Monday, 19 June 2017

Luke's upcycling project

We recently bought a new kitchen and the old one has been in the garden for the last couple of weeks. On Saturday Luke decided that he was going to make a rocking chair out of the table so he set to with his tools and with a little help from Mark made a chair!








Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Prestige Flowers Review

I love flowers and usually have some in the house so I was thrilled when Prestige Flowers asked me if I would like to review one of their birthday bouquetsPrestige Flowers are an online florist who deliver flowers to every corner of the UK. They have a huge range of bouquets to choose from, and with birthday bouquets starting from £19.99 there should be one to suit most budgets. They know how important it is that the recipient is delighted with their flower arrangement so all orders come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

I received the Turner bouquet which looks amazing on the website and even better in real life! The colours are stunning and it really is an eye catching bouquet. 

I was very impressed with the service, I received an email at 2.30pm on the Tuesday afternoon and the flowers were delivered by the postman at 9.30 the following morning. That's pretty amazing service and much easier than visiting a florist!!







The flowers came in a sturdy cardboard box which meant the flowers were in perfect condition when they arrived. I also received a vase and a mini birthday cake, which are just two of the optional extras you can add to your order and are a lovely idea if you are sending flowers to a loved one. The vase costs £5.99 and the cake £4.90 and there is also the option of adding chocolates, wine, champagne, balloons or a teddy too. Included with the flowers is a card with a picture of Turner's Fighting Temeraire painting on the front and flower care tips on the inside which is always helpful.


I wasn't in when the flowers arrived so Luke unpacked them for me and put them in one of my vases until I arrived home. He literally just stuck them in the vase and took a picture which he emailed to me so I could see what they were like - the photo doesn't do them justice but I was very impressed that he thought to take a photo!







When I arrived home all I needed to do was trim the ends and I put them in the vase that came with the flowers which is a lovely shape and displayed the flowers perfectly.



The  Turner bouquet is one of the beautiful bouquets in The National Gallery Range which are inspired by the masterpieces housed at The National Gallery. Reminiscent of the stunning sunset in Turner's Fighting Temeraire, this striking bouquet includes beautiful Miss Piggy Roses, with orange fading to dusky pink outer petals. These roses are beautiful but with the warm weather opened very quickly and were starting to droop after 5 days.


The blue Eryngium are still looking good after a week and contrasted well with the flowers in the bouquet.




It does say on the website that flowers & colour may vary due to seasonality and availability and my Turner bouquet didn't have the deep purple Trachelium or white Bouvardia that are on the website. I actually think the small pink chrysanthemums and the brilliant purple flowers (unfortunately I don't know their name) were nicer than the ones in the original bouquet and everyone who has seem them has said how nice they look.

I would certainly use Prestige Flowers flowers again as I was very impressed with the delivery and the beautiful flowers, I put the vase on the drawers in the lounge and have enjoyed looking at the flowers every day.  



I received these flowers in return for a review. All words and images are my own

Monday, 5 June 2017

Grandma's Jam Flapjack



My Grandma was a fantastic baker, living on a farm she had plenty of hungry mouths to feed and would bake at least twice a week. I had some pastry left over from making egg custards so I thought I would have a go at making her jam flapjack. I hadn't a clue what the recipe was so I went to see if Mum knew. She gave me a tatty piece of paper with the ingredients and told me I needed to copy it as I couldn't take it out of the house!! There was also the ingredients for jam slice so I will have a go at making that next week. I felt like I was on a challenge for The Great British Bake Off as there was no method or cooking details so I made it up as I went along! 

These are the ingredients

6oz sugar
6oz margarine
12 big tablespoons of porridge oats (Mum had written 8oz next to this, she thought it must be from a previous attempt at making it)

I mixed the ingredients together, 12 big tablespoons didn't weigh anything like 8oz so I added 15 which weighed 6oz.



I then lined a baking tray with the pastry, baked it blind for 5 minutes and then added a layer of raspberry jam.


I put the oat mix onto the jam and then put it in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes and then a further 5 minutes at the bottom of the oven.


I guessed at the timings but they seemed to work and when I took it out of the oven it looked and smelt delicious. I couldn't wait until it had cooled so I tested it whilst it was still warm and it tasted just as I remembered. It was so easy to make that I will be making this a lot more often now.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

AA Skincare Botanical Boost Shampoo Bar Review

AA Skincare recently asked me if I would like to try one of their shampoo bars. With eight new shampoo bars there should be one to suit everyone and I decided that the Botanical Boost Shampoo Bar would be perfect for my curly hair. The shampoo bar is described as "Rejuvenating, Nourishing & Stimulating and contains vitamin-rich Avocado Oil for added moisture." Rejuvenating Frankincense and vitamin-rich Avocado oil act as a natural tonic to help stimulate hair growth, calm skin and work together with anti-oxidant packed Argan oil and aromatic Rose oil to breathe new life into flat, dull hair, helping to improve texture and give damaged and colour-treated hair a moisture boost.  Rose Geranium oil is added to the mix to strengthen hair naturally.  




Bursting with natural ingredients and 100% pure essential oils, AA Skincare’s shampoo bars smell amazing and are a real treat for my senses in the morning.

The shampoo bars are easy to use, just wet your hair, work up a good lather in your hands and then massage into your hair as you would with any other shampoo product. Leave for a couple of minutes and then rinse. You can then condition your hair as normal although I found I didn't need to as the bar seems to leave my hair surprisingly manageable even without conditioner. Since I started using it I'm finding my hair isn't as greasy as it was before so I am only washing it every 3 days rather than every other day. I let my hair dry naturally and it always dries shiny and the curls are well defined and seem to keep their shape for longer.

The Botanical Boost was really easy to use, it lathered well and I didn't need much to clean my hair. After three weeks the bar doesn't look any smaller than it was at the start so it will last much longer than my shampoo normally does. At £5.95 per bar it is cheaper than my normal shampoo and not needing conditioner will save me even more money!

After use I put it on a dry flannel on the bathroom shelf and leave it to dry, before putting it back in the box ready for next time. 

Free from parabens, preservatives and artificial fragrances, the bars are easy to use and long lasting. The shampoo bars will be great for travelling because they are compact, weigh a lot less than a bottle of shampoo and won't spill in my bag! 

This was the first time I have tried a product from AA Skincare but I have been looking on their website and they have a great range of hair and skincare products so I am looking forward to trying some of the other products soon



Find out more or order from www.aaskincare.co.uk  





I received the Botanical Boost shampoo bar for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own

Morning bike ride

Luke decided that we would ride to Uncle Jonathan's, I think it took longer to get the bikes out of the garage than it did to get to Uncle Jonathan's but all the miles count for my 1500 mile target!




Feeding the hens

Luke has been looking after Uncle Jonathan's hens this weekend.


We weren't expecting many eggs as the hens are quite young but when we looked there were three eggs which were all different colours!


The cows came to see who was in the garden.




Ray Cooney's Out of Order - Manchester Opera House

On Tuesday evening we went to Manchester Opera House to review Ray Clooney's Out of Order for the What's Good To Do website.




Out of Order, was written in the early 90’s, is set entirely within suite 648 of the Westminster Hotel, London. Junior minister, Richard Willey (Jeffrey Harmer) is planning a romantic liaison with Jane Worthington (Susie Amy of Footballer's Wives fame), one of the Opposition’s secretaries. Willey should have been in parliament for an all night debate but the philandering politician had more important plans for the night. Just as the evening is starting to heat up they open the curtains and discover a body wedged in the sash window of their room. Willey, worried about the effect this will have on both his marriage and political career decides not to report the incident and turns to his PPS George Pidgen to save the day with hilarious results.

The cast is headed up by Jeffrey Harmer as the quick thinking, fast talking politician with Susie Amy as his young attractive love interest. Shaun Williamson, probably best known as Barry from Eastenders plays his loyal but naive secretary. “The Body” was played with great comic effect by David Warwick, you’d think that all he would have to do was lie still, but not in this play. My favourite scene was probably where Richard and George were interrupted whilst trying to move the body and in an effort to cover up their actions pretended to be dancing with him.  

Arthur Bostrom was perfect as the polite but ever suspicious hotel manager, always trying to keep control but never losing his cool. James Holmes was fantastic as the wily waiter, a British version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers, who was always ready to take advantage of the situation and make a few pounds on the side.

Of course with Richard planning a night of adultery his wife was bound to find out and sure enough Pamela Willey played by Sue Holderness of Only Fools and Horses fame decided to pop into town and surprise her husband. 

From the minute the actors came on stage to the final curtain we never stopped laughing, A collection of logical decisions link together to give a totally absurd outcome. Ray Cooney has brilliantly crafted this story so the audience spends the whole night laughing rather than worrying about whether it makes any sense! With the story unfolding in a single room the set brilliantly reflects the opulence of an elegant London hotel suite. Characters hide in cupboards, use the window more than the door and generally make the most of the situation. This is a wonderful example of a traditional British farce.

Often, when watching a play we are happy to go along with the story but during the interval we were eagerly discussing what was going to happen and how were they going to explain the latest twist in the tale.

We really enjoyed our night out, the play truly was a laugh a minute with every line and situation pulling the characters deeper into the mire. Every single one of the cast was perfect - including the window! 

The show is touring the UK until the 22nd July so if it is showing at a theatre near you I would certainly recommend that you find time to go and see it.




We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own.


Village Festival

Our village has an annual Whitsuntide festival, it is always held on the Saturday following Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Events begin outside “The Grapes Inn” with traditional maypole dancing whilst the Procession forms up. A vibrant array of participants headed by the Apple Blossom children and featuring fancy dress and decorated floats accompanies the retiring and new Festival Queens and their visitors from surrounding communities.

The Procession makes its way to “The Square” for the crowning of the Festival Queen in the presence of local dignitaries and the Mayor before returning to the village hall for the legendary “Celebration Tea”.

The first festival queen was one of Mum's relations, Cissie Procter back in 1931 and there has been a festival every year since then.



This year school chose Trolls as the theme for the float, Mark drove the tractor and Luke sat in the cab with him.



There was a lot of work put into the float and we were very pleased when we found out that we came 2nd in the junior float category.


The green was full of people enjoying the sunshine and watching the dancing.


Afterwards everyone went back to the village hall for tea, all made by the villagers, with plenty of delicious cakes.