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April 2015

Project 365 – Week 1 Again!

Week 1 again! I missed a few days. Well, quite a lot of days actually but I decided not to give up, I’m just going to start again and make last Saturday my day 1 again 🙂

April 18th – We started work on my new wildlife pond 🙂

Ant digging out the pond

April 19th – More digging!

more of the pond has been dug out

April 20th – It’s been gorgeous weather today. Ella came home from school and changed into her swimsuit. Any excuse for her to wear a swimsuit is a good one! We planted some seeds in this big planter. Fingers crossed we get a lovely display of whatever flowers it was that we planted. We totally forgot to label it!

Ella helping in the garden

April 21st – We have liner and water :oD

pond liner and water - week 1 again!

April 22nd – Flamingo Gifts sent me gorgeous things 🙂

Flamingo Gifts

April 23rd – We had a few minor problems with the water level but hopefully it’s ok now

pond liner and more water

April 24th – My wonderful boy is 15 today. I made him a vanilla sponge with lemon curd and lemon frosting. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself!
I can’t believe he’s 15 already. I did take a photo but I’m not posting it because he’s at the age where he doesn’t want his mum posting photos of him!
Happy birthday Aiden, we love you xxx

Aiden's birthday cake

 

My new favourite gift website – Flamingo Gifts

Flamingo Gifts

I was like a kid at Christmas, waiting for my parcel to arrive from Flamingo Gifts earlier this week!

I’d been asked to pick some things I’d like to receive and would be sent a few items from my list so although I knew what was on my list, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to be sent.

I was delighted with all that I received :o)

Mirabelle and Gorjuss

I’m a new fan of Mirabelle and Gorjuss after seeing the selection on Flamingo Gifts. Unfortunately, the handbag I reallllyyyyy wanted was out of stock 🙁 but I did get a purse, journal and pen and a lovely watermelon lip gloss.

 

Gorjuss Poppy Wood premium journal and pen – £11.69

 

I also received an owl doorstop and a tiny Russian doll. I’ve wanted a Russian doll for at least 10 years and when I saw not only a Russian doll but a tiny Russian doll, I had to add it to my list. I love all things miniature so you can imagine my excitement when I opened each doll and came to the last super tiny one!

 

Tiny Russian Doll – £10.70

 

There are loads of things I want from Flamingo Gifts and I’ve added quite a few to my Amazon wishlist!

I also ordered a couple of items for my step daughter’s birthday. They were delivered the next day which was excellent service. It’s her birthday tomorrow. I can’t share with you what I bought her unfortunately because I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

10% Off

At the time of writing there’s 10% off everything which is reflected in the above prices and postage is only 1p. Even without the promotion, postage is only 99p for orders under £34.99 and FREE on orders over that which I think is absolutely brilliant. High postage costs are what put me off ordering from some gift websites.

Flamingo Gifts will definitely be my first stop now when I need to find gorgeous birthday and Christmas gifts 🙂

Please note: I was sent the above items in return for an honest review.

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Pond update

Pond Update – Ant spent last weekend and most of this week digging and lining our new pond. I can’t believe how much he got done, I expected it to take a lot longer!

He’s suffering now though, he’s aching everywhere! I reckon he’s going to be having lots of long soaks in a nice hot bath!

Ant digging the pond

 

preparing the pond

 

rocks for the pond

 

Ant digging out the pond

 

Pond being dug out

 

Pond before liner goes in

 

Pond liner being filled with water
Pond liner being filled with water

 

Pond lining and stream bed
This part is going to be my little stream :o)

We ordered a 6×6 metre pond liner from PondKeeper  and got free underlay with it 🙂 With the postage included it cost less than £60

Ant also ordered a new pump which should hopefully be delivered today. I’m so excited!

 

Star Stable – Review

 

Star Stable

Star Stable

I went through a stage of being a little bit addicted to MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) so I was keen to check out Star Stable and see how the girls would get on with it.

Our character is called Anzia Snowbell and the horse is called Morningpetal. You need to try and log in every day to take care of your horse but as you can see, the girls haven’t logged in for a few days due to lack of time (Brownies, Beavers and homework are a few of the things keeping them offline at the moment!).

Anzia is given quests to do and you can also take part in racing competitions. Kaycee did really well in the races once she mastered the controls.

I’ve had a go on Star Stable purely for the sake of the review you understand! and while it’s not the normal type of game I’d play I did enjoy it. I found myself saying, ‘in a minute Ella, I’m just going to finish this quest’, every time she asked for a go!

You can play for free up to level 5 and if you want to become a member you can pay £4.95 a month, £11.95 for 3 months, £18.90 for 6 months or £49.90 for a lifetime membership.

There’s more information for parents here.

Please note: We were given a 3-month membership in return for an honest review.

If you’d like to take your gaming to the next level, check out Fierce PC

Finally made a start on the pond :oD

I’ve been putting it off for weeks now and today I finally decided to get out there and move some of the flowers from the border where the pond is going to be.
You can see it’s overgrown with weeds and grass but the primroses are lovely and I didn’t want to just chuck them away.

Spring flower border before being dug up for pond
Oh dear, I’ve only just realised I didn’t tidy all the stuff on the patio before taking the photo! Please ignore the broken chair, tipped over plastic chairs and general mess!

I marked out the border edge with the spade then removed all the grass. I dug it over, removing all the weeds that I could so it became a clearly defined border again.

Garden before flower border
Before – you’d never know a border had even been here the way the grass had overtaken it!

Then I dug up the primroses, forget me nots and some lily bulbs from the other border….

Garden before pond

and replanted them in the newly dug border 🙂

flower border

I’m not sure what to plant here for interest and colour when after the primrose flowers have gone. I think I need to go and consult Sir Google!

Ella’s been outside taking photos and she was delighted to see the return of the bleeding heart flowers, as was I and I love the forget-me-nots 🙂

Bleeding hearts

 

Forget me nots

 

Science toys – Not just for boys!

Aiden’s never really been interested in science-y things. I’ve bought him loads of different science toys over the years, blast labs and slime labs and forensic sets, all to try and encourage a love of science that I never had when I was younger.

None of them worked, he just wasn’t interested.

He’s done a couple of the kits, like the forensic one for example but only because I got it out one day in the school holidays a few years ago and did it with him.
I hoped it would spark an interest in forensic science (I may have watched too much CSI and was trying to live vicariously through my son!) but alas he was just happy when it was over I think!

The other kits sat, forgotten, on the shelf in his room until the girls spied them and asked him if they could do them.
They had great fun with them and now I know that I can look at those kinds of things when Christmas and birthdays come around 🙂

Science toys

When the metal detector and planetarium arrived I couldn’t help but smile at the excitement on Ella’s face!

Kaycee with the metal detector

 

Kaycee putting the metal detector together - science toys are not just for boys

 

Kaycee trying out the metal detector

 

Ella having a go with the metal detector

 

Kaycee having a go with the metal detector

Kaycee was the first to try the metal detector after Ant had calibrated it. She loved going out looking for metal and got Ella to hide coins around the garden so she could search for them.
It works well but the one thing we’d change if we could, would be the way it’s calibrated. It’s too easy for the girls to catch it while they’re using it and Ant ends up calibrating a lot.
If the knob were covered or able to be locked, it would save a lot of frustration having to keep doing it.

Ella with the planetarium

 

Ella with the planetarium

 

Planetarium projecting on the ceiling

 

planetarium projecting on the ceiling

 

Planetarium projecting on the walls and ceiling

The planetarium was a huge hit with both girls. They’ve had it on every night since it arrived and they both know the words to the planet commentary off by heart!

Tonight while watching Eggheads, a question came up about the planets and Kaycee knew the answer from listening to this every night 🙂

Science is definitely for my girls, not for my boy!

Click here for the 15 best science toys your kids will love in 2018.

Please note: We were sent the above items in return for an honest review.

 

Garden Plans Again!

As you may know, I fell in love with this garden before I fell in love with the house and to be honest, I don’t think I was that worried about what the house was like, I just wanted the garden! I seem to keep making garden plans then changing them!

I didn’t do anything to it last year because I wanted to see it through each season so I could see what plants were already in.
I have lots of plans like making a cut flower border so I can have flowers inside all year and my biggest dream is to have a wildlife pond but I’ve not made much headway recently due to the weather. This week promises to be lovely so I’m going to make a start on the pond. I’m eager to get it started! 🙂

We did manage to get some things done recently, Ant got the arch up after the girls finished painting it and all the wood you can see on the lawn across from the apple tree is the remains of the old wooden fence that was up when we moved in.

Ella in the garden

The pond is going in the bottom corner (photo below) where the flower border is (to be honest though, there are more weeds than flowers in it at the moment!) and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the frogs like it so they’ll come and leave me some frogspawn next spring! The pond is going to have a small waterfall and it will go into a small stream that will end near the arch.

Garden plans - Our garden before any changes

We’re deciding what to do with the top part of the garden that used to be the vegetable garden (it’s full of old bits of wood and stuff at the moment).
Ant thinks we should extend the lawn so the girls have more room to play because I’m taking part of the lawn for the pond and he’d like some fruit trees so I think we’re going to be making the top part into a mini orchard!

We’re in need of new garden furniture because I really don’t like the plastic set you can see in the photo so I’m entering an Easter Blogger Competition run by Debenhams where you can win an Easter garden party set :o) It all looks amazing and there are loads of things from the site that I’d love to buy if money were no object!
I love the half round tree bench and think 2 of them would look really nice around my apple tree 🙂

My new cooking blog :)

I’ve been wanting to make a separate cooking blog for a while and I’ve finally done it! Shell Louise Cooks is my new cooking blog 🙂

My new cooking blog
Shell Louise Cooks

I’ve only got one recipe on it at the moment, an Easter sponge cake with strawberries, but along with Kaycee and Ella, we hope to get lots more on soon 🙂

The plan is to put all the Slimming World recipes on there that we try as well all the cakes and cookie recipes that the girls make.
We all cooking and baking but we sometimes struggle to find the time. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make time to do the things we enjoy and document it on the blog 🙂

 

Project 365 – March 28 to April 3rd

 

March 28 - Ella in the garden
March 28 – The girls finally finished painting the garden arch. They started it last year and it’s been left all over winter. This is the year we get a nice garden again!

 

Garden arch is up
March 29th – Ant did a great job of getting the arch up. I love it 🙂

 

Messy bedroom
March 30th – No more messy bedroom didn’t quite go as planned!

 

Ella's hair in plaits
March 31st – Ella’s got a thing for plaits at the moment 🙂
Ella witht he planetarium
April 1st – I’ve never seen Ella as excited as she was when this planetarium arrived! The review will be up soon.

 

Kaycee using the metal detector
April 2nd – A metal detector was sent with the planetarium and the girls have been hiding coins outside for each other to find 🙂

 

banana split
April 3rd – We went to Surprise View to wish Grandad Jack a happy birthday. Nanny treated us to lunch at the Wetherby Whaler (formally Harry Ramsden’s) and it certainly is a treat! The fish and chips were lovely and you can see how good the banana split was!
Ella had been excited to go all week. She wanted a prawn salad and a brandy snap dream dessert. I can’t believe she ate all but half a spoonful of the dessert!
Ella with her brandy snap dessert

 

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