Monday, 30 April 2018

This is what we're eating this week! #mealplanningmonday


I have put quiche on the meal plan again this week as the kids loved it so much last week and asked for it again.....My teen wasn't going to eat it. She decided she hates bacon in quiche...I told her that was fine because it was ham. She believed me. hahaha

The Katsu Chicken Bites (Chicken breast pieces marinated in a coconut and curry sauce, coated in a wheat and rice flour crumb) that we ate last week from Tesco are so good! I have bought more and put them in the freezer....They are bound to be something that Tesco will have in for a while then stop stocking them. Hmmf. That always seems to happen to things I love. 

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Chicken casserole and mash....
Wednesday - Pepperoni Pasta Bake....
ThursdayQuiche and spaghetti hoops....
FridayFish and chips (probably out of the freezer)....
SaturdayA stir fry of some sort.... 
Sunday - A roast dinner or something thrown in the slow cooker....It really depends on the weather.

What will you be eating this week?

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Bubbles, Bike riding and Bread. Week 17. #Project365

We have had a nice week mostly....Plenty of being outside and the sun is still shining despite bad weather being forecast....The kids have played outside plenty and had a good week at school. 

Now for a photo every day.


110/365 - 21st April
Bubbles! Ellie spent most of the day outside playing....

111/365 - 22nd April
Becky finally got the hang of how to ride her bike!

112/365 - 23rd April
Ellie baked bread at school....It actually tasted like bread and was so soft. She had eaten half of it on her way home from school though....lol

113/365 - 24th April
Monkey had to get involved with a blog review! Banana milkshake. His favourite thing says Ellie. lol

114/365 - 25th April
I am glad I set the fish tank up and left it a few days because the water went cloudy. We think from the gravel. It had been washed but obviously not enough. We will get some fish eventually....

115/365 - 26th April
What a palaver I had at Specsavers. I ended up walking out because the person serving me was quite rude and wrong in the information she gave me....I was made to feel so small for trying to use a NHS tax credit exemption certificate to get some glasses. She said it wasn't valid because I only claim Child tax credit. I complained and was given an apology. My glasses will be available to collect next week.

116/365 - 27th April
Ellie has been working hard at school & was rewarded for her efforts.


Munching on Munchy Seeds....

Seeds are the ultimate snack as they are packed with natural protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as natural energy that will help fill you up until lunch. 

Up until last week I had never heard of the brand Munchy Seeds. They have been a pioneer in producing delicious and nutritious sweet and savoury seed blends for more than 20 years.


I was sent a selection of these seeds to try. I have never been a one for things like this but was keen to give them a try and I have been trying them in all sorts porridge, yoghurts, smoothies, ice cream and I even sprinkled some of the Omega Sprinkles onto a salad I made during the week.....My youngest questioned the seeds but ate them. She is quite a fussy eater. I admit she never said she liked them but never complained either. 

The reason I was sent these is because the Salted Caramel topper seeds are brand new!!


These are an irresistible blend of perfectly roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds with a pinch of coconut and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes. The result is a sweet and salty taste sensation that you won't be able to resist!

These new nibbles come in two snack ready sizes for on the go eating and are perfect for health conscious consumers looking for a sweet treat that's both delicious and bursting with goodness. They are officially high in fibre, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium and is a source of protein too....

The new Salted Caramel Seeds are suitable for vegans and are gluten free, dairy free and contain no artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives.....

I have a love/hate thing with salted caramel....Sometimes you get things flavoured with it which are far too sweet so it tastes sickly but these were just right.....They are sweet but not sickening. Becky my teen has been enjoying them on her porridge for breakfast over the past week and has already asked for more which is a good sign.....

The new Salted Caramel Seeds come in 120g tall pots with a RRP of £2.49 and 25g handy snack packs with a RRP 70p and are available from Waitrose.

I was sent these products to try out free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Friday, 27 April 2018

This week my Word of the Week is: Out! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:



I am writing this trying to think back over the week about what has gone on and there hasn't been much happening which is a good thing....The sun has been shining and even though it hasn't been that warm for a couple of days it has put everyone in a good mood....It has been nice.

I didn't think we had been outside much over the past week but it turns out we have....

Saturday was a washing day and I got quite a few loads dried on the line and Ellie played outside for most of it....She asked for the paddling pool out. It wasn't warm enough but I said if she can get it out of the shed, wash it out and fill it up she can play in it.....She got as far as washing it out then gave up. My plan worked perfectly. hehehe

I gave her some bubbles and she was happy as a pig in poo. I love this photo of her. I am guessing a bubble went into her mouth. hehehe She played with them for such a long time and even went onto the 2nd tube of bubbles which were Becky's....


Sunday was spent outside too but this time the girls were trying to ride their bikes. They got them for Christmas and as the weather hasn't been the best over the last few months they hadn't had much practice...It turns out Becky didn't need practice she just needed a clear space and she was off!! She still hasn't got the hang of turning but she's getting there.



This has made Ellie even more determined to get the hang of riding her bike....She has been out most nights this week practicing. She can do it but as soon as Stu lets go of the bike she panics. She needs a little more confidence in herself then she'll be off....

Each morning this week the kids have gone off to school just wearing their hoodies. It has been sunny but it's also been cold. I have told them they need a bigger coat but they won't have it. I think it was on Tuesday, I got a desperate text message off Becky begging me to meet her on the way home from school with her big coat. I said no. I wasn't being mean. I had told her to take her big coat that morning. I told her to stop texting and get home. She went on to text me about 15 times....If she had stopped texting she would have been home in half the time. When she got in she wasn't even that wet. It was just the misty, drizzly rain. lol

Last night we were out getting our eyes tested. Becky has perfect vision and Ellie has a little trouble with distance but not enough to prescribe glasses. I knew I needed glasses. I used to have them for watching TV but they broke and I lost them. I went right through the whole process and chose the glasses with them knowing full well I have a NHS tax credit exemption certificate then it came to filling in the forms about the exemption certificate and I was told I would not be entitled to money off the glasses because I only claim Child tax credits. She said I needed to claim Working tax, Universal credit or Income Support for my exemption certificate to be valid. I was pretty sure she was wrong and called Stu over. The woman implied that if I signed the form I would be committing benefit fraud and I would be fined in front of a store full of people. How embarrassing. I took offence to that and I walked out! I knew I was in the right but I just couldn't prove it there and then. I got straight online when I got home and saw it in black and white that I was right. I emailed the company and called them out on their rubbish service and the fact their staff are telling people the wrong information.

Since then I have had a phone call from the manager of the store full of apologies....I was right and the staff member was wrong. She will be given more training. My glasses will be ready to pick up next week. lol What a drama. 

At the weekend we finally got the fish tank set up and we put everything in and decided to give it a day or so for the water to settle and I'm glad we did. It all went cloudy....


From what I have read online it's down to the gravel not being washed properly so it all had to come out and be washed then put back in and so far so good....We're hoping to get some fish over the weekend!


Thursday, 26 April 2018

Things for the garden that I have my eye on....

Last week saw the weather warm up and the sun shine and it got me thinking about the summer and being out in the garden.

We don't have a garden as such, we have a concrete back yard but we do like to spend time out there. It's quite a sun trap on an afternoon....

Each year I like to buy a few things to make the most of the space we have and this is what I have got my eye on....


Jumbo Hi-Tower In A Bag - £24.99 - Big Game Hunters
5-piece Picnic Drinkware Set - £10.00 - Asda


Intex Mystic Unicorn Spray Pool - £24.99 - Smyths Toys
Garden Kids Gazebo with Mesh Sides - £20.00 - Tesco
Fleece Picnic Blanket - £4.99 - B&M
Wilko Salad Mix Grow Kit Box - £2.00 - Wilkos
Chad Valley Water Limbo Inflatable - £24.99 - Argos


Metal Watering Can - £6.00 - Wilkos
Unicorn Mini Gnome - £6.00 - Asda
Jumbo Chalk Value Pack - £5.95 - Baker Ross
Build Your Own Den - 75 Piece Kit - £12.00 - The Works
Jumbuck Kettle Charcoal BBQ - £24.95 - Homebase

What have you got your eye on for your garden for during the summer?


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

How we felt after the Autism meeting....The truth.

We have been on our Autism journey since the middle of last year and the story so far is that Ellie's teacher realised she was struggling a little at school. She needed a little extra help and is a little bit different than other children in her class....We saw the school nurse and she said to her it looks like some sort of Autism?....Then we saw a woman from the Children and Young People's Service (CYPS) and she said it wasn't any type of Autism, the deafness in one ear was to blame....She decided this without seeing or meeting Ellie and the school were fantastic in changing the CYPS woman's mind. It breaks my heart to say but there IS something different about Ellie. Something was said to the CYPS woman by someone and we are still none the wiser what but she decided that someone would observe Ellie at school....

Last week I had a phone call saying the CYPS woman and her colleague would like to come to our house and meet Ellie.....I mentioned this on Twitter and on my Word of the Week post.

I mentioned the positives about how they are doing a proper assessment on her, how they are going to observe her in school and how Ellie will be going to one of the centres for a play assessment where she will be observed along with kids round about her own age....It's a step in the right direction!


What I failed to mention was how it left us feeling. Pretty negative to be honest.....This is a bit of a long post! Sorry. One of those where I will know I will feel better when I get it all out and it's there for me to go back to when I need to know what has happened.

The original CYPS woman came and was lovely.....She brought her colleague and I'm not going to say she wasn't lovely. On face value she was but she left Stu and I feeling judged and questioning our parenting skills.....There was a couple of subjects which left me feeling judged and pretty rubbish....

She asked about how Ellie socialises outside of school....
She does after school clubs within the school and we have tried her in a dance class away from school and she is at the age where she's too old for the younger class and too young for the older class. She had fun but she found herself sitting out at the side a lot. It wasn't right for us. The youth club is not an option. I don't want her going because of the kids who do go....Playing out on the streets came up and that is never going to happen. Out the front and back is fine but I am not having my girls knocking about the streets getting into trouble. It's only over the last year that Ellie has really made a couple of good friends and they are lovely but they don't have play date type of parents....

It made me think am I being too protective not letting her walk the streets with other kids or breaking the routine to take her to clubs and activities?

She asked what Ellie liked to play with...
Ellie has about 6 old dolls that she likes to take apart, swap the arms and legs and even take them off and make false legs with Lego. None of them have heads. The heads are still in her doll box but she prefers them without just because with heads they are top heavy and don't sit right. Ellie showed the woman her dolls and she was visibly horrified. She thought it was strange and said it was too but to us it is just Ellie playing....She plays schools, doctors and things like that with them and will build climbing walls, zip wires, trampolines and things like that with Lego and Knex for the dolls to use. She has plenty of other dolls which are all intact and she wouldn't dream of taking apart....It's just a thing that she does.

Soon after she asked what would happen if we asked Ellie to stop doing something and do something else like get ready for bed? It was an open question and as talking about the dolls had stuck in my mind we said that if we asked her to stop playing with them she would ask for 5 more minutes, I will give her two and then she would get angry and start stamping about and maybe throw her dolls on the table and shout.....

It led her on to say does playing with the dolls cause problems?

No it doesn't.....Ellie just doesn't like to be told what to do. We would probably have the same reaction if she was colouring in, painting, playing on the computer or watching TV. It's always 5 minutes more.....

For a few minutes I did think that playing with these dolls was a problem.....I actually took them into school and the head teacher looked shocked for a split second but said that is very creative of Ellie....

She asked questions....The same questions the original CYPS woman asked but Ellie was sat there so it made us feel uncomfortable answering them in front of her. I don't want to be negative about my girl in front of her....It is just cruel! It didn't feel like a true assessment...

The long and short of it was that the woman thought that Ellie should be doing the work the teacher asks without daydreaming and loosing concentration. She is not doing what is expected of children of her age and there is something there....

I told all of this to the head teacher on Friday and she was again so supportive....She agreed that a lot of what was said should not have been said on front of Ellie.....I am so glad that Ellie doesn't really take anything to heart...

Like I said earlier the two woman are going into Ellie's school to observe her but I mentioned to the head teacher it is not going to work. As soon as either of them walk into the classroom Ellie will recognise them and know they are there to watch her....She might have some problems but recognising a face is not one of them.....lol

Stu and I have were left feeling they are just going through the motions of assessing my girl and they have already made their mind up about her. I spent Friday mulling all of this over and felt pretty rubbish about it. I met with friends for coffee and spoke to one about it and she was fab and agreed that we are doing the right things with Ellie. She shouldn't be out playing on the streets and so what about the dolls.....I spoke to the head and she reassured me. It's pretty crap how someone is there to help can leave you feeling so judged and a failure as a parent.....

It was a one day thing of feeling rubbish....I am over it now! I know that we are doing our best for Ellie...Thank you for reading x

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

FabLab Glitter Tattoo & Nail Art kits....

A little while ago my girls and I had a girly couple of hours trying out a couple of FabLab kits that we were sent to review....Ellie loves anything with glitter and Becky loves nail varnish so these were perfect!


FabLab is a range of activity kits that enable girls to explore, play and experiment with their style in a fun and safe way. FabLab cosmetics are 100% non-toxic and designed specifically for children.


This was the kit Ellie and I were most excited about....We had never tried anything like this and they looked like great fun! Of course we have tried fake tattoos but these are something special.....


The kit contained:

27 x Tattoo Stencils
4 x Pots of Body Glitter (Various Colours)
1 x Pot of Cosmetic Glue
1 x Soft Paint Brush
1 x Stiff Paint Brush
8 Page Instruction Manual

This kit has everything you need to make fabulous glittery, shimmery, multi-coloured tattoos that can last up to 7 days! 

You stick the stencil to where ever you want the tattoo and then paint the glue on, leave it for 30 seconds and then dab the glitter on with one of the brushes. When you have filled the stencil carefully peel it off.....You don't have to leave it to dry like we first though....Oops. We soon got the hang of it!


The end results were brilliant....We played around with quite a few of the tattoos and each one looked better and better when we got the hang of putting them on. There is no knack to it. You just get better the more you do....


The glitter tattoos can be washed off easily with soap and warm water. Ellie left hers on for a couple of days. The only reason she washed them off is because she was going back to school after the Easter holidays. They would have lasted much longer....

This is is a fantastic set! It's fun, creative and the tattoos are very pretty. I could imagine them going down well at birthday parties or sleepovers.....

FabLab Nail Art kit.

Follow the detailed colour illustrated activity guide and learn how to create 6 stunning nail designs. This kit includes 7 different nail polishes plus some heart shaped sprinkles!


The kit contained:

7x Solvent Free Varnishes (6 Colours + 1 Clear)
1 x Bag of Nail Sprinkles (Hearts)
2 x Sheets of Nail Stickers
1 x Fine Paint Brush (For Detailing)
1 x Foam Toe Separator

1 x Emery Board

I am always reluctant to give my girls "real" nail varnish....It stains when spilt and can be a nightmare to get off but this is perfect for children.....


My girls had fantastic fun with it and I would happily let them play/put it on without me worrying....Ellie loved the little hearts on her nails and Becky loved the colour of hers. 

This is perfect for if the girls want to decorate their nails without having to remove with a struggle for school....It peels off easily if you decide you don't want to wear it anymore....

These are both fantastic sets for children....The recommended age for these sets are 8+ but I think younger children would love them too with plenty of supervision.....

Each kit costs £9.99 and I think that is a great price for them....


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

Monday, 23 April 2018

Last week has got me in the mood for summery food! #mealplanningmonday


Wasn't the weather lovely last week....It has got me in the mood for lighter summer food....

Last weeks meal plan went half to plan....We ended up with chicken salad instead of stir fry, we had sandwiches and crisps on Friday night and the pizza on Saturday....Yesterday I cooked a couple of chickens and we had some with chips.

I don't feel like being in the kitchen when the weather is warm and the kids don't feel like eating big meals...It's supposed to be a little cooler this week and I read that we are forecast wintry showers and icy conditions towards the end of the week which seems so unfair when we've had a taste of spring/summer....

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Chicken & pasta salad....
Tuesday - Baked Sweetcorn Fritters and salad....
Wednesday - Quiche and baked beans....
Thursday - Katsu Chicken Bites & rice....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Pork & apple burgers in buns with corn on the cob.... 
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort or something thrown in the slow cooker....It really depends on the weather.

What will you be eating this week?


Sunday, 22 April 2018

Win a Tall Chocolate Block Tower from Thorntons...

As one giveaway ends another begins.....This time you can win yourself a Tall Chocolate Block Tower from Thorntons.


This tower of chocolate blocks contains thirteen floors of delicious treats. Each floor has a different flavour to explore, including favourites such as mint, ginger and fudge brownie.

With so many flavours to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Each of the thirteen chocolate blocks makes a thoughtful token gift. Whether for a friend, colleague or family member your popularity will be sky high or you could keep them for yourself.......

One winner will win the Thorntons Tall Chocolate Block Tower....If by chance it is not in stock when the giveaway ends (It really should be) I will choose a product equal or above what it is worth....Don't worry you will get your fill of chocolate. hehehe

Use the Rafflecopter thingamabob below to enter.....
(Give it a few seconds to load as it can be a bit slow at busy times)

Rules...We have to have them!

The Giveaway ends at 12am on the 20th of May.... 
One winner will win a Thorntons Tall Chocolate Block Tower....
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.

It's the little things which make me happy. #MySundayPhoto

Washing on the line and blue skies....



Saturday, 21 April 2018

Homework, plants and Monkey! Week 16. #Project365

Hasn't the weather been lovely.....We haven't really had chance to make the most of it as on Thursday evening we had the Autism people here meeting Ellie....They are going through with the full assessment so in time we will know where we stand. All I want is the support for Ellie when she goes to the secondary school....She's happy in the little bubble that is primary school because there is only about 150 kids. It's going to be a big change going to the big school with thousands of children. It feels like we're heading in the right direction though....

Now for a photo every day....


103/365 - 14th April
I'd like to blame the kids for making a mess but it was all my doing....

104/365 - 15th April
Ellie was finishing the last of her homework from the Easter holidays....

105/365 - 16th April
My cute little plant pot from Primark....

106/365 - 17th April
Monkey had been for a bath in the washing machine. hehehe

107/365 - 18th April
I found more uneaten Easter eggs....lol

108/365 - 19th April
She drank pints of water on Thursday which is of course a good thing....

109/365 - 20th April
The dreaded red card from the postman....At least I know what is in the parcel, I think. 


Friday, 20 April 2018

This week my Word of the Week is: Thinking #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:



This week I seem to have done a lot of thinking about various things....Most of my thinking was about trivial things.

Last week I was complaining about the cold this week it seems that summer has arrived early....Ellie has already asked to get the paddling pool out several times. I don't even know where it is. I think it's in the shed somewhere but I'm not going looking for it yet. I did nearly send my fella into the shed to look for the BBQ though. I have been thinking about meal planning and getting excited for lighter, summer food. Salads, BBQ food and things like that....

The kids both returned to school this week....The Easter holidays seemed to last forever. I think it's because we didn't do much. They were happy to go back feeling recharged and refreshed....

Both the girls are now staying for extra revision lessons after school now.....Ellie for her SATs and Becky for her English literature GCSE which is coming up soon....Her year is doing them a year early. English literature this year and then they can focus on studying for the English language exam next year....Becky hadn't planned on telling me about the revision class but the school are wise to teenagers pulling the wool over their parents eyes and they sent a text out informing everyone. hehehe.

I have found myself thinking about death a little this week which is an awful thing to think about....The weekend saw the devastating news about Jessica and then I discovered Emily Hayward on Youtube who is seven years into a cancer battle and is vlogging her journey....She has been given less than a year to live and is living life to the fullest in the most upbeat way....Things like this really make me think how lucky I am.

Last night the woman from CYPS came to meet Ellie along with her colleague....The "maybe it's autism" saga continues. There is something there....Enough for them to follow through with a full assessment....Ellie will be going to one of the centres for a play assessment where she will be observed along with kids round about her own age and they are going to observe her in school....I knew Ellie's issues were not just down to her hearing loss. It feels like we have really taken a step forward in helping my girl....


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Making our own pizzas....

We love making our own pizza's and I can't remember when it was (sometime last year) I discovered the Ready rolled round pizza dough from Tesco but it has been our go to pizza base since....


Pre-heat oven to 220°C/ Fan 200°C / Gas 7. Unroll the pizza dough with the baking sheet provided and place onto a baking tray. Prick the pizza base with a fork before topping. Add your favourite toppings and place on the middle shelf of preheated oven for 15 - 25 minutes or to stated time in your recipe.

We sort of follow the instructions....I cook one side of the pizza just so it's warmed through and we don't want a soggy bottom. hehehe. When one side is cooked I flip them over and let the kids add their own toppings....


As well as these toppings we also added mushrooms, onions and sweetcorn....

The girls love topping their own pizzas and had fantastic fun! The girls are so different in what they like on their pizzas.....Ellie hates mushrooms and onions on hers but is crazy about pepperoni, pineapple and salami and Becky hates pepperoni and pineapple but is crazy about mushrooms, onions and salami....

Yes we are people who love pineapple on pizzas....hehehe


The pizzas went in the oven and were cooked in about 20 minutes....


The good thing about these pizzas is that the girls get the toppings they want, they have fun making them and there is always some left over for the next day....It is so much cheaper than buying a takeaway too....



Do you make your own pizza? What's your favourite topping?