One Of Us Is Lying – Book Review Week 11

One Of Us Is Lying

Thanks to NetGalley for the free download. This is my honest review for One Of Us Is Lying.

Well, it kept me reading because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going on! It was an enjoyable read and I’ll be looking out for more books by Karen McManus.

Young adult fiction isn’t my usual genre; I did go through a stage of reading YA but it’s been a while. The blurb reminded me of the show, Pretty Little Liars, which is about high school students. The show was great and I figured I’d like this book because I liked that show.

One Of Us Is Lying

The ending wasn’t easily worked out before I got there for which I’m glad; I don’t like it when that happens!

It did confuse me a bit with each chapter coming from a different character. However, it doesn’t take much to confuse me! Family stuff is going on all around me when I’m reading so it’s easy for me to get distracted.

I would have probably read this in one sitting if I’d had the time 🙂

Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Delacorte Press

One Of Us Is Lying


Speedy Chicken Jambalaya – Slimming World Recipe

Speedy Chicken Jambalaya

This speedy chicken jambalaya is ready in 30 minutes. It’s great for the nights when one of the girls has to eat early due to Cubs or Guides commitments.
It’s very filling and tasty; you can serve it with a side salad to make up your 1/3 speed or you can add any other vegetables that you like.

None of the kids knew it was a Slimming World recipe and they all asked for seconds.

We made extra and I saved a couple of portions so I could have them for my lunches the following days 🙂

Speedy Chicken Jambalaya Recipe

Yield: Serves 4

Speedy Chicken Jambalaya Recipe


  • Low-calorie cooking spray
  • Onion - 1 peeled and Chopped
  • Garlic cloves - 3 peeled and crushed
  • Skinless chicken breasts - 4 cut into bite sized pieces
  • Dried long grain rice - 350g
  • Boiling chicken stock - 1L
  • Smoked paprika - 1 tsp
  • Dried parsley - 2 tsp
  • Tomato puree - 4 tbsp
  • Tabasco sauce - 1/4 tsp
  • Red pepper - 1 bottled and roasted in brine, drained and chopped
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Frozen mixed vegetables - 300g
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful of finely chopped fresh parsley, to garnish


  1. Spray a large, deep non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and season well.
  4. Bring to the boil then cover the pan and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until the stock is almost absorbed and the rice is tender.
  5. Serve scattered with parsley


Syn Free on Extra Easy



Speedy Chicken Jambalaya Slimming World Recipe

Chicken Jambalaya Recipe from Slimming World

3.5 pound loss – Slimming World Weekly Weigh In

3.5 Pound Loss

I didn’t post a weekly weigh in last week as I’ve decided to post my results a week later. I kept forgetting, till late on Wednesdays, to do my update post. I try to stay off the computer in the evening so I can spend time with Ant and I didn’t like having to blog late in the evening.

Doing it a week later means I can schedule it and forget about it 🙂

So, last week, I stuck to plan all week and I lost 3.5lb. I was hoping for more (never satisfied!) but I’m happy with my result.

I’m pledging to lose the same again next week. I’m trying really hard to get out of the 24 stone bracket.

food diary. pen, tomato and tape measure 3.5 pound loss

Lose weight with Slimming World

#Dolmio #ThankGoodness – Midweek Meal Recipe

#ThankGoodness for Dolmio

Chicken and bacon Dolmio pasta bake with melted cheese

#Dolmio #Thankgoodness Chicken and bacon pasta bake with cheese ingredients

#Dolmio #Thankgoodness

We try to eat our evening meal around 6 pm. On a Wednesday, though, Ella has Cubs and has to be there for 5.45 pm. We have to be able to cook something that doesn’t take long, to give her time to eat and then get ready.

We’re very conscious of making sure the kids get their 5 a day. Pasta dishes are great for adding loads of healthy veg without the kids knowing what’s in it!

Dolmio infographic

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ant now does the majority of cooking in our house. He likes to cook from scratch, but even he agreed that the Chicken and Bacon pasta bake he made, with Dolmio Original Bolognese Sauce, was absolutely delicious.
Kaycee has been complaining that we’ve had spaghetti bolognese too often, just lately, so we decided to use the bolognese sauce with chicken and bacon instead of minced beef.
I have to say, I would never complain about having spaghetti bolognese too often because I don’t think it’s possible! I have a soft spot for Dolmio sauces because I craved Dolmio spicy bolognese throughout my pregnancy, with Kaycee. Everyone got fed up with me wanting it 3-4 times a week! I’d have had it every night if they’d let me! Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the spicy one anymore 🙁

#Dolmio #Thankgoodness chicken and bacon pasta bake with cheese

Here’s our recipe for Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with Cheese.

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with Cheese


  • 150g smoked bacon roughly chopped
  • 400g chicken breast chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 large courgette chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bell pepper de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine chopped into cubes
  • 150g mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1 500g jar Dolmio Original
  • 200g pasta shapes
  • 20ml cooking oil
  • 100g Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
  • 150g mild cheddar


  1. Boil pasta as per packet instructions. Once cooked, drain, rinse and set aside
  2. In a large pan warm the oil then cook the onions and garlic over a medium heat until soft
  3. Add chicken and stir fry for 5 minutes or until it's cooked on the outside
  4. Add bacon and continue to stir fry for 3 minutes or until bacon is cooked
  5. Stir in mushrooms and peppers and cover for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have cooked down
  6. Stir in courgette and aubergine followed by the Dolmio sauce
  7. Stir really well to make sure everything is coated in the sauce
  8. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until courgette is soft
  9. Heat the oven to 200°c/ 180°c fan/ Gas 6
  10. Stir the pasta in to the sauce and mix well
  11. Transfer to a large oven proof dish and grate the mild cheddar all over
  12. Arrange the Parmigiano Reggiano shavings over the cheddar
  13. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbling

We doubled up the recipe as we had Kaycee’s friend for dinner and we also gave a portion to my father in law and one to my mother in law.
Ant makes fresh bread every day and for a change, he made baguettes which worked out well because he was able to make some garlic bread. The kids said he should have made more as he only made half a stick and they wanted more than 2 slices each!

It was enjoyed by everyone 🙂 I asked them which part they liked best. Here’s what they said:

Kaycee said:

The melted cheese was the best bit. It was delicious.

Curly hair after using magic curlers

Ella said

It was all delicious but the best part was the sauce.

Ella biggest accomplishment

Ant said

The smoky bacon combined with the sauce brought all the ingredients together in a really rich, mmmmm! I didn’t have to worry about adding herbs and seasoning because the sauce took care of all that. It was a pleasure to cook with.


This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio.

Kaycee & Ella’s 1st Book Club – Jacky Ha-Ha

Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson

Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Jacky Ha-Ha

Kaycee (11) and Ella (9) have always been avid readers. Mumsnet bloggers picked us to host a book club based on the James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein novel, Jacky Ha-Ha and the girls were really excited when they found out.

Kaycee loves organising events and she threw herself into making the book club a success! We received 6 copies of the book, discussion questions, ideas for games, a word search, posters, a photo booth kit, paper to design your own book cover and some bags of sweets.

The girls each invited 2 friends and gave them a copy of the book. The book club date was set for the 18th March so they all started reading.

Book Club

Kaycee and Ella set out crisps, popcorn, biscuits and sweets as well as cherryade and dandelion and burdock to drink. They stuck the book posters around the room and got pencils and coloured pens ready for the activities.

Jacky Ha-Ha book club


They started the discussion by answering the questions we received.

Example questions:

Why is Jacky so impressed by Ms. O’Mara?
Who are some of your female role models?
Why are they important to you?

Why is Jacky afraid of being in the play and giving a speech?
How does Jacky overcome her fear?

Here’s a little video at the start of the discussions.

They all designed a book cover then did the word search once the discussion was over. While they were doing the word search, Kaycee and Ella judged the book covers and found a prize for the winner and little prizes for everyone else!

Jacky Ha-Ha

Fun with the photo booth was next, just before everyone had to go home.

Jacky Ha-Ha book club

Jacky Ha-Ha book club

All the girls said they really enjoyed the book and that it was brilliant 🙂

Jacky Ha-Ha book club

Kaycee enjoyed organising it and it was a great success. So much so, she’s been inspired to do another one next month!

The girls had 3 World Book Day tokens (a friend of Kaycee’s didn’t want hers) and Ant gave them £3 so they could get 6 copies of the Jacqueline Wilson book, Butterfly Beach. They’re all excited to come back next month 🙂

Jacqueline Wilson Butterfly Beach book

Thanks to Mumsnet and Penguin/Puffin books for choosing us and helping to keep the love of reading alive in my girls. I’m very proud of them both for organising and running a book club at their ages!

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel. It’s a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. We received a hamper of books and goodies to host the book club.”

4 Things to Look For Home Builders

4 Things to Look For Home Builders

4 things to look for in a home builder

home builders

If you are looking for new home builders that will help you build the beautiful and comfortable house that you have so longed for, then it is in your best interest that you consider and remember these 4 things that will help you in your search;

  •         Competence and Innovation

The trend in home building is very dynamic and is always evolving. There are various themes and concepts one can look at in building their house. It is very important that the chosen home builder will have the competence to build according to your desired concept and style. Having a look at their portfolio will be an accurate indicator of their competence.

It is also good for a home builder to be innovative in their work. Since most of their clients have no experience in the technical aspects of home building, it can also be a great plus for them to suggest new ideas to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of your house while still planning the design.

  •         Budget

Home builders can also be categorised by the scale of their projects. There are small-scale and large-scale home builders. Small-scale builders often specialise in building houses for a small family. They are home builders that can help you maximise the spaces in a small housing lot. They only employ about 10-20 workers in a single project. On the other hand, large-scale home builders are those that specialise in building mansions and villas with large lots to build on. Their employees can reach up to a hundred people in a single project.

In order for you to save and get the most out of your budget, it is very important that you choose the right kind of home builder. If you are building a two-storey house in a small or medium-sized lot, it is better for you to hire a small-scale home builder. If you think that hiring the home builder with more workers will be better, thinking that with more workers will make the project completion faster, then you are greatly mistaken. There are processes in home building that can’t be started unless another process is finished; electrical wiring can’t be installed unless the general structure and roof of the house is completed. Thus, it would be very expensive and inefficient to have a team of electricians while still in the early stages of construction.

  •         Communication

It is also very important to have a good and steady relationship with the home builder. An open line of communication should be established to ensure that you are informed of their progress and possible setbacks and delays. This way, both you and the home builders will be able to address and solve the issues before they become bigger and cause worse situations.

  •         Help-line

After the house is built and you and your family have already settled down, it can be expected that you will encounter some problems in the house. It would be a very big plus for a home builder to actually return and fix the problems for you even if the contract is already done and paid. Home builders with this kind of help-line or troubleshooting services are very rare and definitely one of those “perfect home builders”.

Home Builders Electrician

This is a collaborative post

March 18th – Project As & When

March 18th Project As & When

March 18th – We’ve spent a lot of time in our garden and Nanny’s garden this week. Lots of work has been done and we’re happy with the progress we’re making 🙂


Ella came to help us dig up the brick path at Nanny’s and Ant transported them to our house, in the car.

March 18th Project As & When Ella helping in Nanny's garden

We have plans to use them in a new raised bed 🙂 We still have the same amount, maybe more, to fetch from Nanny’s.

Bricks for raised bed

Chi-Chi had to have a bath after helping us in the garden!

Chi-Chi getting dirty in the garden

I made a hearty cottage pie for the workers when we got home. They enjoyed it and said it was delicious 🙂

Cottage pie for dinner

Ant made a delicious Irish Stew in honour of St Patrick’s Day 🙂

Irish Stew and Soda Farls


These Books ‘BLUE’ Us Away – Book Display

These Books BLUE Us Away

We collected lots of books with blue covers for our book display. The customers at St Barnabas loved it 🙂

These books BLUE us away

These books BLUE us away

These books BLUE us away

These books BLUE us away

Next week I’ll be writing about Kaycee’s and Ella’s first book club instead of showing you one of my book displays. They’ve been sent 6 copies of James Patterson’s new children’s book, Jacky Ha-Ha and some other items to make the book club meeting fun.

Kaycee’s finished the book and Ella’s over half way. They’re both really looking forward to having their friends round to discuss the book. I’ve ordered some nibbles and drinks for them to enjoy 🙂

Irish Stew Recipe – Happy St Patrick’s Day

Irish Stew Recipe

Irish Stew Recipe

Irish stew

My 6 step-children are Irish and Ant lived in Northern Ireland for around 20 years, so we figured we’d make a traditional Irish stew in honour of St Patrick’s Day tomorrow 🙂

I’ve never been to Northern Ireland but it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. It looks so beautiful.

Irish Stew

Yield: 4-6 servings

Irish Stew

The quantities in this recipe are a guide only. You can use whatever quantities you have, as well as adding other vegetables, and still end up with a delicious stew.


  • 4 onions peeled and chopped
  • 6 large carrots roughly chopped
  • 1kg floury potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1kg cheap cut of mutton or lamb cut into bite sized pieces
  • Handful of parsley
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add all the ingredients to a large lidded saucepan
  2. Cover with water and bring to the boil
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for around 3 hours
  4. Serve hot with soda farls

This was popular with everyone. It was made all the better with chunks of Ant’s homemade bread dipped in! I don’t usually have Ant’s bread. I usually have wholemeal as part of my Slimming World eating plan but, I had a treat today 🙂

Everyone else had his home made soda farls and I’ll be putting a recipe up for those soon.

Happy St Patrick’s Day, for tomorrow, to all who celebrate it.

4 Things To Think Of When Upgrading To A New Display Home

4 Things to Think of When Upgrading to a New Display Home

Before upgrading to a new home for your growing family, there are many things that you should consider before making the final decision. Just randomly visiting display homes will not help in marking your decision. In fact, it will only make you more confused and make things worse.

If you are seriously thinking of upgrading to a new home, then here are 4 things that according to Glenvill Display Homes can help you in making the decision.

Buying a new house

Reasons Why

  1.    Why are you making the decision to upgrade and can you afford to upgrade? – the very first thing you need to seriously think about is the reason why you are planning on upgrading your home. One can think of a thousand reasons to justify their decision only to regret it in the near future. When you finally decide to upgrade, the reason needs to be valid and acceptable for you and your family.

Consider all the expenses you will incur from the purchase of a new house; from the moving of your things up to the buying of new furniture and fixtures and the installation of necessary amenities. Also, consider the location of the new house that you will upgrade to; will it be beneficial to you and your family or not?

What Do You Need?

  1. What house will you need to upgrade to? – the second thing you seriously need to decide upon is the kind of house that you will move to. List all of the necessary things that you need to check when doing the display home visits. If you are moving with your family, you also need to consider them and their needs. You have to make sure that they will have a smooth transition and that all possible problems they will encounter are addressed upon.

Also, decide on the size of the house that you will need and the number of rooms it must contain to accommodate your family. The new house needs to fulfil all of these conditions.

Builder’s Reputation

  1. The reputation of the home builder that sold you the new house – display homes are sometimes too good to be true. They are specifically designed to maximise all the features and functionalities of the house and to address all the inquiries from the clients. Salespersons also say all the right words just to convince you to make the purchase.

That is why it is very important to check the reputation and credibility of the home builder that the display home represents. Make sure that they stay true to the offers given while doing the display home visit. Make sure that by the time you sign the sale contracts, all bases have been covered and that they are a company with a positive track record.


  1. Space for self-customization – the final thing to consider when upgrading to a new home is to have space in your new house for your own customization or decoration. There are display homes that have the perfect arrangement and division of rooms only for you to find that their interior decoration doesn’t suit your taste. Make sure that you have the opportunity to change the interior decoration and arrangement to achieve the perfect house upgrade.

This is a collaborative post