Week 16 #Project365 – 2014

This week has been pretty quiet. On Monday we decided to go out for a drive but only got as far as Chepstow. We had a good wander about and sat by the river in the glorious sunshine with a coffee. We also had a sneaky beer in ‘Spoons too..


Chepstow Bridge – gateway to England. 
Rowing boats stranded on the bank.
Chepstow Castle 
Chepstow Castle from across the river, 
Glorious blossom on the trees. 

Our local wetlands were featured on the BBC this week – perhaps you saw it on the One Show - featuring the re-introduction of water voles at Magor Marsh.

magor marsh

When we went there this week we didn’t see any water voles but did see where they had put boxes for them to hide away. The only wildlife we saw were swans. A part of the marsh that was closed last time we were there has been reopened. They had to clear out a part of the reen in readiness for the water voles. The large tree at the bottom of the picture looks like it has old nests in it but it’s actually big clumps of mistletoe. The yellow flower is a Marsh Marigold.

camelia, railway, bakestones, welshcake,

My poor camelia is looking rather forlorn. After bursting into flower 6 weeks early the recent cold snap halted the rest of the buds coming out and they are all slowly dying off. It’s such a shame as it’s rather magnificent when it’s in full flower.
Another bridge – this one across the local railway line.
Orange Wednesday – Spiderman 2 – full of action – a great film for half term!

Welsh cakes (or bakestones as I’ve always called them) made using catsyellowdays recipe. I’ve always used my nan’s recipe which makes them more like pastry but these had a softer texture. They were gone in no time especially after my brother snaffled a few!

The fence – this is now around the perimeter of the local playing field. Why?? because the local infant/junior school use it. We’ve lived here for nearly 20 years and there has never been the need for a barrier to stop the public using a public space..but because the school is beside it it is now deemed a no go area. Orginally the path through was going to be closed whilst the school was open but as a compromise the path closes when the children are using it at lunch time.
What sort of world are we living in when it’s been ok for god only knows how long but ‘just in case’ someone ‘may’ want to look at a child playing it’s now out of bounds. It makes me so sad to think the world has come to the idea that everyone has peado tendencies.

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Week 15 #Project365 – 2014

We had a good week – bargains, cinema and days out.

Bargains – I take part in online surveys and managed to accrue over £60 in the past year. I cashed in £50 for Sainsbury vouchers and set about finding special offers on My Supermarket! Most of what I bought were things that we normally buy that they had offers on.
I also spotted a bargain on MSE – 3 x 30 wash Fairy Liquitabs in Waitrose. Normally £10 each and the offer was 3 for £18. BUT – if you also have a Waitrose card you get 20% off the full price item taking the cost down to £12!! BUT that’s not all if I had bought them online via the ClickSnap link on Quidco I would have had £5 cash back with them. I didn’t go that far as the minimum spend was £50 and the £5 would have been eaten up with Waitrose higher prices.

Cinema – This weeks Orange Wednesday was Noah. We all know the story of Noah but this was the story on steroids! Rather weird with the Watchers and the fact that this was only 10 generations away from Adam & Eve they were very advanced – tailored clothing, making metal tools and travelling across the whole earth (The start of the film stated that Cain left Eden to build cities all over the earth). It was a really enjoyable film but still leaves you with more questions than answers. The main one being how would the human race repopulate when there is only Noah and his family left.. (Oh and if Cain went out in the wilderness to build cities where did the other people come from…)


On Sunday we looked after Ashley and here he is being tickled!
The traffic jam was caused by an accident just beyond the Brynglas Tunnels. It looked more like a normal Friday!

Ashley at Dyffryn House

Ashley at Dyffryn House

Drawing at Dyffryn House, saying Hello to the Lion, running off when we were eating our picnic lunch, my favourite one this week – posing on the wall.

On Friday we had a lovely day out at Dyffryn House (Using the voucher I won from TBAM last year!!) Ashley had fun running about and exploring. The gardens are well kept by the gardeners and volunteers who were hard at work weeding while the sun shone. The house is still in a state of repair, lots of work still to do!
There was a time when I would have refused to pay to visit a place like this as it was all built by the Coal and Iron Masters – they lived the life of Riley while their workers lived in poverty. However I know feel that we should visit places like this and make sure future generations know of the history of the Valleys. – They should also read the Alexander Cordell novels!!


Dyffryn House

Dyffryn House and Gardens

Above – Topiary – I’d love to the clippers out on some of these! – Fields of heather of every shade – The House – beautiful colour on the Hellebore. 


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Week 14 #Project365 – 2014

At the beginning of this week Hubby decided to try to repair the fencing that got damaged in the winds in January. We’ve been waiting for 2 builders to give a quote but neither has got back to us. Perhaps it’s too small a job for them.
Hubby dug down and refilled the holes with new cement and managed to bash the small wall on the neighbours side back into place. He did a really good job of it.

When I was tidying the garden I came across a busy little bee collecting pollen from one of the plants. I must have taken 20 pictures trying to get a shot of the pollen sacs attached to the bee. The one in the collage is the best I could do!

No Orange Wednesday this week. No films taking our fancy. Didn’t fancy Hercules and even though the Muppets would have been fun the mere fact that Ricky Gervais is in it makes it a no go for me.

We had a midweek roast and I made some rather impressive Yorkies!! I make them in a deep muffin tin.

When the car was MOT’d a couple of weeks ago we were informed that the front tyres would need replacing soon so we popped to our local place to get them.

On Friday we had Ashley for a few hours. Being a typical 3 year old he never stops! He loves going to look for the cat, she hides under bed and growls at him but he never worries. He also knows now how to start up the CBBC and Peppa Pig apps on my tablet. I also have one called Game Kids that has several games, his favourite is a piano, he bashes the heck out of it!
We had to take him to nursery for 12:30 and on the way he fell asleep. I love this shot as he looks so much like his daddy did at the same age.

tyres, bee, yorkshire puddings

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What is a mum?

I am the oldest of 4 children, my father buggered off when my sister was a baby. Things were tough, we shared a big 4 bedroom council house with Nan and my Mum’s 3 brothers.  Nan was VERY much in charge, do as you were told or get a clip around the ear, smack and even things thrown at you!! That’s how it was in those days..

Mum had to work full time so Nan looked after us. We only had sweets or biscuits on Saturday, that was our treat while watching TV. We played lots of board games, card games and when it wasn’t raining we played outside – in the garden, in the park, playing fields, in the street or we went for walks – miles and miles. We dug in the dirt, got dirty, swigged water from a bottle that at least one other person had already swigged from and we all survived having germs on us.  We used to walk along the canal that ran through the estate where we lived.. most of time walking in it, we wore jelly shoes and shorts and never worried about it. (BUT – 40/50 years ago it was clean and not the dumping ground it is now!)

We never went short of anything, we always had the basics, food, clothing and a roof! Meals were made from scratch and we made cakes every Sunday. We were also expected to help with housework, cleaning, washing,  ironing and gardening.

There must have been bad times but you know I really can’t remember any. That’s good isn’t it??  Well except for the very worst moment – getting a phone call on a Sunday evening saying your Mum has passed away. For reasons I won’t go into here.. I didn’t call Mum ‘Mum’ – I called my Nan ‘Mum’ and she had had a stroke some months before so I assumed it was her that they were referring to on the phone. It wasn’t until I got to the house that the unthinkable became known. She had a massive heart attack – she was only 51.
The worst thing was that we had been out all day and as we passed the motorway junction Hubby asked if we should drop in to Mum’s. I said no as I wanted to get home and get the boys bathed and in bed.

What I can remember is:

  • Dancing around a chair when Nan put her Russ Conway or Winifred Atwell records on.
  • Loving it when Uncle Johnny bought home our first ‘Stereogram’. It came with a special record to demonstrate stereo sound.
  • Sitting on the backdoor step shelling peas or peeling spuds.
  • Picking enough green beans to fill a huge saucepan (there were 8 or 9 of us most of the time!) Slicing them up and cooking them just to have a plate load with some worcestershire sauce and bread & butter.
  • Playing Thunderbirds by climbing inside small conifer trees and rocking them back and forth – these were in a plantation along side the playing fields.
  • Walking – around the estate, up Twmbarlwm,  to Rogerstone, Cwmbran.
  • Playing games in the steet, rounders, skipping, tag, hopscotch.
  • Mum on yearly shutdown from work – days out, Barry Island, Porthcawl. We also had a holiday about every 3 years, a week at Butlins or a caravan at Porthcawl.
  • Getting excited when Pomegranates were in season and having a half of one and a pin to pick out the seeds one by one.
  • Going to the library and bringing home lots of books – I love books.
  • Knowing I could ask Mum anything and get an answer – not always the one wanted but an answer all the same!

Lots more of course!

As a Mum there have been times when I’ve had to  remember that children don’t come with a handbook or instruction manual. Sometimes you have to do what feels right.

Coping with a child who won’t poo in the potty – all in good time…

Two children who weren’t keen on veg – solved when we had an allotment and they helped out and watched them growing.

Remembering my mums words when they both got to the point where they pinched or bit me – “bite them back – only a gentle one – they have to know it hurts” both of them only bit or pinched me once!

Worrying about oldest son being understood in school as his speech was so slow (now worrying about his son being the same!)

Worrying about them doing well in school, getting jobs, girlfriends.

Dealing with ‘terrible 2′s’ with youngest son – he still had them when he left home aged 27!

Dealing with teenagers not keeping their rooms clean and tidy – cutting up the internet cable to stop them playing Warcraft to get them to do this.. REALLY… cut into little bits and no internet until they did enough chores to pay for another one.

Things I’m proud of as a Mum?? My two boys – both now married to lovely young ladies. Both treat their ladies like princesses. Both confident young men – youngest especially so – knowing what he wants even if that meant going all the way to Australia to be with her!
So  you young ‘uns reading this be good to your mum, if you are a Mum remind YOUR Mum she did a good a job before it’s too late to do so. Take pride in knowing that you’ll do a good job too even though it may not feel that way at times.

Lastly remember that no matter what age they are you’ll ALWAYS worry about them.

Happy Mothers Day!







REVIEW: Hotel Chocolat Easter Goodies

I was recently approached by Hotel Chocolat to try an item from this years Easter lines. Well I wasn’t going to refuse was I?  I chose to try the Easter Pick Me Up .


Easter Pick Me Up , hotel chocolat

The packaging

Inside the box are 6 bunnies – lovely thick creamy white chocolate with an intense praline filling.  These were Hubby’s favourite.

Next up 6 Egglets – thick milk chocolate filled with a liquid Salted Caramel. I’m not keen on salted caramel but this one is really very subtle.

Lastly 4 Raspberry Zinger Egglets –  Thick vanilla seed speckled  pink chocolate with a sharp/sweet raspberry filling.  I can only describe these as LUSH!! I enjoyed nibbling the chocolate and licking out the filling taking my time over them!!  Can you tell that these were MY favourite??!

Easter Pick Me Up, Hotel Chocolat

Inside the box

The Easter Pick Me Up is a good choice if you want something a little more decadent to share with the family. Bunnies for the children, Egglets for older children and the Zingers for the grown ups.  It costs £13 – good value for a treat to share.

Why not pop over and browse the Hotel Chocolat Easter Range. Great selection and you’ll be sure to find something for everyone.


Week 13 #Project365 – 2014

Week 13 already – a quarter done! I’m still finding it hard going but hopefully now that spring has sprung there will be more to see.

There’s not much to share this week. I’ve done a review for Hotel Chocolate which involved eating chocolate… it’s a hard life!!  I’ll be writing up the review tomorrow (Sunday) so please watch out for it. I’ve not done many reviews so any feedback will be useful. :)

Orange Wednesday this week was Captain America 2. Good film with a good story and very well paced with plenty of action and some good fun in there too.

We were supposed to be having Ashley today but his Daddy was feeling unwell and had to ring in sick so he would be up and about to look after him. We won’t see him now until Monday.

Molly the cat usually hangs around the house all day so it was good to see her keeping warm on a sunlit wall in the garden.

Lovely warm day today and the washing we pegged out at 10am is all dry and ready to come in at 3pm!

orange wednesday, captain america, spring
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Week 12 #Project365 – 2014

I’ve had a very quiet week. I’ve not done much or been anywhere of note. Usual walks, pootling around the house, entering competitions and job hunting for us both.

My DIL in Australia has been working as a volunteer in her church and they have now offered her a paid position doing some graphic design and admin for them. She deserves the break and this allows her to get paid doing something she loves for the church she loves. A win win for them all.

I could easily do a rant here or on another post  but I tend to go a bit too far and know I’d upset some people and some may be regulars here and I wouldn’t want to lose them. :)
Things that have p***ed me off in the news this week are : people complaining about being short of money, parents thinking its their right to have paid child care, the miners strike anniversary, public sector pay.  You name it .. it’s all p***ed me off.
My answer to them – ah skip that… I’m not in the mood for a rant at the moment…

Anyway – back to normality – Orange Wednesday this week was Need for Speed. A bit of Fast and Furious clone but far more exciting and also has better cars. Cars to drool over…and some seriously heart in mouth moments in the chases.
We also had the opportunity to go to Cardiff to see the Captain America preview but decided against it. It would have cost more in fuel and parking that waiting a week and watching it via Orange Wednesday!

Ashley came for a short time on Friday, a quick play on his apps on my Nexus then a walk around the local town whilst Grandad was at the doctor’s. Then it was off to nursery. He’s such a popular little man, kiddies come up to him and hug him and call out to him.

camelia, orange wednesday

Piccies this week:

  • My Camelia is in flower already – I didn’t post a picture of them until May last year!!
  • Orange Wednesday.
  • Ashley trying to escape from the car outside nursery.
  • Text on my orange phone – 2 for 1 Paul Hollywood – oh I don’t think so. I wouldn’t cross the road to see him. Can’t stand him.

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