Saturday, 25 May 2019

The Jelly Belly DC Comics Superhero Collection! - Review!

My fella is a big superhero fan and he is also a big fan of sweets and candy. We have tried different varieties of the Jelly Belly jelly beans over the years but there's a new collection featuring three of DC's most iconic characters: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

The new Jelly Belly DC Super Hero Collection features the DC Super Hero Mix of Jelly Belly jelly beans including shimmering versions of popular flavours Berry Blue, Blueberry, Cream Soda, Sour Lemon, Very Cherry and Wild Blackberry.

The collection comes in two different bag sizes: 28g and 60g!

These would make a fantastic gift for superhero dads this Father’s Day. We have hidden away a packet for my fella and I think he will love them.

These are something a little different and they are ever so pretty to look at. My girls and I tried these out and we all though they were delicious! The flavours came across really well and we could tell instantly what they were. My favourite was the Cream Soda.

You can find your nearest stockist on the Jelly Belly website and they are also available from Tesco, Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis, WHSmith and all the best department stores and independent confectioners. 

We also had the Sparkling Wine 'Bubbly Bottle to have a look at. The kids have no interest in these so they are all for me!

Toast any occasion with Sparkling Wine (Bubbly) flavour jelly beans. They have all the flavour of a glass of bubbly in a mini-sized bottle with none of the alcohol. Their iridescent finish will help to bring that extra sparkle to any special occasion or event.

I love this. It would make a fab gift for anyone for any occasion and only costs £3.00.

We were sent the Jelly Belly products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Friday, 24 May 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

This past week has been one of those weeks where there hasn't been much to write about. It's been a pretty average and ordinary week. 

Becky has been getting on with her GCSE's. She has had a couple of exams that she was worried about this week. Maths and physics but after doing them she said they weren't as bad as she was expecting. We got a letter from the school yesterday that she is expected at school on Thursday for Geography revision. It's optional but she will be going. 

I think Ellie is playing detention bingo. Trying to get one for every possible reason. This past week she had a break time detention for "Inadequate Work". She said it was because she never read enough and on Wednesday and she also got in trouble for "Immature behaviour" in PE. She's served bans from the computer and we've had words. I think sometimes she gets a bit too confident at school and pushes her luck.

All the bullying issues that I mentioned last week have been sorted. The two older girls have left Ellie alone and one even went to Becky and told her to say sorry to Ellie for her. Becky told her to do it herself. hehehe From what I can gather they thought it was "just a bit of fun". It might have been for them but it wasn't for Ellie. 

Stu woke on Sunday morning with a sore shoulder. He said it feels like a trapped nerve. I love him to bits but he has moaned a lot instead of actually doing something to fix it. He was taking ibuprofen and that's it. I've made him soak in the bath, change his pillow in bed and sprayed deep heat spray on him. Nothing was helping. He went to the doctors yesterday and was given tablets which should help. I hope they do. 

My week seems to have revolved around the TV. I couldn't sleep properly on Sunday night because I was thinking too much about the finale of Game of Thrones! I watched it as soon as the kids went to school and I actually liked the ending! Then I started watching The Handmaid's Tale. Wow! It's shocking but so addictive to watch. I am well and truly hooked and I can't wait until the new series.

The kids break up for half term today and we are so looking forward to relaxing. We have one day out planned for next week, just to our favourite beach. We are trying to save the pennies as it's just over a month until we move house. All we'll have to buy is the bus ticket and of course fish & chips.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A blue kitchen wish list!

Last year I received a gorgeous food mixer to review. As our kitchen is too small it lives in the cupboard under the stairs. If I am having a big baking session I will get it out to use but I don't use it as much as I would like. When we move house there is going to be plenty of space and it means I can keep it on the worktop and use it all of the time. I love the colour and I have decided that when we move I will be buying accessories to match!

Swan Retro Fridge - AO - £319
Swan Retro Freestanding Microwave - Currys - £79.99
Swan Retro 2 Slice Toaster - £16.00 - Dunelm
Swan Retro 1.5 Litre Blender - £31.00 - AO
Swan Retro 6.5L Slow Cooker - £35.99 - Wayfair
Haden Heritage 1.7 Litre Kettle - £26.99 - Leekes

Typhoon Living Utensil Pot - £7.99 - Robert Dyas
Typhoon Living Pasta Jar - £9.99 - Robert Dyas
Typhoon Living Bread Bin - £18.99 - Robert Dyas
Candy Rose 30 Litre Pedal Bin - £24.99 - Dunelm
Swan Mug Tree - £12.00 - Argos
SWAN Retro 1 litre Canisters. Pack of 3. - £24.99 - Currys

Do you like the blue things I've chosen? Is there anything that you fancy?

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Before I was a blogger.

I have been blogging for 7 years in November and it really is hard to remember a life before blogging. When I started blogging Ellie was in year one at school and Becky in year 5. It seems such a long time ago. It's hard to remember what I did with my spare time.

Before blogging:

I used to play World of Warcraft. Stu got me into playing when Ellie was still a baby, way under a year old and I played it properly, every day until a few months after I started blogging. Something had to give and it was bye, bye World of Warcraft. Blogging well and truly took over! 

I did go back a few times and play it, usually over Christmas and New year when there wasn't much going on with blogging. Stu still plays it and sometimes I am tempted to go back and play. Usually on a lazy Sunday afternoon but no, I mustn't. I really do not have time for it.

I didn't really use social media before blogging, not how I use it now anyway. I didn't have an Instagram, Pinterest or a YouTube account where I uploaded videos. I used to watch YouTube videos but couldn't imagine making them. 

I had a Facebook account, didn't everyone but I only used it for myself. Now things have turned and I rarely post on my personal profile. I think the last time I did was last month and that was only to share an event my friend was organising. I used to put pictures and updates about the girls but now I'm blogging what's the point. I know all my family read here. 

I didn't meal plan and I could quite easily spend £150 on food per week only to throw half of it out and barely get a weeks worth of meals from it. I meal plan every week now and I am way more orgainsed when it comes to food.

I used to enter a lot of competitions, way more than I do now. One Christmas in the advent competitions I won something every day on the trot for 24 days. They weren't big or expensive prizes but they made a fantastic Christmas. I think the best prize I ever won according to the kids was an ultimate VIP package to see Disney On Ice from North East Family Fun. We had amazing seats, Pre-show hospitality & a lift there and back in a pink limo. In my opinion it was my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. I won it off Twitter the day it was released and it was delivered to me the next day. I still have and use that phone now. It was through entering competitions that I discovered blogs. I still discover amazing blogs through their competitions. 

Before blogging I knew a lot less people, yes the people I know through blogging are just "online friends" but I have seen their kids grow up through their blogs, saw their happiest and saddest of moment and there is a few that I would class as real, true friends.

What did you do before blogging? If you aren't a blogger could you ever see yourself blogging?

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Pop Pops Pets - Slime and bubble popping fun! - Review!

Ellie's two favourite things are slime and collectables so she was very pleased to receive some of the new Pop Pops Pets to have a look at. We were sent a box full of the Series 1 packs to open!

Pop Pops Pets offers a combination of several of the best things in the world: fluffy slime, bubble popping, and the hunt for cute collectables.

The packs come in different sizes. 3, 6, 12 and 15 packs.

Ellie couldn't wait to get into them and get popping! 

You simply put the bubble on a flat surface and press until it pops, pull the slime out and see if there is a pet in there!

There is over 60 pets to collect in the series and I was glad to see that out of all the bubbles that we opened there was no duplicates. It works out there is one surprise pet inside for every three bubbles.

Once you’ve popped all the bubbles you can play with the oozey, gooey slime and add your new Pop Pops Pets to your collection!

Ellie is quite an expert when it comes to slime and she said this was good slime. It is gooey but not too slimy and if you keep it in a sealed container when you are not using it, it will last quite a while.

Ellie loved these and they are fantastic for any slime and collectable fan. The only negative about these is that there is so much plastic waste left over from the little pods. 

The Pop Pops Pets are available to buy from Smyths Toys store and online.

We were sent the Pop Pops Pets free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 20th - 26th May. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well. We didn't have the meatballs and spaghetti. I never got around to making it and it got to the point where I was all set to order a takeaway but Stu offered to cook and made sausages, mash and onion gravy. It was good.

Letting Becky choose the meals last week kept her happy during her GCSE's and I think it helped keep her stress levels down. So she has had a lot of input this week too. Thank goodness it's nearly half term where I can take full control of the meal planning again. hehehe

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread.
Tuesday - Leftover bolognese in tacos.
Wednesday - Birds Eye Tomato and mozzarella crispy pancakes and potato wedges.
 Thursday - Fish fingers and baked beans in tomato ketchup wraps.
Friday - Pizza.
Sunday - A roast chicken dinner.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Becoming more and more independent. #MySundaySnapshot

My teen really surprises me sometimes. I don't know what it is but over the last few weeks she seems so much more grown up. Maybe it's because she is so close to finishing school. She is becoming more and more independent. It's just little things like clearing away after herself without being told, being more organised and ironing her clothes instead of asking me to! She's making me proud!

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Week 20 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

Another week done and another week closer to my teen's GCSE exams being over. She's doing well. She's had a couple of wobbles but on the whole is taking them in her stride.

We have had a good week. The sun shining really helps put everyone in a good mood.

Now for a photo every day!

130/365 - 11th May
Ellie had been sorting out all her toys and now has a box with all her little things in instead of them being scattered all over the house.

131/365 - 12th May
A Fruit Bowl spinner that came with some products we have tried out.

132/365 - 13th May
My new favourite ice lolly. The Rowntree's strawberry one's. I've eaten 7 since Monday. hehehe

133/365 - 14th May
I bought my teen some inspirational pencils to use during her exams. She loves them.

134/365 - 15th May
Stu finally got around to finishing off weeding the garden. It looks so much better than it did.

135/365 - 16th May
Step away from the fridge! Even after a big tea she still feels the need to go looking for more to eat! There is no way she was hungry!

136/365 - 17th May
Another gorgeous day! I was sure I read somewhere that we were forecast rain but it held off all day until about 7pm. It's still raining now on Saturday morning!

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Unicorn Fruit Flakes from Fruit Bowl - Review!

I've mentioned lots of times about how my youngest Ellie is unicorn crazy! Anything with a unicorn on she loves!

Top children’s snack company Fruit Bowl are pleased to announce the launch of their Unicorn Fruit Flakes continuing their mission to make it easier for parents to give their children 5 a day. We were sent these to try recently along with a few of the other Fruit Bowl favourites.

The Unicorn Fruit Flakes packaging is gorgeous, shiny and holographic which really appealed to Ellie. She does love anything shiny. She's a bit of a magpie. Available in both individual and multipacks the fantasy theme is carried through to the individual multipacks, where each have either a unicorn, mermaid and flamingo icon to add extra magic and sparkle.

Unicorn Fruit Flakes are an exciting mixture of Fruit Bowl’s top selling delicious flake flavours. Tangy Raspberry, sweet Strawberry and moreish blackcurrant. They are made from soft chewy pieces of real fruit purees all of which contribute to a child’s five a day.

I was the first one to try these and could have quite happily eaten all five packets as they were delicious! The girls both polished them off in a couple of days and said they loved them. Ellie said they tasted like sweets not fruit. They were sweet but there is no added sugar, only naturally occurring sugars!

I think these are fantastic for getting children to eat their 5 a day! Both the individual packs and multipacks are perfectly packaged for slipping into a school lunchbox or popping into a bag for parents on the go.

The multipack bags have already launched into Morrisons stores and are sold for £2.00 per multi-pack with a further launch into Waitrose later in May. I will be looking out for them as Ellie has already asked for more! 

A Fruit Bowl survey says that only 9% of children are currently reaching the recommended 5 a day intake and 50% of parents who buy snacks for children agree that it is hard to get children to eat healthier snacks. That’s why Fruit Bowl want to make it easier for parents to boost their child’s fruit and veg intake and why so many of their products contribute to a child’s 5 a day.

The full range of Fruit Bowl products include Peelers, School Bars, Fruit Flakes, Yogurt Flakes and Yogurt-Coated Raisins. They are also gluten free, vegan and veggie friendly and with only naturally occurring sugars each pack contains the same amount of sugar found in a single apple. 

The wider Fruit Bowl ranges are readily available at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Co-Op, Asda, Waitrose as well as on Ocado and via a number of local and independent stores.

We were sent these Fruit Bowl products in exchange for this blog post.

Friday, 17 May 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

It has to be. This week has all been about school.

Becky has been doing her GCSE's. She's had at least one every day and so far so good. She did have a little wobble on Tuesday night about her Health and Social care exam on Wednesday but she needn't have worried as she said it was easy. Phew! She is going to college to study health and social care so it's the one subject she wants to do amazing in and I think she will. I am very proud at how she is handling the exams. She said the biology one was easier than she expected it to be and a lot of what she revised was used. She thanked me for nagging her to revise. I felt like I was winning at parenting.

We have had the letter about the leavers hoodie. Of course I'm going to buy it. It's £21 which is not as expensive as I expected it to be.They never did leavers hoodies when I was at school. Hmmf. 

Last week Ellie had mentioned that a couple of girls have been calling her names on the way home from school and following her group of friends. It had happened too many times and it was starting to get her down. Her friends and Becky have told them to stop it but it only seemed to encourage them. I went and met her from school on Friday and caught these two girls in the act. The expression on their faces was priceless. They should be ashamed of themselves. A year 9 and a year 8 picking on a year 7. Eesh! 

On Monday we had a meeting with the SENDCO woman who we have meetings with every few months because of Ellie's deafness. We told her about these two girls and she said she'd get it sorted. We had a lovely catch up with her. She is a fantastic teacher and is really supportive of Ellie. She said Ellie is set to meet all her end of year targets and she is above target for Music, French and Cooking. Obviously, they're her favourite subjects. 

We did get to the bottom of why Ellie has had a few detentions over the past few months. There were some for forgetting homework, a pencil and her planner but there was another which had us puzzled. Ellie had been caught messing around with 2 of her friends and had planned to bunk off a lesson by hiding behind some tables. That was only half the story though. We found out that she had been running around a classroom, her and her friends were shouting out obscene words and being generally disruptive. The little madam! The teacher said it didn't sound like Ellie at all and I said it didn't either but she is easily led. She also got another detention on Tuesday for passing notes in class. She was passing it from one friend to another girl. She took the blame even though it wasn't her note. She didn't want to dob in a friend which I suppose is a good thing to do, sort of.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Another great gift from Gift Pup! The Metal Flash Light Torch! - Review!

Over the past year I have worked with Gift Pup a few times. Mother's day, when the kids were going back to school and last year I received the Men's Brown Leather Bracelet to review and give to Stu for Father's Day. Well, he still wears it and it has lasted well. Obviously it looks a little worn but he only ever takes it off to go in the shower or bath so that's to be expected

Gift Pup sell a range of personalised gifts for all the family, all occasions, ages and type of people. With Father's Day coming up it's a great time to think about the special men in our lives. I always like to get something that will be used but is personalised which makes it that little bit more special.

I got the girls to have a look at the Gift Pup website and there was so much to choose from for Father's day but we eventually decided on the Metal Flash Light Torch.

An essential for any man drawer, an emergency torch. This chunky yet compact torch can be personalised along with its matching presentation tin. Small enough for the glove box in their car or to keep in a bag this handy tool won't leave them in the dark.

Measuring at 95x25mm it comes ready to go with 3 AAA batteries. 

Stu has had many torches over the years. When he is faffing around with the insides of his computer a torch comes in handy so this will be ideal for him. 

The box is fantastic to keep the torch in and it will probably end up with a mini screwdriver and screws in given time. The personalisation on the box is gorgeous and is a lovely touch.

The torch is well made, solid and is a fantastic size which will make it a little bit harder to lose. It is also very bright which is just what Stu needs!

It costs £18.99 which I think is a fantastic price for something like this.

I think Stu is going to be very happy with his gift from Gift Pup and they have done a fantastic job again. I can't recommend them enough. Every single gift I have had from them in the past has been amazing, loved by the recipient and has stood the test of time.

We were sent the The Metal Flash Light Torch free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

It feels like the bedtime battles are over.

A new study has revealed the extent to which modern parents are losing the battle of bedtime with 55 percent trying desperately to establish a bedtime routine but almost the same amount (51 percent) saying in reality it is the single most stressful time of the day.

The study reveals it takes a further 43 minutes (average) after teeth and stories to get children to settle properly and go to sleep with the research revealing the average bedtime includes three bedtime stories, two tantrums, four kisses goodnight, two claims of illness and another two shouts for parents to rearrange sheets. 

Now that my girls are older it isn't too bad. I'm not gloating and saying we never had the bedtime battles but now mu girls are older they do go to bed more easily. There is hope.

Out of my two girls Ellie was definitely the most challenging! Some nights she would still be awake after 11pm which went right up to last year. She was an expert at stalling going to sleep. She would do the whole routine of coming down to the toilet, needing a drink, saying she was hungry, needed a cuddle or had something really important to tell us which couldn't wait until the morning. She would try and play with her toys in her bedroom and at one point we took them all out of her room to stop it happening. It didn't really make much difference. She has such a great imagination that she would always make up a game to play. 

We tried night lights, things which played music, getting her to read, reading her stories, letting her watch TV, giving her calming baths, sitting with her where she should have drifted off to sleep, sitting outside of her room and even begging but nothing would make her sleep.

It obviously meant that she struggled to get up on a morning, especially on a school day. She would be grumpy and sometimes in the foulest of moods. It affected her at school. She struggled to concentrate.

We used to dread bedtime but something changed with Ellie when she started secondary school. She has been asleep most nights by half past nine and 10pm at the latest. Some nights it's even earlier. She doesn't struggle to get to sleep now and it is done with no fuss at all. At first I put it down to the fact that she was walking more, to, from and around school but then last December she was diagnosed with social anxiety. I now think that she stressed and worried about school that much that she couldn't sleep. Now that she's happier in school she is a happier, more relaxed child and most importantly she sleeps!!

48 percent of parents confess bedtime battles makes them feel miserable and almost half (47 percent) say it makes them bad tempered and 27 percent worry about the effect it has on their relationship. Stu and I did used to argue when Ellie wouldn't go to sleep. Not full on rows but we would bicker. We really did used to dread bedtimes.

Both of my girls go upstairs at 9pm at the latest and Becky usually chooses to watch TV while Ellie usually chooses to read. I always go upstairs to check on them at half past nine when Ellie is usually dozing off and Becky is halfway through watching a TV programme. Becky has always being great for going to bed and sleep. She will usually switch her TV of at 11pm.

It really feels like the bedtime battles are over here. Now I just struggle with getting Becky out of bed on a weekend. She will happily sleep until lunchtime. lol

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The new men’s grooming range from Black Leopard! - Review!

My fella does love his beauty products. He goes through more moisturiser than I do. Recently I was contacted and asked if Stu would like to try out the new men’s grooming range from Black Leopard which has just launched in the UK!

The ultimate in masculine, sleek and good quality skincare for men has hit the shelves and is perfect for men wanting fuss free products that do what they say. Black Leopard has been designed for men by men, with their needs in mind!

Black Leopard uses ingredients that are naturally derived and scientifically proven. They won't harm your skin or the earth. These products are designed to hydrate, soothe and revitalise skin ensuring you feel good at every stage of the day.

Stu was sent a couple of products to try the Moisturiser and the eye cream!

Black Leopard’s Moisturiser is an essential choice for men on the go. Men's skin is thicker and less rich in water and is subjected to shaving/razor burn. This premium anti aging men’s skincare product will nourish, strengthen, hydrate and protect the skin helping you look younger and your skin healthier.

RRP £23.49 

This anti-wrinkle cream developed using the most advanced anti-ageing technology is specifically designed for use on men’s skin. Reducing puffiness and dark circles. Increasing elasticity, locks in moisturiser and plumps the skin to reduce wrinkles. Be amazed by how good your skin looks by adding this 1 step to your nightly routine.

 RRP £18.99 

Stu has been using these products for the past week and he really likes them. Using some other moisturisers has left his face slightly rashy and sore but Black Leopard’s Moisturiser has been fantastic. His face feels fresh and he has noticed that he has less dry, flaky skin.

On an evening Stu has been using the eye cream. He is lucky not to have many wrinkles or dark circles but does sometimes suffer from puffy eyes and it's so far so good with the eye cream. 

I thought at first these products seemed a little bit pricey but Stu has said they are both going to last a while as a little of the creams go a long way. He really is a fan and said he would happily buy them in the future.

With Father's day next month I think these would make a brilliant gift for the dad's. There is the Complete Face Pack which is on offer for £59.99 which includes the 2 in 1 Shave gel cleanser, Face scrub, Eye cream, Moisturiser and Aftershave balm.

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

Monday, 13 May 2019

And so it begins. The GCSE's.

Today is the start of my teen's proper GCSE's. She has already taken her English Literature, a Health & Social Care and an iMedia one over the past year. It was good for her to get some out of the way before the pressure of the near enough daily exams. It also gave her an idea of what to expect in a proper exam. Becky has 19 exams to take over the next month, she's been revising hard and is feeling ready for them.

Today she has an R.E exam and tomorrow a biology one and a Chemistry one on Thursday. Over the weekend she was focusing on those subjects working in 20 minute blocks. 20 minutes revising and then a 10 minute break. It seems to work for her this way.

As she is still in school and will be revising there we are making sure that each evening she will be taking some time off so she is relaxed and ready to go for the next exam. So far she doesn't seem stressed about the exams at all which is brilliant and I am so relieved. I will be keeping an eye on her over the next month making sure the pressure doesn't get to her.

We have agreed with Becky that she will be going to bed earlier during the time when she's doing her GCSE's. Instead of staying up watching TV or reading until 11pm she will be going to sleep at 10pm and then getting up on time and eating a proper breakfast even if she doesn't fancy it. A decent breakfast will help her concentrate!

We've agreed that she will be getting everything she needs for that days exam ready the night before so there is no last minute panicking. Ellie has been given strict instructions not to mess about on the way to school. We don't want Becky to be late, especially since half her exams are on a morning.

I keep telling Becky to stay calm and if need be stay away from nervous people in her year group who may be flapping and stressing. She doesn't need to start over thinking and stressing too and when the exams are finished to take what people are saying about them with a pinch of salt. Other people might say they were easy but they might have actually got everything wrong. (I do hope that doesn't happen).

I think as long as Becky concentrates and focuses on what she's doing, she'll do great!

Our weekly meal plan! 13th - 19th May. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well and I finally got around to posting a blog post that has been sat in my drafts for about 6 months. Why and how I meal plan. It is crazy to think I have been posting my meal plans on here since 2013.

Anyway on to this weeks meal plan. I have let Becky choose most of the meals. Her GCSE's start properly today and I think she needs a bit of what will keep her happy.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Sausage casserole and mash.
Tuesday - Bernard Matthew's Hamwiches and spaghetti hoops. I will be having left over sausage casserole. Stu is on late's at work so will sort his own tea out.
Wednesday - Chicken burgers, chips and baked beans.
 Thursday - Meatballs and spaghetti.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Corndogs, onion rings, Chilli And Lime Chicken Skewers and Nachos using a kit from Tesco.
Sunday - A roast chicken dinner.

What are you eating this week?