Sunday, 27 April 2014

Another birthday!

Last Tuesday it was Stephanie's 8th birthday. It doesn't seem possible that my baby is 8 already.

She still likes to come in for a snuggle in the mornings;

And a little more of a snooze.

I did learn on her birthday that the easiest way to wake her in the morning is to bring her a bowl of her favourite cereal;

Although at over 32 a box! it is not  a treat she will get often. her dad supplied this particular treat.

She had time for a couple of presents before heading off to school

she was very pleased with her little pile of goodies. What she doesn't know is she has her main present in a couple of weeks. Both Stephanie and my niece want to go to Harry potter world in London. So my sister and I have booked a treat to take them together. As their birthdays are exactly a month apart we decided to book it smack bang in the middle of them both and keep it as a surprise.
After school we headed off to pizza hut for a family meal, birthday girls' request!

we all enjoyed her birthday cake;

Of course it was a Harry Potter themed cake.
Lots of fun was had and I now have a niece and nephew who a Harry Potter cake!!
Where has the time gone??!


Saturday, 26 April 2014

More of our Devon minibreak

While we were in Devon we managed to go to the beach,

A ride on a couple of trams

Stephanie had a swim in the onsite pool,

 we went on an adventure tour where the children call out the directions for me to drive in.

Whilst we were on our tour we found a lovely little pub to have dinner in called the The Otter Inn. We thoroughly recommend their food. It was delicious- cleared plates from all 3 of us. And fantastically reasonable- £22.10 for the three of us to have a meal and a drink. If you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit. The staff were friendly and quick as well.
I even managed to get some eggs and vegetables at a roadside stand. I love using these :-)

And finaloly just for fun a clip of Stephanie playing in the onsite park;


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Devon mini break

Last week I booked us a last minute weekend getaway in an effort to relax before we all started back to school. I decided that we would go to Devon. I likeit there the sceneray is very pretty and it is a relatively short drive. It should have taken us 3 hours 25 minutes to get to where I had booked. Unfoirtunately there was a traffic incident- along the 3 motorways we had to tracvel along; meaning we did this a lot:

yup!! we sat at a complete standstill. A LOT. the journey took us 7 and a half hours in total!

Nevermind it was sowrth it. I had booked us to stay in a little 'pod' as I thought it might be warmer/drier than the tent. The days a relatively nice at the moment but evenings are still very cold.

The pod was £103 for the three of us to stay in for three nights. The pod did cost us almost double what the tent would have cost at the site we stayed on. But look at it!!

Inside there are 2 single beds and one double. It was the perfect size for us. Friday was a beautiful day ( our travelling day!) So when we got there ready to stretch our legs we went straight out for a walk. The site leads straight out into the woods so we had a wander. We saw dg walkers, cyclists and horseriders all out enjoying the weather. We made up stories about fairies we invented as we walked.
We even found a rope swing to play on. Unfortunately my phone died before I got to take any photographs.
We then headed back to have dinner.
I decided to give the children their Easter egg from me early so that they could enjoy them whilst we were away ( and I didn't have to panic over the fact they might melt, like I was on the way to Devon!

We played some card games before we crawled into our sleeping bags for the night.


So that was our first day of our get away break. I'll show you some more tomorrow as I should be doing some paperwork about now!

Monday, 21 April 2014

busy week!

Wow where has the last week gone? We have been very busy. Good busy though lots of fun. We have had the family from 'oop north' visiting. We have had a wedding. We have had a weekend away. All in one week!

The happy couple having their first dance.

Me holding up the castle, relieving the boredom while the proper photographs were taken. When the photographers' photos are back I am hoping to have one or two nice ones of me and my two. I don't feel I should share any others here as they are not only my children in the pictures.
It was a brilliant day with lots of family fun and giggles, lots of stories to talk of silly moments for years to come!
Now I must go and get some dinner on if I am to get us organised for back to school in the morning, oh and a certain little lady's 8th(!!) birthday tomorrow.

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.