Thursday, 31 July 2014

More summer fun.

This afternoon I had my nephew for the afternoon while my sister went to do some birthday shopping. He's gong to be 4 next week. I have never had him on his own before, only ever with my niece as well (his big sister). However she is away at brownie camp this week. So just a day with the boy. We had lots of fun, playing water guns, bubbles and making a rad mat for the car he brought with him.

It was lovely, so nice to have just him. He found it hard for the first 5 minutes, he is a mummies boy and doesn't like to separate bless him. Once I got the water gun out we were best pals!!

drawing the car mat, then playing and deciding that there were details missing.
He loved this so much that it went home with him, we added some more when we went back to his house later in the afternoon. It is now in his living room. We drew it on some old carpet underlay paper I had in the cupboard- nice a strong and takes a lot to tear it, so perfect for this kind of project.
It's a lot more fun to pop bubbles with a  water gun- brilliant for hand eye coordination, it takes a lot of skill.

I am loving the weather at the moment, I always enjoy the warmer weather but this year is the nicest summer for a while. Please let it continue, we have booked our camping holiday to Devon and Cornwall for a couple of weeks time.

how are you spending the days through the summer?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Warburton's deli thins- product review post

I have been lucky enough to be asked to review a packet of these;
I was sent a voucher which covered the cost of the Warburton's deli thins, I was able to choose which variety I tried. I choose the mixed herb and olive oil. I liked the look of these when I have seen them in the shop previously however at £1.60 a packet I was dubious. you get six sandwiches from these. So in my house I thought that would be 1 days worth of pack lunches. I was pleasantly surprised, they are very filling, I only had 1 sandwich worth, as did the teenager in each lunch as they are more filling than they look. Dylan had roast ham in his, I had salad and humus.

They were both very tasty. Well I didn't try his, and he didn't try mine but we both agreed how yummy they were. I only managed to eat half of the food pictured above in my lunch. I put the other in a sandwich box and ate it the next day.

So as we only managed to eat one each a day that would mean that the £1.60 makes 2 lunches in our little family of 3. Still a lot of money when you consider that that is only the outer- you still have to fill them.  A fabulous treat lunch though. I will buy them again, but they won't be a regular feature in our shopping basket.

I was sent the voucher to purchase the deli thins by Bzz agent. I received no payment for this review.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A little rant, and then a fab day

Today the teenager and I set off for our annual day out. we have to go on the M25 to get there. The M25 for those of you that know it, is a motorway with a variable speed limit. Today the speed limit was set at this;

So why did a flat bed truck decide the need to flash lights at me, honk his horn and make rude gestures in my rear-view mirror for driving in the left hand lane at 40mph. Mr driver if you happen to be reading this the road sign above means maximum speed of 40MPH. I was driving at 40 MPH in the left lane. I was sticking to a legal speed limit. See the least that can happen if I go over this is a letter from the police reminding me of what the speed limit is and a 'small' £100 fine plus points on my licence which then increase my insurance premium. Which, for me, is enough of a deterrent see, I don't have very much spare cash to foot these bills. The worst that can happen, well I have seen recreations of accidents I don't want to be responsible for one. I have seen a little lad run over from a car going at 20mph roughly, I have seen the damage that slow cars can make. I refuse to willingly go faster than is safe I could not live with myself if I knew I could have caused someone that pain through impatient, thoughtless speeding.

Ok I'm stepping down off of my soapbox now. I felt the need to air my thoughts on the subject.

I hope you have all had a good day, we did once we arrived at our destination. See Dylan and I do like to go fast and the adrenaline rush this can bring. Except, I prefer to do it in a safe environment- we went to Thorpe park. We had a fast and fun day riding all of the big coasters. However, we have agreed we would like to go to a different park next year, we have ridden all of these coasters several times and would like to try some new (to us!) coasters. we will need to save a little more though as we have our sights set on Alton towers, which is going to mean at least one over night stay as it is a very long way from here. Do you like rides? Where/what is your favourite?

Monday, 28 July 2014

foraging 2014

Yesterday saw the beginnings of our foraging for 2014. We were out walking when we spotted that the blackberries are black. Already! proof of the lovely summer we are having.

Running down the hill to get to the bushes
picking the berries.
our little basket was full very quickly. When we got home I froze a bagful or the winter, the children ate handfuls. Then Stephanie asked if we could make squash. So I dug out a book I know has a fruit cordial recipe, we worked together to follow this. At the moment we have 2 trifle dihes looking like this;
The picture is showing the berries up as very red- they are black lol. We have followed this recipe to make elderflower cordial previously, but never made it with fruit. I will let you know in a few days how it turns out!



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Water fun

Yesterday we went to my sisters house. They were having some work done so couldn't come to mine. we took the paddling pool with us as we haven't had time to have it out since I bought it. It was a perfect day for it. The children had great fun;

They were very proud that they made 'chocolate' in the paddling pool!

It was a mud bath by the time they had finished, after hours of fun. Their giggles were fantastic to listen to!


Stephanie and I used our Drusilla's day out vouchers from Tesco on Thursday. We ahd a fantastic day out, looking at the animals, following the zoolympics trail. Stephanie had a fabulous time on the play equipment. Stephanie was even very brave and went on some rides. Small rides for most people, but Stephanie doesn't do rides. She likes the baby rides the most, so it was lovely to see her enjoying some of the rides.

It was a fantastic day, lots of lovely memories being built :-)

a good start to the holidays

Yesterday the day started by cutting the grass etc. in the back garden. Then we popped to the shops, Stephanie needed new trainers then off to my sisters. we went to the library and Stephanie joined up to the summer library challenge. While we were there my sister joined her two eldest to the library and my niece joined the challenge too.

Back to my sisters while the children played we unpacked some more boxes from their move. They are getting there now, house almost sorted.

Then Stephanie and I went off to a local event we go to each July- The Medway Mile. a free event put on by the local council, lots of activities for the children to do, children's races, elite 1 mile race and then the mass participation mile. Stephanie always refuse the children's races preferring to do just the mass event. This year was our fastest yet at just under 10 minutes. Stephanie has decided that next year she would like to be as good as the elite runners and finish in less than 8 minutes! We all need a goal to work towards.

I didn't get many pictures as I forgot to charge my phone before we went.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Summer holidays

It's official the summer holidays have started in my house. 6 weeks with no work/school and lots of time for the children. Let's gloss over the fact Dylan finished school last week and Stephanie finished on Tuesday. I still had to go yesterday. I did have a lovely meal out to celebrate with colleagues. I do have lots of school work to do over the holiday especially with getting to grips with a new curriculum ready for September. But I can do this either when the children aren't home as they will spend time at their dads or early morning as I wake earlier than they do. currently Dylan is not home, he has gone to his aunt's for the night and Stephanie is asleep.

So what have we got planned? A day out today for me and my girl, courtesy of Mr Tesco. Catching up with family and a local fun run tomorrow. Saturday haircut for my girl. Sunday- let's decide then possibly a day out with my sister and her family. Monday next week I am spending the day at work. Stephanie is off to her dad's for a couple of weeks. One day next week I will probably take Dylan to Thorpe park (courtesy of Mr Tesco).  We would like to go for  camping holiday to Cornwall, which will be mid- late august. I haven't booked yet. We would like to go near Penzance, if you know any nice campsites that way please let me know. I am not into all singing all dancing campsites with evening entertainment etc. We prefer the pitch your tent in a field where the evening entertainment is playing ball games etc. If shower and toilet are present and clean, we are happy! There won't be many expensive days out. We will be making full use of our English Heritage and National trust cards, walking in local woods, parks and other open spaces.

What are you planning for the holidays??

(picture from google)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

playing house!

Yesterday I had a morning to myself with no children. I decided I would start the summers house sorting little early . We don't finish school until Wednesday here.

I spent all morning sorting out the living room. Clearing out papers etc from around the computer. Moving all the furniture and cleaning behind it. The shelves have been sorted through, lot's of unnecessary papers got rid of, others moved to the right place for filing. children's little bits put back in their bedrooms. The living room looks beautiful again now.

Then I did the same in the hall. Only one piece of furniture there so much less of a task.

I decided to try out a suggestion from another runner to stop the evening snacking on junk by having a more substantial lunch. I saw a recipe posted via Facebook for Lentil salad. Perfect I had all of the ingredients in, except for croutons/ barley bread. I substituted this with wholemeal pittas. I'm not going to lie it did not look appetising. But it tasted fantastic! I will definitely be making it more often.

Look nice tidy shelves.

I then went to help my sister, she is moving tomorrow and I had a chat with her hubby. They were having trouble getting the packing done. He was at the new house getting jobs finished up there. So I went to their flat to help out. It was nearly done. I just supported to be fair and when it came to only being her bedroom left to di I decided it was time to take the children to the park. They were getting tetchy and bored, the baby was tired. so a walk was perfect for giving everyone a distraction. we had a lovely hour or so playing then returned home. Where my sister had very kindly ordere4d fish and chips for dinner.

We ate chatted for a little, then I left so that she could get the children to bed.

I did my ironing when I got in so it is one less job for this evening when I get in.  I did not snack at all during the evening. Today is moving day. I shall be leaving soon to go and help get everything from flat to the new house.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Healthier me

I am working towards a healthier me. I joined a running group to try and motivate me more, I have made a couple of the runs but work and childcare can interfere somewhat. Last night the group offered a speed session with a personal trainer. As it was Friday evening this time I made it., thanks to nanny and granddad having Stephanie.

I'm not going to lie it was tough. It was 33 degrees out at 6:30 last night when we started. We jogged 800m to warm up then did some crazy exercises- looked like a ministry of silly walks! Very amusing. Must have been more amusing for the group of youths sat in the field watching us LOL. Then we set about the real training. 1000m fast as you can run. then 800m, then 600m then ending with 400m. followed by 400m cool down plus stretches. It was tough, more than once I thought I couldn't finish, but I did. Somewhat slower than some of the others but I finished. Liz the personal trainer took some pictures as we were running;

Talking to some of the others made me think about what is slowing me down. Other than a need to train more. My diet is shocking! I can eat really well all day but then by 9pm I am snacking on junk as I sit and do my paperwork. I need to get out of that habit. I am going to stop buying the junk treats which we all love so much so that it removes temptation. If there is chocolate there I will eat it. I am researching healthy snacks I can pick at. I eat fruit all day long at work so don't want to increase my fruit intake anymore. I am not sure what I should be trying to eat instead. So I have a question for you today-

Do you have any favourite snacks that I can pick at late at night, or any other tips to help me?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Nearly there

It's nearly the end of term. I can't wait to spend time at home with my monsters. I do have to share them with their dads but I am sure we can have a fantastic time when they are home. We have a couple of trips out planned (and paid for courtesy of Tesco's). We will be going to Drusilla's and Thorpe park. I also have my national trust and English heritage we shall be making full use of. As well as planning in a frugal camping holiday to Cornwall.

I have been stocking the freezer with cheap (yellow stickered) foods over the last couple of weeks so that I can put a little money away over the next few weeks towards our wee holiday. I also plan on picking up an extra couple of store cupboard items to take with us to keep food costs low whilst we are away. Things like beans, tinned fish, pasta. All the camping staples we enjoy.

Stephanie and I had a lovely day out on Sunday to the Rare breeds centre in Ashford. I took my class there on Monday. One of the other teachers went for the pre-visit check, but I like to know where I am going so decided a family day out would be perfect!

I am having a slow clear out, just a little each night as I have lots of papers etc that I don't need to keep any longer. I am doing a little now, and plan on a big blitz whilst the children are away.

I am also about to get very serious on my marathon training. It's only 16 weeks away. I am running the marathon for MacMillan in December. My just giving page is here if you feel able to contribute to the cause.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


I've had a busy at home day today. The reports are finally written and ready to be handed in first thing tomorrow.

In between writing bursts I have been for a run, first one in a fortnight since I injured my foot. I am pleased to say that 3 miles later and my foot is feeling fine, no niggles, no swelling.

I also had my new freezer delivered. Remember I have been complaining for months about the one I had. I have been saving and finally I ordered my new one. Through Quidco naturally so I will get some cash back too. The old one is going to put up on free cycle as soon as I have defrosted it.

My shiny new toy. I have managed to start filling it. I am trying to make life simple for in the summer holidays. So I started with some potatoes I had lurking in the bottom of the sack. They were starting to sprout so I used them up before they were no good. I have made a roast for today's dinner with enough left over to have a microwave meal for us all tomorrow. I have also prepped some roast potatoes for using in the holidays.

Par boiled, tossed in flour then frozen on the tray ready to go in the oven at a later date. They are now sitting neatly in Tupperware tubs in the freezer ready for use as required. I also made up a batch of mashed potato

I have 3 meals of mash and 2 of frozen roasties. That's a good head start on having simple cook meals for the end of lovely summer days. I need to stock the freezer up, that will happen gradually over the next few weeks as I find different foods on offer during the weekly shop. I am also hoping to be able to do a 'butchers run' now I have a new freezer with lots of space.

I have also done some organising on the internet. In December I am going ot be running my first marathon. I decided that I may as well set a proper challenge lol I have set up my just giving page, I am going to be raising for Macmillan. A charity incredibly close to my heart. If you feel able to donate the link is here Marathon fundraising. I will also get a widget to have a direct link on the blog. I need ot just find out how to do that.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Run out of ingredients?

It's just me and Dylan home today. He asked if we could have pizza for dinner today. We had popped to Tesco. I knew I already had the ingredients in so I agreed. When I went to make the bases I realised I didn't have any yeast.
So did I run to the coop? No, although the thought raced through my mind. I reached for Google. I searched for yeast free pizza bases, lots popped up using baking powder. Excellent. Off I popped to the kitchen to get some. Would you believe it, I seem to have run out of that as well. I still didn't go to the shop again though. I did a little more searching and found a recipe using plain flour, butter and milk. Hmm odd I thought completely different to any other pizza dough I have made. But I definitely had those ingredients so I gave it a go. Roll it was a doddle- no kneading required!

I base rolled out, looks similar to my normal base, it feels a bit softer though. I made the pizza like I normally would- frugal style.

basil from the garden got chopped and mixed with;

tomato puree and tomato ketchup (value range of course)

spread over the base. topped with 2/3 of  block of reduced price cheese;

Covered in a favourite topping- I had sweet corn, mushroom and pepperoni. Dylan just had pepperoni. Into the oven for 20 minutes.

One cooked pizza. It was delicious, in fact Dylan and I agree it is much better than our usual recipe for the base. I am a convert!

Oh would you like the recipe so you can try it out? Yeast free pizza dough.
In the recipe tin I got for mothers day. Ready for next time we have pizza!

the past week

 A few snaps to catch up tow here we are this week. Life is busy. good but busy so I don't seem to have much time to post. Am hoping a nice relaxing summer holiday will help. Only 2.5 weeks to go!


playing with friends

ebaying to make cash for the summer holidays;

yummy reduced food for meals;


Am off now to do a little housework and other bits and pieces whilst having a relaxing evening in front of the box as I work.