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Bedroom Makeover Plans

Aiden’s only got 1 year left at secondary school after this one finishes next week and he’s decided that when he leaves school next year, he’s going to live with his dad in Derbyshire.

He’s going to go to a local college but at the moment he’s not sure what he wants to do there.

The girls, Kaycee especially, have already been planning which bedroom they want and how they want it decorated!

At the moment they share the biggest room because there are two of them and they have the most stuff but that bedroom is going to be mine and Ant’s because he hates having the middle sized room. There’s a fitted wardrobe and space for a double bed and bedside table each and that’s it.

Kaycee’s having our room and Ella’s having Aiden’s.

I’ve been stalking Pinterest to get inspiration for decorating and I’ve decided I want to get Kaycee a day bed with a trundle bed underneath for when she wants her friend to sleep over and I know Ella would love a cabin bed. She needs lots of storage to try and encourage her to keep her room tidy because as we’ve seen before, their bedroom gets very messy!

I found some on Bedstar that I love.

bedroom makeover plans - day bed

 

bedroom makeover plans - cabin bed

I’m going to miss Aiden when he goes to his dad’s but after years of having him for the majority of the time, it’s time I gave his dad a go and it’ll be nice for the girls to have their own rooms,
I love designing new bedrooms for them so I’m looking forward to making a start 🙂

Here’s my Kaycee and Ella Bedroom Pinterest board.

Follow Shell Louise’s board Kaycee & Ella Bedroom on Pinterest.

Brewers Fayre, Grimsby

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Kaycee and Ella
We were recently invited to Brewers Fayre Grimsby with some other Lincolnshire bloggers so the girls could check out the new Beano indoor play area.
We met Tami from Mummy of 2 + 1. Becky from 3 Princesses and 1 dude. Amy from In My Bubble and Melody from Domesstique.
It was lovely meeting them all and we’re hoping to organise another meet up soon.
Unfortunately, there were a few mix-ups when we arrived. The PR company had not only given us the wrong time, they were expecting us at a Brewers Fayre in Yorkshire for some reason. We’d been told the event didn’t start until 2.15pm and as we were there for 10 am, we were a bit worried about trying to keep the kids entertained for four hours!

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Kaycee
The manager came and apologised for the mix-up. He organised our lunch for lunchtime so we didn’t have to wait until the planned eating time in the afternoon and refunded all the money we’d spent on drinks. We were given free drinks all day and told that we were more than welcome to stay for the actual event in the afternoon if we wanted.
There was going to be face painting, craft activities and the chance to meet Dennis the Menace.
The girls wanted to stay but Ant and I couldn’t face the noise of another couple of hours in soft play!
All the staff were wonderful and made sure we had a great time, despite the mix-ups 🙂

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Ella in a toy car

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Ella and daddy hugging
The girls never seem to tire of soft play, unlike me and their dad! They always seem to make new friends wherever they go and one or the other of them latches on to a smaller person than themselves and helps them play!

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - big bad hotdog
We all enjoyed our lunch. Ella had the Big Bad Dog, she loved that it came in a basket!

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - spaghetti bolognese
Kaycee had the Spaghetti Beano-ese. She said it was really nice although she gave some of her salad to her dad because she only likes iceberg lettuce.

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - smothered chicken
Ant and I had the Smothered chicken, it was chicken topped with bacon and melted cheese. I always debate whether to have the chicken at these kinds of places because more often than not, it’s a bit dry but I’m very happy to say that mine was lovely and moist and very tasty.

 

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - children's menu

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - children's menu

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - menu
The prices are very reasonable and there’s a great choice.

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - pudding
For pudding, we had caramel apple tart with custard (I had ice cream instead) and the girls had an ice lolly. When we were given the options, we thought he said they could choose from the menu or the ice cream machine which we took to mean one of those where you create your sundae yourself, adding sauces and sprinkles but we got it wrong and it was actually just the ice cream freezer. The girls were a bit disappointed because they were going to have one of the sundaes on the menu but it was our mistake so we stopped off at McDonald’s on the way back and had a McFlurry!

 

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Kaycee going to the play area

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Kaycee on the play equipment
After lunch, it was quite busy in the soft play area. A birthday party was in progress so we decided to go outside for a bit before going home.

 

Brewers Fayre Grimsby - Fun Day
If you’re in the area on August 31st 2015, feel free to pop along to the fun day 🙂

 

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
4515.
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
contributions.

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
£42,385.

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
you.

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.

Insurance

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
activities.

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.

 

Remote control buggy – Review

Aiden’s had loads of different remote control cars over the years. He’s never really been that interested in them so when this remote control buggy arrived, I gave it to Kaycee and Ella instead!
They loved it right away and pestered me to take the photos so they could open it and have a go. One of them put the batteries (which were included) in the car while the other put them in the remote control and out they went.
This is where we made a mistake.
Kaycee put it on the lawn and tried to make it move.
The lawn hadn’t been cut for about 2 weeks and there was no way it was going to work its way through that tall grass!
I did try to film them but it wasn’t very successful (I need more practice at taking video!).
The only downside we’ve found is the battery usage; unfortunately, they soon ran down. We put new ones in and they didn’t last very long either so next time we’re going to spend a little more on the batteries because the cheap ones obviously don’t have enough power.
Despite not being able to play with it for very long, they did have lots of fun and I think this may be the start of a remote control car obsession for the two of them!

 

Remote control buggy

We were sent the remote control car in return for an honest opinion.

8ft Instant Garden Pool – Review

The girls popped the paddling pool we had last year by trying to run and dive into it. It seems every year we have to buy a new paddling pool so this year I had planned on getting a 10ft steel framed pool from Amazon. It cost around £90 and came with a filter pump.

The day before I was going to order it, I got an email asking if we’d like to review an 8ft pool so of course, I said yes!

Preparation For the New Pool

All three kids spent a couple of days preparing the area for the pool. They had to dig out loads of gravel from where a greenhouse used to be when the previous owner lived here then use the pile of soil that Ant dug out when he made the wildlife pond.
I’m really proud of how they all worked together to get it done without moaning!
When it was all ready, they laid down the underlay we’d saved when we took the carpet up in the living room the other month. It doesn’t look the greatest but when we get round to it, we’ll find a way to hide it somehow 🙂

Hours To Fill

It took hours to fill because we mistakenly used the flat hose instead of the round one. Ant said if we’d have used the round one, it would have taken half the time!

The pool from Thinkgizmos doesn’t come with a filter pump but as it only cost £24.99, buying the inflatable pool filter pump separately for £19.99 is still a great price.

The girls absolutely LOVE the pool and have been going in on days when I wouldn’t ever consider getting into a swimming costume and lowering myself into cold water!
They invite their friends over and Kaycee makes sure everyone follows the safety rules 🙂

 

 

 

It seems quite strong so hopefully, it’ll last the summer and we’ll be able to put it away over winter, to be brought out again next year.

Here’s to a long, hot summer with plenty of pool fun 😀

We were sent the pool in return for an honest review.

We LOVE the Minions! #greengiantminions

Like a lot of people, we fell in love with the minions from the very first time we saw them. When we got the chance to create something fun based on the minions and using Green Giant sweetcorn we jumped at it because the kids LOVE sweetcorn nearly as much as they love minions!

One of the things we love eating but rarely make from scratch is pizza so last night we whipped up an easy pizza dough (recipe below) and Kaycee got to work on prepping the toppings for her minion’s eye pizza!

Ella wasn’t feeling very creative last night, she just wanted to get the dough rolled out, get her toppings and get the pizza eaten so we left all the creating to Kaycee 🙂

She used mushrooms for the white of the eye, gherkins for the straps, a mushroom for the middle of the eye and sweetcorn around the edge. We searched the kitchen trying to find something to make the silver circle round the eye but couldn’t find anything edible so we decided to cut a circle out of silver foil.

Green giant sweetcorn - minions on the packaging

 

Kaycee's minion pizza

 

Kaycee enjoying her minion pizza

 

Ella enjoying her pizza

Minions Pizza dough recipe

To make 4 generous servings

600g strong bread flour
400ml water
2 teaspoons fast acting dried yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Mix all the ingredients together.
When dough forms, knead until smooth, adding a little more flour if the dough is sticky.
Cover with cling film for half an hour and allow to prove.

Split into 4 portions, roll out on a floured surface and place on an oiled tray (or if you don’t have a tray big enough, like us, oil some tinfoil, place it on the oven shelf and put your dough on.

Top the pizza with a pizza sauce (we just whizzed up some tomatoes, added a dollop of tomato puree, a sprinkling of garlic powder and a pinch of mixed herbs) and your favourite toppings.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, 200°C/Gas 6 for 20-25 minutes

This is my entry into the Tots100/Green Giant Minions Challenge

 

Potato and Cheese Pierogi – A Recipe from Poland

Ella has a couple of friends in her class who are Polish and she seems quite interested in their culture so we decided to make some pierogi. They look like mini Cornish pasties but instead of baking them, they’re boiled. They’re traditionally filled with mashed potato and cheese from what I’ve been able to find out from Google and they’ve gone down quite well with most of the people in this house!

You can fill them with fruit instead of mashed potato so we’re going to try making some with apple cinnamon and serving them with cream and toffee sauce!

I’m sharing our first attempt at pierogi below and I apologise to any Polish people if any of it has been done incorrectly!

Pierogi Recipe

Makes approx 24 pierogi.

Potato and cheese pierogi ingredients

For the dough:

2 cups plain flour
1 egg
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive/vegetable oil

For the filling:

2 large potatoes, peeled and mashed
2 cups grated strong cheddar
1 large onion, finely chopped and fried until golden

Method

 

  • Mix the mashed potato, cheese and friend onion together. Don’t add any milk or butter as you don’t want the filling too wet. Let cool.
Potato and cheese pierogi
  • Mix all the dough ingredients together in a bowl. When it comes together, knead until smooth. Don’t over knead or the dough will be tough to work with (believe me, I know from experience!).
  • Rest, covered, for half an hour.

 

Potato and cheese pierogi
  • Roll out the dough until it’s about an eighth of an inch thick.

 

Potato and cheese pierogi
  • Using a cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass) cut out circles.

 

Potato and cheese pierogi
  • Pick up a dough circle and place in the palm of your hand. Keep the other circles covered with a wet tea towel to stop them drying out
  • Put about a tablespoon of filling into the middle of the dough circle then fold it over and pinch the edges together, making sure the edge is free of filling
Potato and cheese pierogi

 

Potato and cheese pierogi
  • You can dampen the edge with water before crimping if it doesn’t stick together easily
Potato and cheese pierogi
  • Drop about 5-6 pierogi into a large pot of boiling water and use a slotted spoon to move the water around the pot which will keep the pierogi from sticking together or to the bottom of the pan
Potato and cheese pierogi
  • When the pierogi float to the top, remove from the water and place on a plate that’s been coated with melted butter.
Potato and cheese pierogi

 

Potato and cheese pierogi

 

You can serve them straight away, tossed in melted butter or you can fry them up with some bacon like we did the next morning and had them for breakfast 🙂
Potato and cheese pierogi

This is a sponsored post.

Otherworldz – Hay on Wye

I’m bringing a belated Hay on Wye post today. I totally forgot to post my photos from one of the best shops I found at Hay on Wye, Otherworldz.

Everything it sells, I want!

The people who worked there were really nice; very friendly and made us feel most welcome.
If I’d have found the shop at the start of the holiday instead of the end, when I’d nearly spent up, I would have bought lots more things!

Otherworldz - animal ring holders
My little cat ring holder is in the kitchen window, looking after my rings as we speak!

 

Otherworldz trinket boxes

 

Otherworldz - odd socks
Odd sock fan? Pick your own pair 🙂

 

Otherworldz wooden animals

 

Otherworldz wooden mushrooms
The next time we visit we’ll be leaving with some of these mushrooms because I realllly want them next to my pond!

 

Otherworldz totem pole

 

Otherworldz wooden flowers

 

Otherworldz - lots of sparkly and glittery things!
Oops apologies for the blurry photo….all the sparkly, glittery things must have dazzled me!

 

Otherworldz wooden items

 

Otherworldz bird shaled hooks

You can find Otherworldz  on Facebook and on Twitter 🙂

 

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