Monday, 30 November 2015

Me & Mine 2015 - November

I can't believe it's the end of November already. It actually feels like we blinked and it was the end of the month. Where has the time gone?

It's almost time to get in to the festive spirit, putting up decorations, watching Christmas movies and eating chocolate until we feel sick. I can't wait!

This month, of course, hasn't been as exciting for us as last month. If anything it's been kind of a month of just going through the notions. Monday to Friday, it's been the school run, college, placement, working on reports and keeping on top of the housework. Saturday and Sunday have been chilled out, getting jobs done round the house and taking the kids to their hobbies. We had a visit from my Grandma at the beginning of the month which was lovely and a day of Christmas shopping which was good but other than that, our photos this month pretty much sum up our month: cuddled up together in our jammies, enjoying movies and TV and keeping warm.

Husband sold his motorbike this month which was a pretty sad day for him. In 2011 or 2012 I think it was, he bought himself a scooter for getting to and from his work. At the time he was working locally so the scooter was a lot cheaper than having two cars and meant I would have the use of our car when I needed it. From his scooter, he moved on to a CBR and, when he passed his bike test, he got himself his 650 Bandit. More and more, especially with me going to college and taking the kids to school, I've needed the car which meant in the bad weather the option was for us to walk in the pouring rain, take a taxi or use the car and Husband risk using his bike. It just wasn't safe and so he decided to bite the bullet and sell the bike and get himself a little car to use for his work. It's a blue peugeot that's 12 years old but it's a good runner and it's a diesel so he's saving a fortune in fuel. Most importantly though, he's a lot safer in the wind and rain we've been having recently.

Z has been enjoying learning algebra and French at school. He knew a bit about both already but it's great that the school are giving him the opportunity to stretch his interests. He's doing really well in school which is always great to hear. He's really in to Pokemon at the moment and has asked Santa for some for Christmas.

Miss C has been loving horse riding, as always, and is getting braver each time she goes. Last lesson she went for a canter without holding on to her saddle. She loved meeting Santa at Hamleys and her list is full of horse themed items. Santa asked her if she wanted a real horse for Christmas and, thankfully, she said no, just a toy one!

I love this photo of us all, in our bed. The cat was trying to sneak in to the shot too! I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year. I'm off for just over 2 weeks with the kids so it will be great to spend that time with them and hopefully Husband will be able to take some time off with us too.

dear beautiful

Sunday, 29 November 2015

365 Project 2015 Days 326 - 332

Day 326 - A proper Sunday dinner of roast chicken, roast potatoes and veg
Day 327 - Reading before bedtime
Day 328 - Cosy jammies
Day 329 - I hosted a Tatty Teddy Twitter party which was fun
Day 330 - Meeting Santa at Hamleys
Day 331 - Chinese for dinner
Day 332 - Some photos from Florida in a frame

The Week That Was #48

Last Sunday, Miss C and I went horse riding. Miss C rode Jocky and did a marvellous job of cantering herself without holding on to her saddle. She did bounce about a lot but she stayed on and did really, really well. I rode a horse called Barney but I didn't feel as comfortable on him. He kept pulling his head right down so the reins were burning my hands, making them quite sore and I kept thinking he was going to just stop and throw me off. He didn't, thankfully, but I don't think I'll ride him again for awhile. After lunch, I got on with some college work and the kids played with their Lego.

On Monday, I headed to placement. It was another quick day, which I always find is the case when I'm on placement. I picked the kids up from my friend's house and we headed home for stovies which I had made the night before. They were yummy! Husband sold his motorbike today. He was really sad to see it go but with the really bad weather having hit us and a few scary moments on the roads, he decided to sell it and get himself a little car to use for work. It also means I get to keep the big car for myself and the kids to use as and when we need it.

On Tuesday, I spent my second day of the week in placement. After picking the kids up from my friend's house, we came home and had spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. The kids were really excited to wear their cosy, fleecy jammies. It really is time to get cosier for bedtime.

On Wednesday, it was my day off. I spent the day doing a college report which was really mentally draining. I was glad to get it finished by lunch time. I picked the kids up from school. Miss C had some homework to do so we did that together and Z decided he wanted to look in to algebra more. Husband came back from work and took the car to the garage who are going to repair the damage from when a school bus hit it last week. It isn't too far away and when I take it in next week I'll get a courtesy car which is good. Thankfully there isn't much damage to repair so the car will only be away for the day.

On Thursday, I took the day off college as I wasn't feeling too great. I was looking back on my Facebook timehop and it would seem I end up unwell around this time of year every year. I dropped the kids off at school and came home to a cup of tea and toast. I did some college work as I thought I should make the most of the time to catch up on some stuff. I picked the kids up from school, came home and we got changed really quickly as we were heading to Hamleys in Glasgow for the I Met Father Christmas event. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday, I still wasn't feeling great so I stayed off college again. I dropped the kids off at school then came home and got on with the housework. No rest for the wicked, even when we're feeling rubbish. Z's friend came over after school for a little while and we decided to order Chinese food for dinner which was really good. Miss C, Daddy and I watched Beauty and the Beast whilst Z headed to his Friday club with his friend.

On Saturday, Z had Karate in the morning so Husband took him to that. Miss C and I went to Asda to get our food shop. When we got home, I got on with the mountain of ironing I had to do and watched Masterchef the Professionals whilst doing so. My brother in law and his wife popped over for a visit and to collect some baby things as their baby is due in January. Miss C didn't want to feel the baby moving but Z did and he said it felt very weird. We had pizza for dinner and then caught up with the X Factor.

Friday, 27 November 2015

I Met Father Christmas at Hamleys Glasgow

Blogging brings about some fantastic and amazing opportunities for us as a family which we are always super grateful for. We were invited along to meet Father Christmas as the world famous Hamleys toy store in St Enoch Centre Glasgow. It isn't the closest of places for us to get to but I knew the kids would love the chance to take part in the I Met Father Christmas party.

I Met Father Christmas is an interactive event, where children can enjoy a magical fun-filled breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner with Santa. With scrumptious food, entertainment, arts and crafts, singing and dancing and much, much more, it is sure to be an occasion to cherish with your little ones. Children can enjoy this magical experience surrounded by the world’s finest toys from the 28th of November right up until Christmas Eve. The event lasts an hour and costs £25 per child.

When we arrived, we were delighted to see Susan and Transatlantic Blonde's family (minus Mummy who is in America) there already. These events are great for meeting fellow bloggers too! The kids got to play with a remote controlled Minion. I'm not sure which one it was other than to say it was the short one. They seemed to enjoy him! 

When everyone had arrived, two elves joined us to take us round to the party room. There was Brainy Elf and Baby Elf. At first Miss C was a bit unsure but Z was right in there, joining in with the chat and silliness that only true elves know how to bring out in children. The interactions were great! Miss C eventually warmed up to them and was soon marching along to the party room singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. 

The party room was beautifully decorated and the living room feel made it very cosy and warm. There were enough chairs set up so that probably around 16 children tops would be able to be in the party room for any one session, making it a pretty intimate Santa meet and greet opportunity.

We met Mama Elf, who had been sleeping in Santa's chair! She brought the kids some party food which included Christmas tree shaped pizza and sandwiches, juice or water and a Rudolph ginger biscuit for afters. The food seemed to go down really well. I didn't get to try any of it and I'm pretty sure all the adults in the room were itching to steal a bit of pizza from the kids.

Once the children had finished their food, the elves told them they had to sing Jingle Bells really loudly as this is Santa's favourite song. They were given musical bell instruments to use whilst singing and then Santa appeared!

Santa was really lovely and sounded just how I would imagine Santa to sound. The children were invited to sit around the fireplace with Santa and he read them a story, one of my favourite Christmas stories, Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The children got to write their list for Santa and then take it up to him, one at a time, to have a chat about what they wanted. Z had a good old chin wag with Santa whilst Miss C was a bit quieter. But I could tell they were both in awe and loved the opportunity to speak to Santa one on one. Miss C even made him a Christmas card. I think she was trying to sook up to him after being a bit naughty!

We received a lovely goodie bag with some of Hamleys toys including the beautiful Hamleys teddy and a really cute reindeer Christmas decoration. Once the kids had finished playing games, writing their lists, colouring in their cards and getting Christmas tree glitter tattoos, we headed round to the postbox to post their letters. Santa and the elves marched the children through the shop to the front entrance and helped the children to make it snow! It was a truly magical hour with Santa and his elves.

The morning before we came to the event, Miss C had been asking me if Santa was real. I didn't answer her other than to say what do you think? She thought about it, as did Z, who answered, "well if it is you and Dad I think you should tell us because we'll be pretty disappointed when we are adults if Santa doesn't bring us any presents!" After being at the party and the interaction they had with Santa, I think they believe in him for sure.

Here's a short video of the kids meeting Santa at Hamleys. Thank you to Hamleys Glasgow and St Enoch Centre for inviting us along!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Playmobil Advent Calendars for 2015

We were sent a Playmobil advent calendar as part of our role as Playmobil Playologists. Miss C loves the Playmobil advent calendars so she was really excited to see it when it arrived. Of course she wanted to open it there and then but I told her she had to wait until the 1st of December.

There are a couple of different advent calendars to choose from. We received the Christmas room with a Christmas tree that actually lights up! Miss C has a Playmobil house so it will be fun to decorate her house with the Christmas goodies she gets in the calendar.

We made a short video of our first impressions of the advent calendar and you can keep an eye on my instagram account where we'll post a daily photo of what's behind each door.

Monday, 23 November 2015

My October in Photos

I'm a little late with this one this month but here is what our October looked like in photos from my instagram account.

It's pretty much full on Disney which is really no surprise since we spent most of October there. It seems like such a long time ago.

I can't even pick out a favourite photo from this month; they are all equally amazing!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Week That Was #47

Last Sunday, we didn't get out of bed until almost lunch time. Sometimes you just need one of those lazy days. I watched a bit of Nigella with my breakfast (brunch really!) and it was really nice just to chill out. The kids wrote their letters to Santa and then watched Harry Potter whilst I made Chili for Monday's dinner and mince for tonight's dinner. We had apple crumble for pudding with custard. Perfect for a horrible, wet day!

On Monday, it was back to placement and school. It was a really cold and miserable day. After I picked the kids up, we came home and got changed and ate Chili for dinner. It really warmed us all up. We had an early night too as we were shattered.

On Tuesday, it was another miserable day. It was dry in the morning so we walked to school but by lunch time, the rain was on and it was quite heavy. When we got home, we had chicken tikka for dinner and then headed to bed for another early night. Z wasn't feeling too well and we figured it must be the aftermath of his nasal flu spray a couple of weeks ago.

On Wednesday, it was my day off. I dropped the kids off at school and got on with some college work. I had to head in to college after I picked the kids up from school to go over work I missed when I collected Z from school on Friday. The kids loved visiting the college and the ladies were quite taken with them.

On Thursday, it was back to college for me. I dropped the kids off at school and then headed there. The day went fast again which is always good. I picked the kids up from my friend's house and we headed home to get cosy and warm.

On Friday, I was heading to college when one of the school buses decided to hit my car whilst I was stationary, waiting to leave the school car park. Thankfully no one was hurt and there is minor damage to my bumper but I got a lot of abuse from the bus driver as he wasn't prepared to admit he was at fault. Our school car park isn't the best designed car park as it has an entrance and an exit but two car parks using the one exit so traffic comes from both the left hand and right hand side. The buses come up the middle of the exit from the bus lane. He obviously hasn't been paying attention to the right hand side of the exit, only the left and has managed to clip the front of my car. I drove home after getting the details of the bus company from the school since it wasn't safe for us to pull over and get his details. It's going through the insurance and thankfully we have protected no claims. As no one saw the incident other than seeing the bus driver shouting abuse at me, the blame will probably be allocated as 50/50 which is annoying. But, at the end of the day, it's just a piece of metal and it could have been worse. I definitely needed some chocolate!

On Saturday, I headed to the shops myself to get the food and some presents. Miss C has asked for some of the Our Generation doll stuff, in particular a huge horse so I managed to get her that and one of the dolls in her horse riding gear. I think Miss C will have lots of horses from Santa this year. Sadly no real one! We had pizza for tea and caught up with Xfactor.

My Sunday Photo 2015 #47


Saturday, 21 November 2015

365 Project 2015 Days 319 - 325

Day 319 - Writing our letters to Santa
Day 320 - Chili for dinner
Day 321 - Time to break out the hats and gloves
Day 322 - I received a Klout perk today!
Day 323 - This is Felix's new spot
Day 324 - Friday was a day for chocolate
Day 325 - Miss C helping Daddy clean his bike

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Aerodynamics of Biscuits - Book Review

Aerodynamics of Biscuits is a brand new picture book from Maverick Books. It is written by Clare Helen Welsh and illustrated by Sophia Touliatou.

This is the story of a group of mice lead by Captain Sneaky McSqueaky. They want to go to the moon because they heard that the moon is made of cheese. They need to find a way to build a rocket to get them there and they decide that a little boy called Oliver can help them.

The mice decide that biscuits are the best things for the job. At first Oliver thought they were stealing them to eat and then he sees the attempt at a rocket the mice had made. It was too heavy to take off though and Oliver offered to help them.

When the mice arrive on the moon, they set about cutting up lots of cheese to take home with them. But Captain Sneaky McSqueaky had eaten all the biscuits up! They had to figure out a way to get back home and Oliver came to the rescue again.

This story is quite easy to read and some of the text changes in the story to emphasis a sound or an action word. This is a great book; I've not seen a story like it before and the kids really enjoyed it. The illustrations are really fun and quirky too.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cajun Chicken Pasta - Recipe

Cajun chicken is one of my most favourite dishes to eat and it's probably my most ordered dish if we go in to a restaurant that serves it.

I also love pasta. I literally could eat pasta every day of the week. The kids and Husband also love pasta and whilst us three would eat any kind of sauce with our pasta, Husband isn't too keen on tomato sauces so I'm always looking for something different to try.

I decided to combine my two favourite foods and I made Cajun chicken pasta for the first time last week. It went down a storm with the kids and Husband and it's definitely going to be another dish to add to our meal planner.


2 large chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 peppers, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 pint of chicken stock
4 handfuls of penne pasta
60ml single cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to cook with

Let's cook it!

Pour a small amount of olive oil in to a large pot. Add in your onion and fry it gently on a low heat for a few minutes, until soft. Add in your crushed garlic and fry it gently for a minute. Add in your chicken and Cajun seasoning and stir until the chicken is sealed. Add in your peppers and gently fry. Add in your penne pasta, uncooked. You could use other pasta if you prefer but we love penne. Add in the chicken stock. I only needed 1/2 a pint but add in enough so that your pasta is covered. Add in some salt. Leave the pasta to cook as per the cooking instructions on the pack but keep and eye on it. Once the pasta has cooked, you should find that the water has evaporated, however if it hasn't let it boil away until there is hardly any water left in the pot. Again, you'll need to keep an eye on it so the dish doesn't burn. Add in the cream, stir and add in some salt and pepper to taste.

Serve it up with some garlic bread. Delicious!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Dining in Disney - Day 6

On our sixth day, we headed to Hollywood Studios. We decided to stay at the hotel for breakfast and grabbed a quick service lunch in the park. We had a table service booked at Sci-Fi Dine-In. Here's what we had:

Breakfast at the Landscape of Flavours - Art of Animation

We headed to the food court quite early, around 8am, but it was already busy. Having figured out how to get the most value for money from breakfast, the kids and I went to get our things and Husband went to get his breakfast burger. The kids had cereal; coco pops for Z and fruit loops for Miss C and I had bran flakes with raisins. We got some water, milk for our cereal, 3 packets of grapes and 3 cookies. Husband had a steak and egg burger with fries. We got an orange juice as one of our drinks so Husband had that with Miss C.

The total cost of our breakfast was $29.50 including tax. No tip required at a quick service restaurant.

Snacks from a coffee kiosk in Pixar Place - Hollywood Studios

We picked up some water and saw the most delicious looking cookies at a coffee kiosk in Pixar Place. The water was free as you can ask for cups of water at selected kiosks around the parks and we all shared the cookie as a mid morning snack. Actually it was about 11.30am but we didn't want to have anything too heavy before riding Star Tours as it can cause motion sickness!

The total cost for our cookie snack was around $4.00 including tax.

Lunch at ABC Commissary - Hollywood Studios

The appeal of ABC Commissary was the yummy burger pictures on their menu. It is also a quick service location so we knew it wouldn't take long to get something to eat and then be on our way. We arrived at the right time because it was mobbed when we were leaving.

The kids and I ordered a kid's meal with Z and I choosing burgers and Miss C choosing chicken nuggets. They didn't do plain burgers but the cheese wasn't melted on to my burger so I managed to take it off and it was fine. I only eat plain hamburgers! We got a side of fries and a bottle of water with our meal. The kid's meals cost $6.49.

Husband chose the 1/3lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of fries for $9.99. He said it was pretty good.

The total cost of our lunch was $29.46 including tax.

Snacks from an ice cream kiosk - Hollywood Studios

We were feeling pretty warm after watching the Beauty and the Beast show so we decided to get some ice cream to eat whilst we watched the Indiana Jones show. Husband, Z and I chose vanilla and Miss C decided she wanted to do half and half vanilla and chocolate. The ice cream was just like Mr Whippy but so much better and the portions were huge. Both of the kids couldn't eat all of theirs but Husband and I did a good job of finishing ours off.

The total cost of our ice cream snack was around $17 including tax.

Dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In - Hollywood Studios

I was excited to eat here and it was one of the places Husband chose for us to book as he loved the idea of sitting in a car, watching old movies and eating a meal. This is a table service restaurant so you can book it up to 180 days in advance.

The inside of the restaurant was really fun but quite dark which I wasn't that keen on as I like to be able to really see what I'm eating. Most of the cars have 3 rows in them which meant Husband and Z sat in one row, Miss C and I sat in the middle row and some strangers sat behind us which was a bit strange for a table service restaurant.

The menu had a lot on it, mostly burgers and sandwiches. Husband chose the New York Strip Steak and asked for fries instead of the mash potatoes and I chose the shrimp pasta. Z chose a burger (his second of the day!) and Miss C had the penne pasta with chicken. Husband ordered a beer and the kids and I ordered water.

The food came out quite quickly and it was pretty good. Miss C didn't really enjoy her pasta which was a surprise as she would usually wolf down pasta but I think she wasn't keen on the pasta because it was whole-wheat. Husband's steak was beautifully cooked and I wished I'd gotten it myself after trying a bit.

The kids got fruit for dessert but Husband and I decided we were full up!

The total cost of our dinner was $79.45 including tax and we rounded it up to $90 to give a tip of $10.55. It was just below the 15% tip but we didn't feel the service was amazing to be worthy of an 18-20% tip. The food was good but not the best we had eaten so far.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Florida Day 6 - Hollywood Studios

On the sixth day of our holiday, we headed back to Hollywood Studios. We had breakfast at the hotel and headed to the park for opening time to try and get round some of the rides first thing.

The first ride we headed to was The Great Movie Ride. It was good fun and quite interactive. You go round various scenes from different movies including The Godfather and Alien. Thankfully we didn't see any aliens! I think The Wizard of Oz was my favourite bit.

After The Great Movie Ride, the kids met Pluto. Goofy was out too but we'd met him at Tusker House so decided not to queue for him. We headed towards the Muppets show which was brilliant. Miss C and Husband had already watched it on our first day at Hollywood Studios so they knew what was going to happen but they didn't spoil it for Z and I.

We headed round to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area. It's a nice place to go if you want to have some downtime and some shade in the park. Miss C was excited to see Antie from the movie. She cried when she died in the film! Just outside of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids area, we met Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc.

We had Fastpasses booked for Toy Story Mania, Star Tours and The Lights Motor Action show.

Our first Fastpass was for Toy Story Midway Mania. When we arrived in the Toy Story section, there was a huge standby queue for the ride - 110 minutes! We had to wait in the Fastpass queue but it wasn't too long and there are so many things to look at, the time goes quickly. The ride was really, really fun!

We managed to meet Buzz and Woody inside Andy's room and outside we met a Green Army Man. When we met Buzz and Woody, Husband shouted to Woody, "there's a snake in my boots!" Well, Woody came over to the cast member looking after them and got her to check his boot. It was really funny!

Our second Fastpass was Star Tours which was really good. I thought Miss C might hate it because it was quite shaky and, in some parts, the drops were a bit fast but she loved it. Apparently the story changes so chances are you won't go on the same journey twice and Husband and Z said it was completely different from the one they went on in Paris.

We decided to grab some lunch and then head over to our first show of the day which was Beauty and the Beast. On the way to the show, we stumbled upon a show on Sunset Boulevard. It was fun to watch. The actors in Disney are great!

We didn't have a Fastpass for Beauty and the Beast but we didn't need one as we managed to get fairly good seats. It was roasting inside the seating area because it was all open. It was shaded but the hot air was flowing through and the fans weren't strong enough to cool us all down. The show was brilliant though and we soon forgot about how warm we were.

After Beauty and the Beast, we headed towards the Indiana Jones Stunt show. We grabbed some ice cream first and then queued to get a seat. We didn't think we were going to get in for that showing but we did and it was brilliant. Some of the stunts were incredible!

Sticking with the show theme, we headed towards the Lights, Motor, Action stunt show. We had a Fastpass for that one but we were running late and even though we got in for our Fastpass time, we didn't get a Fastpass seat because the seating area was almost full. We spotted a bench near the front and grabbed it quickly! Again, the show was amazing! It was great to see how they did some of the stunts and we loved seeing Lightening McQueen in the show!

After the show, we had a stroll around and a nosy in some of the shops. We also met Mickey in his Sorcerers outfit.

We had a dinner reservation at Sci-Fi dine in. We were feeling pretty hungry and tired by then so it was nice to get a seat and something to eat. We then headed back up Sunset Boulevard to watch Fantasmic. The show started at 8pm but we got there for just after 7pm so we could get a good seat. We ended up right at the front which was brilliant. We got a little bit wet but we could see everything and had some of the characters waving to us.

The show lasted about 30 minutes so we got back to our hotel room by 9.15pm. We fell in to bed, absolutely knackered!

Beauty and the Beast and Fantasmic were my two favourite shows of the day. Husband really enjoyed them all as he loves a good show and the kids were the same. We didn't manage to see the Frozen show or Disney Junior show but I think we picked some of the best ones to go and see. We also didn't go on Tower of Terror the Rock 'n' Roller coaster as the kids didn't fancy them.

Here is a video we made of the day...

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sibling Moments #23

Our sibling photo this month isn't anywhere near as exciting as our sibling photo from last month. In a harsh contrast, we're wrapped up in Winter jackets and the flip flops and swimming costumes are packed away. 

I guess it's because of the colder weather and darker days that these two are bickering more. They are fed up being stuck indoors and they take it out on each other. Z tries to be the bossy big brother and Miss C usually tells him where to go, by screaming at him. 

Then there are the morning, especially at the weekend, where Miss C will creep in to Z's room and get in to his bed beside him. They'll cuddle up together with their teddies and have whispered conversations until they start laughing and end up waking up Husband and I. 

dear beautiful

The Week That Was #46

Last Sunday, Miss C and I went horse riding or rather I took her to horse riding and I watched this time. She rode Lulu for half an hour and then rode Teddy to do some cantering as Lulu is still a baby and doesn't like getting lead in to canter which Miss C still needs. After horse riding, we came home for lunch and then I sat down to do some college work. Not my idea of a fun Sunday but needs must!

On Monday, it was back to school and placement for us. The weather was really bad. It rained constantly which meant parts of the town ended up flooded. Sometimes I'm not sure which is better; snow or wind and rain? Personally I prefer the wind and rain over the snow as I can drive in it. I don't drive in the snow. After dinner, Z decided to build a tower of Lego heads.

On Tuesday, it was another rotten day. Thankfully it didn't rain as much but it was still miserable. When we got home, Miss C and I read her book for homework. We had a new dish of Cajun chicken pasta for tea which was lovely.

On Wednesday, it was my day off so I dropped the kids off at school and came home to do my college work. I only had one report to write but it took nearly 3 and a half hours to do. I picked the kids up, we came home to get changed and then headed back to school for parent's evening, which I blogged about here. I headed over to a friend's house after dinner to have a catch up which was great as I don't manage to do that very often during the week.

On Thursday, it was back to college for me. The day went in pretty quickly but I ended up leaving early because of the weather. It was pouring with rain and as my friend who picks the kids up doesn't have a car, I didn't want any of them to get wet. Even so, we were soaked by the time we ran to car from the playground. The kids went for a bath when they got in to warm up and we all got our jammies on afterwards.

On Friday, I dropped the kids off at school and headed to college. Half way through my first class, I got a phone call from the school to say that Z wasn't feeling very well. I spoke to him on the phone and he told me he had a bit of a sore tummy. As it was nearly snack time, I told him to go and have his snack and see if he felt better after that. Thirty minutes later, the school phoned me so I left college and went to collect him. When we got home, he changed in to his onesie and fell asleep for a couple of hours. I got on with my college work. When I collected Miss C, it was pouring with rain again. We got changed and snuggled up on the couch to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Even Felix joined in with the cuddles.

On Saturday, Z was still feeling a bit unwell so he missed Karate. I headed to the shops to get our weekly food shop and I picked up some Christmas bits. Asda have a Christmas card that I put £5 on to every week when I pay for my shopping and then they reward you with £5 for every £145 you save. I use that to get books and DVDs for the kids for their Christmas and to stock up on champagne and chocolates for friends. After lunch, we headed to a local shopping centre to get some Christmas presents. We also went to Build a Bear as one of Miss C's bears had been recalled on a safety notice so she was able to go and choose a new one. She picked a bat and she called him Midnight.

365 Project 2015 Days 312 - 318

Day 312 - Kitty sees, kitty sits
Day 313 - A tower of Lego heads
Day 314 - Cajun chicken pasta for tea
Day 315 - Miss C is under there somewhere
Day 316 - Watching Christmas ads after dinner
Day 317 - Z felt unwell at school so I collected him and he went to bed
Day 318 - First Christmas tree photo

My Sunday Photo 2015 #46


Friday, 13 November 2015

She Likes a Good Chat

On Wednesday, I headed to school for the first parent's evening of the new school year. I took Z and Miss C with me as, well I don't have anyone to watch them so they had to tag along. My appointments were for 3.45pm and 4pm so they were quite close together which meant I'd be back home in time for dinner. I prefer having the early appointments as it's over and done with not long after the kids finish school.

My first appointment was with Miss C's teacher. Miss C showed me all of her work in her tray. I noticed she liked to write stories about animals, especially horses. Her writing and spelling is getting better but her work didn't appear to always be finished.

Her teacher is really lovely and easy to chat to. She told me that Miss C is a really clever girl and she has lots of friends in her class but sometimes she can be easily distracted and she likes to have a good chat in class meaning she doesn't always complete her work in the time they are given. We agreed that Miss C would bring home any work she hadn't finished in class so she could finish it with me.

Z's report was excellent. Z continues to excel in all areas of the curriculum to the point where the class are learning French and Z is able to help some of the children because his French is way ahead of anything they teach in his year group. He is well liked by all of his class and has a brilliant little group of friends who are very supportive of one another in and out of the classroom. His Math teacher is super impressed with his abilities and he always makes contributions in his classes.

For Miss C, we had a chat with her after dinner to address her concentration in class. She is, by no means, a child who is naughty in class but her talking can distract others from their work and sometimes that is just as bad as a child who is being disruptive in class. We decided to create a visual for her in the form of a chart. We explained that her teacher thinks she is a very clever little girl but she needs to work harder in class otherwise she is going to get her work back home with her to do after school. We explained that this would mean she would lose her play time as she'd have to spend the time doing more work. She didn't seem keen on that! We talked about implementing a chart for her over the week and if she finished all her work in class, she would get a tick on her chart. If she didn't, she'd get a cross on her chart. We asked her what she thought would be a good consequence for not doing her work and we agreed that losing a toy or her tablet would happen if she got so many crosses and if she had over a certain number of crosses at the end of the week, she would lose her horse riding lesson. We could simply tell her she isn't going horse riding but I think having a visual aid will help her to actually see how well she is doing and if she needs to take steps to make improvements in the week. We also agreed that if she did well and got no crosses on her chart, she could choose a reward.

The chart and threat of losing stuff must have worked because she came home yesterday with a sticker for completing all of her work and not chatting when she wasn't supposed to be. Here's hoping that it continues!

These meetings just go to show that no two children are alike, even when they are siblings!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Playmobil Giveaway

As Playmobil Playologists, we get to review some fantastic new toys from Playmobil but we also get the chance to offer you guys a giveaway!

I have two Playmobil Special Forces Firefighters up for grabs. These would make great stocking fillers for Christmas or you can add them to your Playmobil collection if you can't wait until then.

London Fire Brigade have recruited a specialist #PLAYMOBILBrigade to release a catchy sing-a-long video, to ensure children know who to call when they are in danger.

If you'd like the chance to win one of the Special Forces Firefighters, simply watch the video below and then answer the following question:

What is the second emergency our PLAYMOBIL firefighters are called to?

There are extra chances to win by filling in the Rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

1. Participation in the competition is free of charge and does not require an order to be placed. By entering the competition – with the consent of his/her legal guardian if the user is of minor age – accepts these terms and conditions, and any other conditions or deadlines mentioned separately.

2. PLAYMOBIL will handle all personal details such as family name, first name, phone number and email address in accordance with legal provisions.

3. Entry to the competition is open to all persons aged 18 and over, and resident in the UK. Legal representatives and employees of PLAYMOBIL or LFB and their family members are not eligible.

4.To take part in the competition the user must submit the correct answer to the question on this page and complete the rafflecopter form to register entry. The competition will end at midnight on Sunday 22nd November.

5. The winner will be randomly drawn from all entries in relation to the competition. Any recourse to courts of law is excluded.

6. The winner will be notified via email and will need to reply by email to confirm acknowledgement of the prize.

7. The prize: There will be 2 winners who will win 1 x Special Forces Fire Fighters figure each. No cash alternative.

8.PLAYMOBIL bears the costs for shipping the prize to the UK domicile of the winner.
It is agreed by the participant with PLAYMOBIL that any further costs incurred by winners in relation to this competition, e.g. customs duties and taxes for the prize, shall be met by the winner or his/her legal guardian.

9. The prize may take up to 2-4 days to arrive.

10. PLAYMOBIL reserves the right to replace the advertised prizes with other prizes and to change the game rules any time. The change takes effect the next calendar day. In this event the participant is not entitled to lodge a claim of any kind against PLAYMOBIL.

11. PLAYMOBIL shall not be liable for any loss or injury which the participant may incur as a result of accepting or making use of the prize.

12. PLAYMOBIL is entitled to exclude participants from the competition at any time in the event of a serious breach of contract.

13. PLAYMOBIL has the right to cancel the competition at any time without prior notice and without indicating any reasons, particularly if technical complications arise.

14. Any recourse to courts of law is excluded.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Not Without My Whale - Book Review

Not Without My Whale is a brand new picture book from Maverick Books. It is written by Billy Coughlan and illustrated by Villie Karabatzia.

This story is about a boy called Arnold and he has a pet whale. He isn't allowed to take his pet whale to school which means Arnold doesn't want to go to school. He won't go unless he can take his whale with him.

Arnold's friend Dora helps him get his whale to school and helps him get around lots of school situations, like how will Arnold play football at gym or what will he do with his whale at lunch time? Arnold makes new friends when they all help to feed his whale and they enjoy counting bubbles for their math lesson.

This is a fun story and shows how being understanding of someone and looking at ways to help get around a situation can be more comforting or give confidence to someone rather than telling them they can't do something. The illustrations in the book are fun and colourful and the story is really easy to read and follow.

We really enjoyed reading this book and the fun bit at the end of the book had Miss C and Z in stitches.

We received this book for the purposes of a review. The opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Dining in Disney - Day 5

We had a rest day on the fifth day of our holiday and spent all day at the pool. Husband left us to head to the Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios so the kids and I had dinner on our own. Here's where and what we ate:

Breakfast at Landscape of Flavours - Art of Animation

We got up a bit later so the food court wasn't as busy when we arrived just after 10am. This was the day that a wonderful cast member told us how to get the most out of our breakfast choices. After spending $30 on 4 bowls of cereal, a bowl of fruit and a smoothie the previous day, I didn't think the food court was very good value for money. Turned out we just weren't doing our breakfast meals right!

A bowl of cereal on it's own with a carton of milk counts as a snack credit if you are on the Disney Dining Plan. We weren't on the dining plan so we were paying out more by doing that. By making the cereal a meal, we got more for our money for less than a dollar extra. A meal comes with a main component, so in our case the cereal and the milk, a drink and 2 sides. All for $5.50 including tax.

Miss C, Z and I chose cereal and milk, a bottle of water, a bag of fruit and a cookie. Husband chose the steak and egg burger which came with a side of fries for around $13.

We kept our snacks for later on.

The total cost of our breakfast was $29.50 including tax. No tip required at a quick service restaurant.

Takeaway from Landscape of Flavours for lunch

We weren't feeling overly hungry so Husband got us all a small portion of fries from the food court and brought it to the pool side. You can get free cups of water from the pool's Drop Off bar. We also had our snacks from breakfast to eat.

The total cost for our lunch was $20 including tax.

Dinner at the Landscape of Flavours 

The kids and I headed for dinner around 6pm and the food court was busy. Just like breakfast, there are lots of different sections where you can choose what you'd like to eat. There is a sandwich station, an Indian station, a pasta and pizza station and a burger station.

I decided to go for a kid's meal as I wasn't overly hungry. I got a tandoori chicken dish with basmati rice and a naan bread. I also got water to go with my meal.

Miss C decided she wanted spaghetti with meatballs and Z decided he wanted pizza with fries. He ordered his own fries whilst I waited for Miss C's pasta as it is made to order.

The pasta and pizza section were really popular so I was waiting a little while to order and then collect Miss C's pasta. They have a section which they continually stock with pizza so you can collect it yourself if that's all you want. It did mean that by the time we sat down, my food was cold.

The kids also got water as part of their meal.

The total cost of our dinner was around $16 including tax. One of the cheapest meals we ate there!

If you are planning on staying at Art of Animation and eating in Landscape of Flavours, get a cast member to explain how the meals work so you don't miss out on any extras included in the price of your meal. They won't tell you at the till if you've forgotten something. You can also substitute your sides with different things or extra. Just ask!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Florida Day 5 - Art of Animation's Big Blue Pool

On our fifth day in Florida, we decided to have a chilled out day at the pool in our hotel. We didn't get up until after 9am, which was wonderful. After four days of theme parks, one of which was a day of sickness, we really needed a day to chill.

We had breakfast at the hotel and then headed back to our room to get ready. I got a load of clothes ready for washing and drying. Not the best part of the holiday but a necessary evil since we hadn't packed loads and loads of clothes. It only took an hour and a half to wash and dry it which was great!

I took the kids to the Big Blue Pool which is themed around Finding Nemo and is located close to the food court and the Finding Nemo section of the resort. There were plenty of sunbeds and life jackets for the kids. Z didn't need one but as Miss C couldn't touch the floor in most of the pool, we put one on her to give her a bit more confidence. Even then she wanted to take it off and swim.

The pool has a pool bar nearby called the Drop Off. They serve alcoholic and soft drinks and some snacks. You can also get free cups of water there which is what we did. You can also bring in takeaway food from the food court.

The kids loved the splash area which is an anemone where Nemo and his dad live. There are parts where you can run over water jets and then under waterfalls.

The pool itself was really clean and there were lots of lifeguards about. There is pool side entertain for the kids which Z and Miss C really enjoyed taking part in especially when they found out about the prizes. The entertainment is on from around 11am right through to 8pm at night. We found that the pools didn't close until 10pm whilst we there.

Husband was heading to the Halloween Horror Night event at Universal Studios so he booked a taxi using Uber and headed off around 4pm. The kids and I got showered and changed and headed back to the food court for dinner.

I told the kids they could spend some of their holiday money after dinner so we headed to the Ink Shop which is the hotel's shop. There was lots to choose from and it did take them awhile but Z chose himself a Mickey Mouse and Miss C chose a baby Bambi.

The hotel has an arcade inside the reception area called the Pixel Arcade. We bought some tokens and for $10 we got 600 tokens. The machines used anywhere from 15 tokens up to 175 tokens. Z wanted to play Donkey Kong and Miss C wanted to have a shot on the motorbikes. She's definitely her Daddy's daughter.

We headed back to our room to get an early-ish night. Husband didn't get home until 3am!

Here is a short video of our time at the pool...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Week That Was #45

Last Sunday, I was hoping for a long lie but it didn't happen. Miss C was up at 7am! Thankfully she decided to read in her room and I got to stay in bed for another hour. We watched Jurassic World after breakfast. I thought it might be a bit scary for Miss C but she loved it. After lunch we headed to the shops to pick up some bits. I went in to Next and could have bought the shop! So many gorgeous things in for the kids! We had roast beef for dinner which was delicious!

On Monday, it was back to school and placement. The day went in really quickly! It was quite foggy when I headed to my friend's house to pick up the kids. As much as I love Summer and the warmer weather, there is something quite exciting and festive about the evenings getting darker earlier. I helped Miss C with her homework when we got home.

On Tuesday, I was at placement again. It was another quick day which is definitely a good sign that I'm enjoying the job. I picked the kids up and we headed home to have spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. It was delicious! We all shared a bit of the biggest muffin I have ever seen too! After dinner, the kids had a bath and once they were in bed, I decided to have a bath before having an early night.

On Wednesday, it was my day off so I dropped the kids off at school and came home to do my college work. It didn't take too long thankfully. I caught up with Hollyoaks which was pretty hard to watch. Such a sad storyline with Mercedes losing her baby but it's good to raise awareness on the importance of counting the kicks and seeking advice from your midwife or doctor is you notice reduced movement from your baby.

On Thursday, I dropped the kids off at school and I headed to college. Again it was another quick day. I had left the car at home because my college is near where they have the firework display and they usually close off the road just after 3pm. It was absolutely pouring it down when I left college. Luckily my friend who had the kids picked me up and dropped us back home. We headed to the firework display after dinner with a friend and her daughter. Thankfully it had dried up by then! The fireworks were good but once you've seen them in Florida, nothing quite compares.

On Friday, I headed for day 2 of college. It was quite a quiet day but we did quite a lot. I did come home with loads of work to do though. Only one study day during the week means I sometimes have to do the work at the weekend which is no fun! When I got home, the kids were playing their tablets. We had dinner and then the kids watched a movie. Husband and I were in panic mode as we thought the washing machine was broken after the clothes were still soaking after spinning them. We then realised that the spin speed was set to no speed so we turned it back up and all was well again!

On Saturday, I dropped Z off at Karate and headed to the shops with Miss C. There was lots of lovely Christmas things in and we chose some new decorations. After picking Z up, we got ready to meet GG in town for lunch. We headed to the toy shop first and the kids spent some of their pocket money. Miss C chose some of the Schleich animals as she loves them and Z chose a Creeper from Minecraft. We had lunch booked at Frankie & Bennys for 1pm. It wasn't very busy but we ended up waiting an hour and 20 minutes for our food because there was some sort of mix up with our order! The food tasted good when it eventually arrived and they did give us 50% off the bill which was good of them. After dropping GG back at the bus station, we headed home and I fell asleep on the couch after doing my ironing. I've been feeling exhausted recently. I'm pretty sure I've got Seasonal Affective Disorder as I always get like this at this time of year. Bring back Summer!

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