Thursday, 26 February 2015

Project Spare Room #1

If you read my New Years Resolution post, you'd know that one of my aims for the year is to become more organised, this includes tidying and sorting out the spare room. As you can see from these before photos it is basically a junk room for where I store/put things that don't have a place. And I have a habit of bringing things upstairs that I don't want down stairs and putting them in this room - which I really need to stop doing and put them away.



This is the current state of the room, loads better than before. I finally got rid of the pile of clothes that I no longer want, I put them in an Oxfam bank at Sainsbury's as they either sell on or recycle them if not in good condition,

I've broken down a couple of big boxes and sorted out the wrapping paper/bags/accessories and put them all away in a cupboard. I also sorted out the pile of paper/magazines into piles, I've just got to go through them see if I want to keep them, or parts of them for info or recipes or something.

The next thing I'm going to do I think it put the pile of Ben's clothes in a plastic box to keep, for any future children. And sort out the top of the dressing table.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Update #2

I thought I would write a little update post today, it's actually Sunday night, and I've just put Ben down to sleep. And I'm writing this on my tablet, Steve's in the bath, so it's nice and quiet as I haven't got the TV on.

Firstly, we're going through a management restructure at work, and as I'm a supervisor I have to go through tests and an interview, to apply for a Team Leader role. I completed this about a week and a half ago, and am so glad it's all over and done with! As we've known about it coming for around a year, and has always been at the back of my mind, even though I tried to block it out. Because of this I'm also at risk of redundancy although I am hoping that it won't come to this if I don't get the Team Leader role. As we do have a lot of temp staff and people of temp contracts of working more hours, so right now I'm thinking positive, and Ill just step down to a general assistant. But we don't get told anything else until 16th March and I am actually on holiday that week, so won't know till the week after.

On a positive side of things we booked our first family holiday with just the 3 of us. Yes we have taken Ben to France twice, to stay in Steve's parents house, with them, but we really wanted to spend time away in a hotel, just the 3 of us, and Ben can have fun. We are going to Menorca in June for a couple of weeks, and I cannot wait! Now we've finally booked it, I can't stop thinking about it, and already thinking about packing! But packing involves a lot when you have a toddler, and also a night and morning of travelling. The hotel is totally child orientated, with a great looking splash pool, kids club, soft play area, and outside play area too. And the reviews are great, the restaurant even has it's own little child buffet. And the restaurant itself is actually meant to be getting refurbished ready for the Summer as well.

I'm also excited to go out with my mum and sisters, and Ben, to celebrate my mum's birthday, next Monday. And then my sister and I are taking Ben to a soft play centre the following day, hopefully I can get some photos of him there to share with you.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Recent Purchases #1

I've decided to start changing the title of my haul posts, as I'm becoming to despise that word, haha! I'm going to start doing 'Recent Purchases' posts instead, and combine items that I've bought over a few weeks in one post. As I'm currently on a bit of a spending ban, mostly that's on clothes, accessories and non essential beauty products though.

So my biggest purchase in the past few weeks has been renewing next years season ticket for Norwich City. Most of you probably don't know I am a supporter of them, and have now been a season ticket holder for just over 10 years. So I am now £500 down from that!

I've been wanting an icing set for a while, I really want to start baking cupcakes, and do some nice icing on top, so time to get practicing! I was debating whether or not to get the set in the tin or not, I thought if I don't where will I store the nozzles? And I'd probably end up losing them. I purchased this set from Amazon.

A few weeks back we bought Ben this cute set of stops from Nutmeg at Morrison's whilst doing our food shop, I think they were £7 for all three.

I've also been to look in Zara, as I saw that they had some cute new things online. The star top and fish t-shirt I remember seeing on their website. The jumper was a little extra purchase because I love stripes and the coral/orange colour is something a bit different on boys clothes. There's still a couple of things I've seen online that I'd like to purchase for him, will have to keep checking our local shop, as they had hardly any boys clothes compared to girls.

I think loads of people have purchased these! Fleur's and Tanya's books. I love them, similar topics but so different. And I love that Tanya has included some background of her life, especially as she grew up in Norwich (or near to).

That's all I've bought, not too much. Although I will be making a trip to Boots on Saturday as L'Oreal have a two for £12 deal there at the moment, and plan on picking up new bottles of my foundation. Got to save whilst I can, and I will run out of foundation soon enough.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Ben's 22 month Update

So I decided to take a break from doing updates on Ben, basically me listing his new words every month can get a bit boring! Ben is now 22 months, can't believe that he'll soon be 2!

Ben love's reading, he'll pick up a book and bring it over and stand in front of us for us to pick him up, sit him on our lap and read him the book, it's so cute! I'm planning on taking him to the library soon, as we have one within walking distance. I may wait till we're on holiday from work though so Steve can come as well. Going to get Ben his own card so we can log books out.

With regards to talking, Ben knows numerous words, and actually comes out with little statements now linking 2 or 3 words together. Like 'Cracker on floor' or 'drink on floor' or 'bye daddy' or 'daddy work', and other similar one's. A couple of times he's actually said sentences. One time he copied what I said, and another time he made one up himself saying 'Oh no, mamam (raisin) on the floor'.

We've recently dealt with a cold, which lasted for about a week! He hadn't been ill for months and months before that. And he's also getting his canine teeth coming in, once again top before bottom like with the rest.

We've had a bit of a sleep regression, which I put down to the teeth! He didn't nap for 5 days straight, although at night he has done pretty good, and sleeping through apart from once. Before this he would nap 5 days out of 7, normally for around an hour and a half, and sleep 10-12 hours at night.

His favourite toys right now are his Toot Toot vehicles, Scout, stacking cups, his kitchen bits and play food.. He doesn't really play with the kitchen, he'll turn the nobs around or pretend to cook if we tell him to. He'll pretend to eat his play food too, it's so cute. He caught on to that pretty quickly, although sometimes he does bite them, haha!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Recipe - Chocolate Victoria Sponge

I was in the mood to bake last week, I really wanted to do a chocolate cake. So I googled chocolate victoria sponge and found this recipe.

Cake Ingredients
150g caster sugar
150g butter, softened
110g self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs

Icing Ingredients
165g icing sugar
35g cocoa powder
100g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan assister/gas mark 6.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar, I always find using a wooden spoon much easier for this.

3. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder.

4. Add the eggs and mix together until combined.

I lined the bottom of my tins, with baking paper (you don't have to do this I just find it easier to get out)

5. Separate the mixture between the two tins, and bake for up to 15 minutes. I did mine for about 11, but every oven is different so keep an eye on them. You can test they're done by sticking in a knife, if it come's out clean then they're cooked.

6. Place on a cooling rack and cool completely.

7. For the icing add all the ingredients into a bowl and cream together. I also sifted the cocoa powder. Again I used a wooden spoon for this. The water is optional, I added a little at the end to make the icing a bit smoother and softer.

 8. Sandwich the two sponges together with some of the icing, and then spread the rest on the top (and sides if you have enough). I also added some mini eggs as decoration.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Review - Morphy Richards Slow Cooker

As part of my News Years Resolutions I wanted to start eating healthier and doing more meals from scratch. I'd always liked the idea of a slow cooker and seen loads of recipes online. I had some money sitting in my purse that was a birthday present from the year before last, I wanted to save it for something I really wanted for us as a family. So I used it the purchase a slow cooker and a couple of books.

After reading reviews on Amazon I went for the Morphy Richards 48715 6.5 Litre Slow Cooker. Although it says 6.5litre it is technically only 4.5litre, but that is plenty big enough for us 3. And is actually recommended to cook for 6-8 people. I chose the bigger size so I could do bigger portions and freeze them, and also be able to cook a whole chicken in it.

I've made a couple of soups and a few main meals, and they've all turned out really good! It's so much easier to use, just through everything in in the morning and forget about it. You also then have plenty of time to wash it all up through out the day. As I very rarely wash up after we've eaten, although I am trying to. I aim to do a slow cooker meal on a Tuesday, as Steve's at work till 6pm, therefore isn't home until 6:30-6:45. And Ben requires more attention in the evening than morning. So it saves him crying, because I have to leave him to cook tea. So now I may just have to pop on some pasta or rice, if anything.

The slow cooker seems well made, and the instructions are very clear even including some recipes to help get you started! It also has an on/off light, which is another reason I chose this over the crockpot. I'm so awful at forgetting to turn things off. The other night I'd left the hob on, and only discovered this hours later!

The ceramic dish is easy to clean, I tend to fill it with hot water and washing up liquid in it once we've eaten, and then drain and rinse it before I go to bed ready to wash up the following day. The instructions say not to soak the whole dish, which is why I don't leave it in the sink to soak.

So far the recipes have all cooked in the time saying (some of the reviews on amazon said it was a fast cooker, but can't understand that).

If you're debating whether to buy one or not I would say go for it!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Organisation - Our Weekly Routine

I've told you about our daily routine (which is still pretty much the same). I wanted to show you our weekly routine, how I fit in cleaning, blogging and work around looking after Ben and still getting time to myself.

On Monday's I try to clean the bottom floor of the house. This includes tidying, dusting and cleaning the lounge, cleaning the shower room and also the kitchen. I also have the bathroom and kitchen floors to mop, although I don't do this every week, although I probably should. I also do some loads of washing, towels and work shirts are done EVERY Monday, and then another load after if needed.

Is when I do the upstairs of the house, Which includes the bathroom, bedrooms and spare room. I also try to get some ironing done. And also any loads of washing and sorting the laundry out from the day before.

.I keep clear for doing little extra's around the house if I feel like it! And also for doing more washing and sorting of laundry. I do a load of washing nearly every day apart from Sundays'.

Bed changing day as this is the day Steve starts work earliest so I can get it done the earliest and in to wash earliest! I also work on Thursdays, so like to relax more whilst Ben naps

I prefer not to do anything! Well apart from the daily washing up and laundry. I also plan the meals for the week ahead and write the shopping list.

We do our weekly food shop every Saturday morning. Before we go I always put on a load of washing of our work trousers and aprons. Then once we're back Steve hoovers and I put the food shopping away and then hang up the washing and maybe put another load in. Before tidying up the lounge ready for hoovering (Steve starts upstairs). Then I like to go upstairs and tidy up both bedrooms and put more laundry away!

Sundays I work a full shift at work so I don't do any cleaning after work, I like to relax and spend some time as a family before putting Ben to bed.

Every day I like to make the bed, and we also do a couple of loads of washing up between us every day. Also if we're going out on a certain day I'll have to arrange the housework around it or complete it the day before or after.

Regards as to my blogging I fit that in where possible, if Ben's being a good boy and is happy playing by himself I'll sometimes pop on my computer and write a post of two whilst he's up. I mostly have to take photos when he's napping, and try to get them taken when it's a nice clear day, as photos taken in natural light are so much better.

Time to myself mostly comes in the evenings when Ben is in bed, this is when I cross-stitch, catch up on reading blogs and watch youtube videos. If Ben's still asleep once the house work is done then I do get some time to relax then.

I'm thinking about doing a post on how I use my diary and also my monthly calendar printable to keep track of my days and also money etc. As this is part of my new years resolution to be more organised, and I'm always looking for organisation inspiration.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Ben's OOTD #1

Just a little outfit of the day of Ben's for you. I love making sure his clothes match and he looks super cute, some days we have trackies and a plain top on for comfort. this is what I dressed Ben in one day last week.

Ben is wearing a long sleeved top and purple cords from Matalan, and shoes from Next. His vest and socks, which you can't really see are both from Mothercare.