Saturday 29 October 2016


As it is almost Halloween the shops are full of pumpkins. Mark and Luke carved some at Scouts this week and William has been busy making pumpkin pie.

He made the pastry, baked it blind for 10 minutes and then added the pumpkin mixture.

The pie was delicious and didn't last long!

Farming Simulator 2017

Luke has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Farming Simulator 2017, he has been counting down the days since the beginning of October! As soon as Luke was up on Tuesday we had to order it from Amazon and it finally arrived this morning.  

As it is the weekend he was able to play on it straight away and has been busy investing in his farm. I suspect we won't see much of him tomorrow as he will be too busy farming!

Friday 28 October 2016

Harris End

Our original plan on Saturday was to cycle over Harris End however the ride didn't go to plan after we encountered a farmer moving cows which you can read about here. When we got up on Sunday we decided to try again as it was such a lovely morning. I am glad we ended up riding over Harris End on Sunday as it was such a lovely morning with a beautiful blue sky and the perfect morning for a ride over the fells. 

To be honest I was expecting the ride to be much harder than it actually was, the hardest bit was the ride up towards Oakenclough, hills are always tricky on the tandem and this is a particularly long climb. Once we reached the top there were plenty of downhills to go at and our top speed was 30mph which is as fast as we are comfortable with on the tandem as it becomes unsteady when you go faster than that. 

We are so lucky having such lovely countryside on our doorstep and riding through the beautiful scenery in the Forest of Bowland is fantastic. 

The ride was 30 miles and we were back home in just under 3 hours which we though was pretty good considering the amount of climbing we did.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Tufferman Garage Shelving Review

Our garage, like many others, has to fulfill many roles; a place to store the bike, the lawn mower and all those half used tins of paint that get leftover whenever we decorate. Everything in fact but but the car! Winter is particularly bad as the garage is the place where we also store the garden furniture, the barbeque and various toys to protect them from the worst of the weather.

We did have some old wooden shelves in the garage (rescued from an old greenhouse) but these did not make best use of the space so when we were asked to review the storalex bays from Tufferman it was the perfect opportunity to use some metal racking to bring order to the chaos.

Clearing a little space was the first challenge but luckily it was a fine day and we were able to put everything outside whilst Mark put the racking together. The garage looked really tidy when the old shelves had been cleared away.

It also meant the spiders could find a new home in the garden!

The metal shelving from Storalex is well packaged and is really easy to assemble, it comes with five shelves per set giving multiple options for shelf height. The set can either be assembled as a single 6’ tall bay or alternatively as two shorter 3’ tall units. We chose to make use of the height of the garage but might use some of the low units in the shed once that gets tidied up.

Assembly is simple. First make up the uprights by just slotting them together.

The shelves are made up of four edges and a central strengthening bar which just slot into the holes in the uprights. No tools or fixings are required although a rubber mallet is useful just to tap them home. Mark found that all the parts fitted together easily and didn’t need to force anything to fit.

Five shelves is plenty for our garage, Mark decided on one at the top, one at the bottom and then just spaced out the others. 

Once the first rack was assembled we made sure it was fastened to the wall. Holes are provided in the uprights so Mark used some wall plugs and screws to make sure everything was safe.

Shelves were spaced to fit the various sizes of paint tin.

Once this was filled the next bay was quickly assembled and joined it. The next target is sorting out the gardening tools in the shed!

The shelves have made a huge difference to our garage, everything is now easy to find and the new shelves look much tidier than the previous racking.

The shelves are available as a 3 or 4 bay option and are available in two different depths, 800h x 900w x 450d  or 1800h x 900w x 600d. The website is easy to navigate and our delivery was very quick. The shelving starts at £89.99 and is available from the Tufferman website.

Disclaimer - we received the 3 bay storalex shelving for the purpose of this review but all words, photographs and opinions are our own.


This dahlia was the only one to survive the winter and is absolutely beautiful.

Monday 24 October 2016

Cycling in the countryside

We had an eventful bike ride on Saturday and ended up herding cows! We had set off and weren't far from home when we came across a farmer moving some cows. Being a farmer's daughter moving cows is something I am used to so when they got into a garden we just put the bike down and helped! Chatting to one of the children we were very surprised when he said where the cows were going to as it was a good way away and part of the journey was on a busy road. I have moved cows lots of times and you need plenty of people, especially when they are on the road however this farmer was attempting it with just two quads and two children.They had put baler twine across gateways but this wasn't enough for the inquisitive cows who wanted to explore the gardens. Luckily we were there to help and another local farmer who was passing helped too. Mark helped get them out of the second garden and we then went a different way to the cows as we needed to get on as we were going to Mark's Mum and Dad's for tea. We had originally intended cycling over Harris End but we had lost too much time so we did a shorter route so we would be back in time.

It was a lovely afternoon and the views of the fells were stunning.

Clearing the leaves

The poplar trees on our drive look nice but when it gets to autumn there is a tremendous amount of leaves to clear. We cleared loads a few weeks ago, you can read about it here. This weekend Dad decided that we needed another leaf clearing session and got John to get the tractor out so the leaves could be put in the trailer and then taken down the field. 

Everyone helped, Luke was driving the quad and Daisy and Charlie were riding in the trailer.

William was in charge of raking the leaves and everyone was throwing the leaves into the trailer, Westley was having a great time playing in the leaves! It was really nice seeing all the cousins working together and having fun. 

Grandma was so pleased with how hard everyone had worked and made them all chips for dinner!

Sunday 16 October 2016

Winter Cycling with Aldi

As a keen cyclist I have been really impressed with the cycling gear that Aldi have on their cycling specialbuy promotions. The quality is excellent and they are always very reasonably priced.  We all bought jackets earlier this year that had zip off sleeves which were a great buy and have been used a lot this year.

Now that autumn is well and truly here and with it the darker nights and inclement weather I was glad to see Aldi had some great products in store. The Muc-Off bike cleaning products are priced at £3.99 and they still had plenty when I was in Aldi this afternoon. Luke loves riding through puddles and even if we have only been riding on the road his bike can be caked in mud! 

The Muc-Off bike cleaner is great at getting rid of mud and is easy to use, we usually hose his bike down and then give it a quick spray  with this, give it a scrub and then a final rinse and then his bike looks as good as new again!

Aldi stock the 4-step cleaning programme, step 1 clean, step 2 degrease, step 3 protect and shine and step 4 lube. We use our bikes a lot so don't do all 4 steps after every ride but we do try and give our bikes a good clean every month. As well as the 4 step cleaning programme they also have the oil for dry and wet weather.


William cycles to Cubs every week and we have always told him to make himself as visible as possible when he is cycling in the dark. The front and rear LED light set is very reasonably priced at £9.99 and the lights are incredibly bright. The lights are rechargeable via a USB port  and two rubber mounting brackets makes it easy to fit on the handlebars or seat post and they are easily removed for recharging. There is a choice of three light levels and either flashing or steady lights.

When I first started cycling I just wore normal socks but since I discovered Aldi cycling socks I only wear these now as they are so comfortable and warm. The socks are specially designed for each foot and they have L and R on them so you know which foot to put them on! The ladies socks are size 4 – 7 but they were still comfortable on my size 8 feet. The socks look stylish and as they are black and pink I know none of the boys will borrow them! The new socks have special zones specially designed for cycling comfort and have a new insulation zone on the ankle which helps keep my feet warm on cold mornings. The footbed is made of PerEffect, a yarn which ensures high drying activity and greater performance in moisture transport. The fibre structure draws moisture away quickly keeping your feet drier.

Like all Aldi Special Buys the products often sell out quickly and once they are gone, they're gone.

We received these products from Aldi for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

Saturday 15 October 2016

#Bright Future Challenge with Unilever

I have always tried to do our bit for the environment. My Mum has always been keen on recycling and we always saved glass for the bottle bank and collected waste paper for the school. When I got my own house I carried on recycling, loading my car every couple of weeks with glass bottles, paper and plastic bottles to take to the local recycling centre.

It is so much easier now we have recycling bins at home, although I do miss dropping the bottles into the bottle bank and hearing the glass smash in the bottom. It was quite therapeutic after a bad day at work!

As well as recycling I always try and run my washing machine on a 30 degree wash and only do full loads. I always use Persil as I know stains will come out first time, even on low temperature washes. 

Persil has backed a global initiative ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education. 

I also recycle clothes, toys and household goods that we no longer want. I help organise a fundraising jumble sale twice a year to help raise funds for our local village festival. We held the October one today and raised just over £1,300 which is our best sale ever. 

It was good to see the number of people bringing their own bags today, normally we give people bin bags to put their purchases in but this year we were only asked for bags by a couple of people which is again helping to save the environment.

What do you do to make a brighter future for your children?

This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever

Friday 14 October 2016

Ghost - Blackpool Opera House

I love going to the theatre and it is always very exciting when we are asked to review a big show at Blackpool. Blackpool Opera House is an amazing place, a huge theatre seating almost 3000 people and is one of the largest theatres in the UK. 

It is many years since I saw the film Ghost, I remember the excitement of going to see it at the cinema where it was a huge hit. When we were asked to go and review it at Blackpool Opera House I did wonder how the film would be transformed into a musical. In the film there are many different locations and special effects, such as ghosts rising from dead bodies and walking through doors, which whilst commonplace in films could be difficult to achieve on stage in front of a live audience.

I have to say we were incredibly impressed with how they portrayed the special effects, the huge stage was transformed from an airy Brooklyn loft apartment to a menacing subway station and a busy Manhattan bank in a flash. Fantastic lighting and sound effects were used with great effect to enhance the scenes and create the special effects required for Sam’s time as a ghost. Magician Richard Pinner is part of the creative team and his skills as an illusionist were clear to see. The ghosts rising from dead bodies was very skilfully done, with the dead body staying on stage as the ghost appeared and left the stiff body behind.

Everyone remembers the pottery scene with Unchained Melody playing in the background, it has to be one of the most iconic film scenes ever. This tune is used as a recurring theme throughout the night with a beautiful and moving duet at the end. The other songs, written by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, have been specially written for the play whilst not as memorable as Unchained Melody, were perfectly written to tie in with the story and were performed by a very talented cast, supported by an orchestra lead by Tim Whiting.

Sarah Harding was replaced by Kelly Hampson in the show we saw, she stepped into the role of Molly effortlessly. Andy Moss (better known as Rhys from Hollyoaks) played the role of Sam very well and showed what a talented actor and singer he is. For us, and the rest of the audience, the star of the night had to be Jacqui Dubois who took on the role of psychic Oda Mae. She brilliantly reprised Whoopi Goldberg’s character and added real humour to the evening with the audience in stitches every time she was on stage.

I was surprised by how much the play followed the original story, often when films are adapted for the stage the story is over simplified but but this is not the case in this musical. The costumes were great, with Oda Mae in her extravagant finery and Sam in a Swayze-esque red open necked shirt, both reminders of the 1990 hit.

We had a fantastic evening out and is a must for anyone who enjoyed the film. Ghost is showing at Blackpool Opera House until Saturday 15th October.

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

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Extreme Reading

Luke has been given a reading challenge from school so we have been taking lots of photographs of him reading in unusual places. He even created a website to show all his photos.

Monday 10 October 2016


We had a lovely weekend in the North East and visited Beamish on Saturday. We stayed at a nearby Premier Inn and were able to save 25% on the ticket price by getting a discount voucher from the hotel. The ticket is valid for a full year so we are thinking of visiting again next year. Beamish is a full day out, we arrived at 10am and were there until almost closing time which was 5pm!