Saturday 29 June 2013


William had to make a castle for his history project, the castles were being judged by the headmaster with the winning child from each set winning a trip to a local castle . Grandad very kindly helped William build the castle and then he added the final touches with Dad. A lot of work went into the castle and we were all really pleased when we found out that he had won.

Garden Birds

We have a bird box in the garden that has been there for a number of years. This year it is finally being used!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Kids Grow Wild

A few weeks ago we received a great gardening set from BritMums so we could take part in the Kids Grow Wild competition. The set contained a green watering can, a pair of gloves, (fortunately these were blue which is Luke's favourite colour), a trowel, fork and three packets of seeds. 

We have a big garden and whilst we don't spend quite as much time gardening as our parents, we do enjoy it! Last year was a complete wash out with the weather and we weren't able to get out in the garden very much and so it got a bit overgrown and untidy.  This year we have been able to get out more and have been busy planting lots of different vegetables and flowers.

Luke loves being outside and loves helping in the garden, and with his new tools he was raring to go.

Here are the lupin seeds he planted, we have a huge border full of lupins and we do tend to lose couple each year so this  year we thought we would try growing our own instead of buying plants. We will keep them in pots this year and then next year they will be big enough to plant in the garden.

These are the potato plants Luke has grown, this year we have grown them in potato bags which is a lot easier than growing them in the ground. 

We have a green house full of tomatoes that Luke helped plant, I just hope that they aren't all ready whilst we are on holiday!

Luke has tried growing chard this year and we have put netting over to protect the plants from next doors hen, which keeps coming into our garden and has taken a liking to the plants!!!!

Luke loves helping and here he is pushing the wheelbarrow.

This post is an entry for BritMums' #Kidsgrowwildchallenge

Friday 21 June 2013

The Farm House

The house is starting to take shape now, the stonework is coming on and the front should hopefully be finished this week. 
Whilst the door isn't as wide as the old one they have tried to recreate the stone detail around the door. You can't see it properly on this photo but it does look the same.

Stonework has replaced the slates that covered the side of the old house, it certainly looks better and this wall is now straight, not like the old one!

The big question is will it be finished for Christmas???

Monday 17 June 2013

The Kitchen Floor

Our kitchen floor seems to attract dirt! Living on a farm is a contributing factor along with having two boys. I have just spent the last hour on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor and getting rid of the stubborn marks that a mop doesn't shift and now it is sparkling clean (until everyone gets home tonight!!!)

Saturday 15 June 2013


After a very slow start, the lupins have all started to flower and they are giving a fantastic show of colour.

Monday 10 June 2013

Marble Cake

Tonight Luke decided he wanted to make a cake. We looked through the recipe book and he decided to have a go at making a marble cake. I helped him start weighing out the ingredients and got as far as mixing them altogether and then Dad took over for the rest of the cake as I had to go out to a PTA meeting!

Here is the marble effect inside the cake. It tasted delicious and I'm sure it won't last long.

The Garden

 This weather this weekend has been glorious and so we have spent it in the garden. We have used the barbeque both days and had sausages, ribs, chicken drumsticks and burgers.

Finally the plants are starting to grow and the tubs I planted are slowly beginning to flower. These minature carnations are starting to bud so hopefully they will be a good show of flowers once they start.

The gerberas are already flowering and the lillies won't be far off either.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Vistaprint Photobook Review

We love taking photographs and never go on a day out without a camera so we were very pleased when Vistaprint asked us to review one of their photobooks. To help us do this they they sent us vouchers for Chester Zoo and asked us to take lots of photos to use in the photobook. Between the four us we managed to take 750 photos so we had plenty to choose from! To begin with we created a folder and uploaded all the photos and then we went through them and deleted any that we knew wouldn't be included in the photobook like ones that were out of focus, ones where someone was pulling a face or any that we just didn't like. 

Once we had done that, we downloaded the Vistaprint software and then created our photobook. There were 8 different photobooks to choose from, in the following sizes,  landscape - small, medium, large or extra large, portrait available as large and square which is available as medium, large or extra large . The website showed you the options and also gave you the size in centimetres which was very useful. Once you had decided upon on a size, you could begin creating your photobook. There were two options available, one where it would add the photos automatically and another where you could choose where you wanted the photos to go. Initially I let the software add all the photos to our book, however as we had photos from four cameras the photobook became very mixed up and so I deleted that and started again. I found it very easy to add photos and design the book as there were templates available;  first I chose how many photos I wanted on a page and then all I had to do was select the layout. 

The main advantage with this method was you could select the photos that you wanted and add them to the photobook whilst working offline. It was only at the end, once you had created your book, that the photos were uploaded. We have made photobooks before where you need to upload all the photos to their website first which is very time consuming so this is a much better option.

I selected a photo to go on the front cover and there is also the option to add text. Unfortunately I didn't increase the text size so you can hardly see "Chester Zoo May 2013" on the front cover but I now know to increase it next time!

There was also an option to have different backgrounds on the pages however as there was plenty of colour in our photos I decided not to use these.

There are a couple of additional add-ons that you can choose when creating your photobook. I chose the glossy option for my photos which cost an extra £6.99 but I do feel it is worth it as the photos look so much better. I also went for the layflat binding which cost an additional £4.99 but means that you can look at the book without it trying to close itself or needing to bend it to look at the photos properly.

It took me just over an hour to create the book but I did enjoy making it so it was time well spent.  When I ordered the book it said it would take two weeks to arrive however we received our book after 10 days which was a nice surprise as I wasn't expecting it to arrive early. 

I am thrilled with the book and with having a hard cover I think it looks very professional. I will certainly use Vistaprint again as after seeing the quality of the book I am really interested in trying some of the other photo products that they do. With a choice of mugs, t-shirts, iPhone cases, calendars, canvas prints, photo cards, magnets and keyrings I just need to decide which one!!

We were sent £60 of Chester Zoo vouchers and were able to choose a photobook free of charge for the purposes of this review however all words and opinions are our own.

Monday 3 June 2013

The Craft Company

As we enjoy baking I was thrilled when The Craft Company asked us to review a couple of products from their website. We were really spoilt for choice when we looked at the website as they sell every imaginable product you can think of for baking and cake decorating. After spending a good while looking at the site and deliberating over what to choose we finally selected three products to review, Rainbow Dust edible silk - Starlight Silver Saturn, Release-A-Cake and the 8" square tin liners.

I placed the order and was really impressed with the speed of delivery, I ordered them in the afternoon and they were delivered 2 days later.

Normally we make round cakes but as we were making Blackpool Tower out of cake for a competition I decided that the square tin would be best. I rarely use the tin because I have got so used to the convenience of bake-o-glide and as I don't have any to fit this tin I don't tend to use it! When I do use it I have to cut a base and sides out of greaseproof paper which adds extra time so unfortunately it tends to sit in the bottom of the cupboard, which is a real shame as it is a good solid tin. I have seen round cake tin liners and loaf tin liners but never a square one so I was really pleased to have found these on the website. A pack of 25 8" square tin liners is £5 which I think is good value for money especially as it made making the cake so much quicker and easier and it now means that I will get much more use out of my cake tin. The liner easily fitted in the tin and stayed in place when we were putting the cake mix in.

For the legs of the tower we used a loaf tin and I thought we could try out the Release-A-Cake for this tin. I have never used this before and this is another product that I will be buying again as it was so easy to use and really did work. We brushed a small amount on the base and sides of the tin with a pastry brush and then added the cake mixture. 

Once the cakes came out of the oven and cooled a little I was amazed at how good the  Release-A-Cake actually was. I really didn't expect it to work as well as it did and I was able to tip the cake out of the loaf tin easily and on the first attempt. The cake tin was also clean too with no bits of cake stuck to the tin sides. At £2.85 for 236g it really is a bargain and I can imagine it being really good if you are using an unusual shaped shaped tin which would be tricky and time consuming to line.

William was making fairy cakes at school today so I asked him to make sure he brought some home so that we could decorate them and try out the Rainbow Dust edible silk - Starlight Silver SaturnWe have never tried edible glitter before but I thought it might be fun to try something new. 

Like normal glitter, it was slightly messy and I suspect we need a little practice to use it to it's best effect, however the boys really enjoyed decorating William's cakes and liked the glittery effect it gave. A 17g pot is £2.56

We received these products free for the purposes of this review but all words and opinions are our own.

Saturday 1 June 2013


Today the postman brought two exciting parcels. One from Auntie Fiona with t-shirts and chocolate, and the other was a gardening set from so we can take part in the #KidsGrowWild Challenge.