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Yuu Bag Review

Ella can often be heard saying, ‘want it’ while watching TV. Those who know her, know that she’s saying, ‘want it’ when she sees something advertised that she’d like for Christmas and the reason she says it out loud is so that Santa can hear her and will know what she wants for Christmas.

Yes, she does this all year and yes, it can get annoying because I think she wants just about everything she sees!
When the advert for the Yuu bags come on TV, I not only hear Ella say she wants it but Kaycee also so you can probably imagine the excitement when they came home from school and found a Yuu bag had been delivered!

I have to admit, Ella was a little upset because she wanted one of her own but she came round to the idea of sharing it and they agreed that Kaycee could use it for school today and she’d use it tomorrow 🙂

They love all the pockets inside Kaycee thought it was great that she could fit all her school stuff in as well as her drinks bottle and lunch bag. She loved that the bottle went into one of the side pockets and was kept upright so there was no chance of it leaking over her school books.

Ella’s really looking forward to taking it to school tomorrow but her dad and I wonder if it’s going to be too big for her because Ant reckons he could fit her inside it, it’s that big!

They do a smaller version called a Yuu Tuu which would be better for Ella I think.

This bag is going to be excellent for days out and when we go on holiday to pack things in to keep them entertained on the journey 🙂

Both the girls liked the coloured pencils, drawing paper and game that came with the bag and Kaycee went online straight away to register with the Yuu club!

 

At £43 for the large bag and £38 for the smaller one, they’re not cheap, but it does seem extremely well made and one would expect it to last many years.

You can find the full range at yuuworld.com

*We were sent the Yuu bag for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest.

My #shelfie for the #GreatBritishHomeQuiz

I took the Great British Home quiz by Victoria Plumb bathrooms (again) to find my home style but the results must be wrong because I am not, not I say, like Joey Essex or Sam Faiers from TOWIE!!

No one could ever describe me as glamorous or always ready for the camera, in fact, I shy away from the camera at every opportunity!

I got the same result last time I took this quiz and I tried different answers this time so maybe I have an inner glamour puss just trying to breakout and I should just accept it!

Anyway, I also took a #shelfie and posted it on Instagram and now I’m sharing the story behind it on my blog 🙂

This is my new shelf in my new kitchen and I absolutely love it! If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably seen this too many times now!

I’ve seen this vintage style tea cups and saucers all over Pinterest and really wanted some. I kept looking in charity shops but never found any.
We recently moved to this house and our old loft was packed to the rafters with boxes from Ant’s old home in Northern Ireland. They’ve been stored up there for over 10 years and I had no idea they held these treasures until we were sorting out what to keep when we moved here.

I can’t believe I’ve had these in my house since I lived there and never knew about them!

Another favourite of mine is the stack of measuring cups I got from John Lewis last year. I bought them with a little butter dish and a gorgeous cheeseboard that is hiding from me somewhere; I haven’t been able to find it since the move but I still have two sheds of stuff to sort out so I’m hoping it’s in a box of kitchen things in one of the sheds.

So there you have it, my #shelfie 🙂

If you click the Victoria Plumb link above, you can take the Great British Home Quiz yourself and be in with the chance of winning £250. Good luck!

Bank Holiday food shopping at Morrisons #MorrisonsMums

I’m happy to say I’ve been picked as a Britmums #MorrisonsMum and was very excited to receive some Morrisons vouchers in the post last week 🙂

We went shopping on Bank Holiday Monday and I expected it to be heaving with people but I must have missed the throng by going late afternoon 🙂
I love having a stroll round market street. The kids thought the machine that pumped the cold air over the vegetables to keep them cool was brilliant!

We took our time, checking out all the offers and new low prices and the kids loved being able to fill the trolley with more of the things we usually buy and lots of things we don’t usually buy, because it was cheaper!

We bought loads of fruit and Kaycee was excited to be able to buy a fresh pineapple for only 50p because it was part of a ‘3 for £1.50’ promotion.
We bought carrots, pineapple and oranges for £1.50 which was a great bargain as well as 3 bags (4.5kg in total) of baking potatoes for £1.50 🙂
The sweet clems were on a multi buy offer and all the other fruit and veg was excellently priced. We bought a lettuce for only 49p and it was marked with an ‘I’m cheaper’ sticker so you know it’s not just cheaper this week, it’s going to be staying cheaper.

For dinner we decided to have cottage pie and broccoli followed by delicious Morrisons doughnuts (after all, you can’t go to Morrisons and not buy the gorgeous doughnuts!).

Here’s how we made it:

Ingredients:
450g Extra lean British steak mince – £4 a pack if bought singly but I bought it as part of a 3 for £10 offer
500g Carrots – I bought a 1kg bag for 50p as part of the 3 for £1.50 offer.
1 large onion – 3 pack for 69p
185g Tin of garden peas – Morrisons savers 21p
Gravy granules to taste – I bought 200g for 79p
1.5kg Potatoes – 69p for 1.5kg but I bought 3 bags for £1.50
Pinch of mixed herbs to taste – Morrisons savers mixed herbs, 18g for 25p
335g Broccoli – 49p
  • Peel and chop your potatoes. Put them in a saucepan and cover with water. You can add some salt if you like but we never do.
    Set them to boil then simmer gently until cooked.
  • Prepare the broccoli and set it to boil. When the water is boiling, turn it down and simmer gently until cooked.
  • Peel and chop the onion and carrots. I chop them quite small so that the carrot cooks properly. If I want larger pieces of carrot, I boil them separately and add them at the end.
    Fry gently until the onion is cooked.
  • Add the mince and fry gently until it’s brown.
  • Add mixed herbs to taste.
  • Add the tin of peas, including the water.
  • Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, adding more water if needed but not too much because you don’t want it too runny when you add the gravy or the potato won’t sit on the top.
  • When everything is cooked through, add gravy granules to taste and thickness.
  • Mash the potatoes with a little butter and milk (or a splash of milk and an egg in our case seeing as I’m following slimming world and don’t want to waste syns on butter!) and some salt and pepper if desired.
  • Put the meat mixture into an oven proof dish and top with the mash. Use a fork to spread the mash and pop in the oven, 200° fan/220°/gas 7 and bake until the top has browned.
Serve with the broccoli and extra gravy if you wish.
This recipe served 5 of us (3 adult portions and 2 child portions) with the kids having seconds and some left over for lunch the next day so I’m going to cost this as 5 large adult portions! Prices are from Morrisons and are correct at time of publishing.
Cost per serving:
£3.33 – mince
25p – carrots
23p – onion
21p – peas
20p – gravy
50p – potatoes
2p – herbs
49p – broccoli
Total per serving = £1.04
That’s excellent value, especially as I bought extra lean minced beef (slimming world again….you could buy cheaper mince and reduce the cost further) and everyone polished it off and had seconds!
Now, I have to confess that we were so eager to sit down and eat, I totally forgot to get a photo of the finished meal! In my defence, it had been a busy day with visits from friends, still working on the kitchen and having 3 children home for the day, as well as having to do a full weeks shop, come home and cook!
I did remember to get a photo of the doughnuts though before the kids demolished them 🙂

 

Please note: we don’t watch tv while eating…Kaycee was watching Come Dine With Me before dinner and she had it on pause while we ate!
Two packs for a pound is brilliant and means we get 2 each (I’m saving mine for a treat after my weigh in on Wednesday!) with a couple of spares because Ant’s not keen on doughnuts.
All in all, I enjoyed our shopping trip, stocked up on loads of cheap but excellent quality fresh fruits and veg and enjoyed a healthy, filling family dinner, all thanks to Morrisons and Britmums 🙂
I’m going to finish with this little note from Morrisons:
This is the start of a new cheaper Morrisons.From today, we’ve cut
the prices on over a thousand of your favourite products. Not temporary
reductions or supermarket smoke and mirrors, these are new every day low prices
on the things you buy every week. So you’ll notice the difference with every
shop.

And although we’re cutting prices, we’re not cutting corners. You
can check our pricing at www.Morrisons.com/pricecuts.

You’ll
still get award-winning meat and fish, still get trained butchers and bakers,
still get the best of fresh on Market Street and still get friendly Morrisons
service.

Look out for the yellow markers when you shop in store and
online at morrisons.com. If it says I’m cheaper you know it’s staying
cheaper.

 
*We were sent Morrisons vouchers in return for this post, however, all opinions are my own and honestly given.

Watchbot CCTV Home Security Review

A while ago we were sent a Watchbot CCTV camera to review. It arrived just as we’d moved house and for a few weeks we were without internet so we couldn’t try it, then we couldn’t find it because it had been packed and we had no idea which box it was in!

Finally. we found it and had our internet set up so Ant got on with the job of reviewing it, seeing as he’s the I.T. consultant!

The following was written by my super wonderful husband 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watchbot 3

Remote access, audio enabled security camera with pan and tilt function and
external trigger ports.

The Watchbot was supplied, to me, in a professional looking, compact box, which
contained the camera unit, detachable adjustable mount, short (1.5M) ethernet
cable, power supply unit, fixing screws, trigger port connecting block, mini cd
(with software and PDF manual) and user guide.
The equipment is well designed and has a look of quality about it: smooth
edges, robust feel and well finished.

First Impressions

My first impressions were highly favourable.
The set-up is quite straightforward, however, I had to refer to the PDF
version of the manual as the writing was too small to read comfortably in the
printed copy. This did mean that I had to flick between the configuration
screen and the manual while setting up.

User Guide

This product has the potential to be exceptional, however, it is seriously
let down by its software and user guide.
The user guide is very basic with errors.
I installed the MS Windows desktop interface, for the initial set-up and
followed the guide, step by step.

Issues

1.
After initial detection, the guide instructs to “Select your camera and
click Set”. Unfortunately, this inaccuracy (there is no ‘Set’, but there
is ‘OK’) had me flicking back and forth between manual and interface
needlessly.
2.
The user guide said mail set-up was in the ‘FTP section
of the configuration window’, not the ‘Email’ section.
3.
To configure the SMTP server, the instructions say, “Select your email provider from the drop-down menu. This will
autocomplete the server and port sections”. The list has a very limited
selection of UK and Chinese email providers and no indication of how to
proceed if your email provider is not on the list.
4.
Unable to enter an email username that contained ‘@’ for the SMTP setup (I
did, eventually, manage to set this using the web interface, later).
5.
When configuring the motion detector sensitivity, the scale of 1 to 10 is
meaningless as there is no telling which is the most/least sensitive setting.
6.
The email notification doesn’t work unless the scheduler option is
enabled, but this is not explained. This function does work very well, though,
providing 6 small, 6KB, or so, sequential snapshots. There is no facility for
increasing the size of these.
7.
The scheduler is split into 15-minute sections, with an option to select
all. If you want to set the scheduler for specific times you must click each
section individually: there is no click & drag functionality. This means to
set the scheduler to run from 8 pm to 8 am daily, you must click over 300
sections.
8.
Configuring the FTP page is straightforward and FTP upload, at a specified
interval works very well, albeit with a low quality (around 25 to 30KB, with no
option to increase quality) image.
Watchbot review
Please ignore the piles of boxes in the background…we’re still unpacking!
9.
The FTP on motion detection is another story. I reset and re-configured my
watchbot three times to get this to work properly. No matter what, it only
managed to stay active for around 20 minutes, before this function stopped
working.
10.
There is no information on how to configure the pan/tilt function (PTZ).
The first option “against pre-bit” has left  Google and me stumped (https://www.google.co.uk/#newwindow=1&q=against+pre-bit).
11.
There is no explanation of the ‘Cruise Views’ function, which has options
of 1 to 10.
12.
Using the same MS Windows interface, remotely, from work, I was unable to
access any of the FTP settings. However, using the Android app, on my tablet,
these settings were available.
13.
The web interface varies considerably across devices, from near full
control to only pan functions.
14.
The WatchBot’s microphone is quite sensitive, and the built in speaker
function is fairly loud. However, using the MS Windows interface, unless you
disable the two-way functionality, or use headphones, audio feedback occurs.
This is avoided in the Android app, as holding the mic button disables the
speakers.

Useful & Well Made

I didn’t use the SD card function, or the I/O connection option, and so I
am not able to review these.
Despite the above, this is a useful and well-made piece of equipment and I
have enjoyed testing it.
When the software wrinkles are ironed out, this camera will be the perfect
solution to home and business security.

Monitor Several Devices

 

You can monitor several devices from the same interface and the ability to
connect remotely, without knowing your IP address (the camera has a unique
signature which is identifiable remotely,
by the software) is a definite plus and all-in-all I will give this
camera a conditional thumbs up.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The S.W.H. spent a good couple of weeks, in between work and all the jobs moving house entails, working on getting the Watchbot camera to work as it should.
The day after he sent me this review, the FTP upload on motion detection decided to stay on continuously. We have no idea why and it’s been working now for the past week so somehow it’s sorted itself out!

Telling the time – Sponsored Post

I bought Kaycee a watch for her birthday last year. It was a cheap one from Amazon because I figured it would very likely get lost sooner rather than later!

It turned out to be sooner than even I could have imagined when it went missing on her actual birthday, not long after her opening it!
She did find it a few days later and since then she’s tried really hard to learn to tell the time.
She’s doing great and I think it’s about time she had a lovely new watch as a reward for her hard work 🙂

There are some lovely designs for children on The Watch Hut but I’m not the best one to choose a new watch for Kaycee. I love all the pink and sparkly ones and I know she won’t be happy with one of those; she’s got a thing against pink at the moment, I reckon she’s had an overload of it since she was born and now she’s rebelling!

I did have a sneaky peak at ladies watches and even though I don’t wear a watch, I could get used to it after seeing the charm bracelet style watches…I love charm bracelets!

Image © The Watch Hut

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post; compensation was given in return for this post but the content is true…Kaycee’s doing great at learning to tell the time and I really do love that watch!

Saints and Slimmers – A Review

I was recently sent some packet meals and shakes from Saints and Slimmers to use as part of the 5:2 diet.
As a lot of you will know, I’ve been doing Slimming World for a year and a half and for the last 6 months my weight loss has slowed dramatically.

I thought I’d try the 5:2 diet out of curiosity really. I wanted to see what it was all about and whether it was something I’d be able to stick to easily the way I did with Slimming World in the beginning.

I was quite surprised at how easy the fast days were. I didn’t feel hungry between meals and all the food, apart from the porridge (I can’t stand porridge but the husband, who does like porridge, says it tasted like regular porridge) was really nice. The vanilla milkshake left a bit of an after taste but the strawberry one was lovely.

I really enjoyed both the chili meals and even though the portion sizes are childlike, I felt full after eating.

I have to be honest here and say that for the previous five days, I hadn’t stuck to the recommended 2000 calories a day (or Slimming World food optimising either) as we’ve been super busy decorating our new house and we’ve just grabbed whatever we can to keep our energy up so I was expecting a huge gain when I went to Slimming World on Wednesday morning.
I was delighted to find that I’d lost 4lb from the previous week 🙂 If I hadn’t done the two fast days, I would have gained around 5lb at my weigh in after all the takeaways, biscuits with coffee, crisps and everything else snack wise that I ate!

It’s been another bad week for snacking again since we’re still decorating and our meal times are all messed so I tried doing the two fast days again this week and according to my scales this morning, I’ve lost another 2lb from last Wednesday’s weigh in. On Monday I had weighed a huge gain which I’m not going to share because it’s quite embarrassing how much I put on in one week, when it wasn’t even Christmas!
Suffice to say that if I hadn’t done the fast days, I’d be dreading this morning’s weigh in!

Disclaimer: I was sent the meals to review, my opinion of the meals and my 4lb weight loss is totally true! 😀

 

Bedroom Furniture

As some of you may know, we’re currently decorating our new house and I’ve been doing lots of planning and virtual window shopping, wishing I had an unlimited budget so I could buy some new furniture for our new house!

I’ve been looking at bedside tables for Kaycee and Ella. They currently have bunk beds but we’re thinking of putting them out as single beds and I thought it’d be nice for them each to have a bedside table for their lamps and bedtime story book.
Ella has a Moshi Monsters lamp that she had for Christmas…

and Kaycee has a ceramic mushroom fairy house lamp that was mine when I was younger 🙂

I’ve been on Pinterest a lot having a look at different ideas for bedside tables. I love little round tables but we need storage so although they’re pretty, they’re not very practical.
There’s a great selection of bedroom furniture at The Range and I’ve been checking out the different styles.

Because I’m looking for furniture for the girls I naturally went straight to the ones with pink on but they seem to be rebelling against pink at the moment, only allowing their most favourite possessions that are already pink, in their new room! They haven’t let me buy anything pink and I had strict instructions that their bedroom walls were not to have any pink on them at all!

The girls are having our wardrobe and set of drawers as we have a built in wardrobe in our room so I’m now thinking it might be better to buy new white bedside tables for us and give the girls the ones we’re using at the moment because they match the wardrobe and doors.

I think I’ve settled on this one 🙂

Disclosure: The post is brought to you in collaboration with The Range.

Jungle Dogs Review

Like many kids, mine love hot dogs but we don’t have them very often because I’m always unsure of exactly what it is they’re putting in them.

When Jungle dogs offered to send us some hot dogs that are made from all pork, with more meat than other hot dogs and they don’t have any artificial colours or flavours, we couldn’t wait to try them 🙂

We talked about the best way to have them for dinner tonight and the girls were in full agreement….hot dogs and spaghetti.

We do our hot dogs and spaghetti a little differently to the conventional way because it’s so much fun! Check out our pictures below 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls, Aiden and I all thought these hot dogs tasted delicious and at only £1 for 6 from Asda, they’re affordable as well!

Disclosure: We were sent some Jungle dogs to review; all opinions are honest and accurate.

A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrokes

Crafty Christmas

The girls and I love crafts, especially at Christmas time. We were all excited when Ladbrokes sent us some lovely crafty items to make a stocking and some Christmas crackers as part of their Deck the Halls campaign.

We especially loved the stamping kits and the red spotty ribbon and bows for decorating the crackers with!

Crafting on my own!

Unfortunately, the girls didn’t get the chance to help me make them. The days over Christmas were hectic then they spent this week and the new year in Derbyshire with family. Don’t worry though, I’ve saved them some crackers to make for next year. I’m going to use them as one of our advent activities.
They’ll love filling them with gifts for one of their friends 🙂
Making crackers for A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrooks
As well as all the crafting goodies, I also received a voucher for John Lewis. My first thought was to buy more Christmas presents for the kids but Ant and his mum had said I’d bought them too much already!

John Lewis

I opted to treat myself for a change and bought some gorgeous things for our new kitchen (we’re moving house in the next couple of weeks). I’ve been so excited waiting for them to arrive! I ordered some ceramic measuring mugs and a tiny butter dish. The butter dish was a bif of a surprise as I had thought it was a proper sized one, (that’ll teach me to read the whole of the description!) but it is still totally lovely! Also, a beautiful ceramic cheese board and an old-style tin of hot chocolate.
I can’t wait to get them put on display in our new kitchen but, until then, I’ll just keep gazing at them lovingly!
Disclaimer: I was sent the craft goods and John Lewis voucher in return for this post.

De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas

Innovative Ways
to De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas!
When your home is filled with clutter, it can be very
overwhelming (particularly if it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner this
year!) With less clutter comes less stress, so de-cluttering prior to the silly
season is always a good idea. However, these do not necessarily need to be
thrown away. We’ve come up with a list of creative, innovative ways to get rid
of unwanted items around your house.
1. Sell them!
Other people consider their clutter as trash, but what
they don’t realise is that these items can easily be turned into cash (and
let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a bit of extra cash during the holiday
period!) The first step is to collect all the unwanted goods that you find in
your house, sorting the real trash from items which have resale value. You can
check similar second-hand items online by checking classifieds sites like Friday Ad or Quicksales. Have a look to see what
other sellers are pricing the same or similar items and this will give you a
good starting point. Remember to give your item a price that is right for the
current condition of it.

After determining the price of the item, you’ll need
to find a place to sell it. There are a number of places where you can sell or
list your item. The best, most affordable options would be to list it through
an online classifieds or auctions website which doesn’t charge fees, or have a
garage sale. You can also look into consignment shops but make sure you give
them a call first to find out their store policies, commissions and what
products they sell.

2. Renovate or
refurbish
If you’re feeling crafty why not reconstruct your old,
unwanted items into something new! This is best done with furniture or homewares
, but can basically be done with anything. There are lots of
do-it-yourself websites which will give you inspiration and take you through a
project step by step (such as this one on how to refurbish old wooden
furniture
). You can give a boring cabinet a new look by painting its
surface or reupholster an old chair by using fun and fresh fabrics. You can
even get your kids involved and get them to create their own ‘masterpieces’ using
scraps of fabric, odd bits of wrapping paper, buttons, or basically anything
laying around!
3. Donate to
charity

 

If you do not have the time to sell your items, you
can simply donate them to a worthy cause. This is a great idea this time of
year as plenty of charities collect Christmas gifts to give to the less
fortunate, such as the Domestic violence charity Refuge  A good rule of thumb when donating items is
that they should be in decent condition, do not require repairing or mending
and must be clean. Keep in mind that these items are going to be used by
another person or a family and the charity organisations often don’t have the
time or resources to repair or clean items.In collaboration with Quicksales

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