Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The gallery - frightful

The gallery theme this week is frightful. Very apt, being Halloween!

I have chosen my three Halloween monsters!

Megan is a witches cat, Ben is a pumpkin (with Mr w's scary mask on for some strange reason?!), and Jack is the joker.

The second picture is of pumpkin hama beads the children made today, which were good fun and kept the older two quiet for a good hour.
A bargain at £1 from Asda!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Birthday parties

Ben went to his first birthday party yesterday. I don't mean the first one he has ever been invited to, I mean the first one that was independent of family and close friends.

It was lovely just taking Ben to a party and watching him interact with other children of roughly the same age. (Megan went to nanas for some baking fun!) He enjoyed playing the sporting games but really enjoyed pass the parcel. He sat beautifully at the table and ate lots of party food. He sang happy birthday to the birthday boy. He was just so grown up.

It was another realisation that my little boy is growing up and becoming more self aware of his surroundings and 'special occasions'.

I loved watching Ben having fun and playing with other children and I think Ben had a great time too.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Silent Sunday

Leaf catching

We had a gorgeous Autumny walk yesterday. We are very lucky to live just next to a brook which leads us through a small woods to our local park. Walking along there yesterday it feels like we were out in the open countryside.  Megan requested a walk in the woods this week and I promised we would go if it hadn't rained. Thankfully we went yesterday when it was sunny, cold, crisp and crunchy. Having rained overnight it is now grey and miserable.

Megan and Ben loved crunching through the leaves and finding unusual shaped leaves, big, small, bright red, to name a few. They collected them in bags and this week we will make some leaf art.

We found a hidden rope swing behind trees which Megan and Ben both enjoyed and I have had to promise to take them back this week!

I took a few pictures on my phone and was really surprised at how lovely the light shone through on them. I think its because the sun is so low at this time of year.

We were only out for about an hour and a half but had a lovely time, enjoying one of the few sunny days left this year.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The gallery - books

This weeks gallery theme is books.

I love books. According to my mum, I didn't read till I was 7 so I was a bit of a late starter, but have certainly made up for it since!

I generally have a couple of books on the go, plus a gossipy mag and a food mag!

As a child, I loved Enid Blyton, they were so magical. The enchanted wood, the folk of the faraway tree and noddy.
As a teenager, I read sweet valley high, all Judy blume and sweet dreams to name a few.
At college I read shakespear, loved it and read more for fun. I raved to anyone who would listen about Romeo and Juliet!
When pregnant, I devoured anything remotely pregnancy related.

I remember going on beach holidays, to lots of remote Greek islands and literally taking 14 books, one for each day, and Mr w despairing of me and my heavy suitcases. Now I have a kobo e reader, so if I ever went on a Greeky beach holiday again (I hope so) I won't have that problem again. However, having two children will prevent me from reading more than one book whilst I'm away anyway!

And now as a mum I don't read as much as I used to and what I do read is 'light' and easy to read.
Chick lit, Janet Evanovich, Jilly Cooper and big favourites of mine, to name a few.

Wonderfully, both Megan and Ben seem to have developed my love of books and both have been read to from a very early age. They can often be found in their bedroom sitting reading, or in Bens case looking at pictures and making up his own stories. And yesterday I walked in and found Megan reading to Ben, a real heart melting moment.

These two pictures show the bookcases in my house. One is in my bedroom and is stuffed with loads of different books, fiction and non fiction, plus random things like my make up bag, baby wipes and various other bits and bobs. The other is in the childrens room, again stuffed to overflowing with picture books, rainbow fairies and Dora, plus my Enid Blytons! Fantastic!

Teas this week

This week we are having:

Chilli beef wraps (made by Mr w)

Tomato, bacon and potato bake (as we never got to have it this week!)

Roast beef with roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots, Yorkshire puddings and homemade gravy

Tuna pasta bake

Corned beef hash

Chicken enchiladas

Shepherds pie

Yum, what are you having this week?

Monday, 22 October 2012



On Friday we went to a family fun night at Megans brownie pack.
There was a stall selling teddies.
Megan and Ben both wanted to buy one each and for 20p, how could I refuse? (Just to add to the other 6 million we already have.)
Ben got an otter.  Before bed last night, after his bath, he sat on the floor, hands over eyes, saying, "where's my knocker? Want my knocker. My knockers lost!"
Very dramatic my son!
It took me, I'm not exaggerating, 10 minutes to work out what he meant.

My knocker is my otter!!!

You got it straight away didn't you?!

One year ago

A year ago today my nana passed away.  A whole year, which has gone so quickly.  My nana was 90 last year, (she would hate me telling you that!) She didn't look it at all.
It feels funny writing this, it seems to make it more real, but I wanted to put down some memories of my fantastic nana.

Ever since I can remember we went to my nanas on a Saturday afternoon.

For cake!

My auntie Lynne lived with my nana forever and they always have afternoon tea.  My family never had afternoon tea, I don't like tea anyway but on Saturday afternoons we always had afternoon tea, and in my case, squash. With cake.  When I was younger this was homemade fairy cakes, or buns as Nan called them.  As she got older, shop bought ones replaced the homemade ones, but afternoon tea was still the same.

As a mum I have regularly been to nanas on a Saturday afternoon with my own children and nephew (as my sister works on Saturdays and joins us later.)
My children have been able to experience Saturday afternoons with their great nana, or nana betty, as they called her. They have had the delights of afternoon tea and cake!

My nana was very active up until about 4 years ago when she had a heart attack. She would regularly get on the bus and go shopping, go to coffee mornings at church, see friends and was an active member of the church. After the heart attack she was weaker, but gradually started to go shopping again with family or friends and back to church.

Thankfully she wasn't ill before she died. She was breathless, caused by the heart failure, but it was manageable. She went on holiday last July to Llandudno with auntie Lynne and had a lovely time. She went to Bens christening on Sept 4th last year, which was great because she was with all the family. This was her last real outing.

The saddest thing is she never got to meet her 4th great grandchild. My sister laura was 34 weeks pregnant when nana passed away. Grace holly Elizabeth, named after my Nan was born on 2nd December.

At her funeral the church was packed with Nans friends, members of the church and neighbours who all loved my Nan. She was a very special lady who was very loved.

We still have our tradition of Saturday afternoon tea with my mum and the children at auntie Lynnes, so Nan would be pleased with that I'm sure!

A whole year, I just can't believe it.

This picture was taken last summer at my Nans. I love it because everyone looks very happy and relaxed.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Homemade chicken and leek pie

2 chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 leek, thinly sliced
200ml chicken stock
150ml single cream
1 pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 tbsn plain flour
1 egg
1 tbsn oil
1 heaped tbsn wholegrain mustard

Preheat oven to gas mark 6, 200 c.
Heat the oil in large pan and book the chicken and leeks for 5 minutes, until chicken is browned.

Sprinkle flour over and stir well then add stock. Bring to boil and keep stirring for about 3 minutes until it thickens slightly. Turn down and simmer for 2 minutes then add cream and mustard.

Spoon out between 4 pie dishes.

Roll out the pastry and cut into 4 pieces, big enough to cover the pie dishes. Brush the edges with beaten egg and top the pie dishes and stick down.

Glaze the pies with beaten egg and make a hole in each pie to release the steam.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve with potatoes or chips and veg.


Teas this Week

Just like everyone else I speak to at the moment, here in the Wright household we are budgeting. Trying to cut back, watch what we spend, remember to switch off lights and plugs when we are not using them and keeping the heating on to a minimum. (Not sure how that will go as the winter sets in.)

Part of this budgeting involves us writing out a meal plan for the weeks meals before we go shopping. I don't dictate what we will have every night, just seven different meals we will eat over the week.
This sometimes varies as Megan and Ben won't always eat what we eat but I am encouraging them to be more adventurous with their food.

I have found that by mixing food we have in, with fresh ingredients, we are saving money.

And I have also started doing my weekly shop between Tesco and Aldi and have noticed a saving there too.

I also want to include some recipes of meals we like to eat in the hope that Megan and Ben might one day cook them for their own families!

So this week we are having:

Egg and mushroom au gratin with crusty bread

Sausage and mash, peas and onion gravy

Pasta and sauce with garlic bread

Homemade chicken and leek pie with chips and veg (recipe to follow)

Fry up (bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and potato cakes)

Potato, tomato, bacon and cheese bake (recipe to follow)

Roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, yorkshire puddings and homemade gravy


What are you eating this week?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Manchester Aquatic Centre

Yesterday we all went to the aquatic centre. We have been once before, during the summer holidays and the children have been wanting to go back ever since.
There are two pools, although the big pool can be split to make two separate pools too. There is also two water slides but they have never been open when we have gone, (and I'm not sure whether Megan would be tall enough to go on either).
The smaller pool is ideal for younger children, and Ben really enjoys it.
It has one large and two small elephant slides, great for thrills when you are only 3! Water sprays are dotted around as well as little 'seats'.
And the best bit a small Jacuzzi, although Ben wasn't impressed with that, but me and megs were!
As it was Sunday afternoon it was 'fun play' so floats, rings and watering cans were around for the children to play with and lie on. There provided us with a good half hour of fun and floating play.

I really enjoyed the afternoon, and at £6.20 for the four of us, it was very good value.

The only down side was the parking. The aquatic centre car park is a multistorey situated across the road.
When you come out of the aquatic centre you can validate your ticket and have two hours parking for £1, which is very good value for money.
However we were there about 2 and half hours as getting to and from the car park with two children took about 10 minutes each way, add that to getting changed, pool time, showers, getting dressed, toilets etc, the list goes on! I actually think 2 and half hours was quite good really! But when we got back the parking was a whopping £4.10! I think that is way too much. What do you think? Am I being OTT?
Aside from that fleecing we had a great Sunday afternoon and will definitely be going back soon. (Although we might have to find somewhere else to park!)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Silent Sunday

Sunday Afternoon Party Fun

We have just come back from our friends daughters 4th birthday party. Megan and Ben had a great time. The entertainer played games, dancing competitions and gave out lots of sweets, so he went down a storm.

The party gave Ben the opportunity to perfect his dancing skills.  This is a recent development and is the most hilarious thing I have seen him do so far.  He stands with such a serious face and wiggles his body and now throws in some arm movements! Such a cool dude, just love him to bits.

Aside from Bens fantastic dancing Megan and Ben has a ball, catching up with their friends O, C and M.
A lovely afternoon to finish off a chilled weekend.

So what have you been up to this weekend?