Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

Happy new year to all my dear friends.

I hope you have a fun evening and a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Our New Years Eve will be spent playing games with the children and watching the fireworks on the tele at midnight (although we may be in bed watching them, I'm tired already).

Today, I treated myself with some Christmas money to a pair of half price boots. They are furry and warm so should the cold weather arrive I should now be fully prepared. And at £15.00 I couldn't really go wrong!

In the forthcoming year I would like to :-
Lose some weight
Become a bit fitter
Save regularly each month also linked with reduce our spending
Monitor everything that goes in and out of our accounts and where it goes
Relax more
Finally but possibly my favourite have as much fun time with the children as possible (they are growing up quickly and I don't want to miss out)
Pop and see my dear dad (and mum) as often as I can

Have fun and take care xx

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Daily ramblings

Hi, I hope you are having a good day.

Every Christmas and Easter my darling mum makes my children a chocolate house. She tries to make them different every year. Today the children started to eat this years so I thought I would post a picture of it.

Isn't it lovely, sadly it now has no door, no tree, no little men and only half of the roof left. But I guess its made to be eaten!

Yesterday, I said I was going to try and get some yellow snickered food to help get though January, so tonight I popped to Asda to get some milk and found a Chicken and Gravy pie for 15p, a four cheese ravioli dish for 10p and six eggs for 10p. So I picked these up and popped the pie and ravioli in the freezer and I thought we could have scrambled egg on toast for lunch tomorrow.

I was very lucky for Christmas this year and received lots of lovely bath smellies and shampoos, as did the children so for the first couple of months of the year I should be able to get away without buying any toiletries other than toothpaste. Yippee only food to worry about then and hopefully I can be really clever about how I shop and get things for as little as possible.

I have also been quite inspired by my dear friend Nathalie who uses her store bonus cards wisely and gets quite large savings from doing this. I did manage to get £25 off my Christmas shop by using my Sainsbury's Nectar card and I got £12 off some beanie boos for my daughter by using my Boots advantage card and as the beanie boos were on three for two I also got one free. But next year I intend to monitor this more closely and see if I can use these cards more effectively.

Well now I am going to pop off and have a nice warm bath an early night and read a bit of The man in the high castle.

Take care and sleep tight xx

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Menu Plan Monday (ok its a day late!)

We are starting a day late this week, so only a six day week this week.

Tuesday - shepherds pie and veg (carrots and parsnips leftover) update chicken pie mash and veg (my mum has just made this and dropped it over) lucky me!

Wednesday - Gammon, mash and veg

Thursday- Gammon, chips, eggs and beans

Friday- Roast Lamb, Roast potatoes, veg

Saturday - Cold meat, Roast potatoes, salad and pickles

Sunday - soup and bread

I am going to try and keep my shopping down to a minimum this month to make up for the expense of Christmas. So this may well mean trying to get as much yellow stickered food as possible and freezing as many leftovers as I can manage.

I also plan to make soups (as these are cheap) for my lunches when I am back to work.

If anyone has any cheap recipes that they can think of please let me know and I will give them a go.

Take care and talk soon xx

Monday, 28 December 2015

After christmas update

Hi, I hope you have had a good holiday.

Have you done any sales shopping this year?

We live near a retail park and I had to drive past it today to drop Christmas presents to my lovely Aunt and Uncle who spoil us rotten every year, the traffic went on for miles. Then when we returned home a couple of hours later the traffic was even worse.

I'm not a big fan of shopping but I honestly could not think of anything worse than sitting in traffic to get to the shops, struggling to park and then battling against people to get the things you want. Yuk!

I don't normally have New Years resolutions, mainly because I probably wouldn't keep them as I don't have much willpower. But I do intend to try not to buy too many new items this year.

With charity shops and places like Ebay, items can be picked up at a fraction of the price of new items these days. I also intend to try to reduce the amount of things we have in our home.

Because of being so poorly these last couple of months I have realised that I put an awful lot of pressure on myself because I can't stand having an untidy home (and having five children it can become a mess very quickly). I can't change the way I am, so I need to change the amount of things we have to clean up and put systems in place to avoid the mess.

I have also never really asked my children to do anything but over the next few days I am going to put a chore plan in place. My mum suggested this because she believes if they are doing part of the work then there is less chance they will want to mess it up. Ha ha we shall see!

Well I am going to head off now and try and come up with a healthy menu plan for the rest of the week using leftovers. After Christmas I always fancy soup! I'm not sure the rest of the family will
 want that though.

Talk soon xx

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas to all my friends

Happy Christmas!
I hope you have all had a nice day! Thank you for all the Christmas wishes. I have been away again because I have been unwell. I have been in hospital as the virus that I have had turned into pneumonia. I am on the mend now thank goodness.
I look forward to catching up with you all soon.
Lots of love
Tara xx

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Kids stockings

Hello my dear friends,

I have taken a bit of inspiration from my dear friend Nathalie who told me to post pictures of the children's Christmas calendars. As I am trying to take things much easier for a couple of weeks I thought I would post some pictures of them for you to see. Two of them are embroidered and I would love to get the others embroidered too but I can't seem to find anywhere to do this. In fact I ordered my two youngest sons dressing gowns with their names embroidered on them and only one has arrived and I have been refunded for the other one as they are unable to send this one.

This makes me feel quite sad as there is only a year between the youngest two and they are like twins so I really wanted them to have their names on the dressing gowns.

This is my eldest.

My second eldest.

My daughters.

As I said the youngest two are like twins so they chose the same calendar that doubles as a stocking.

They are still behaving like angels in the morning, two days running, ha ha if that's what chocolate does in the mornings I might have to think of an excuse to carry it on after Christmas. (I really am joking for those that don't know me)

Take care x


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Feeling better

Hello dear friends,

I'm sorry that I have been away for almost three weeks now. I have had some sort of virus, that started off with flu like symptoms but every time I stood up I felt as though I was going to pass out. I have been up and about for about a week but have felt completely drained of energy. I still feel very lethargic but I feel I need to get back to some sort of normality so please bare with me, my posts may be a little lacking until I feel back to myself. If anyone has any ideas of a pick me up please let me know and I will certainly give it a try.

So sadly, I am now quite behind with my Christmas organising. But sometimes these things happen and its not going to be remembered this time next year if we don't have the perfect Christmas.

My mum bought my dad a shirt that he wanted so another present is out of the way.

The children's Christmas calendars are done and hanging up and I have to say they were so good this morning that it was as though Father Christmas had sprinkled Angel dust on them. Lets hope every day is like this until Christmas. Ha ha.

We have our stockpile of goodies to eat in the freezer and in the garage for the busy Christmas days.

Sweet man has his Christmas party next Saturday and mine is meant to be next Friday but I have decided to opt out this year.

My sweet girl has an evening production coming up so we will need to use a freezer meal that night.

I hope that you are getting organised and I look forward to hearing all about it.

Take care

Monday, 9 November 2015

congratulations to my sweet man


Congratulations to my darling sweet man for being promoted to UK sampling manager today, I am so proud of you.


Monday - burger chips and onion rings

Tuesday - Spaghetti Bolognese

Wednesday- lamb shanks roast potatoes sweetcorn and carrots

Thursday- soup and bread

Friday - Pizza and chips

As I have changed to doing my shopping on a Saturday my menu will only go to Friday this week

Have a lovely evening and take care

Sunday, 8 November 2015

To remember

This morning my thirteen year old, who has recently joined army cadets, took part in the remembrance day parade.
It is the first time I have ever actually been to one, I have watched them on the television before but never actually been to one. My daughter and I proudly watched as he marched past not in uniform, as he has not received his yet, but in his school clothes. It was a very heart wrenching ceremony and seeing all the elderly servicemen wearing their medals made me realise just how lucky we are.

We did not do any further shopping today as my son was quite tired, both physically and emotionally after the morning so I have decided to make some cookies for their lunch for school tomorrow and maybe for the rest of the week as we have the ingredients and its better than buying more things.

Monday - sandwich (either cheese or chicken), apple cut up and soaked in lemon juice, cookie, bag of crisps and a drink.

Tuesday - sandwich (chocolate spread or peanut butter and jam), apple, cookie, bag of crisps and a drink

Wednesday - sandwich (cheese or chicken), cucumber slices or cherry tomatoes, cake or cookie, banana and drink

Thursday - croissant, crisps, cucumber or cherry tomatoes, apple and drink

Friday -  sandwich (Tuna or egg), banana, crisps, cookie or cake and drink

Sweet man has cup a soup and pot noodles at work and I am going to take ham and egg salad with an apple or banana.

For breakfast we have either cereal, toast or bagels.

And I have almost finished organising our meals for next week so I will update you on those tomorrow.

I am now off to cook dinner. Have a lovely evening and take care.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Weekly Shop 07/11/15

Hello lovely people,

I don't know if you have noticed recently but I am trying to rearrange how we organise things around here. We used to shop each day at our local ASDA store but this was working out very expensive and it meant that I was cooking quite late in the evening and honestly I am too tired when I get in from work.

So Saturday has become our shopping day, and its something my daughter and I do together which is very fun and enjoyable and means we get some quality time together.

Today we shopped at Lidl, Farmfoods and Aldi.

I thought it might be nice to list what I have bought and how much they cost.


Loose bananas £1.05 11 bananas
Cherry plum tomatoes 29p
Cucumber 29p
Large tomatoes £1.29
Iceberg lettuce 45p
Lamb shanks in rosemary and red wine x 2 £3.74 (1.74 each)
Butter x2 £1.64 (82p each)
German sausage selection £1.49
Chicken slices £1.39
Coleslaw 59p
Choc crunch cereal £1.19
Nougat pillow cereal £1.69
Nutella chocolate spread £1.49
Chocolate twist x2 90p (45p each)
Stoneware rolls x6 £1.50 (25p each)
Plain fresh bagels 76p
French croissants £1.23
Baking paper 99p
Beef Mince x2 £3.18 (1.59 each)
Chicken breasts £11.58 (5.79 each)

Total £36.47


Crinkle cut chips 95p
Sirloin steak x2 £6.98 (3.49 each)
Pork sausages 89p
Apples x 2 £1.08 (59p each) 20 Apples
Onions 79p
Baking Potatoes x2 1.08 (59p each) 8 potatoes

Total £11.97


Milk 4 litres £1.50
40 packs walkers crisps £3.95
Mini cracker tub £1.00
Apple juice 69p

Total £7.14

I also like to pop into either B&M or Home Bargains to pick up some other bits for the children's lunches for school but the traffic was too bad today so we might pop down there first thing in the morning.

I am trying the cereal from lid for the first time as I normally buy Krave and Crunchy nut clusters, the cereal from lid looks very similar but is almost half the price so I am going to give it to the children and see if they notice the difference. I will let you know!

Tomorrow, I will show you my food plan for this week.

Have a nice chilled evening.

Take care!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

christmas update

Hi, it is time for another Christmas update.

Do you remember last weeks cleaning was in my two youngest boys room and I said  that this is likely to take me two weeks again the same as my daughters bedroom. It is definitely going to take another week. So this week I will continue to clean and clear my little boys bedroom. As I said before this room should really be decorated but that is not something I intend to do before Christmas so cleaning is the best I can manage.

For food this week I am going to make some fudge cookies for freezing and the plan is for the children to have these as a treat on Christmas eve with hot chocolate a couple of hours before they head off to bed.

The main meal that I plan to cook and put away as a December meal is Chicken and vegetable casserole with dumplings. This is a hearty meal and perfect for when its really cold. It can also be put in one pot and left to cook so its nice and easy.

For presents this week sweet man has taken over and ordered a couple of presents for me. Yay!
I have also been getting some ideas and today, my daughter and I popped into Sainsbury's and saw a couple of little things that my mum has mentioned to me in the past. So we are discussing whether we should make her a stocking this Christmas of little things.

This weeks extras that I am going to add to the shopping list is a box of lager for sweet man. We don't really buy very much alcohol for Christmas but I do like to have beer, cider and a couple of bottles of wine for sweet man and any family that may fancy a drink.

The children are going to make a start on writing their Christmas cards this week as they have about thirty each that they write and that is a bit too much for them to write in one go. They tend to write ten each week.

Let me know how you are getting on with your Christmas organising, I look forward to reading it.

Take care x

Monday, 2 November 2015

Menu Plan Monday

Hello dear friends,

Its Monday again and time to organise a menu for this week.

Monday -Honey and mustard pork steaks with rosemary roasted new potatoes

Tuesday - Chicken in a sage gravy with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables

Wednesday - Soup and home-made bread

Thursday - chicken pie, roast potatoes and vegetables

Friday - Omelette (using up items near to sell by date)

Saturday - Lasagne and garlic bread

Sunday - Lamb shanks, roast potatoes and steamed vegetables

Bargains I have bought today

Two containers of fresh fruit 10p each
Large bowl of fresh fruit 60p
24 fruit shoot bottles £3.00
Shampoo £1.00
Conditioner £1.00

The fruit will go into the children's lunch boxes tomorrow, the fruit shoots will also go into the children's lunch boxes this week and next week and I will keep the bottles to refill them as the children's drinks bottles are all falling apart.

I hope you have managed to organise your food for the forthcoming week.

Take care

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sunday update

Afternoon dear friends,

I hope you are having a nice day.

I am, I have just watched one of my favourite programmes that has been on a summer break and has just come back on...Blacklist. Its one of the few things I like about winter, I can't stand the cold, dark evenings but I do like that the television is good again.

This weeks spending is fairly good.
Lidl £22.56
Lidl £28.33
ASDA £8.50
Sainsbury's £10.33
Total spent £70.22
This week we are under budget, our initial budget was trying to stay within £100 although my aim was to make our budget £80.00. This week we are even under that figure. I'm not sure whether we are under budget because we have been off school this week so I have had more time to cook things from fresh.
If that is the case I really need to try and fit more cooking into my time. Also my family have enjoyed having home made food to enjoy and sweet man has made his colleagues jealous with his sausage rolls at lunchtime.
Tomorrow we are back to work and I'm not really looking forward to it, whilst I do enjoy my job my most favourite thing is spending quality time with my gorgeous children.
My daughter and son have their glasses ready for school tomorrow so I thought I would show you how cute they look.



We have decided they are our Clarke Kent and Felicity Smoak. Whilst I am not really a Superman fan I do like Arrow and Felicity Smoak is one of my favourite characters. Have you noticed its been all about the Tele today?

Well seeing as it is Sunday evening I guess I had better go and give the kids a nice warm bath and get them ready for bed before I sit down and are you ready for it? Watch Zoo. (ha ha)

Take Care xx



Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

Hello lovely people,

I hope you are having a lovely Halloween.

The children with the help of daddy have spent the afternoon doing their pumpkins.

We had jacket potatoes with sausages and beans for tea (its normally our bonfire night meal so we may have to have it again next week).

No trick or treating tonight for us as the children have decided they are too old at the tender ages of 7,8 and 9. So they are dressed as Cinderella, a teenage mutant ninja turtle. And one of them has a sticky up hair cut.

We are now watching the black cauldron.

Have a wonderful evening

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Bake day

Hello lovely readers,

Today we decided to make lots of goodies as we only get time to do this in the school holidays and the children were desperate to make cakes.
We got up this morning and immediately made a lovely fresh loaf of bread.
It was so tasty that it got used up at lunch time and we had to make another one this afternoon so that sweet man could have some.

We then made cookies.

and sausage rolls
and cakes.

We also played two games of Harry Potter cluedo, hovered the whole house, changed one of the beds, cooked dinner, picked up the kids glasses, did two loads of washing, some ironing and cleaned the kitchen.
What a good day!
Take care

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Food waste but not on friday

Hello Friends,

I wouldn't normally post my food waste on a Tuesday but I have noticed I have let things go a little recently both at home and on my blog. So in an attempt to get back to how things should be here is this weeks food waste post.
My fridge was way overdue for being cleaned out and I am really pleased that it is now clean and as it should be.

Our food waste was a yoghurt, a cheese sauce, bacon, soft cheese and some cakes. I have to admit if I had been more on top of cleaning the fridge this wouldn't have happened.

Our fridge looks much better now and I am really glad that I cleaned the fridge out today as I have a pack of eggs that need to be used up and the children are desperate to make cakes so that will stop the eggs from being wasted and we can freeze some to help with next weeks packed lunches.

I have some butternut squash soup that needs to be used up so I am going to have that for my lunch today. I also have some baked beans that were opened a couple of days ago so one of my boys is happy to have beans on toast for lunch.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Take care!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Christmas Update

Hi Friends,

I hope you are well. I am here again with my Christmas update, unfortunately, I think the shopping part of it will need to go on hold for a few weeks as we had the opticians today and both my daughter and youngest son need glasses. My daughter is short sighted and only needs them for computer work, reading and the interactive white board at school. My son however has astigmatism in both of his eyes and is both long and short sighted in both eyes so will have to wear them all the time and this is linked with dyslexia. Ouch expensive!

So for a smaller Christmas update this weeks room to clean is my two youngest sons room, this is another room that is badly in need of decorating so it may take me longer than a week. Included in this cleaning I am going though all their clothes and pulling out anything that is too small. I also plan on scrubbing their bunk bed and sorting through their toys. Quite a task.

I still plan to carry on cooking and organising December food because the less I have to spend on food the more I can spend on Christmas presents for the ones I love!

This week I am going to make out stuffing, I make a sage and onion stuffing using breadcrumbs, fresh sage, onions and sausage meat and this is a big favourite in our house.

I may also make some more cookies for the lovely little ones.

I was very lucky this week to pop into our local supermarket before the opticians shock and get a few cars for my youngest two boys stocking.

I remember last year my darling dad saving me some vouchers out of the newspaper to get some packs of Lego for the children's stockings. They are big Lego fans and loved them and of course they were free. I do love a freebie!
Take care!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Menu Plan Monday

Hello Friends

I'm a bit late with my menu plan today because I have spent four hours washing and ironing our winter clothes.

But here we go with this weeks menu.

Monday - Tacos with Cheesy Nachos

Tuesday - steak and onion rolls

Wednesday - chicken casserole

Thursday - shepherds pie

Friday - Halloween buffet

Saturday - Jacket potatoes with cheese and beans

Sunday - Gammon, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, carrots and corn on the cob

Well that's this weeks menu, for our Halloween buffet we are going to have cheese and crackers, toffee apples, mini hot dogs and crisps and dips with lots of sweets.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Yay for lazy saturdays

Hi dear friends,

I thought I would write a bit more of a light hearted post today just letting you know what we have been up to.

I woke up this morning at about four o clock, I think this was because my sweet girl was at her first sleepover and subconsciously I was missing her. I couldn't get back to sleep so I got up.

I pottered doing bits and bobs like unloading the dishwasher, making coffee and sitting and drinking it, I then made the boys their breakfast.
I had to pick sweet girl up at nine. So at eight o clock I left home and popped into our local supermarket because it was having a toy sale. I bought six cars in varying sizes mainly for my youngest son as he has a big car holder that isn't yet full so I thought they would be good for his stocking.  I also saw a magic set that I think my other young son would like and now I wish I had got it.

I then picked up my daughter, yay finally, and gave her about five million cuddles. Yes I missed her.
We came home and sat and watched films, both tomb raiders had sandwiches for lunch and butternut squash soup for tea.

Tidied the kitchen, hovered downstairs, read and hugged the lovely little ones and now I'm chilling with the sweet man.

Have a lovely evening.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Sorry for the absence

I am very sorry that I haven't posted much this week, we have had two nights of parents evenings which meant working late.

Parents evening that we had to attend for two of our children and an options evening to discuss the options that our year nine student will choose at the end of the year.

We were also advised about the changes that are being made to our children's GCSE exams and ultimately their future which I feel is difficult enough in view of the extortionate house prices and lack of jobs in England as it is. I say England because as I understand the other part of the United Kingdom are not being affected by the changes to the GCSE's.

It is not very often that I will make any comments on anything that our government does but in this case I genuinely believe they have lost every marble that they may have had!

Our poor children have lost the ability to do coursework, yes we have gone back to 1988 when the GCSE's first came in (I know that because I was one of them guinea pigs that took that exam) and after changing them because they didn't work the first time they have decided to give them a second go... Just to make sure that they didn't work!

So sadly, any child that struggles with nerves or anxiety as many children do now, will become further stressed because there work is assessed on a two and a half hour exam only and not several pieces of work and an exam. I would be interested to see the effect this has on the mental health of our children as there are already serious concerns regarding the increase in children who are suffering from mental health issues.

That is not all my dear friends... oh no our government has decided it would be beneficial to increase the difficulty of our exams to the point that the children will be studying many things that were previously included in A levels and on top of that to cap the amount of children that can actually pass these exams in the first place.

So even if they have worked solidly for three years and achieved really good result if they are in a clever year group there is still no guarantee they will pass there exams.

And those poor children who have special needs have no chance, so thank you for making our children future look even bleaker than they previously did.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Christmas Update

Hello again, we are back to another Christmas update.

Last week I told you that the room I would be Working on getting Christmas clean would be my daughters room and that this would probably take two weeks, guess what? I was right it is definitely going to take two weeks.  We have made a start but we are not getting very far, very quick.

This weeks extra meal that I am going to cook will be a beef and onion in gravy with a mashed potatoes topping similar to a shepherds pie but with braising teak instead of mince. This is a new recipe but seems like it would be quite hearty and warming, so I hope it works.

The baking that I intend to do this week is a coffee and walnut cake as my sweet man loves this and he only treats himself to cake occasionally.

The present that I am going to buy this week will be for my darling mum, and I intend to buy her a nice warm jumper and a good book.  I have also bought my daughter another dress, its long and flowing and I know she will love it.

I do need to start getting some ideas for boys soon though, but girls are just so much easier to buy for.

Have fun and take care!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

sunday spending

Hi, so this week I have managed to keep a spending update.

14.10.15 Lidl £45.00
16.10.15 co-op £12.00
17.10.15 ASDA £47.00

Total £104.00

Four pounds over our target of £100.00, which I am quite happy about. Its easy enough to make that up over the next couple of weeks.

Now just for a little chat, here are the things I have done today
  • Hovered upstairs
  • Two loads of washing
  • Cooked a roast dinner Yum
  • Packed three lunches for tomorrow- my daughter is having a school dinner
  • Sat with my youngest whilst he completed his maths homework
  • Bathed all the children

The other thing that I have done today is organised a homework routine with my second eldest son.

We discussed that he had a maths homework - linear equations to complete. He was not fully confident with this so we sat together completing the worksheet until he fully understood and managed to finish the sheet accurately on his own.

He also had science revision sheets to complete for a test on Tuesday. This had a suggested time of an hour to complete. This took us six hours and we still have to go over this again tomorrow evening so that he is confident and comfortable when he goes into the test.

He has Spanish revision sheets for a test also on Tuesday, we have not had time to do this so this is something we need to work on tomorrow. This is a subject I find difficult to help with as I don't speak Spanish.

He has an Art homework that has to be in on Wednesday, this is to complete a fact file about  mythical creature including a life like drawing and information written in your own words. This has a recommended two hour time slot and will have to be done Tuesday when the tests are over. He has already chosen to do big foot.

He has a history homework that luckily doesn't have to be in until the 2nd November which is to create a mind map on why World War 1 started to help with a controlled assessment.

He will have more homework given o him this week but luckily as we have half term next week we can fit in some fun time too. Whilst doing his maths homework he let me in on a little secret a young girl in his class had sent him a message the night before telling him she really liked him. Bless!