Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Guinness World Record Challenges - Review!

As a family we do like to play board games over Christmas. We of course have to play Monopoly and a few others but this year we have another to add to the mix. 

Guinness World Record Challenges puts players knowledge about Guinness World Records to the test and challenges opponents to demonstrate some nifty record breaking skills using everyday household items!

The game is for 2 to 5 players and is recommended for ages 8 and over.

Inside the box you get a game board, 600 Guinness World Records questions, 20 challenges, a booklet of guidelines for challenges, a notebook, a ping-pong ball, 5 counters and a dice.

There are several items which are not included but they are easily found around the house. Things like 10 pairs of socks, a mobile phone with a timer on, coins, paper clips, tea spoons, a bottle of water, glasses and A4 paper.

The aim of the game is to cross the finish line with 3 challenge cards in your possession to be the winner! 

You roll the dice and from one of the question cards answer the question that coincides with the number you have just rolled. If you get it right you move!

 If you roll the dice and it lands on one of the colours you go to that square and this is where the fun really starts! The challenge cards! You then have to choose between picking up a challenge card or challenging another player who already has that colour card to achieve a better score!

If you beat the minimum shown on the card or beat the record set by another player you keep the challenge card, then you are one step closer to winning!

The challenges are a lot of fun. There is everything from bottle flipping, star jumping, coin throwing or stacking, building towers with cards or sticking spoons to your face!

This is a really fun game. It is easy to get to grips with the rules and it is great for a bit of a giggle. It would make a fab game to play after Christmas dinner with all of the family!

It can take around 45 minutes to an hour to play which is a fantastic length of time. It's not the type of game where you get half way through and get bored. It is fun all the way through!

Guinness World Record Challenges is available at toy retailers online and department stores. I have seen it on sale for around £15.00.

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

Monday, 17 December 2018

Our weekly meal plan. 17th - 23rd Dec! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well. I cleared the freezer enough to fill it with Christmas party food. Hooray! We now have lots of mini sausage rolls, chicken bits, Indian an Chinese snacky things and so much more to keep us fed after Christmas. I don't have to worry about Christmas dinner as we are going out for that!

I had such a craving for a roast dinner yesterday but didn't have the get up and go to make one so my fella did. It was so good not cooking. I wasn't too keen on doing the washing up though.

This week is all about easy meals. I have a lot to do and I have no time for faffing around in the kitchen.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Ham, fried eggs and potato waffles.
Tuesday - Some sort of casserole cooked in the slow cooker with mash.
Wednesday - Tomato soup & ham sandwiches to dip in. 
ThursdayLasagne and garlic bread.
Friday - Sausage sandwiches.
Saturday - A Chinese takeaway.
Sunday - A meal out.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

A photo every day for a year! Week 50 of #Project365

Just over two weeks until the end of the year and just over a week until Christmas! Eek! How did this year go so quickly?This past week has flown over too. I was feeling a bit panicky and overwhelmed at the start of it with the stresses of Christmas but I am over it now. I am a lot calmer and I feel organised! Phew!

Now for a photo every day!

342/365 - 8th December
We had a party tea. We didn't have a reason we just love party food.

343/365 - 9th December
I love a lazy Sunday. Finished it off with some blog reading and watching Dynasties.

344/365 - 10th December
Tea and toasted tea cakes. The best way to start a Monday.

345/365 - 11th December
The Christmas bauble which my youngest made at school.

346/365 - 12th December
Ellie dressed up for her school disco. She had a brilliant time.

347/365 - 13th December
My fella had to try his Christmas jumper on just to make sure it still fitted. He had to wear it to work yesterday.

348/365 - 14th December
My teen had a migraine so spent all morning in bed and came downstairs and spent most of the afternoon dozing on the sofa.

Beating the Christmas bloat with BioCare!

I know over Christmas I eat a lot. Large roast dinners, desserts, Christmas sandwiches, Festive Bakes from Greggs, chocolates, mince pies and of course lots of celebrating with alcohol. I eat more than I probably should but Christmas is all about indulgence. It's allowed.

With the lead up to Christmas starting earlier and earlier, the temptation is there sooner which then puts a lot of stress on our digestive system with lots of carbohydrates, fats, sugars and proteins to break down. As one of many side effects our stomach can begin to feel bloated and uncomfortable.

To help battle some of that bloating, I’ve been speaking with Beth Morris, the BioCare Clinical Nutritionist who has kindly shared her top tips for looking after your digestive system
without missing out on the festive fun!

What happens in the body when we bloat?
Beth says, “Essentially bloating is the sensation of increased pressure in the abdominal area which can cause discomfort and pain, excess gas with burping, and heartburn. If we don’t have adequate stomach acid or enzymes to digest our food, we can then have ‘maldigestion’ where undigested proteins can get stuck in the colon, leading to unpleasant bloating and gas.”

Are some foods worse than others for bloating?
“Gut health is absolutely vital for our general health. Our ability to digest food and absorb nutrients from the food we consume is reliant on our digestive health. Certain foods can negatively impact our gut health, such as those that are high in gluten, dairy, trans fats and added sugars, which can be abundant in the ‘luxurious’ foods we indulge into at Christmas time. Deserts, baked goods and chocolates as well and processed/cured meats and pastries are all commonly eaten in excess and are the usual culprits to digestive symptoms such as bloating.”

How can we relieve discomfort from bloating?
“Relax and enjoy - it is only once a year after all. The Christmas stress may raise your cortisol and cause you to crash and burn and so you may be more susceptible to lowered immunity and a ‘stressed stomach’. When we feel stressed, the digestive system can become depleted in enzymes and stomach acid, which both help to break down carbohydrates and proteins. So make time to relax every day and ensure you get some good quality sleep (so watch the coffee and the alcohol).” I’d also suggest taking a supplement to take the load of your digestive system and increase your digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help us break down sugars, carbohydrates,proteins and fats in foods. Look for a supplement that contains a broad spectrum of these enzymes to aid digestion and relieve symptoms such as acid reflux and bloating. BioCare’s Polyzyme Forte (Enzyme Complex) is a staple for me this time of year.”

Three top tips for giving your digestive system a helping hand this Christmas.

1. Try not to over indulge this Christmas, introducing some self-control and balance in your diet. For example, if you know you have a family dinner in the evening, arm yourself with a breakfast high in good quality protein, healthy fats and loaded with antioxidants. A healthy ‘fry up’ is an easy and hearty breakfast choice, including poached eggs, wilted spinach, grilled tomatoes, homemade baked beans and sliced avocado. This is a wonderful way to replenish your body. Remember to save your main indulgence for the big day, Christmas Day itself, and enjoy every single mouthful.

2. Instead of waiting until the New Year, try to gently detox your body throughout the Christmas period. This can reduce your chances of weight gain and feeling generally fatigued and run down. Green vegetables and fruits really are your friend as they are packed full of nutrients and support the detoxification process of rich food and alcohol from your body. Smoothies including kale, spinach, broccoli, and apples can be a great way to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. As it is winter time, you can also put green vegetables into a soup for lunch or dinner, adding in herbs such as coriander, which is highly detoxifying and full of plant chemicals.

3. Although it is tempting to curl up on the sofa after eating Christmas dinner, a good way to get your digestion moving is to put on your hat and scarf and go for a walk. Gentle exercise can stimulate the digestion and support healthy passage of stools.

Three top tips for giving your digestive system the best start to 2019!

1. Stress can deplete us of essential nutrients and have a large impact on our digestive system, so it would be important to focus on taking time every day to relax as the stressful winter comes to a close. Things like mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, knitting etc., good sleep hygiene and spending quality time with family and friends in the outdoors can really help boost your mood.

2. Taking a good quality probiotic supplement may help regulate digestion and get you back on track. It’s an effective way to keep your gut bacteria levels topped up. I suggest BioCare’s Everyday BioAcidophilus

3. After over eating through the Christmas period, it’s important to get our eating habits back on track. Portion control and resisting the urge to eat and snack to excess are easy ways to support the pancreas as well as leaving a gap between your evening meal and bedtime. This can disrupt sleeping patterns and the gut’s ability to repair at night.

This all makes so much sense. There is still a way to enjoy all the treats that Christmas bring while looking after your body too.

Friday, 14 December 2018

This Week my word of the Week is: Overwhelmed! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

I hit that point at the start of the week where I was feeling overwhelmed by Christmas. I get like this every year worrying if we have enough money for everything and will be done in time? Everything always works out OK but I couldn't help stressing.

I had an awful dream that it was Christmas eve and I couldn't find any of the presents, when I did find them none of them were wrapped and it was an hour before the kids got up! Eek! What a nightmare! It gave me the kick up the bum I needed to get the presents wrapped. I still have a few left to do but the majority is done. Phew! 

I have a shopping delivery coming today with all the snacks, chocolates and crisps which will be hidden away from the kids until closer to the big day and I am filling the freezer with party food. I don't usually shop like this over Christmas but this year I am not cooking Christmas lunch so didn't need to do the big shop and take up a delivery slot that someone else could use. I will have to take a trip to Asda in the run up to Christmas but to be honest we don't need that much. It is so strange not doing the big Christmas food shop. I feel a little lost to be honest.

Yesterday we had another meeting with the SENCO woman at the school about Ellie just like the one we had in October. She had so many positive things to say about my girl. I felt quite overwhelmed by it. For years we had teachers saying Ellie is so quiet, doesn't get on with her work and has no friends. Now it's the opposite! It is so lovely to hear and sometimes I really can't believe my girl is doing so well!

As the SENCO woman is also Ellie's science teacher we also found out that she has a target of +1 at the end of the school year and she's already working at a 1 which means by the end of the year after some more tests she will have easily smashed her target grade! Hooray! I can't wait to find out how she is doing in the rest of her subjects!

Now that the week is just about done I am feeling more on top of things and a lot less stressed. Phew!

Thursday, 13 December 2018

What my girls are not getting for Christmas.

I think I have finished the Christmas shopping. A few years ago I would mention on my blog what my girls would be getting for Christmas but now they are older and are nosy so and so's and I don't want to ruin any surprises. hehehe

I decided to do things a little differently and write about what they won't be getting!

It is Becky's dream to own an iPhone and she asks for one at least once a week. Last time I checked online the iPhone X costs about£1000. That is more than 2 months rent! If I had a spare thousand pound I still wouldn't buy her it. She only uses her phone now on the way home from school to text me, she uses her tablet more.

Ellie has her sights set on the L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Bigger Surprise which costs about £80.00. She is convinced she will be getting it for Christmas. 

A few years ago I said no way to a Hatchimal and she ended up getting one for Christmas. It was only because I won one in a competition. She thinks I am doing the same this year, saying no way and then surprising her!

As much as she loves the L.O.L dolls I do think that most of the excitement comes from opening the toy and eighty odd pounds is a lot to pay for about 10 minutes of fun.

Ellie got the L.O.L Surprise! Pearl Playset for her birthday which cost nearly £30 and I think that is the most I would pay for something like this. I am not being a total meanie, Ellie might have a couple of smaller L.O.L surprises for Christmas.

Becky has been asking for a Microsoft Xbox One for Christmas and I really can't see the point of buying one when we have an xbox 360 sat there. The kids only bother playing Minecraft of some skate boarding game on it. In fact there are some weeks where I use it more just to watch YouTube through it. lol If I was going to buy a gaming console I would buy a Playstation 4. It would be something different.

Ellie is also dreaming of the My Lovely Unicorn 12V Power Ride-On. There are many reasons why she is not getting this but she has an argument against all of my reasons. lol

She is too big for it but saw a clip of Holly Willoughby riding it on ITV's This Morning and she is adamant that she is the right size. There is also my point of there is nowhere to ride it. Ellie says she would ride it up and down our street. No chance! Not with the kids around here. It would either be broken or stolen within half an hour.

Becky has some expensive taste in clothes. She wants a pair of trainers which cost over £150. I only got her some for her birthday in September which actually cost more than I would pay for trainers for myself. I really don't see the point of spending so much on trainers when she would only wear them on the weekend, she certainly wouldn't be using them for P.E at school. Maybe if her feet had stopped growing I might consider buying her them but she will be moving up a size within a year. Don't even get me started on the tracksuits that she wants, just because they are Adidas & Nike. They cost a small fortune!

Is there anything on your children's Christmas list that they want but won't be getting?

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Sometimes we just need to take a break. #PerfectNightIn

It is important to relax, unwind and have a bit of me time now and again and even more so now in the run up to Christmas. It is so easy to get stressed. Sometimes we just need to take a break! 

I was lucky enough to be sent a package to do just this from Mattress Online.

 Mattress Online are one of the leading online retailers of mattresses, along with beds, pillows, duvets and other accessories. While they primarily focus on selling mattresses they know that getting a good nights sleep isn't all about what you are sleeping on.

My Perfect Night In package came with everything I needed to relax and unwind! They thought of everything! Well almost, all that was missing was a glass of wine. hehehe

Everything came individually wrapped and it felt like a lot of love and care went into making the package.

Inside the box was:

Seed and Bean organic rich milk chocolate.
Sleepy Tea which is naturally caffeine free made using chamomile, rose petals, lavender flowers and passion flower.
A soft fabric eye mask.
A calming & purifying clay mask.
An adjustable spa headband.
A lavender and rosemary soy candle.
A lavender bath bomb.
A Turkish Towel.

I had a lovely time having a bit of a pamper and a well deserved break on Friday evening. It was just what I needed at the end of the week!

Does this sound like your idea of a perfect night in?

I was sent this lovely package in exchange for this blog post.

How to reduce your waste over Christmas....

Brits will throw out 108 million rolls of wrapping paper, 54 million platefuls of food and use 189 million batteries over Christmas a study has found. 

A poll of 2,000 adults found the nation will also get through more than 40 million rolls of sticky tape and bin almost 100 million black bags full of packaging from toys and gifts.

I can quite believe that about the packaging, especially with toys. It is excessive and most of it isn't needed at all. We always fill a couple of bin bags full of plastic packaging and cardboard boxes on Christmas morning.

I have done a lot of shopping via Amazon in the run up to Christmas and sometimes I found things were delivered in ridiculously big boxes with paper rolled up to protect it which all had to go into the recycling bin. Such a waste! They do seem slightly better this year compared to past years though.

Seven in 10 admit to buying far more food than they need with two thirds saying at least some of the turkey usually ends up in the bin. The equivalent of a whole plateful of food will end up going to waste on Christmas Day, along with another plateful in the following days.

As a family we are guilty of wasting food over Christmas. It tends not to be the Christmas dinner as we eat the leftovers, it is usually the snacky type things in the fridge like pork pies and mini scotch eggs.

This year I am planning to cut down on the waste and buy lots of frozen party food. Sausage rolls, mini pizzas, chicken bits and things like that so we can just cook them when we want them instead of them going off in the fridge. 

More than one in four people throw batteries into the bin, despite knowing they shouldn’t, while three in 10 still use disposables instead of rechargeable's. We use rechargeable batteries and as well as saving us money it feels like we are doing something good for the environment.

Reading the facts I think it's pretty shocking how much waste Christmas creates. It is something to really think about!

How to reduce your waste over Christmas.

Use your Christmas cards to make gift tags for next years Christmas presents or keep them for the kids to do craft activities with.

Re-use ribbons, bows, gift bags, and boxes whenever you can. 

Buy rechargeable batteries for electrical goods and toys.

Before throwing out old Christmas decorations, consider if someone else may appreciate them. Donate them to a charity shop or your child's school. It if they are in acceptable condition. It might save them some money!

Make use of your leftovers from the Christmas dinner. There is hundreds of recipes online.

Only throw away food if it passes its use-by date. The sell-by and best-before dates are nothing to do with food safety.

If you’re having people over for a party try sticking to your normal crockery instead of buying paper plates and plastic cups. This will save loads of room in the bin even if there is a bit more washing up to do.

Sell or donate unwanted Christmas presents rather than throwing them away. If you get something new instead of throwing the old item away give it a new home.

Re-use and upcycle biscuit and sweet tins and glass jars and bottles to use as storage containers the rest of the year.

Do you create a lot of waste over Christmas? Are you trying to change your habits?

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Slimline X Wing Airer from Addis - Review!

Recently I got an email about some of Addis's best sellers! Addis is the go to Great British housewares brand for quality, great product design and great value. 

I hate this time of year when it comes to getting the washing dried. Even when the weather is dry it is still too cold to get anything dried on the washing line outside. We used to have a tumble dryer but it was one of the faulty one's and we never bothered to replace it so I use airers in the house.

I chose the Slimline X Wing Airer which is currently on sale for £9.99 from Robert Dyas.

Designed with strong bars for clothes to hang from, the Slimline X Wing Addis airer can be used in multiple positions around the home for optimum drying. It has a compact and slimline design which again, is ideal for when space is limited as the user can effortlessly fold away when not in use, ready for next time.

The airer has adjustable arms which can be folded closed when not in use and for a half a load of washing it doesn't need to be fully extended. There are also handy hooks on each corner of this airer to help get shirts dry and ready for work on a Sunday evening. There's a flat section for delicate's to keep them in a safe place whilst they're drying and out of the way.

The airer comes in a stylish grey colour that will complement any home decor. Doing the washing never looked so good!

I was so excited when this arrived. I had an over flowing washing basket and of course the weather was rubbish. It didn't take me long to get it up and filled with clothes, in fact it only took me a couple of minutes. 

I obviously don't have to tell you how to use a clothes airer but we have another one which is so fiddly to put up and down, if you are not careful you can jam your fingers. With the Slimline X Wing Airer you don't have to worry about that. It is up and down within seconds!

This is a good size and can easily fit nearly a whole load of washing on. The only thing we struggled to get on was my fella's and my jeans, big jumpers and towels. The airer just wasn't wide enough. It's not a big problem because we can easily put the bigger things somewhere else.

The advantage to it being narrow is the fact that it fits in the bath. I had never thought of putting an airer in the bath to dry clothes. (Obviously not with water in). It is great because it is out of the way. I always think the house looks messy when there is clothes hung around so this is perfect!

It is well built and is solid. I can see this lasting a while. I thought it might be a bit unstable if one side was filled when the arms were up but it really isn't.

I am very happy with my new airer and with the weather we've been having I can see it getting plenty of use!

I was sent this free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Our weekly meal plan.10th - 16th Dec! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan pretty much went to plan. Our favourite meal was the party tea we had on Saturday! I cooked far too much as always but we snacked all day on Sunday on the leftovers.

On Friday I got a little top up shop delivered along with the party food from Iceland. I got things like bread, milk, fruit and some bits for the freezer. I am trying to save a bit of money for Christmas so there was less cakes, snacky food and junk. This week we will be mostly eating from the freezer!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Some sort of soup that I have in tubs in the freezer. It could actually be stew. I'm not sure but I'm sure it will be delicious.
Tuesday - Beef burgers, potato wedges and spaghetti hoops.
Thursday - Battered chicken with pasta and some sort of sauce.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Fish and chips.
Sunday - A fry up.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Decorating gingerbread Christmas trees!

I don't get to go to Morrisons very often the nearest one is in Morpeth which is half an hours bus ride away. We only visit when we have to. We were early for an appointment so had a look around.

 I spotted the Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Christmas Trees kit. They were on offer for two packs for £3.

My girls love doing things like this. I love them doing things like this too. Anything for 15 minutes peace. hehehe 

They are at an age now where they need no instruction or supervision from me. I was just there to take some photos and some video for this blog post. lol

I did have to stop Ellie eating everything before she had chance to decorate her trees. She is crazy about anything ginger!

They had great fun and the Christmas trees did not last long at all.

Do you do things like this in the run up to Christmas?

Little things like this are so big for her. #MySundayPhoto

Last Friday Ellie my youngest was diagnosed with Social anxiety, Friday just gone she was was announced the winner of the Christmas bauble decorating competition which they ran in lunch club at school! She collected her prize (the selection box) in front of a big group of people and had her photo taken for the school website. She was the centre of attention! Little things like this are so big for her. I am so proud of my girl.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

A photo every day for a year! Week 49 of #Project365

These weeks are going so quickly! Two weeks today and the kids will have just started their Christmas holidays! Eek! I still have so much to do to prepare for the big day but all the shopping is done and that was the biggest stress.

335/365 - 1st December
Time to open the advent calendars. The kids have the Reese's and Milkybar one's, mine is the Quality Street one and my fella has the Cadburys one.

336/365 - 2nd December
Ellie always seems to end up in the Christmas tree box when we are putting the tree up. lol

337/365 - 3rd December
This bag has served us so well. Becky used it for school for a couple of years, Ellie used it in primary school and now Ellie has started using it again. It always makes me chuckle when I see it.

338/365 - 4th December
One of the best things about December is chocolate every morning!

339/365 - 5th December
The kids decorated gingerbread Christmas trees.

340/365 - 6th December
Monkey got a new outfit.

341/365 - 7th December
Drying the clothes.