Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Trying some new snacks from Metcalfe’s!

This time last year I tried some of the products that Metcalfe's had to offer and they have became a firm favourite of mine, especially the Sweet And Salty Popcorn. Recently I was sent some of their newer snacks to try.

This month Metcalfe's has revamped their range with two new popped product innovations, all under 100 calories! They are not just about the popcorn!!

Unlike anything seen before the new Corn Chips come as individual 22g bags each being under 100 calories.

The Sizzlin BBQ Corn Chips are popped, triangular, and in a smoky, sweet Sizzlin BBQ  flavour. They are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free, low in saturated fat, no artificial flavours.

Metcalfe’s Sizzlin BBQ Corn Chips are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free, low in saturated fat and have no artificial flavours.

The Nacho Cheese Corn Chips have a delicious nacho Cheese flavour. They are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and have no artificial flavours.

These are both fantastic snacks. My girls loved both but I was more taken with the Sizzlin BBQ Corn Chips. I'm just not a fan of cheese snacks. It is hard just to stop at one packet as they are so tasty.

As well as the corn chips for those with a sweeter too there’s also the new chocolate-covered Mini Ricecakes, which mix the perfect balance of wholegrain and white rice for a snack extravaganza!

Whether you’re craving Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Orange or White Chocolate these ultra-convenient bite-size packs of four will satisfy. They are perfect for popping in your bag for later or eating right now!

The Mini Ricecakes are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free, and contain NO artificial flavours.

These are perfect for snacking on when you want something sweet. They are all under 81 calories so at this time of year (after Christmas) when you are wanting something which won't pile on the pounds, these are perfect!

We all love these. I am not a huge fan of dark chocolate but I love the chocolate orange one's! In fact they are all delicious and it is hard to choose my favourite.

These are available to buy from Tesco WH Smiths, BP and Shell.

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

Monday, 14 January 2019

Our weekly meal plan. 14th - 20th Jan! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan did not go well. I had planned on not doing a food shop but ended up getting a delivery on Tuesday. We were running out of silly things which we needed and it wasn't too bad it came to just over £40.

I got carried away on Monday being a domestic goddess and was a little too organised in putting the leftover bolognese in separate portions and I put them in the freezer so we didn't have that in wrapson Tuesday. I don't actually remember what we did have. I am sure it was chicken nuggets? On Wednesday I realised I forgot to buy the beef for the casserole and we had sausage casserole, the chicken & egg-fried rice on Saturday became chicken stir fry with noodles.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Chicken casserole with dumplings and mash.
Tuesday - Hot dogs in buns with fries and corn on the cob
Wednesday - Scampi, chips and peas.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Sausage sandwiches.
Sunday - Pie, mash and veg.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Week 2 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

What a long week that was! The first week back at school is always the hardest but we got through it. Becky ended the week with a GCSE exam. Creative iMedia. She said she answered all of the questions, wrote loads and she thinks she did OK. That'll do me.

Here is a photo for every day.

5/365 - 5th January
My new favourite crisps. 

6/365 - 6th January
Ellie got some glow jars for Christmas and loves them. They are so pretty.

7/365 - 7th January
The first day back at school. They were up bright and early.

8/365 - 8th January
I tried this leather cleaner to clean my sofas. It is fantastic stuff and they now look brand new. Well worth the couple of pounds I paid.

9/365 - 9th January
I have been decluttering and sorting the house. On Wednesday it was the turn of the kitchen cupboard. It feels so much more organised now.

10/365 - 10th January
Another unicorn to add to her collection. This one hatched from an egg she had been soaking in water for a few days.

11/365 - 11th January
Becky came home with a hole in her shoe. I guess we will be shoe shopping today. Ugh!

Friday, 11 January 2019

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

This week my Word of the Week is:

Earlier on yesterday I wrote my Word of the Week post with a totally different word and then decided it could be a post all by it's self. It was about housework. I've had a very productive week when it came to cleaning and sorting but this week has also been all about getting back into a routine.

Christmas was wonderful but we ate lots and at random times. The kids slept in till late and stayed up late and we just did our own thing. On Monday the kids went back to school and it's back to reality. As much as I love having the kids at home with me it is nice when they go back to school. We all thrive when we have a routine.

The kids were out of bed within minutes of the alarm going off on Monday, were dressed and had eaten breakfast with time to spare before leaving the house for school. They were excited to see their friends and as much as they moan about school they do love it.

Tuesday was not the same. The excitement had worn off, they didn't want to get out of bed and I had to do a lot of nagging. They were tired. 

It's always the same with my two. They have the high on the first day back the low on the 2nd day and then it evens it's self out. By Wednesday it felt like they were back to normal with their routine.

They have both settled in well back at school. Becky reminded me earlier in the week that she has a GCSE exam today. It is for Creative iMedia. The course is all about creating things on computers. Websites, videos and photos. According to Becky's predicted grades she already has a pass thanks to the coursework and the written exam will bump it up to a Merit or Distinction. She had been looking over past exam papers and is feeling pretty confident.

Stu is back on his normal shifts at work. They were all a bit all over the place in the run up and over Christmas. I really do love his shifts at the moment. They seem to fit around our family life. In an ideal world he would get the weekend off but instead he has a Wednesday and Thursday off which is good for us as the kids finish school early each Wednesday so we have an extra hour to do things and then on a Thursday we usually do something as a couple. Next week we're booked in to have an afternoon tea at a nice pub. I have never had an afternoon tea and it's been on my bucket list for years. I can't wait!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Period proof undies from RED by Modibodi.

Ellie is now at that age where she could start her periods at anytime. I have done my best to prepare her. We have talked, I have shown her sanitary products and she's even spoken to Becky about periods. I thought that was all I could do to prepare her but then I was asked if I would like to feature something from a new brand from RED by Modibodi.

A pair of Modibodi RED knickers. Blue and white stripes.

Specially developed and designed for 11 to 21 year olds. RED is a brand of underwear and swimwear which has been made with incredible technology. You just wear the RED period proof underwear like you would your regular undies but without the hassle of having to use a tampon, menstrual cup or pad. 

Made super slim at only 3mm thick the Modifier Technology can hold up to 20ml or 2 tampons worth. The top layer quickly wicks away moisture, fights bacteria and stops smells so you stay dry and fresh. The middle layer safely absorbs fluid and locks it away and the bottom layer has extra waterproof protection so you are super secure.

We were sent the hipster bikini aqua stripe to have a look at:

Flow: 15ml = 1 1/2-2 tampons or 2 teaspoons
Feels: Comfy, secure and carefree.
Fabric: Oh so soft and breathable cotton
Impact: Less disposable pads, liners and tampons = positive change for the planet and your period.

This cute cut hipster bikini is perfect for everyday use and has enough absorbency to keep you covered either during the day or overnight – so you won’t have any awkward leaks on your white sheets!

I really think these would be fantastic for Ellie. Research by Plan International shows that almost half (49%) of young girls have missed an entire day of school and 64% of girls have missed PE or sports because of their periods. Almost three quarters (71%) of girls admitted that they have felt embarrassed buying sanitary products with nearly half (48 per cent) of girls aged 14-21 in the UK admitting to being embarrassed by their periods. Ellie has recently been diagnosed with Social Anxiety and anything I can do to make her life a little less stressful, I will. As a teen I always used to be worried about leaking but these sound like it takes that worry away!

You can wear RED for a whole day before changing into a fresh pair to sleep in which means you would need to buy at least one pair for each day of your period plus a couple of extra one's in case you can't get them washed quickly.

I thought the £16.50 a pair was expensive but then I thought about how much I spend on sanitary products. Say £2.50 for 20 sanitary pads which would last about 4 days. After 3 months of buying sanitary products you could bought one pair of the RED undies.

To wash them rinse in cold water after use. You don't have to soak them, just rinse until the water runs clear. Put them in the washing machine on a cold wash without fabric conditioner then hang them out to dry. 

I am going to be buying more pairs of these for Ellie if she gets on with the first pair when she starts her periods. As well as being better for her we will also be doing out bit for the environment by reducing the amount of single-use products that end up in our landfills.

We were sent the hipster bikini aqua stripe pants free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Top 7 Tag.

The lovely Jayne at Sticky Mud & Belly Laughs asked me if I wanted tagging in The Top 7 tag and I said no at first but I read her blog post and wanted to join in. hehehe I can't help myself. I do love a tag! 

To do this one you share 7 blog posts, 7 things that we have loved back in 2018 and 7 things we are looking forward to this year!

My 7 Favourite Blog Posts From Last Year.

I am cheating a bit with this. In November it was my blogs 6th birthday and I wrote a blog post called My favourite blog posts from the last year which has all of my favourite blog posts. Do go and have a nosy. I would also add the It's not Autism it's Social Anxiety one to the list too because it finally gave us some answers about Ellie.

7 Things I Loved Last Year

1. We had our first proper holiday! We have never been away as a family and as an added bonus went away with my dad and Sarah his partner at Christmas.

2. Working with some amazing brands and companies here on my blog. I am so lucky to be sent some wonderful things to review and I am always so grateful.

3. My dad being alive! It may sound dramatic but he had a stroke early on in 2018 which was a wake up call for him. He was working more than 12 hours a day and it has made him slow down and take better care of himself. 

4. Becoming more confident in real life and blogging.

5. Both of my girls settling in well for their new school year! I was especially worried about Ellie starting secondary school but I really needn't have stressed. The biggest stress we have had is her having blisters from her new school shoes in the first week.

6. Friends! I have a fantastic few friends in real life and some fab one's online too. They're always there to listen and offer help when it's needed.

7. Being more relaxed about life. I have not over planned things and just let things happen. It has made me stress a lot less.

7 Things To Look Forward To This Year.

1. Maybe going to a blogging conference later this year.

2. Seeing more of my family.

3. Becky getting through her GCSE's. She has been working hard and later this year she will be sitting her GCSE's and leaving school. Eek!

4. Getting the house decluttered. I've already started with the bookshelf in the living room. It became a dumping ground over Christmas.

5. Going on another holiday!

6. Turning 40! I must be mad but I am quite looking forward to it. I am hoping for at least a night away, a meal out and maybe a party. I am going to make the most of having a milestone birthday!.

7. Having more days out. When the warmer weather comes we are aiming for one a fortnight. To the beach, a museum or somewhere further afield.

I'm not tagging anyone because most of the bloggers which I know have already done this tag or have already being tagged. 

Feeling the love this Valentines Day with Buyagift - Giveaway!

Christmas is done and dusted and now I'm counting down to Valentine's day. I know you can tell someone you love them any day of the year but I think there's something special about Valentine's day.

Buyagift have a fantastic selection of experiences which you could share with a loved one or if you are single you can treat a friend to a fun day/evening out!

One Night Glamping Break for Two - £55

If you’d like to experience sleeping under the stars without lugging a leaky tent and camping kit across the country, glamping is for you. With a purpose-built and private camping pod, timber tent or wigwam ready for your arrival, there’s no time lost in finding a suitable spot and pitching a tent before you get out and explore. With a choice of many different locations to suit everyone, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a memorable night, with this very modern take on camping.

The View from The Shard for Two - £45

As the UK’s tallest building, with the highest viewing point in London, The View from The Shard is simply mesmerising. Choosing a time that suits you best, you’ll ascend 800ft up to the observation platform in the state-of-the-art lifts, preparing yourselves for what’s to come. You and a friend will see unparalleled 360-degree views across the capital stretching for up to 40 miles around. 

Double Supercar Driving Blast with Free High Speed Passenger Ride - Was £99 Now £69

The ultimate experience, this is for those who couldn’t just pick one supercar, now you can feed your urge for driving adventure and pick two from a range including a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin and much, much more! Push your driving skills to the limit around a track for three miles in each car and feel the power. When you’re done, you’ll get to sit in the hot seat and be driven around by an experienced professional. If you want to find out what super means across the pond, opt for one of the classic American muscle cars such as a Chevrolet, Mustang Eleanor or Corvette race car.

Relaxation for Two - £59.99 

Regardless of what kind of relaxing pampering experience most appeals to you, Buyagift have got something to accommodate your needs. They’ve hand-selected the best of the spa and pampering experiences for two to create the finest selection of relaxing and rejuvenating treats that are sure to have you looking and feeling your best. Whether you fancy relaxing in the warm bubbles of a Jacuzzi, enjoying a massage by a highly qualified masseuse or having a fashion makeover and taking part in your own photoshoot with a loved one, there is something to suit everyone! 

Dinner Date - Smartbox by Buyagift. - £59.99

If you delight in enjoying the finer things in life and enjoy indulging in the likes of a quintessentially British afternoon tea or candle-lit dinners at top restaurants, this is the ideal tasty treat for you! Food-lovers need to look no further as Buyagift has handpicked a fine selection of over 725 exquisite experiences to choose from, ranging from dining out to wine tasting and brewery tours. Whether you want to indulge in gourmet cuisine cooked to perfection by expert chefs, or you're looking to enjoy a selection of delightfully decadent cakes, you’ll find yourself savouring every mouthful as you sit back and relax at your choice of UK venue. 

I am giving you the chance to win a Dinner Date Smartbox by Buyagift worth £59.99!

Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

The Giveaway ends at 12am on the 27th January 2019.
There is no cash alternative to the prize.
This giveaway is open to UK only.
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.
All entries will be checked and the winner will be chosen at random from valid entries. There will be one winner! The winner will be informed by email or on Twitter and will need to respond within 28 days or a new winner will be drawn.
It is the responsibility of the company to dispatch the prize directly to the winner. I will however try to help with any issues you have!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Christmas at the Britannia Leeds Bradford Airport Hotel! - Review!

If you read hear regularly you will know we went away for Christmas. My dad treated us to a stay at the Britannia Leeds Bradford Airport Hotel & Spa! He spent Christmas there with his partner Sarah in 2017 so knew what to expect. I didn't and there wasn't much online about it either, so I thought I would write this blog post in hope it might help someone. 

the front of the hotel

Britannia Leeds Bradford Airport is a 3* hotel set in 3 acres of attractive grounds 2 miles from Leeds/Bradford Airport. The hotel features a contemporary restaurant with an excellent menu and leisure facilities in Spindles Health Club including indoor heated swimming pool (small charge applies - £4 per person per day). 24 hour room service is also available.

My dad arrived before Stu, the girls and me so already had the key cards but he said it was simple to check in. There is a lift to all the floors but we found it quicker taking the stairs.

Stu and I were in one room and the girls in the room next door. There was no adjoining door but that was OK. Where we were on he 4th floor was quiet and throughout our stay we only saw a handful of people up here.

The wardrobe, tea and coffee things, the bathroom and a bedroom with a double and two single beds in.

Both of the rooms had a double bed in and two single beds. If we had know that we would have just all stayed in one room and my dad had paid for both. To to be honest it was nice to have some space away from the kids. hehehe In each room there was a kettle, tea, coffee and things like that, extra blankets, pillows, a trouser press, iron and ironing board, lots of hangers and drawers to unpack and plenty of clean towels. The rooms were clean and very warm. We left the window open for most of our stay.

We arrived just before 3pm and unpacked a little. On the bed when we arrived there was a Christmas present. Fudge and shortbread which was a lovely touch.

There was a catch on the room doors which made sure they didn't shut which came in handy when the kids were going between the two rooms.

Each day between 3.30pm and 4.30pm there were mince pies and hot drinks in the lounge. On the first evening it was packed in the lounge so we sat in the bar which was fine. We sat and chatted and at 5.30 bucks fizz was served in the Bramhope suite. It was more orange juice than fizzy wine but it was a nice start.

At 6.30pm dinner was served in the Carvery Restaurant. The first night was a bit of a fuss. Everyone needed to be seated before you could help yourself to food. It made sense as the tables you were given were yours for the duration of your stay but it meant there was a lot of queues to start with.

There was a selection of pate, salad, tomato & basil soup for starters. For the main course there was roast pork, stuffed peppers, chicken and mushroom pie, and a couple of other dishes. Along with the main part of your meal there was roast and boiled potatoes, carrots, swede and green beans. For dessert there was a selection of gateaux, rice pudding and cheese and crackers.

There was more than enough food. The only complaint I had about the first nights meal was that the gravy was so watery. We like our gravy a lot thicker. hehehe

After we had all eaten we went back to the Bramhope suite for that nights entertainment. There was a singer and he was hilarious! My girls were the youngest by far staying in the hotel and he kept having a bit of banter with them. Becky was mortified! She found it all a bit cringe but he was a good singer and a lot of fun. He sung everything from Michael Buble to Elvis. There was also another singer on in the lounge. I didn't hear much of them but there was only a few people watching and listening so he can't have been that good.

We went off to bed at about 11pm and I was looking forward to a good nights sleep. As soon as I sat on the bed I could tell that wasn't going to happen. The bed was so hard. Uncomfortably hard. I tossed and turned all night and I was quite glad when it was time to get up. 

Breakfast was served each morning 7am and 9am. There was lots to choose from. Pastries, melon, cereal, toast, jams and of course a traditional English breakfast which you helped yourself to. There was scrambled and fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, sausages, tomatoes, hash browns, fried bread and probably things I have forgotten about. It was so good. The fried eggs were perfect and runny. There was also hot drinks or orange juice available. The breakfasts were a great start to the day. You could fill yourself up and easily not get hungry again until it was time again for mince pies in the afternoon.   

We went out and about for Christmas eve so didn't spend much time in the hotel until it was time to get ready for the evening meal. I had a shower and can say it's the best one I've ever had. The temperature was just right and it was so powerful. I loved the big, well lit mirror in the bathroom. It was perfect for putting my make up on. The lights in the main room are not great.

On the 2nd evening there was vegetable lasagne, hunters chicken, gammon, some sort of fish and meat and potato pie. My family all had different things and they were very happy with what they ate. The portion of meat and potato pie I had was very generous and tasted so good! The desserts were gateux again and apricot and peach crumble. The second nights entertainment was so not good. She tried way too hard, she was a good singer but warbled a lot and there was no need. 

the entertainment, a female singer and everyone seated around tables watching and listening.

On Christmas eve night we had to put the stockings into the kids room so we took their key card so we could get in and it just wouldn't open the door. Stu had to go down to the main desk and they reset it and it worked fine after that. Stu was not impressed as he'd already changed into his Santa PJ's. hehehe

On Christmas day we had a light breakfast because the Christmas dinner was between 12 and 2pm. I had a crayfish and prawn salad to start which was lovely and turkey and all the trimmings for main. 

Crayfish and prawn salad, a roast turkey dinner and profiteroles and cream

It was a bit hit and miss. The turkey, stuffing and pigs in blankets were delicious but the parsnips were mixed with the carrots and were boiled instead of roasted and they were under cooked, the boiled potatoes were like golf balls, the spouts had been over cooked too. Hmmf! The profiteroles for dessert were lovely.

At 3pm there was hot drinks and Christmas cake served along with the queens speech which we missed because half of us were sleeping and just relaxing in the room.

On Christmas day evening there was buffet tea between 5.30 & 7pm I wasn't that impressed with it. There was leftover pigs in blankets from lunch, over cooked spring rolls, Onion bhajis which were so spicy, mini quiches, potato wedges and things like that. It was all too dry so I helped myself to some of the salad just to moisten it up a bit. When I think of a buffet I think of sausage rolls, sandwiches and things like that.

a plate with a selection of picky buffet food, potato wedges, pigs in blankets and salad.

After the buffet there was bingo and a disco which was a lot of fun! The guy running it was really nice and had been running each Christmas day for a few years. He pleased all the older people by playing their type of music and when they went to bed at about 9pm we took over and had everything from Bon Jovi, Rhianna, The Greatest Showman songs and Baby Shark. 

On the 4th night the food was not great. Turkey and leek pie ended up being chicken and mushroom, the gammon was overcooked and chewy, the fishcakes and risotto were nowhere in sight. The only good thing was the sliced beef says my fella and dad. I am not a big beef lover. 

There is a happy hour which finishes at 6pm and we figured out to buy our drinks for the evening then but on the whole the drinks are not overpriced. A bottle of the house wine was just under £13, Baileys was £3 and a pint of lager was about £3.50 which I think is reasonable. 

All of the staff were lovely and were very helpful. There was a young girl. I thought she was in her early 20's but she was only 17 years old who was doing a great job in the dining room. The cleaners were lovely too and were sure we had everything we needed before they had the day off on Christmas day.

The average age of the guests over Christmas were about 60/70 years old and there were no other children here apart from my two girls until the last night. My girls had so many compliments about how polite and well behaved they were. I felt very proud. 

There is little for kids to eat from the carvery/restaurant menu unless your kids like big dinners with veg. You can order from the bar. They serve pizza, burgers and things like that. There is also little help for people with food allergies. It is not obvious what meals contain what. My dad knew someone there who had various allergies and there was nothing suitable on the 3rd night and asked for something off the bar menu and had fight not to pay for it despite the evening meal being included.

There is free internet in public areas but you get cut off after 20 minutes and have to reconnect. Upstairs in the rooms you get 20 minutes free per day. I think in the world we live in now the internet should be included but I didn't really miss it, it was nice to spend time as a family.

We had a lovely stay at the Britannia Leeds Bradford Airport Hotel and would happily spend another Christmas there but my dad who was spending his 2nd Christmas there said he wouldn't. He noticed differences between Christmas 2017 & Christmas 2018. He said they were cutting costs on the food by just having the same sides/veg each evening, not having things like salmon for starters, having awful tasting coffee at breakfast and having less staff clearing plates in the dining area. He also complained that there was no fridge in the room this year. It may seem like a little thing having no fridge but him and his partner are big tea drinkers and would have liked somewhere to store a carton of milk.

I would say this hotel over Christmas is great for couples and older people but not good for families with young children. My two were OK because they could sit and amuse themselves on tablets, colouring or just people watching. On our last night there was a family with young children who arrived and all the older people were complaining about the children being loud. (I wouldn't say they were, they were just being kids but I guess older people have less patience).

Monday, 7 January 2019

Our weekly meal plan. 7th - 13th Jan! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well. We ate everything apart from the chicken casserole on Sunday. I made too much chicken curry on Saturday and there was enough to have with chips the next day.

Over the weekend I usually do a food shop but the freezer is still full and the cupboards are over flowing so I thought I would save a bit of money and if we need to just nip out for milk, fruit and bread.

The kids go back to school today which they are not looking forward to. I am. I am looking forward to having a bit of peace. hehehe

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread!
Tuesday - Leftover bolognese in tortilla wraps. Messy but tasty!
Wednesday - Slow cooker beef stew with mash.
 ThursdayQuiche Lorraine frittata with baked beans.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Chicken & egg-fried rice with prawn crackers.
SundayA roast dinner of some sort.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

They might have a new hobby.

Even though My Sunday Photo has stopped I am going to continue to post a photo every Sunday. This past week has all been about doing jigsaws! I think my girls might have a new hobby.


Saturday, 5 January 2019

Week 1 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

When I was sorting through the photos for this weeks Photo 365 post I started to panic thinking I'd lost some. I had totally forgotten that this week is a short week with the the new year starting. Doh! 

I hope you have all had a good start to the year. We haven't really don't much and it's felt like we've been in some sort of Limbo. I am quite looking forward to the kids going back to school on Monday so we can get back into a routine.

Here's a photo every day for the first week of 2019!

1/365 - 1st January
The kids both got a couple of jigsaws for Christmas. The 1000 piece one has kept Becky busy for a few days and it's still not finished!

2/365 - 2nd January
The kids got a Subway each for lunch! Becky only got a small one and regretted her decision as soon as she got home. Ellie still had her 2nd half to eat and Becky had to make do with mini sausage rolls.

3/365 - 3rd January
Ellie had been playing with the light box thingy. It is great advice from her.

4/365 - 4th January
With the kids still being on holiday from school I wanted to give them something to do so they made their own pizzas again. We do love the ready to use pizza bases from Tesco.