Monday, 14 April 2014

fun in the sun

I have some family visiting at the moment, well they are not staying here but at a local aunt and uncle. it's lovely to see them. tonight my niece is having a sleep over. As I sit here and type the girl's are in the garden making dinner;

I love our mud kitchen it brings endless jours of fun for the children.
I do have a back up dinner planned just in case, we have roast turkey (left over from a previous meal and frozen), mashed potato and vegetables. Stephanie is still vegetarian so I have some quorn 'chicken' cooking for her.
I'm off to watch them play.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Summer preparations

As is customary before the summer comes Stephanie makes her preparations by trying on her dresses and putting her order in for new ones. So far we have found 4 that don't fit. In Stephanie's opinion 3 that definitely don't fit and one that will be ok for this year!

Stephanie went through my fabric stash last night and has placed an order for 5 dresses and 2 skirts. This evening she is spending the night at her daddy's house so I have spent the evening fulfilling one order.

Here is the finished product. I will get a better picture when she wears it. Once she is home tomorrow I will be able to see how the fit is on her before I make the others.
For now though I need to Google for a set of new needles for my sewing machine, I may have bent one by catching it on the zip...

Friday, 11 April 2014

Join us on our fairy adventure!

Yesterday Stephanie and I went on an adventure, we made us of our National trust membership and went off to explore. This time the membership saved us the cost of parking, which at this [articular place is £3.50.

We started off by jumping along these rings of trees, which mystical creatures could have created such things?
We had to balance along a precarious walkway to begin our adventure through the smelly swamp!

sneak over the goblins toes without waking them!

teeter along a seesaw walk way

find our way around the trickiest high rise maze
to make it to the plinth in the centre for the right to be queen of the castle

To find our way to the centre of the kingdom at the fairy queens palace where we had a royal feast of Fairy sweets (blueberries to mere mortals) and fairy cakes (bananas)

We called in to visit a fairy friend at home
before we went off in pursuit of the impressive and beautiful Fairy people carrier (a male pheasant)

Alas he was feeling very shy today and hide behind the trees!
We wandered down a mystical path and found ourselves looking at this impressive view

which led us to the wondering of what does this hill we are stood on look like from the top of that hill over there!

We set off across the mountain range to find out! (trust me we have climbed a mountain so we know when we are exaggerating!)

To discover that this is what the first hill looks like from the top of the second hill. We also discovered that the second hill is much more amazing for hill rolling!

Up and down the hills and back through the woods we found ourselves here climbing the tallest totem poles in the world!

Before needing to swing across the wild ravines to safety. After this there were some wild adventures involving the necessity to build ourselves a shelter to hide whilst the goblins and trolls had a mud fight. Which we did get a little caught up in but it didn't take long to sort

Of course we needed to use magic in the form of several fairy wipes!

Still we know we have not had a good day if we come home without any cuts/scrapes or mud on us. This was a day when we both came home with mud on us- thank you to the goblins and trolls! And there were a couple of scrape along the way but nothing so serious as to stop us from planning our next trip already..................

Would you like to have your own magical adventure, all you need is a trip to Box Hill in Surrey and a sprinkling of imagination!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

McCains home chips recipe challenge

Recently I was contacted by McCain's with the tempting offer of trying out one their recipes. I simply (HA ha!) had to choose one of the 5 recipes they emailed me and I would be sent the ingredients to make our choice.

I say ha-ha because it was very tricky to choose, well I narrowed it down to 4 pretty quickly as neither Stephanie or I like minced meats so the chili chip pots were out.
that left us to choose between;
  • Salmon and prawn parcels
  • Steak pie
  • Stuffed chicken
  • Stuffed peppers
The children ruled out the stuffed peppers as Dylan doesn't like them at all and Stephanie doesn't like them cooked. I decided to let the children look at the recipes and see which they would most like to try. The result was the only one they could agree on
The Salmon and prawn parcels.

I was very kindly sent all of the ingredients to make this by a confused delivery man who said there's only these 3 bags? LOL

The receipt said the lovely goodies to make this recipe came in at £17.48! That's a whopping total bearing in mind we only have £20.00 as our weekly food budget. However there is enough here to make 2 dinners, and actually as we tend to eat slightly smaller portions probably even 3 meals. You could make the dinner cheaper by taking offers as we normally would by buying whole salmon and filleting it into our sized portions to make this a much cheaper recipe.

Stephanie decided she wanted to go and visit her dad today so had dinner with him instead of at home so in the end it was just me and Dylan for dinner. So I got started;

Herby butter ready to mix- that is the 100g of butter, 1 tablespoon of chopped chives and 2tablespoons of chopped parsley. Now in my excitement when the delivery arrived I put the butter in the fridge so at dinner time it was pretty hard. not to worry I put the hundred grams in the microwave for 20 seconds. If you try this be careful my microwave is very basic, if you have a posher one it may not need that long! Just long enough to soften the butter and make mixing easier. The recipe says to leave this for a few minutes to allow the flavours to develop. So I took a few moments to go and get the washing in off the line.
When I came back I continued to follow the recipe, I cut some squares of greaseproof paper and buttered one side of each. I laid the salmon pieces, one on each sheet. Then put prawns on top and then a generous dollop of the Herby butter;

2 parcels ready to wrap. Guess which one is mine, HINT: prawns are my favourite ;-)
Then I wrapped them up tightly;
Spread some chips on an oven tray and put it all in the oven at gas mark 8. The recipe says for 20-22 Min's. Again I know my oven is not always the fastest so I set my timer for 22 minutes. Which left me enough time to do this-
snaffle the last of the prawns from the packet- this is my favourite way to eat them!
And then a little of this;

I have had a busy day pottering around home and washing windows so I had nets for 3 windows to iron and hang. It turns out that this recipe takes just enough time for me to iron and hang the nets and make a quick side salad using items from the fridge;

Mine and Dylan's' yummy dinner. Dylan doesn't like prawns but I put some on his salmon in the hope that he would change his mind  if he tried one with this meal. It didn't work however it did mean that I got to eat his share too.

The recipe was Delicious. I was surprised by the chips. I don't normally buy McCain's as at £2.00 a bag they are a little out of our price range to be honest. I honestly was surprised- they were delicious. We don't have chips often as I try to eat healthily and oven chips normally just aren't that nice. These ones are!! I ate all of what was on my plate, we had a few left over which I offered to Stephanie, she arrived home as I was cooking. She was full so didn't want so I put them in a bowl and left them on the side in case she changed her mind. Probably a good job she hasn't as I keep sneaking back for 'just one more'- even cold they are delicious!!

These will feature on a treat meal for us as I really have enjoyed them and well it's still cheaper than the chip shop for a treat even at £2 a kilo.

If you get a chance I really would try these, either your having a treat moment, or spot them on offer maybe.
I am also very impressed as we have chips left in the freezer and enough fish etc to repeat this recipe another day- Thank you McCain's!

Now which recipe will I try next...........

I was not paid for writing this review, I did receive the food in order to make the recipe free from McCains. The opinions in this review are my own, honest opinion.




Yesterday we sorted out Stephanie's bedroom. I have got her a new (to us) bed on eBay for £53, they are £300 new.
So we started by removing all of her belongings from the room which resulted in my bedroom looking like this;

Scary mess!

We dismantled her old bed, I listed it on facebay to see if we can get a quick sale. Then built her new bed. then the task of sorting out her toys and belongings. Stephanie was really good as normally we are not allowed to remove anything from her room ( I do it when she stays out!) However she allowed me to take 4 black sacks of unwanted stuff out of the room. I could have taken more, but knew I was already pushing it to get that much out with permission LOL

We know have a bedroom that looks like this;

Stephanie loves her new room.

Oh and mine is tidy again now too :-)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A girl's bedroom

I am in the middle of revamping this bedroom-

Yes, that is Stephanie's room, possibly the scariest room in the house, she has so much stuff and I can not convince her to let go of anything. I must admit every so often I go in and remove a few things, she never notices. She needs a new bed, the one she has been glued back together after a couple of breaks and now the mattress is very uncomfortable, I couldn't sleep on it so I have been saving and have managed to get her a grown up bed on eBay. All for the measly cost of £53.00 for the frame she wanted- I know that they retail for over £200 so I am happy with this. I need to get her a mattress, there is a shop I use in the next town where they deliver same day if you get there before lunch, the mattresses are reasonably priced and last well. I have had the one on my bed for 5 years, or is it 6 and it is still perfect. The one on Stephanie's current bed is 3 and awful! So a nice new one will be on it's way this afternoon.

I woke up to a perfectly timed email from asking what I would buy from their range if money was no object all for the chance to win a desk. Well you know what is on Stephanie's wish list don't you, that's right she wants a desk for her bedroom. She currently has one of the little plastic garden table and chairs you get in town for £5.00.
I have had a quick look around the website there are some lovely pieces on there. I looked with Stephanie's room in mind, if I could afford anything that she wanted I would buy her these;

White 2+3 Chest of DrawersVenice White Bedside Chest Of Drawers

Venice White 2 Door WardrobeJames Tall Bookcase

All of these pieces would work with furniture she currently has and the white colour would match in with her new (to us) bed, now the piece she is really interested in is this
White Computer Office Desk This is what she would absolutely love.

We have simple taste here, I don't follow price tags we buy what we like, these are our choices for this room. There are lots of pieces on the site that if I wasn't on a budget I might buy for other rooms in the house.
Pop on over to the Zurleys website,  what would be on your wish list?

I have not been paid for this post, I have created this post in response to an email offering me the chance to win a desk from Zurleys- fingers crossed and Stephanie might be even closer to the bedroom she wants!

Monday, 7 April 2014


I have written on my list of home to-do's that I would sort my

under the stairs cupboard. I did this yesterday.

This is a bag of old shoes I am sorting through to put on eBay. I also through one black sack of toot out. The cupboard is now useable and I can find what I need under there.

I am trying to raise as much cash as possible so I have been listing onto eBay all of the shoes that I think will sell. So far I have listed 10 items. Which incidentally helps with another of my to do list aims- to list at least one item a day to sell on eBay/face bay. I have one item being bid on at the moment and several others being watched- so fingers crossed. They are all children's shoes that I am currently listing. I have had to take a break as the batteries have died for taking the photographs. There will be more listed over the next few days- if you need any shoes, or know someone who does send them here for a bargain My EBay page.

Lot's more organising to do I plan on doing a little a day, so could be more than just shoes listed over the next couple of weeks, as I move around the different hotspots for clutter in my home.