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December 2013

Woohoo I completed my 365 project!

I failed miserably last year. I was determined not to fail this year and I didn’t! It’s been a challenge that I’ve enjoyed and one I’m thinking of doing again next year!

I’ve used photo prompts from  Fat Mum Slim for my December challenge 🙂


December 21st – On the door


December 22nd – Sparkly


December 23rd – Tradition


December 24th – Wrapped


December 25th – Best bit of your day – I walked in to find Ant playing a Moshi Monsters game with the girls and it just made my heart smile 🙂


December 26th – Where you slept


December 27th – What you’re doing now – You can’t see it very well, I was watching Honey Boo Boo!


December 28th – Something awesome – Ant took me to Asda and treated me to some books for £1 each and a new cook book stand for £2. New books are always awesome to me 😀 I also stocked up on wrapping paper for next year; it was to 25p a roll which was excellent! I usually stock up at B&M when they go down to 50p a roll so I was very excited to see it for 25p! (I know, small things and all that!)


December 29th – Reflect best bit of 2013 – My best bit was getting the offer accepted on our house 😀 You can read more about our impending move here 🙂


December 30th – You – I don’t like taking pictures of me and it took me most of the day to do this one but when looking back at this year of photos, I saw that January had a ‘You’ prompt and I opted to take a photo of the side of my glasses while I was wearing them. It didn’t show my face at all and here I am taking a proper selfie! My confidence has grown this year 😀


December 31st – Celebrate – We won’t be staying up to see in the new year because both Ant and I are ill and won’t be able to keep ourselves awake that long 🙁 I don’t remember a time when I haven’t stayed up till midnight but never mind, we have plenty to celebrate, including getting lots of packing done and hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to get our completion date 😀


A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrokes

Crafty Christmas

The girls and I love crafts, especially at Christmas time. We were all excited when Ladbrokes sent us some lovely crafty items to make a stocking and some Christmas crackers as part of their Deck the Halls campaign.

We especially loved the stamping kits and the red spotty ribbon and bows for decorating the crackers with!

Crafting on my own!

Unfortunately, the girls didn’t get the chance to help me make them. The days over Christmas were hectic then they spent this week and the new year in Derbyshire with family. Don’t worry though, I’ve saved them some crackers to make for next year. I’m going to use them as one of our advent activities.
They’ll love filling them with gifts for one of their friends 🙂
Making crackers for A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrooks
As well as all the crafting goodies, I also received a voucher for John Lewis. My first thought was to buy more Christmas presents for the kids but Ant and his mum had said I’d bought them too much already!

John Lewis

I opted to treat myself for a change and bought some gorgeous things for our new kitchen (we’re moving house in the next couple of weeks). I’ve been so excited waiting for them to arrive! I ordered some ceramic measuring mugs and a tiny butter dish. The butter dish was a bif of a surprise as I had thought it was a proper sized one, (that’ll teach me to read the whole of the description!) but it is still totally lovely! Also, a beautiful ceramic cheese board and an old-style tin of hot chocolate.
I can’t wait to get them put on display in our new kitchen but, until then, I’ll just keep gazing at them lovingly!
Disclaimer: I was sent the craft goods and John Lewis voucher in return for this post.

Moving House….Soooo Excited!

We’ll be finding out our completion date very soon so I no longer have to keep this bubble of excitement contained within!
We’re moving house in the next few weeks and I don’t think I’ve been this excited in my life before, ever!

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When we started looking at houses, this one was the first one we both really liked and the one we seemed to end up comparing every other house on the market to.
The things we loved most about it were the garage for Ant and the garden for me. It also has a downstairs shower room and having two toilets in our house is going to be heaven! We have quite a strict morning routine to make sure everyone gets the bathroom on time to get to school and work so having the shower room downstairs means the kids can get ready for school and Ant won’t have to wait for them all to finish when he needs to get ready for work 🙂

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The kitchen needs modernising and it was one of the things that weighed heavily on the decision because a lot of the other properties had gorgeous new kitchens but then either didn’t have much of a garden and/or a garage and/or a second toilet.

Photo from
Photo from

We could have picked another one with a small garden and no garage but with a lovely conservatory and en suite to the master bedroom and we wouldn’t have had to spend any more money on it but the way we see it is, this is going to be our forever home; we don’t have to get everything done right away. I can live with the kitchen for a few years until we’ve saved enough for a new one and getting the house the way we want it is going to be a great project for me to work on 🙂

I love the large living room and can’t wait to install bookshelves either side of the fireplace. I’ve always wanted a chimney breast wall with bookcases either side! The gas fire in the picture is being removed and we’re putting our fire surround and electric fire in its place.
We’re going to use this side of the room as the dining area.

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This side is going to be the sitting area.

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We’re planning on building some shelves in a similar style to this at the far end and mounting our tv on the wall.

I have to admit, I did fall in love with the garden as soon as I saw it and it was, for me, the main reason I really wanted this house. I can make all my gardening dreams come true in this garden. I’m going to grow ornamental pumpkins to use as decorations in the autumn and the kids want to grow peas so they can pick them when they’re ripe and eat them raw straight from the pod!

It has an apple tree in the middle of the lawn and I can not wait to pick apples and make a pie!

Photo from


Photo from

I’m so excited about this house, I’m not even bothered about all the stress and hassle it takes to pack everything and move! In fact we’ve made a start already and it’s now making it all feel even more real, seeing our bathroom empty of all but the very few necessities like toothpaste and body wash!

The Christmas decorations are nearly all down and packed away for another year. I’ve never ever taken them down so early but far from being sad that Christmas is over, I’m too excited about the move to think about Christmas anymore!

Ant took the photos are off the wall on the stairs yesterday and filled the holes in with polyfiller and I started packing up the girl’s room while they’re away in Derbyshire with family 🙂

We have a lot of work ahead but it’s going to be fun, happy work rather than a chore and I seriously can’t wait!

Boxing Day – Photos

We always go to my mum’s on Boxing Day for a buffet tea so I get chance to see my family in Derbyshire 🙂

On the way to Derbyshire 🙂


Cuddles from my gorgeous niece, Lily-May


Ella cuddling my friend’s new baby 🙂


My lovely nephew, Nathan 🙂


My sis, Stacy 🙂


My mum playing Santa and handing out yet more gifts!


Me with 2 of my best ever friends and Aiden’s god mothers, Jo and Yvette. We worked together years ago before Aiden was born and even though we don’t see much of each other now I live in Lincoln, I love them to bits 🙂


Christmas Day – Photos

After a terrible Christmas Eve night due to some very selfish people letting off display sized fireworks right in front of our house at midnight when I was just drifting off, I finally managed to get some sleep around 3am before the kids woke us at 6am.
The kids went to sleep around 2am after being woken by the fireworks and wanting to open their stockings there and then!
A lot of people on the street were very angry with the firework people and a fight soon broke out. The police were called who turned up with a van and 3 police cars, after the fight had finished! They helped the firework people put out the remnants of the fireworks after they landed in the bushes at the front of the house and were smoking away.
The firework people got let off even though they were totally breaking the law by letting off fireworks at that time of night.

The kids, of course, were totally fine with the lack of sleep but Ant and I were fighting sleep the whole day! Every time I felt myself drifting off I had to get up and do something to wake myself up!
We had dinner around 5 instead of our traditional midday Christmas dinner and I have to say I much preferred eating at that time. I didn’t feel rushed and having my new cooker made everything so much easier. It was wonderful cooking with 2 ovens, 5 rings and a warming plate!

It will certainly be a Christmas we won’t forget after all the drama but thankfully, even though we were shattered all day, we had a really lovely, relaxing day with the kids 🙂

Ella’s gifts


Kaycee’s gifts


Aiden’s gifts





My gifts!


Caramel syrup for my coffee 🙂







Kaycee did a wonderful job of dressing the table 🙂




Christmas Eve – Photos

We’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and I finally have time to get the photos up now the kids are away with family till the new year 🙂

We had family and friends over for a buffet tea on Christmas Eve and it was a really great night. Time went fast though and before we knew it, it was time to open new Christmas onesies, make hot chocolate with marshmallows and squirty cream and leave treats out for Santa and his reindeer 🙂












Photo Challenge – December 21st

I’ve used photo prompts from  Fat Mum Slim for my December challenge 🙂
December 14th – Drink
Ant treated me to Carte Noire Caramel Macchiato for my Tassimo machine 🙂


December 15th – Lights


December 16th – Makes you feel merry.
Ginger hearts and orange truffles 🙂


December 17th – Tree
I used a free app that Ant downloaded on his tablet called Paper Artist. I tried downloading it to my iPhone but it wasn’t free on there and I wasn’t going to pay for it when I can use Ant’s for free!


December 18th – Big
This was a big project for me…..a gingerbread house each for my mum, my sister and her family and my 2 brothers and their families!
Here they are, ready for Kaycee and Ella to decorate.
Just a little note for anyone new to making gingerbread houses, I found using an egg white to make the icing worked much better than using water. It seemed to make the icing stronger and the houses went together much easier than the first 2 we made the other week for Nanny’s party. I managed to get these all put together, including the roof pieces in one day whereas I’d had to leave the other 2 overnight before I could put the roof pieces on.


December 19th – Tis the season to….
drink and these are my favourite Christmas tipples! Ant makes the most delicious snowballs and I’m looking forward to my Christmas treat…lots of Irish Cream!


December 20th – I’m listening to…
I love all the songs sung by people like Nat king Cole, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby but I think my favourite has to be Dean Martin. I remember my mum having a Dean Martin Christmas record and when I say record I do mean the vinyl version! She used to listen to it while putting the decorations up and his voice brings back wonderful Christmas memories for me 🙂

De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas

Innovative Ways
to De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas!
When your home is filled with clutter, it can be very
overwhelming (particularly if it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner this
year!) With less clutter comes less stress, so de-cluttering prior to the silly
season is always a good idea. However, these do not necessarily need to be
thrown away. We’ve come up with a list of creative, innovative ways to get rid
of unwanted items around your house.
1. Sell them!
Other people consider their clutter as trash, but what
they don’t realise is that these items can easily be turned into cash (and
let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a bit of extra cash during the holiday
period!) The first step is to collect all the unwanted goods that you find in
your house, sorting the real trash from items which have resale value. You can
check similar second-hand items online by checking classifieds sites like Friday Ad or Quicksales. Have a look to see what
other sellers are pricing the same or similar items and this will give you a
good starting point. Remember to give your item a price that is right for the
current condition of it.

After determining the price of the item, you’ll need
to find a place to sell it. There are a number of places where you can sell or
list your item. The best, most affordable options would be to list it through
an online classifieds or auctions website which doesn’t charge fees, or have a
garage sale. You can also look into consignment shops but make sure you give
them a call first to find out their store policies, commissions and what
products they sell.

2. Renovate or
If you’re feeling crafty why not reconstruct your old,
unwanted items into something new! This is best done with furniture or homewares
, but can basically be done with anything. There are lots of
do-it-yourself websites which will give you inspiration and take you through a
project step by step (such as this one on how to refurbish old wooden
). You can give a boring cabinet a new look by painting its
surface or reupholster an old chair by using fun and fresh fabrics. You can
even get your kids involved and get them to create their own ‘masterpieces’ using
scraps of fabric, odd bits of wrapping paper, buttons, or basically anything
laying around!
3. Donate to


If you do not have the time to sell your items, you
can simply donate them to a worthy cause. This is a great idea this time of
year as plenty of charities collect Christmas gifts to give to the less
fortunate, such as the Domestic violence charity Refuge  A good rule of thumb when donating items is
that they should be in decent condition, do not require repairing or mending
and must be clean. Keep in mind that these items are going to be used by
another person or a family and the charity organisations often don’t have the
time or resources to repair or clean items.In collaboration with Quicksales