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June 2015

Kaycee Cooks – My Daughter’s New Blog

KayCee Cooks

KayCee Cooks Blog – Kaycee, nearly 10, loves to cook. She loves to watch cooking programs and loves to organise the table, decorations etc when we have family around for dinner. She’s recently started watching Gordon Ramsey’s daughter’s TV show, Matilda and the Ramsey Bunch. She was inspired to start her own cooking blog and she posted her first recipe today 🙂

Her first recipe is a Slimming World one because she likes to help keep me on track! She made bacon and roast tomato pasta. It was delicious.

She’s excited to try more recipes and to share them with everyone

KayCee cooks

Screaming like a banshee

I’d envisioned a relaxing family Saturday. Instead, I ended up screaming like a banshee.

Ant had to leave early to go to B&Q before nipping to Asda for his mum then going to work at the computer shop for a couple of hours. I’d planned to spend the morning catching up on blog stuff while the girls cleaned their room and re-organised their wardrobes. They were in a right state. KayCee and Ella had just chucked the clean clothes in instead of sorting them out and putting them away properly.

Hartsholme Park

When we’d all done, I was going to make lunch then see if Ant would drop us at Hartsholme Park for the afternoon. Ella wanted to go on a leaf hunt as part of her school homework and had asked if we could go.
Ant’s working on the roof he’s building over the patio. I thought it would be lovely to take the girls out on such a gorgeous day. He’d be left in peace to work.

What actually happened was the girls went upstairs to do their jobs and minutes later they started arguing.

When I say arguing, I actually mean a full-on screaming match. The way they shouted at each other with venom in both of their voices that sounded as though they hated each other, brought me to tears.

I tried my best to stay calm and issue a punishment (dad would empty the pool if they carried on) without screaming at them and I managed it.

At first.

Screaming Like A Banshee

They started crying and stormed off back upstairs but if you think the threat of the pool being emptied stopped them being horrible to each other, you’d be wrong.

And that’s when I lost it.

With every sentence, I got angrier and more shrill. I told them family games night was cancelled. They were also banned from the pool for a week. The only reason I wasn’t going to send them to bed at 7 o clock tonight was that I didn’t want to spend all evening going up and down stairs to stop them arguing. I knew they wouldn’t go to sleep right away.

I told them to go and get the jobs finished and not to talk to one another.

Didn’t Stop

They couldn’t help themselves though. They didn’t stop talking so I stormed upstairs, sent them to sit downstairs in silence and angrily folded all the clothes!
I drew the line at putting them all away. They were left for Kaycee to do. I also piled all the toys and games and stuff up and left it for Ella to tidy away then hoover the floor.

I’m calm again now but it took a big hug from the super wonderful husband to help me stop crying and calm down and the girls are now being very quiet.


They’ve asked to watch the TV, play on the Wii, play on my phone and the answer to all has been no.
We’ve decided not to empty the pool. The cost of the water is the main reason but the week-long ban stays in place.

It breaks my heart because it’s so warm and sunny out today. They could be having a wonderful afternoon in the pool but I can’t give in.

I’ve now got a headache and sore throat to deal with. They’ve got to deal with the knowledge that mum and dad are very upset with them.
It’s a very sombre atmosphere at the moment. I for one will be very glad when this day is over.


The Netflix Tag

Thanks to Carolyn at Carolyn Blogs for tagging me 🙂 I Love Netflix and wish there were more hours in the day so I could watch everything on there that I want to see!

All Time Favourite

My all-time favourite would have to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don’t remember getting excited about any tv shows the way I did when it was time for the latest episode of Buffy on a Thursday night!

Current Addiction

Pretty Little Liars. I first saw it on MTV I think but it was a bit hit and miss so I loved being able to catch up on them all 🙂


My wish for my wishlist came true when they put Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I’d been watching it on Channel 5 but didn’t get to see seasons 3 or 4 so now I’m playing catchup.

Pet Peeve

My pet peeve is having to go right through all the categories to the bottom to get to my watch list when I’m on Netflix on TiVo. It takes forever. There’s probably an easier way that I don’t know about but in general, I don’t find Netflix on TiVo very easy to navigate.

Marathon Essentials

For me, it would have to be Pretty Little Liars, The Returned, American Horror Story, Suits and The Good Wife.

What’s on Your Watch List?




All the ones I mentioned are marathon essentials!

I now tag anyone who wants join in 🙂

Dinner with the lovely Mother in Law

My mother in law has, unfortunately, had to get used to living on her own since her lovely husband, Jack, died a couple of years ago.

She doesn’t often say anything but I know she can get lonely sometimes so we like to go and spend time with her and also invite her here for lunch or a BBQ or just a coffee.

Last week we invited her round for dinner and a family games night. We had Beef Bourguignon with Mashed potato, green beans, carrots and broccoli. It was absolutely delicious.

our gorgeous dinner

For dessert, we had Manchester Tart. It could have done with being made the previous day so it had more time to set but it was still gorgeous! I hate to think how many Slimming World syns I had that night!

Manchester tart

Kaycee set the table; she likes making her own place cards 🙂

Kaycee set the table for dinner

The girls love it when Nanny comes for dinner. We all had a really lovely night.


dinner with the lovely mother in law


After dinner, we played gin rummy. I can’t remember who won but it was probably Ant because he usually wins everything!

playing cards after dinner with the lovely mother in law

We had Grandad round for a BBQ the next day and he comes to dinner at our house every other week. It’s important to us that the girls get to spend as much time with their lovely grandparents as possible so we’re planning making family dinner and game night a regular thing 🙂

This post was in collaboration with Sunrise Senior Living

Want to be self-employed? Here’s what you need to know

Have you dreamed of being self-employed but don’t know
how to go about it? Starting up as a sole trader is probably a lot easier than
you think. Here are five simple but important steps that will enable you to
enjoy the full range of self-employed benefits.

Register as Self-Employed with HMRC

Because you will be responsible for paying your own
National Insurance contributions and income tax, you will need to inform HMRC
that you are self-employed within three months. This is essential even if you
already pay your taxes through the self-assessment process every year. You can
register as self-employed with HMRC online or you can phone them on 0845 915
As soon as you register, you will need to pay your own
National Insurance contributions, or NICs. These will be Class 2 NICs and are a
flat rate of £2.80 per week for the current tax year of 2015/2016. If your
annual income is below £5,965, you will not have to make any National Insurance

Class 2 NICS

In addition to Class 2 NICs, you will also have to pay
Class 4 NICs if the total profit you make is more than £8,060. If the profit
you make is in between £8,060 and £42,385, you will have to pay 9 percent of
that in NICs and a further 2 percent on any profit that is in excess of

VAT Registered

Decide If You Need to Be Registered for VAT. If your
business’s annual turnover is more than £82,000, you must register for VAT with
HMRC. This applies at any stage during the year when you think you might make
more than the VAT threshold, and you must let them know within 30 days or you
could face a fine.
It could be worth registering with HMRC for VAT even if
you doubt your earnings will cross their threshold. Having a VAT number can
give your business credibility, and you will be able to claim back VAT on any
eligible purchases you make such as work-related equipment.
You could also consider the flat-rate VAT scheme rather
than the standard scheme. The flat-rate scheme makes VAT accounting much
simpler. Consult your accountant to see if it is the most profitable option for

Set Up a Business Bank Account

When you are a sole trader, it is essential that you keep
your business finances separate from your personal spending. The easiest way to
do this is to open a business bank account that is entirely separate from your
personal banking. Your business account might be called ‘Fred Smith trading as’
(or T/A) followed by the name of your business. Your invoices and cheques will
look more professional too if they display your business name.
You might also consider opening a business deposit
account, which will enable you to earn some interest on any money you hold in
your account for a period of time.

Finance Records

Keep All Your Self Employed Finance Records Accurate
It is essential that you stay on top of your books. This
will mean that paying the correct amount of tax should be a relatively
straightforward affair, and you will keep your accountant and the tax man
happy. It will also help you to run your business efficiently.
When it is time to submit your VAT return, assuming you
are VAT-registered, simply pass the financial records you have been keeping for
the past year to your accountant and complete your self-assessment tax return.


Take out Insurance for Your New Business. Businesses are
legally required to have certain insurance policies. The type of insurance will
vary, of course, depending on the nature of your business or industry. You
might also opt for additional insurance cover for extra reassurance.
If you employ someone else (unless they are a close
family member), you are legally required to have employer’s liability insurance
of at least £5 million. You will be given a certificate of insurance which you
are legally obliged to display somewhere where your employees can read it.
Failure to have such insurance will result in a substantial fine.
Most small businesses also take out public liability
insurance. This is a particularly good idea if members of the public are likely
to visit your premises or you will visit them. This gives you protection if a
third party is injured or a property damaged as a consequence of your business

Professional indemnity is also recommended, as it will
provide you with cover if you are sued by a client.

This is a collaborative post

Eye exam time, again!

eye exam time again

It’ll soon be time for the yearly eye exam at the opticians for Aiden, Kaycee and Ella. It might be time for Ant and me as well but I can’t be sure as we only go every 2 years and I can’t remember if we went last year or not.

For most people, a visit to the opticians is easy, quick and pain-free.

Not for me.

Kids Wanting Glasses

When you have a child who is supposed to wear their glasses all the time but doesn’t and two other children who are hankering after glasses and never get them, it can be quite frustrating!

Kaycee and Ella would love nothing more than for the optician to say, ‘go and choose your glasses’ but alas, every time they go he says,  ‘nope, your eyes are great, no glasses needed this year!’

They try on just about every pair in the shop and pose in the mirrors while they’re waiting for Aiden to finish his eye test and every year they face the bitter disappointment of not being to choose any!

It doesn’t matter how many times I tell them they’re very lucky to not have to wear glasses, they still want them.

Glasses To Help Stop Migraines

I’ve had to wear glasses all the time since I was 16. I first got them because I was getting frequent headaches and I was amazed at the difference they made.
The headaches, although they never stopped entirely, did get less frequent and less painful as I got used to the glasses.

Now I’d be lost without them because I can hardly see when I haven’t got them on!

The only downside to wearing glasses for me is the irritation I occasionally get on my nose, especially when it’s a warm summer.
It gets quite sore and even though I’ve shown the girls the sore patch, trying to put them off their craving for glasses, it doesn’t seem to hinder them!

I’ve considered getting contact lenses or laser eye surgery with Optical Express but I shudder at the thought of them because I’m very funny with eyes. Even just looking at someone with an eye infection makes my eyes water so I reckon I’m just going to have stick with the glasses and put up with the discomfort.

And keep telling the girls how lucky they are!

This is a collaborative post.


How does your garden grow? – Waterfall problems

Waterfall Problems

We’ve worked really hard in the garden this week and I’m happy to say things are looking better. We had waterfall problems again and Ant dismantled it for a third time because he thought it still had a leak. Fingers crossed that’s the last time he’ll have to take it apart because it looks really nice the way it is now.

Waterfall problems

The pond water has gone green again so we’ve put some barley straw in. Hopefully, it’ll soon help it clear. We need to get some water lilies because the leaves help shade the water and stop it going green.

Waterfall and pond

He’s also dismantled the stream again due to the same problem and rebuilt it on Tuesday. We just need to get a nice stone to replace the broken slab that’s currently covering the sump and the stream will be perfect 🙂

Waterfall, pond and stream

Plant Shopping

I spent a lovely morning at B&Q on Tuesday, picking plants to put in my pots.

Pink flowering plants


New dahlia plants


New plants


Lily plants

I was sick of seeing the ivy in the square stone pots. It was all that was left of the winter pots I did a few years ago. The Christmas tree we bought last year wasn’t doing very well in the big pot we put it in. I decided I’d rather use the pot for something nicer than a dying tree so that pot got a makeover as well.

Dying Christmas tree


Arch and steps before

I really enjoyed filling all the pots but the effect was lost due to the grass under the arch being overgrown and very messy. It can’t be mown because I’ve planted some sweet peas and didn’t want to damage them so I spoke to Ant and came up with another solution.

Arch and steps after

The grass was removed and weed matting put down. The slab was laid (with Ant’s help!) on the sand and the sides were covered with gravel.
I absolutely love it 😀

While moving some old carpet and stuff, I found this little fella. Hopefully, he’ll come and use the pond next year 🙂

Toad on the grass


Planter with lilies, dahlias and ivy


Planter with lilies, dahlias and ivy


Planter with daisies


Planters with pink flowers


Garden and archway

The border needs digging because it’s been taken over by weeds. The 72 perennials I’ve ordered from Van Muewen. need planting. They only cost a tenner plus three pounds something post and packaging! 🙂

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