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August 2016

Maintained – Weekly weigh in

Maintained – Weekly Weigh In

weekly weigh in Slimming World
maintained weekly weigh in

I maintained my weight last week, for which I was very pleased! I didn’t have much self-control all week, only managing to pull it back on Monday and Tuesday.
I didn’t do very well at last week’s weigh in so I really want to do better next week.

I’m still at 7 and a half stone loss, it’s about time I got that 8 stone loss award back! I reckon 2 good weeks should do it.
I’ve had a good day today. I’ve planned my meals for the week so I’m heading in the right direction. I really want to get a good loss next week 🙂

shell-doll-sig-01 maintained

Painted emoji faces – Fun with poster paint!

Painted Emoji Faces

Kaycee’s friend, Katie came for a sleepover last night. Ella was visiting her sister, Kellyann, for the weekend. Kaycee and Katie slept outside like the girls have done since the little big tent festival night!
After a trip to the cinema today, they came home and went in the pool for a while. Afterwards, they decided they were going to do painted emoji faces on each other using water-based poster paint!


painted emoji faces Ella

painted emoji faces Katie

Ella is the crying face emoji, Katie is the love heart eyes emoji and Kaycee is the being sick emoji!

It took a while to get all the paint off and they got a little bit stressed when it wouldn’t come off completely! Kaycee had a yellowish tinge to her face and Ella looked like she’d not washed her makeup off properly from a heavy night on the town!

Apple drizzle cake – #GBBOBloggers2016

I’ve been wanting to join in with Jenny’s Great British Blogger’s Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2016) for the last couple of years. I kept meaning too but something always got in the way. Kaycee (11) loves GBBO and likes nothing more than being in the kitchen, baking […]

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Unexpected costs and how to deal with them

Unexpected costs

Budgeting is a must for us. Every April, at the start of the new tax year I use Excel to create a budget for the following year. I try to cover every eventuality but even with lots of planning, we sometimes still end up with unexpected costs.

I have a sheet for each bank account. It keeps track of the deposits and withdrawals for each month so I can make sure we never go overdrawn.
Sometimes, though, even my best planning goes awry!

Last month I totally missed off the car MOT. Not only did I forget to save money for any repairs that may be needed, I even forgot to budget for the actual cost of the MOT.
Last year our car passed the MOT with flying colours, which was wonderful! This year it cost over £200 to get it to pass.
We don’t have any savings at the moment. This was a huge amount to have to find when it hadn’t been budgeted for during the previous months.

Broken appliances

The car MOT is not the only time we’ve had unexpected costs arise. Over the course of one month, our washer broke, the fridge started playing up and the freezer developed a leak. Let’s not mention the knife slipping while I was hacking away at some ice when I should have just defrosted it!

It’s a nightmare having no washer when you’ve got 3 kids, let me tell you! It’s even worse not having a fridge and freezer for a few weeks.

We bought this house a couple of years ago. Not long after moving in, we found out that the kitchen electrics needed completely re-wiring.
The electrician informed us that they were very dangerous. It wasn’t something you could put up with for a while, like not having a washer. It had to be done straight away to make it safe.
After living in rented accommodation for my whole life, it was a shock to the system not being able to call the landlord and have him foot the bill!

Payday loan

If you don’t have anyone who can help out when these situations arise, it can be hard to know where to turn. A payday loan can be a godsend when something urgent arises.
Vivus can help, they offer one payment loans. You borrow the money you need, between £100 – £500 and repay the whole amount, including the interest when you get paid, from 10 to 41 days.

New customers get their first loan for half price. For example, if you were due to be paid in 14 days and you needed a £200 loan, you’d only pay back £211.20.

You apply for the loan online and get an almost instant decision. There are no hidden fees.
If something should happen that stops you paying your loan back on time, you have 5 days to pay without incurring a late payment charge.

payday loans unexpected costs

This is a collaborative post.

Half pound gain – Weekly weigh in

Half pound gain

I’m ok with my half pound gain this week. I went to my sister in law’s 60th birthday party at the weekend. The food was really delicious and I had lots of Pimms and lemonade!

It could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t pulled it back on Monday and Tuesday. I got back on track the next morning after the party.

We don’t have anything planned this week that will tempt me away from being on plan, thankfully! Our holiday isn’t until October so I have a few weeks to be totally on plan. Hopefully, I can have a stone off by then 🙂

Sparkly Shell sigtag half pound gain



The big little tent festival #BigLittleTentFest16

Big little tent festival

We had very excited girls when our Big Little Tent Festival pack came in the post. Any excuse to camp out and they’ll take it!

Our festival was a little different than others though because we couldn’t be bothered to get the tent out! We have a sofa bed on the patio (we have a covered patio) and the girls slept on that.
It started off a week of them sleeping outside together 🙂

They’re away at the moment but I know when they get home on Thursday, they’re going to want to sleep outside again!

Big little tent festival

Big little tent festivall wristband

Big little tent festival

Big little tent festival


You can download your own festival pack from the link above. Enjoy the rest of the summer holidays in the great outdoors with your kids 🙂

Hartley’s Jelly Lunchbox

Hartley’s Jelly Lunchbox

The girls are always complaining that they’re bored of sandwiches in their school lunchbox. Recently they’ve both been opting for different salads that they can make themselves.

Ella loves potato salad. She makes it using tinned new potatoes, chopped up cherry tomatoes and cucumber, chunks of cheese and chopped ham. She adds mayo and gives it a good mix.

Kaycee’s not a fan of mayo so she makes a plain chopped salad.

Fun lunchbox ideas

Pinwheel or stick sandwiches were favourites with the girls when they were in infants school. They loved making them! I might suggest them to Ella when she goes back to school.
Kaycee’s starting secondary school so I don’t think she’ll be interested in novelty sandwiches!

One of the best places for lunchbox ideas is Pinterest.

If you don’t have time to make elaborate lunches, the supermarkets have quick and easy options you can add to your child’s lunchbox, like Hartley’s jelly pots.
Hartley’s are running a promotion at the moment where you can collect jelly pot lids to claim a free lunchbox and sticker sheets.

Hartley's jelly pots lunchbox

Ella had great fun decorating her lunchbox 🙂

lunchbox hartleys jelly pots

hartleys jelly pots lunchbox

This post is an entry for BritMums #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly

Protecting your home when on holiday

Protecting your home

We haven’t been on holiday this summer. We always wait and go in the October half term when the prices are much cheaper.
As much as we love our holidays, going away can be a worry. So much can happen to your property while you’re away.
Before we moved house, we used to ask my mum to stay for the week when we went away. I worried about the house being broken into or the garden getting damaged . The one time we went away without having a house sitter, our garden got trashed by the kids on the estate.
We didn’t have insurance so had to stand the cost of the repairs ourselves.

Since moving to our new house, we don’t have any problems with kids getting into the garden. The reason being, there are hardly any children on our street!
It means we don’t need my mum to come and stay but even without the children to worry about, there’s always the risk of your home being broken into or a fire breaking out.

bucket and spade on the sand - holiday

Home insurance

As I said, we didn’t have any insurance at our old home but now we have cover for everything. After hearing horror stories about people coming home from holiday to find their home ransacked or flooded or burnt down, we couldn’t run the risk of not getting home insurance.

We also have an alarm fitted now that phones us if the alarm is triggered. It has a panic button on the keyfob and each family member has their own code.
It has movement sensors that make a sound when triggered. During the hot weather, we’re able to leave the kitchen door open without worrying about someone sneaking in and stealing things while we’re in the living room.
We have a sensor in the garage as well for the same reason.
Our local police have been warning residents not to leave doors open in the hot weather. The number of thefts from homes committed during the day, while people were at home, have been on the increase.

I wouldn’t be without our home and contents insurance now. The peace of mind is well worth the cost 🙂

home safety while on holiday

S’mores – Summer bucket list

Making s’mores

Kaycee and Ella chose to make s’mores as one of their summer bucket list items this year. We figured we’d be making them on the BBQ like last time but daddy went one better and made an excellent campfire 🙂

s'mores campfire

Kaycee organised everything (she takes after her sister, Kellyann when it comes to getting everything and everyone organised!) and showed everyone how to build the s’mores.

s'mores ingredients
She got a piece of tin foil and put a chocolate digestive biscuit on first. Then she put a long stick  resting on the biscuit and sticking out of the tinfoil.

making s'mores

Chocolate chunks were added to the biscuit (she wanted extra chocolate!) then 3 marshmallows were put on top of the chocolate.
It was topped with another biscuit and the tinfoil was then wrapped tightly around everything, paying particular attention to the stick so that it didn’t drop off when it was held over the fire.


Kaycee and Ella had a friend over to stay for the night and they’d all been to dinner at Grandad’s. Instead of having dessert at Grandad’s, they came home for s’mores and it seemed everyone really enjoyed them.


Kaycee put hers right in the embers because she wanted the marshmallows to melt more but she left it a little too long. The biscuit got a black on the edges!

making s'mores

Kaycee made Grandad’s s’more for him 🙂

granddad came for s'mores

I tried toasting a marshmallow (I’d not had toasted marshmallow before!) but it didn’t work very well. I accidently touched the embers and burnt it a bit. Ant made me another and it was perfect :o)

toasted marshmallows for s'mores

It was a lovely evening and we’re now planning on making a permanent fire pit in the garden. We want to sit out more often toasting marshmallows!

campfire for s'mores


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