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January 2015

Project 365 – January 24th – 31st

January 24th
I bought this book for Ella from the charity shop because she was a bit upset that she didn’t have many new books for Christmas. Kaycee got the full series of Lemony Snicket books and Ella wanted a book of her own that she could read to us each night.
January 24th - The Enchanted Table
January 25th
The top photo is from last week and the bottom one from today after Ant and I spent some more time in the garden getting it cleaned up 🙂
garden before
Before

 

garden after
After
January 26th
Can’t resist using the macro setting on my new camera!
macro setting on my new camera - dead leaf
January 27th
These new rhubarb and crumble hi-fi bars are absolutely delicious. They take me right back to being a child and buying a quarter of the sweets from the local shop.
lunch
Janaury 28th
Kaycee and Ella made some cinder toffee cupcakes minus the cinder toffee!
cinder toffee cupcakes
January 29th
The girls were hoping for a lot more snow than we actually got!

 

it's snowing
January 30th
We watched Lemony Snicket on Netflix because we’re currently on book 2 of the series.

 

Lemony Snicket on Netflix
January 31st
I don’t usually add today’s photo because I normally do the post in the morning before I’ve taken the photo but seeing as it’s the last day of the month I figured I’d finish the month off.
We decided to take a trip to Donna Nook but it turned into a bit of a disaster!
It was fine weather all the way until we got there. The rain then started and soaked us all while the wind whipped around and almost froze us!
As we stood there, trying to see the sea and not being able to because the rain was going straight in our eyes, I turned to the girls and said, this is the worst trip out ever!
Thankfully we all saw the funny side and laughed :o)
We quickly got back in the car after taking the photo, started to come home and the rain stopped!
The highlight though was finding a farm shop where we bought 6 swedes (I stocked up because they’re a pound each from Tesco), 3 leeks and 2 bags of sprouts for a fiver :o)

 

How is it already February tomorrow?!

 

Cinder toffee cupcakes

Things didn’t go quite as planned with this recipe when we tried it last night! Notice the absence of the cinder toffee on the above cakes? That’ll be because I managed to burn the first attempt and it tasted awful then not get it hot […]

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Weekly weigh in – 1lb lost

1lb lost today took my total this month to 9lb and saw me taking the Slimmer of the Month award 🙂 I now have 1 stone 2lb to lose to get my 8.5 stone award back.
If I’m honest I was expecting more as I feel I’ve been on track all week but a loss is still a loss so I’m happy enough.

1lb lost - Slimming World slimmer of the month certificate

I’ve nicked some of the girls’ beads and counted out enough for my syns for the week. I’m going to move them over to the other vase as I use them.

1lb lost - glass jars and beads to count my syns

Hopefully, I can my 8.5 stone award back in about 6 weeks 🙂

One day, I’ll have a reclining sofa!

Presently, I have my own 2 seater sofa and the super wonderful husband has a reclining chair. We both like to stretch our legs while watching TV so having our own space is nice.

However, I often think how much nicer it would be to be able to sit together while still being able to stretch our legs. We’ve been married nearly 10 years and as far as I can remember, we’ve never watched TV at home while sitting next to each other!

I’ve seen a gorgeous sofa on Newman and Bright that looks really comfy and I can just see us watching the latest episode of Bones, all snuggled up together!

Thinking realistically though, we’d probably have to wait until the kids were older; Ant’s not keen on leather sofas and grubby fingers would stop this looking so nice in a very short space of time.

Or, we could just ban them from touching it all together! :o)

This is a sponsored post.

 

Project 365 – January 17th – 23rd

January 17th
I loved Ally McBeal when it first came on. I’ve now got all the seasons on DVD (I found some of the box sets on Ebay for less than £3!) so I can start again from the beginning 🙂
January 17th - 23rd - Ally McBeal DVD
January 18th
Kaycee takes after me….ice-cream is her favourite dessert!

 

KayCee eating ice cream
January 19th
The super wonderful husband and I started the big garden clean-up. Yes, that is a sprinkling of snow and yes it was flipping freezing but it has to be done and the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.
This is the year where our garden looks lovely again and not like a dumping ground! The garden is what drew me to this house in the first place and it makes me really sad to see it like this.
We got rid of loads of old wood last Monday and cleared the path down the side of the house. Aiden thought it was brilliant that he could get his bike down there without risking life and limb when he got home from school!

 

tidying the garden
January 20th
Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to my highest Tots 100 rank 🙂 I was delighted to get into the top 100 and it’s lovely to be climbing higher and higher each month 🙂
ranked # 66 on Tots 100
January 21st
I love wall stickers and these birdcage ones are gorgeous! I’m going to be using them and some whiteboard calendar stickers for each of the kids so we can keep track of their chores. Post to follow.
wall stickers
January 22nd
Ella was missing Kaycee tonight. She’d gone to Sheffield with the school to sing at the Young Voices concert and Ella wasn’t used to her not being here! She liked being able to watch her Barbie movies without Kaycee complaining about them though!
Ella on the sofa watching Barbie
January 23rd
Kaycee had a great time at the Young Voices concert. She didn’t get home till about 11.30pm and she was shattered at school the next day but it was a great experience for her 🙂
KayCee sang with Young Voices 2015 at Sheffield arena

Weekly weigh in – 1.5lb lost

I lost 1.5lb at my weekly weigh in. I’ve done mostly SP days this week but I had a couple of days on Extra Easy. I think this is the reason I haven’t lost as much as I did the last two weeks.

I’m not disappointed, though, I’m aiming for an average of 2lb a week this year and during January I’ve lost 8lb so far so I’m meeting my goal 🙂

I’m going to do all SP days this week and see how I get on at the next weigh in. Hopefully, I’ll get a 2lb loss.

Wish me luck!

lose weight - weekly weigh in

For more weight loss posts, click here

Revamping plans afoot!

Every year, around this time I start hankering after change.

I don’t usually like change but there’s something about the new year that makes me want to do stuff and by stuff I mean things like putting new flooring down because the flooring that we got just under a year ago, for what we thought was such a bargain, turned out to be horrible and not a bargain at all!

It never looks clean, no matter how I clean it. Ant bought me a steam mop for my birthday last year because I was convinced that having a steam mop would get the kitchen floor looking all nice again.

It didn’t.

Talking of floors, we HAVE to change the flooring in the living room. The carpet that’s down was left by the previous owner and we were grateful for it when we got the keys last year. It was one less expense but after a year of a cream carpet and three kids and the occasional dog (the lovely mother in law’s dog comes to visit and sometimes to stay a while) it really doesn’t look very good.

It’s not often either of us use the word hate but we both have done when talking about this carpet!

I also need to shorten some curtains for the window in the living room because even though it has blinds, they’re cream ones and the light comes through, shines on the TV and makes it nearly impossible to watch.
Another solution, though, and less work for me, would be to buy some blackout blinds. I’ve had a quick search online and found some interesting ones at roofblinds.co.uk.

Another area that desperately needs change is the garden.

Revamping plans afoot - garden needs work

We left it last year because there was so much to do in the house we just didn’t have the time or the money (well, we still don’t have the money!) but this year, even if we don’t get the big projects done like the stream/pond feature and the covered patio area, we can at least rid it of all the rubbish that’s accumulated there over the year.

I’m starting my changes tomorrow and my first port of call is Kaycee’s and Ella’s room. I need to make it easier for them to put things away but it keeps getting in a right state and it’s becoming very stressful for all concerned.
Ant’s getting sick of not being able to walk on the floor because everything’s dumped there and I’m getting sick of having to spend hours cleaning it.
I’m also fed up of feeling guilty about Kaycee because she’s the oldest and ends up cleaning it on her own when it’s Ella who makes 95% of the mess.

It’s quite embarrassing to show you this but here is their room today…

messy bedroom

I’m going to get Ant to put up some shelves around the top of the room for all the teddies and I’m going to sort through the hundreds of books and store the ones that are too young for them now, in the loft for when we have more grandchildren 🙂

It’s going to be a lot of hard work, organising, cleaning, digging and building but it’s going to be worth it!

This is a collaborative post

Stabilo EASYgraph and EASYoriginal Review

During her first week back at school, 7 year old Ella’s teacher told her she needed to work on holding her pencil correctly so she gave her a pencil grip to use.

Kaycee (9) had also had the same conversation with her teacher and was told that as well as holding her pencil correctly, she needed to work on her handwriting.

The next day I received an email asking if we would like to review Stabilo EASYgraph pencils and EASYoriginal pens.

Both girls were really excited when the package arrived (they love stationery!) and kept asking me to hurry up and take photos so they could open them!

Stabilo EASYgraph and EASYoriginal

We were sent pens and pencils for left and right handed because Kaycee’s right-handed and Ella’s left-handed.

Stabilo EASYgraph

They love the design of the pens and thought it was great that they come with little stickers so you can write your name on.

Stabilo EASYgraph

 

Stabilo EASYgraph

The pens come with refills and one of them even came with an ink eraser.

Ella holding a normal pen

This is how Ella holds a normal pen

Ella holding a Stabilo EASYgraph pen

The finger spaces make it easy and comfortable for her to feel how it should be held while writing.

Kaycee holding her pencil incorrectly

I don’t even know how Kaycee can write holding her pencil like this!

Kaycee holding her Stabilo pen

They’ve both taken their pencils into school and are using them everyday now. They found it a little difficult at first because they’ve been used to their own way of writing for so long but they soon got used to it.

These pens and pencils have been great for them and we thank Stabilo for their help 🙂

Please note: We were sent samples in order to write the review but all opinions are honest.

 

Goodbye lovely lady

 

Goodbye lovely lady

My heart is hurting today because I have to say, goodbye lovely lady.

A wonderfully lovely lady, who I’ve never met in person but who has been a special friend to me since 2002 lost her battle with cancer today.
I knew the end was close but it doesn’t stop the hurt.
My thoughts today are with Amy’s children and the husband she adored.

Back in 2002 I got my first computer and found the wonder that is the Internet, I also discovered a love of making sigtags (signature tags to sign off your post in MSN groups and other forums) and joined an MSN group called Robbie’s Creative Retreat.

I not only found a new hobby, I found some special friends who have been there to share the highs and lows of our lives for the last 12 years.

When MSN closed the groups, we found each other again not long after on Facebook and have been firm friends ever since.

Amy made the above sigtag for me in 2004. I found it in a folder with hundreds of other sigtags that members made me while I was in the group and I found myself taking a stroll down memory lane and feeling thankful for that time in my life that brought me so many lovely friends.

She loved fairies and I was so happy that the first one I found made by Amy was a fairy. It’s very fitting and a perfect way for me to say:

Thank you, my friend, for being there for me and for being you

Project 365 – January 10th -16th

January 10th – Another game of Tension. It’s fast becoming one of our favourites 🙂

January 10th - Kaycee and Ella playing Tension
January 11th – After the bath

 

Ella after her bath
January 13th – I’ve been following a new plan from Slimming World and I’m not allowed potatoes, rice or pasta as well as selected fruit and vegetables. It’s based on filling up with low density and high protein foods. I’ve lost 6.5lb in 2 weeks. I’m enjoying it and not missing the carbs at all. Here I made swede chips for me and potato chips for everyone else. I’ve tried celeriac roasted and chipped as well and I love it!

 

Swede chips, sausages, eggs and beans
January 14th – Practising holding her pencil properly with the help of new Stabilo pens and pencils. Love the ‘tongue of concentration’ poking out! Review to follow.

 

Ella practicing her writing
January 14th – It’s been a very long time since I got Slimmer of the Week. I’m totally back on track and ready to put the rubbish year I had last year, behind me and get lots more of this weight off this year 🙂

 

Slimmer of the week
January 15th – I’m doing a photography course and had to fill the frame with colour for this prompt.

 

White flower
January 16th – A healthy lunch of ham and eggs (protein) cucumber and tomato (low-density foods aka Speed foods) with a little fat-free dressing and salad cream (2 syns) followed by melon and clementines (speed foods).
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