Sunday, 2 December 2012

Technical Problems

How are you. Frustratingly I have quite a few blog posts lined up as I have so much to catch up on. Unfortunately we can only access the internet via our mobiles at the moment so my posts & photos are being lined up behind the scenes!!!

I really hope that I'll be able to log on before Christmas but, just in case, I hope you all have a lovely time.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

The End of the Saga

As you know, I am a big fan of The Twilight Saga. The final film in the series, Breaking Dawn Part 2, was released on Friday, which was also my birthday, so I dragged Hubby to the cinema to see this long-awaited conclusion.

Wow!  I was blown away by the film.  It was so well put together & really finished the Saga brilliantly.  Even Hubby was impressed!

I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea but I love it & was so lucky to spend a part of my birthday watching something that I love!


Friday, 9 November 2012

Baby Blanket #4

Well, I've completed the fourth baby blanket of the year so far.  This one is for another nephew, little brother to the twins I made blankets for a couple of years ago.  We didn't know whether he was going to be a boy or girl so I went for a "unisex" blanket & then just did the relevant colour border when he was born.  I'm very pleased with how it has turned out.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Party

Well, we went to the local Halloween Party at our Children's Centre & the girls had so much fun.  Freya loved being a witch but Abby refused to put her ghost costume on........she's a girl who knows what she wants!!!

We tried to have a family photo taken but, as you can see, Abby was more interested in what was in her cup!

There was a little competition for the children's costumes - Freya was one of 3 children who won (yay!!).  There was also a competition for the best carved pumpkins - we took one that Hubby carved for Abby (I did one for Freya) & theirs won (yay again!!)  

I know I posted this picture earlier but, seeing as it's now an award-winning pumpkin, I thought it was worth another post ;-)

The Children's Centre is run by our local council & is very heavily into promoting healthy living, safety & well-being for families.  For this reason they had loads of information on Fire Safety (it is the season for bonfires & fireworks!), which is really useful.  They also made a home-made vegetable soup & served it to everybody with bread rolls - it was absolutely delicious!!  In order to encourage us to try this ourselves they gave us all vegetable "goody-bags" with the recipe to take home with us.

Look at all of the fab stuff I came home with!!! Leeks, onions, carrots, a sweet potato, butternut squash & swede.

Apart from the fact that the girls loved the evening running around with other children dressed up in scary costumes, the best part of this evening was EVERYTHING WAS FREE!!!!!  The party was put on for free, all of the information was issued to us & the vegetables were given to us - FREE!!!  We practically live at our local Children's Centre as all of their playgroups are run at no cost to the local parents & they also put fun events like this on regularly.  They're even open during the school holidays!!  It's a shame that more people don't attend these Centres (they either don't know about them or just aren't bothered about coming).  In the past year the attendance at our Centre has dropped dramatically - mainly because the children that came last year now go to school/nursery - there are always people with babies/toddlers though that don't come along.  If you have small children & have access to a local Children's Centre then I would definitely recommend getting involved while you have the opportunity - one day the Councils might decide that there's no point in keeping them open if they're not being used by the public.


Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

We are looking forward to a Halloween party this afternoon, which is being held at our local Children's Centre.  Freya will be going as a witch & Abby will be a ghost.  I'll post some photos later.

Hope you have a good day.


Monday, 22 October 2012

New Puppy

We've got a new addition to our family. I've been feeling terribly broody for the past few months but having another baby is not an option at the moment. We've been visiting & revisiting the idea of getting another dog for a while & 10 days ago we made our decision.

After seeing the advert online we had fallen in love with this "lemon" basset hound x cavalier king charles. We'd decided on her name before we went to see her. Thank goodness we were able to see her first thing the next morning before anyone else had the chance to snap her up!!!

Introducing Daisy.......

Lucy likes having a playmate & we're thrilled with our new addition.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Food Shopping on a Budget

We, like many many people in this current economic climate, have been trying to stick to a budget recently.  Don't get me wrong, we have had a budget to work towards for the past few years, but we have found ourselves needing to become a lot more conscious of the cost of everything & try to get the most for our money.

For the past 18 months or so we have been going to a Discount Warehouse on a monthly basis to stock up on household items such as cleaning & laundry products, which has made a HUGE impact on reducing our spending.  We have also taken advantage of shops such as Poundland & 99p Stores for household/gardening products.

The biggest impact, however, has been using our local market to buy our fruit, vegetables & meat.  For the past 6-8 weeks we have abandoned our weekly trip to the supermarket in favour of "shopping around", visiting lots of different places in order to get the best deals & supporting our local traders.  We tend to spend maybe one day a week going into Doncaster town centre to stock up on our fresh produce & then visiting other shops such as Lidl & Home Bargains to purchase jars, packets etc as & when we need them.  Of course, we do still visit our local supermarket but mainly for items such as milk & bread as this is just down the road & convenient when we need just a couple of things.

We went into Doncaster today to visit the market, as we have been doing on a Tuesday for the past month or two.  Just to emphasise the value of using a local market I would like to share our purchases for today:

7 bananas = 50p
7 nectarines = £1.00
7 braeburn apples = £1.00
7 oranges = £1.00
Honeydew Melon = £1.30
Punnet Strawberries = £1.50
Punnet Grapes = £1.00

Bag of Mushrooms = £1.00
7 tomatoes = £1.00
Cucumber = 30p
6 large spring onions = 65p

Beef Joint = £5.00
7 Gammon Steaks = £5.00
Tray of Stir Fry Meat & Vegetables = one of 3 trays for £10.00

Tray of Steak & Kidney (split into 2 portions) = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Beef Stewing Steak (split into 2 portions) = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Minced Beef (split into 3 portions) = £3.00

10 chicken breasts (split into 3 portions) = £10.00
20 bacon rashers (split into 3 portions) = £4.00

Total spent = £47.25
Total meals = 17 meals' worth of meat

Ok, we still need to think about what will go with our meals, i.e. rice, pasta, sauces, vegetables etc, but it means that I have over 2 weeks' worth of meat in my freezer for less than the cost of a full weekly shop.  Please bear in mind that my portion sizes are for 2 adults and 2 toddlers, so they're not as big as those for families with older children.

Shopping this way may not be for everybody - it is a case of going to various places rather than getting everything under one roof, but I think that the extra effort is worth it.  We're actually eating better meals in the evenings because of it & the meat that we've been buying is a much better quality than that we had been buying from the supermarket.

I know that there are people who have shopped this way all their lives but this is new to us & we are amazed with the difference it has made to our finances.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Crochet Clothes Peg Bag

I haven't got a lot to report on the "domestic" front at the moment as I seem to be having a bit of a slump. I do, however, have lots of crochet to show - I have been busy on that front!!!

As part of The Art of Crochet magazine I have hundreds of patterns for various items from clothing to items around the house. I got fed up with carrying my pegs around in a carrier bag so I decided to use one of my patterns to make a peg bag. 

It really didn't take very long, it's the lining that was the tricky part for me.  I ended up sewing 2 hankies together, albeit very badly - I would love to be able to sew properly but I just don't have the patience! I reasoned that on this occasion no-one would see the lining anyway so I wouldn't worry about it.

I love the finished result! It looks beautiful hanging on my washing line in the sunshine!!!


Thursday, 23 August 2012

New Beginnings

We went down to stay with my parents last weekend. They've just recently moved into a new house after having lived at the previous one for 15 years. It was an opportunity to down-size a little bit & I suppose is a "new beginning" for them as it is their first house since they got married 32 years ago that is just for them - no children to consider!

It's a lovely house with a nice garden. Considering they've only been in there for a few weeks they've done an awful lot to make it cosy & homely already - not a single box in sight!

I took a couple of pictures while we were there but the light wasn't great. I LOVE their conservatory/dining room, it's fantastic to sit in & look at the garden. The lounge is also really cosy without feeling cramped - they had a rather big lounge before & I worried that all of their furniture was going to be too much for the space but it worked really well.

I'm so pleased for them, I know that initially they were worried that maybe they were making the wrong decision with  moving.  Good luck Mum & Dad in your new home!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Garden Fun

Despite the lack of posts from me over the past month I have been busy beavering away in the background - admittedly not the domestic-goddess-related things that I strive towards but still, busy nonetheless.

This past week has been beautiful so we spent the majority of it outside in the garden. We came back from playgroup on Thursday morning to find that Hubby had put up the bouncy castle, paddling pool & tent in the garden. The girls were beside themselves with excitement. The rest of the day was spent playing in & out of the water & just generally relaxing with the family. 

Our tent was bought the Christmas before last in the hope that we could start going camping, however with Abby being born last year & moving etc it didn't happen.  We decided we'd do a trial-run in the garden first, which is what we did on Thursday night. I'm so glad we did! Abby freaked out about being in a tent at night & sharing a bed with her sister so, after the initial hour it took for us to get her to stay in the tent without screaming there was an additional hour & a half of the girls giggling/fighting/rolling around on the air mattress before they finally fell asleep! Then I spent most of the night waking up to check on the girls &/or dog!  It was fun as a one-off but while Abby's still little I'm so glad we hadn't booked a week away!!!!

Still, I FINALLY took the opportunity to decorate the garden with pretty lanterns & tealight holders that I bought about 3 years ago & have been sitting in my cupboard ever since!  I had to go out & buy some shepherd hooks but I was thrilled to find these in Poundworld. Yep, for £1 each I got some fantastically pretty butterfly hooks that not only look fab but are also REALLY heavy & sturdy! Bargain!

The tealight holders were from Morrisons as per this previous post. My dragonfly lanterns were from Bombay Duck years ago (I think I bought these before I even fell pregnant with Freya & she'll be 4 in December!!!)

Anyway, I'm really pleased with how pretty this part of the garden is looking now. Plus, my stargazer lillies have come out & my hydrangea is looking beautiful, so all-in-all I'm quite enjoying our garden at the moment.

I hope you've been able to enjoy the weather where you are.


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Baby Blanket #3

My nephew, Max James, was born on Saturday 7th July 2012 at 7.50am. He weighed a whopping 10lbs 9.5oz!! We knew in advance that my brother and his girlfriend were expecting a boy, which was good news for me as I took advantage of all the small amounts of blues and greens to make up this blanket.  I hope they like it!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


I'm trying to get our garden looking lovely but the weather isn't really helping at the moment!!!

We were given an orchid by some friends last year when they came to stay with us on the weekend of the Royal Wedding. I haven't really done a lot with it so was really surprised when a beautiful pink flower appeared!

We also have a rose in our garden that we got as part of our wedding flowers 6 years ago.  We had these exact roses at our wedding & we got the florist to make up 3 pots, one for each of our Mums & also one for us. The rose is called Once in a Blue Moon &, although we have had buds & flowers before, this is the first year that the rose & colour has actually resembled those lilac roses that were present at our wedding.

I've also been planting lobelia and geraniums, which I have in abundance thanks to my Mother-in-Law planting about 600 seeds!! I'm also pleased that my hydrangea is returning this year (another flower that we had at our wedding), although when I bought it last year it was a mixture of blue, purple & pink flowers whereas it looks like it might just be pink this year, but will still look wonderful, I'm sure!

With the rain & a poorly household this week I think the garden is going to have to wait, but fingers crossed I'll get round to it soon.


Monday, 2 July 2012

Baby Blanket #2

I finished my second baby blanket of the year a month or so ago & it has already been received by my school friend, who had a little girl on the Jubilee Weekend.

It was my first attempt at a ripple & I was really pleased with how it turned out. I got some ribbon free with an issue of Mollie Makes magazine so decided to use some on this blanket to "finish it off".

All in all, a very successful blanket!


Saturday, 30 June 2012


I've been awful lately with this blog!  So much for my new-year resolution!!

We went on holiday at the end of May to Fuerteventura. We went with my parents for a week & had a lovely time.  We hadn't really had a holiday since our honeymoon in 2006 so it was a well-needed break. I would really recommend it if you're looking for somewhere warm to go but don't like the heat. Although the temperature was high, there was a constant breeze to cool you down so at no point did any of us feel like we were sweltering!

We took the girls to a massive safari park/zoo, Oasis Park on one of the days, which was amazing. On top of the usual animals, monkeys, wild cats, hippos etc we saw a few of the shows. The sea lion show was fantastic & they actually brought a HUGE sea lion out into the crowd. We also saw a parrot show where they had lots of different parrots doing various tricks (very clever).

The best show for me though was the reptile show - mainly because Hubby was picked out of the crowd to participate, along with 3 other people.  Hubby actually volunteered but the others were picked out of the crowd and were obviously petrified at the thought of getting any closer to the 3 crocodiles that were swimming around in front of us! They were taken into the enclosure/stage under the impression that they were going to help feed the crocodiles. The keepers had them all line up & had a fantastic way of winding up the nervous ones to make them more scared - it was hilarious when one of the keepers crept up behind one man & pinched the back of his knee & made this poor man jump out of his skin!!!  I'm cruel, I know but it was funny. In the end they didn't have to go near the crocodiles & instead were presented with this massive python that was lifted from out of a box behind them all, over their heads & straight into their unsuspecting hands - again, a very funny moment!

The Oasis Park was a lovely day out but it was sooo hot! It was in the middle of a desert almost, so there was not a lot of breeze.

We also spent a morning visiting the sand dunes & chilled out on the beach. The girls absolutely loved paddling in the sea (first time ever for both of them) & it was fabulous to watch them having so much fun.

To be honest, we didn't really venture that far from the hotel too much more as we were happy chilling out by the pool.  Our hotel, Hotel Suite Atlantis, was in the northern part of the island, Corralejo.  Despite some initial problems when we first arrived with checking in, I really liked it. There were a few pools, one of which was directly ouside our room & was never very busy. The girls had their first swim on holiday & they really enjoyed it. The pool was not heated so it was very cold when we first got in & the girls didn't like it at all, but by the end of the week they were loving the water!

All in all, we had a really lovely week - it's a shame that our week away coincided with the week of gorgeous weather in the UK so we came back to the rubbish weather!

I've got a couple of photos but our laptop died this week before we had backed up our videos & photos - grrrrrr!