Half pound gain – Weekly weigh in

Half pound gain

I’m ok with my half pound gain this week. I went to my sister in law’s 60th birthday party at the weekend. The food was really delicious and I had lots of Pimms and lemonade!

It could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t pulled it back on Monday and Tuesday. I got back on track the next morning after the party.

We don’t have anything planned this week that will tempt me away from being on plan, thankfully! Our holiday isn’t until October so I have a few weeks to be totally on plan. Hopefully, I can have a stone off by then 🙂

Sparkly Shell sigtag half pound gain



The big little tent festival #BigLittleTentFest16

Big little tent festival

The girls were excited when our Big Little Tent Festival pack came in the post. Any excuse to camp out and they’ll take it!

We did our festival a little differently than others because we couldn’t be bothered to get the tent out! We have a sofa bed on the patio (the patio is covered) and the girls slept on that.
It started off a week of them sleeping outside together 🙂

They’re away at the moment but I know when they get home on Thursday, they’re going to want to sleep outside again!

Big little tent festival

Big little tent festivall wristband

Big little tent festival

Big little tent festival


You can download your own festival pack from the link above and enjoy the rest of the summer holidays in the great outdoors with your kids 🙂

Hartley’s jelly lunchbox

The girls are always complaining that they’re bored of sandwiches in their school lunchbox. Recently they’ve both been opting for different salads that they can make themselves.

Ella loves potato salad. She makes it using tinned new potatoes, chopped up cherry tomatoes and cucumber, chunks of cheese and chopped ham. She adds mayo and gives it a good mix.

Kaycee’s not a fan of mayo so she makes a plain chopped salad.

Fun lunchbox ideas

Pinwheel or stick sandwiches were favourites with the girls when they were in infants school. They loved making them! I might suggest them to Ella when she goes back to school.
Kaycee’s starting secondary school so I don’t think she’ll be interested in novelty sandwiches!

One of the best places for lunchbox ideas is Pinterest.

If you don’t have time to make elaborate lunches, the supermarkets have quick and easy options you can add to your child’s lunchbox, like Hartley’s jelly pots.
Hartley’s are running a promotion at the moment where you can collect jelly pot lids to claim a free lunchbox and sticker sheets.

Hartley's jelly pots lunchbox

Ella had great fun decorating her lunchbox 🙂

lunchbox hartleys jelly pots

hartleys jelly pots lunchbox

This post is an entry for BritMums #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly

Protecting your home when on holiday

Protecting your home

We haven’t been on holiday this summer. We always wait and go in the October half term when the prices are much cheaper.
As much as we love our holidays, going away can be a worry. So much can happen to your property while you’re away.
Before we moved house, we used to ask my mum to stay for the week when we went away. I worried about the house being broken into or the garden getting damaged . The one time we went away without having a house sitter, our garden got trashed by the kids on the estate.
We didn’t have insurance so had to stand the cost of the repairs ourselves.

Since moving to our new house, we don’t have any problems with kids getting into the garden. The reason being, there are hardly any children on our street!
It means we don’t need my mum to come and stay but even without the children to worry about, there’s always the risk of your home being broken into or a fire breaking out.

bucket and spade on the sand - holiday

Home insurance

As I said, we didn’t have any insurance at our old home but now we have cover for everything. After hearing horror stories about people coming home from holiday to find their home ransacked or flooded or burnt down, we couldn’t run the risk of not getting home insurance.

We also have an alarm fitted now that phones us if the alarm is triggered. It has a panic button on the keyfob and each family member has their own code.
It has movement sensors that make a sound when triggered. During the hot weather, we’re able to leave the kitchen door open without worrying about someone sneaking in and stealing things while we’re in the living room.
We have a sensor in the garage as well for the same reason.
Our local police have been warning residents not to leave doors open in the hot weather. The number of thefts from homes committed during the day, while people were at home, have been on the increase.

I wouldn’t be without our home and contents insurance now. The peace of mind is well worth the cost 🙂

home safety while on holiday

S’mores – Summer bucket list

Making smores

Kaycee and Ella chose to make s’mores as one of their summer bucket list items this year. We figured we’d be making them on the BBQ like last time but daddy went one better and made an excellent campfire 🙂

s'mores campfire

Kaycee organised everything (she takes after her sister, Kellyann when it comes to getting everything and everyone organised!) and showed everyone how to build the s’mores.

s'mores ingredients
She got a piece of tin foil and put a chocolate digestive biscuit on first. Then she put a long stick  resting on the biscuit and sticking out of the tinfoil.

making s'mores

Chocolate chunks were added to the biscuit (she wanted extra chocolate!) then 3 marshmallows were put on top of the chocolate.
It was topped with another biscuit and the tinfoil was then wrapped tightly around everything, paying particular attention to the stick so that it didn’t drop off when it was held over the fire.


Kaycee and Ella had a friend over to stay for the night and they’d all been to dinner at Grandad’s. Instead of having dessert at Grandad’s, they came home for s’mores and it seemed everyone really enjoyed them.


Kaycee put hers right in the embers because she wanted the marshmallows to melt more but she left it a little too long. The biscuit got a black on the edges!

making s'mores

Kaycee made Grandad’s s’more for him 🙂

granddad came for s'mores

I tried toasting a marshmallow (I’d not had toasted marshmallow before!) but it didn’t work very well. I accidently touched the embers and burnt it a bit. Ant made me another and it was perfect :o)

toasted marshmallows for s'mores

It was a lovely evening and we’re now planning on making a permanent fire pit in the garden so we can sit out more often toasting marshmallows!

campfire for s'mores


Divorce – where to start

Divorce is never an easy subject to talk about it. It’s usually a heartbreaking time for all involved and can be a minefield to negotiate.

A lot of people don’t even know where to start when it comes to getting a divorce.
You can get one without involving solicitors but personally, I’d be far too nervous about incorrectly filling in a form that has to be sent to the court!
I think these should things should be handled by the professionals.

Grounds for divorce

Before you begin, you need to decide the grounds you’re going to base your divorce on. In England and Wales (laws are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland) you can give one of 5 reasons for getting divorced:

  1. Adultery – This only counts if the person your husband/wife has had sex with is of the opposite sex; even if you’re in a same-sex marriage.
  2. Unreasonable behaviour – for example, violent or verbal abuse.
  3. Desertion.
  4. You have lived apart for more than 2 years
  5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years – even if your husband/wife refuses to get divorced, this is usually enough for it to be granted.

Starting the proceedings

Once you’ve decided on the grounds, you will need to file the forms with the courts. Here’s where I’d let the professionals do the work.

A good law firm will make this very sad and stressful process much easier.

Once proceedings have begun, your husband/wife will be sent a divorce petition.

If both parties agree to get divorced, you won’t usually have to attend court. Your solicitors will sort all the paperwork for you and the court will make a decision based on the paperwork.

Some people celebrate their divorce!

For some people, getting divorced is a cause for celebration and they even have cakes especially for the occasion! Thankfully, I’m still really happy with the super wonderful husband and (hopefully!) he’s still happy with me so I don’t need a cake but some of them are quite funny!

I think my favourite would have to be the one that says:

I used to be married but I’m better now!

The super wonderful husband said he’d never divorce me because he can’t be bothered to fill in all the forms. He hates forms! Shhh, don’t tell them there are people out there who’ll fill them all in for you!

I’m not going to rest on my laurels though because if you look at the infographic below, it says you’re more likely to get divorced in your 40s (I’ve just turned 40!) and the average length of a marriage before divorce in the UK is 11.7 years.
We’ve not long celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary!

One of the statistics I do like on the infographic though is the one that says the more expensive the wedding, the more likely a couple is to divorce. We got married as cheaply as we possibly could so that bodes well for us!

In 2012 there were 118,140 divorces in the UK and almost half of them were in the first 10 years of marriage. I must say, I was relieved when we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary as it meant we’d made it through the 7-year itch!



3.5lb loss – Weekly weigh in

3.5lb loss…..wahooo :oD

After my 3lb gain last week, I was delighted with my 3.5lb loss this week. I got my 7.5 stone award back, again!

I’ve had my 7.5 stone award too many times to count but it still feels great to get it back. I first got it on the 9th October 2013.

It then took me until the 26th February 2014 to get my next award of 8 stone and until the 9th July 2014 to get my 8.5 stone award.

Since then I’ve only had my 8 stone award back a couple of times. The last time was on the 25th March last year. I’ve not been below 23 stone 3lb since then. My next target is to lose 7lb over the next 3 weeks to get my 8 stone award back. I intend to keep hold of it this time!!

Shell louise duck gif sigtag


Perseid meteor shower – sleeping under the stars

Perseid meteor shower

The girls put, ‘lie on the grass and look at the stars’ as one of their summer bucket list items. We thought it would be great to combine that with looking at the perseid meteor shower that peaked this past weekend on the 11th and 12th.

Unfortunately, the sky was too cloudy at the weekend but Sunday night was lovely and clear so Ant set his alarm to wake him up at 1am. He went to check the sky was still clear then woke the girls up.

They brought their duvets and pillows down and Ant put a throw over on the grass for them to lie on. They got all snuggled up and watched the sky.

perseid meteor shower sleeping under the stars

Falling asleep

I went to bed so I’m not sure how long they stayed awake. Before I went up, I went to say goodnight to the girls. While I was outside, I saw a shooting star. Ant and Ella saw it as well but poor Kaycee missed it. She said she didn’t get to see any at all and Ella didn’t see another while they were awake.

They slept under the stars with Ella waking up first at 5.45 am and Kaycee waking at 6.30 am. Ella went up to bed and Kaycee came in and watched TV.

Ant ended up sleeping on the sofa we have outside on the covered patio.

Patio area after

Desk tidy – Back to school craft with Bostik

Kaycee did the desk tidy craft this month because Ella was away with family. Ella was a bit upset so we’ve said she can do the craft and tutorial photos next month 🙂

This month we’re getting Kaycee ready to start her first year at secondary school. We’ve got plans to change her bedroom around. We’re going to swap the high sleeper with desk bed from Aiden’s room, into Kaycee’s and Ella’s room.
Aiden already has a desk in his room that he can use to do his college work so it makes sense to give Kaycee the bed with the desk underneath. Hopefully, she’s going to get into a good routine of going upstairs when she gets in to complete her homework!

Kaycee decided to make a desk tidy for this month’s theme of Back To School.

Desk tidy tutorial

You will need:

Toilet roll or other cardboard tubes
Coloured paper or material
Sticky tape
Decorative stickers (optional)
Coloured cord (optional, you can use tape to stick the tubes together instead of tying them together)

Desk tidy with Bostik

Begin by cutting the tubes to your desired sizes.

Desk tidy with Bostik

Draw round your tubes on some stiff card to make a base for the tubes.

Desk tidy with Bostik

Using sticky tape, stick the bases to each tube.

Desk tidy with Bostik

Cover each tube with a different piece of coloured card or different material designs.

Desk tidy with Bostik

Cut slits in the top of the material/card so you can fold each piece over and glue to the tube.

Desk tidy with Bostik

Arrange the tubes (Kaycee stuck two tubes together to make the taller one at the back so it was tall enough to fit a ruler in).

Desk tidy with Bostik

Either stick the tubes together using glue or sticky tape or use the coloured cords to tie them together.

Desk tidy with Bostik

Fill with your scissors, pens, pencils etc

Desk tidy with Bostik


Desk tidy tutorial in association with Bostik, Tots 100 and Craft Merrily