and maybe find out why.....It only takes about 20 minutes & Ellie will be sedated and have to spend a night in hospital.....It would help with the research of the condition but the results would not make a difference to Ellie.....She would be a Guinea Pig.....I said NO! 

Yes it would be nice to help with the research 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.....

Hearing aids were mentioned again but the chances of them working are slim and they are a last resort.....They are only to be used if her good ear deteriorates but there is no sign of that happening at all as the nerve damage is only on the right side.....Phew!!

We did also find out the problem with her ears is connected to the problem with her eye.....She has Duane Syndrome.... It's only took them 7 years to realise this......lol Her right eye is affected and the muscles in it don't work properly....She can't move her eye outwards as far as it should be....Again it doesn't bother her in the slightest, she has perfect eye sight but nothing can be done about it...


It's not all bad though......

We were discharged from the hospital!! After seven years of at least two hospital trips a year to check on Ellie's ears we don't have to go to see the specialists again!!......There is nothing more they can or want to do.....

We have to go back once a year for hearing tests to check her good ear is still good but that's it....The appointments may even be changed to our local hospital I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that.....I hate the two hours there and two hours back journey.......Plus it means Ellie will miss one less school day a year at least.....Next year may be the year she gets 100% attendance!

So every cloud and all that.....