Allotment

Preparing to grow our own

preparing to grow our own

Preparing to grow our own

Growing our own fruit and vegetables is something we have always wanted to do but have never really gotten round to it. In our house we all love our fruit and vegetables so I don’t know why we haven’t really.

We have recently moved house so we thought whilst the design of the garden is currently being discussed now would be the best time to section some of the garden off for a little allotment area to grow our fruit and vegetables.

We have always been a believer that home-grown is best, well let’s face it you can’t get any fresher or healthier. Home-grown is also a great money saver too so it ticks the right boxes for us.

Making good use of garden space

When we thought about how much money we spend on our fruit and vegetables – OK they are not expensive and are definitely cheap enough to buy but still it is still a continuous outlay that all adds up. We have the space to grow our own so it seems silly spending out when we can grow a saving and a healthier lifestyle. We are certainly looking forward to seeing a reduction in our never-ending food bill.

OK our garden isn’t massive but most things can be grown in pots anyway so what we can’t get in the ground can be grown in pots. We are a novice when it comes to home-grown so we are currently starting from scratch and learning as we go along. Admittedly we have been watching garden programs and chatting to professionals seeking much-needed help and advice. We are going to start out small and add to our allotment when our confidence increases.

Growing our own I will admit has been rather daunting but we are enjoying it and we are finding it rather rewarding. We all look forward to getting up in the morning and checking how much things have grown – it’s rather exciting!

So far we have:

  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes
  • Cherries
  • Peaches

We would also like to add:

  • Courgettes
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Carrots

At a later date and then build up from there. Our garden is a work in progress at the moment and we currently have things in pots but they will eventually/hopefully be in the ground very soon once the garden design is complete.

Have you ever grown your own fruit or veg? what advice could you give us to help?

Education

Dream chaser

about us

Dream chaser

Lee has become a dream chaser and we couldn’t be more proud of him. Since early on in his toddler years he has always shown an interest in football. This has not changed one bit now he’s in his teen years. It has been a hobby that he has always enjoyed very much.

This is a hobby that is enjoyed by Lee on a daily basis. To become a footballer would be a dream come true for Lee. We are always encouraging our teens and talking about chasing our dreams and Lee is certainly doing that.

Lee is a huge spurs fan, anyone who knows Lee personally will know he is always talking spurs and going to as many home games as he can, he is also on the season ticket holder list and has a Spurs membership. We live five minutes from their training grounds and this is where Lee can often be found. He tends to know when the players are there and goes in hope to grab an autograph or photo opportunity to add to his already huge collection of old and new players signatures and photos.

dream chaser
Lee’s favourite photo and favourite player.
Harry Kane.

We have toured many of football stadiums over the years with Lee (Lee has toured them more than once with friends) in and out of the UK, Barcelona being our latest. We toured Barcelona with Lee as a 16th birthday gift from us. We toured the stadium and the museum. Lee really enjoys looking at the memorabilia and reading the history in football.

How Lee is turning his hobby into a career

Lee’s hobby is fastly turning into a career, a career that he is very much enjoying. He is currently studying to get a diploma in sport. This will open up many of exciting opportunities for him. This course will lead him to the right path in elite sports.  With the course he has been enjoying since September he has assessments, both formative and summative, with continuous practical assessments throughout the year. Lee is currently being assessed on his academic ability and also his practical performance in fitness testing and sporting performance.

Lee is continually assessed, this is done in various different ways, anything from a written report, practical activity to a presentation. A majority of his assessments are all down to his personal performance whilst participating in squad events.

If Lee is successful in this course he will then be able to forward his career – following a structured sports programme he can then move his career to a higher level and study sports science ending with possibilities of a scholarship or employment opportunities.

Lee has chosen a very exciting career path and we are so excited for him. We have had a long chat with Lee and he is fully aware that there is a lot of hard work to do and lots of studying to be had but he isn’t at all fazed by it as he is doing what he has chosen and enjoys. Lee certainly is a dream chaser and we are very proud of him.

dream chaser

 

Lee has always been a sporty child and has always tried to build his knowledge the best he can. All that leaves now is for Lee to build his future the best he can in a career he loves and live his dream.

Death

Sad goodbyes

sad goodbyes

Sad goodbyes

March for us had a very upsetting start. Sad goodbyes was had. Sadly we had to say a very upsetting goodbye to our very much-loved pet – Buddy.

Buddy sadly passed away in his sleep on the 8th March, he passed peacefully in his bed. He has left a huge gap in our family. To some he was just a dog but to us he was a family member – a very much-loved member of the family.

Buddy has been in our family for just over 10 years, he has grown with our teens and has always been there right beside them.

We couldn’t have asked for a more loving and loyal dog than Buddy, he joined our family bringing so much love and loyalty with him. He brought fun into our lives, even helping us through many of bad days and challenges just by being Buddy.

Buddy was part mischief but 100% a blessing.

We have written a poem for Buddy which we are going to get framed with a photo of Buddy beside it.

Sad goodbyes
Forever our best Buddy

Our Buddy

You came into our lives one day and we loved you from the start.

We never thought back then that one day we would have to part.

You filled our lives with so much joy and happiness, we we’re truly blessed.

The years past and the love grew, you have always been loyal, faithful and true.

Those special memories of you will always make us smile, if only we could have you back for just a little while.

Your love was unconditional, faithful and above the rest. You was just simply the best.

Our darling boy we may be apart, but your paw prints will remain forever in our hearts.

You may be out of sight but your no longer in pain – right inside our hearts is where you will always remain.

 

Sleep tight our darling boy

              x

Our world.

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Decorating

New House Update

new house update

New House Update

We have been in our new house for four months now, wow that has gone quick. We thought we would give a new house update to show how we have been getting on in that time.

Take a look…(after photos will be in our next post).

From November right through to January we was busy unpacking boxes and finding homes for things, sadly not everything fitted and we had to then minimise what we kept. Come January/February time we was sick of the sight of boxes and definitely not sad to see them go.

Slowly becoming box-free following moving house back in November. We are slowly but surely settling in nicely 🏠😄

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Come January we made a start on the bedrooms. Three out of four bedrooms have been painted, but only one has new carpet and underlay. Well they was off-cut’s that we had spare from our old house, we had kept hold of them as we was going to use them at the old house but never did get round to it. They worked out to fit perfectly in our office. The bedrooms are yet to bed finished off.

At our old house Ian had use of the conservatory for a smoking room, when we moved he lost this space as we no longer have a conservatory and I will not have smoking in the house. As a Christmas gift we bought him his very own man-cave, this will be his own little space, somewhere he can escape to for peace and quite and enjoy his fag in peace whilst keeping warm with his feet up. It is yet to be kitted out but he loves it.

Hubby finally got round to setting the heater up in his man cave. 😃

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One of the first jobs we done as soon as we could was take all the wallpaper off the walls. With Ian being a fully qualified electrician he has also been busy moving and adding light switches and plug sockets – these are things you can never have too many of in our house. Even adding outside power too – this is always handy to have.

Come February we painted the lounge, hall, stairs and landing. The downstairs toilet has also been painted. We have painted for now just to give it a brighter fresher feel as the previous owners taste DID NOT match our taste/colour scheme.

Here is a before photo.

We moved house on the 12th November. We spent Saturday stripping the wallpaper as it was not something we wanted to keep.

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We have a huge lounge area now, this is something we have dreamed of having, our lounge at our old house was tiny so we are loving the extra space. The size of the lounge is perfect but the lighting was poor, there was only two very dark/dim lights in place when we moved in and we wasn’t finding them sufficient enough so we spent a few day’s changing them for down-lights.

Whilst we was swapping the lighting for down-lights we insulated the ceiling and then re-plastered to help keep it warmer and sound-proof it that bit more. We had a mad moment and had this done about 10 days before Christmas.

Getting there slowly with our new house. Today we have a plasterer in. Messy job but will be so much better.

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The bathroom was a room we had all agreed was in desperate need of needing a makeover first. The people who lived here before us was disabled and had the bathroom fitted to meet their needs. At our old house we had a walk-in shower which we all loved but we all missed being able to have a bath. We had all agreed that we would like a bath put in place with an over-head shower – meaning the best of both worlds, a choice of a shower or a bath can now be had.

Teen has been busy helping hubby with the bathroom makeover. He was doing all the measurements to help make the new door frame.

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We was in our previous house for 13 years and we was very settled. Why we moved house can be read >> here. We have had to adjust to so many changes, minimise our belongings as not everything could come with us sadly. We gained a larger lounge but lost kitchen space, gained and extra bedroom but the master room is smaller. There have been lots to adjust to and work our way round but we are getting there slowly and making this house feel like home.

In March we had to say a very sad goodbye and come to terms with the sad loss of our loving dog Buddy, he sadly passed away on the 8th March in his sleep.

Never forgotten 😢

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Also in March we had our carpet fitted in the lounge, hall, stairs and landing. Having carpet down has made a huge difference. It feels more homely, cosy and much warmer and welcoming.

Crazy teen. We are waiting on our brother in law to fit our carpet. Whilst waiting teen thought he'd strike a pose or three lol 😁😂 Crazy child.

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It is all slowly coming together, as you can see it has been a busy few months but we are now slowly starting to settle. Next new house update to follow shortly showing you all the changes made so far in more detail.

Collaborative post

Beginners guide – foot golf

Foot golf

Beginners guide – foot golf

Some of you may not have heard by now, but there’s a new craze sweeping the nation and its name is foot golf. If the name didn’t give it away: it’s a combination between the sports golf and football that involves kicking a ball around a golf course in the same way you would play a round of golf. Have a look at some of the rules and regulations of the game and see if you’d like to have a game sometime.

Mark your ball
Your ball must be easy to identify as yours, otherwise it’s going to cause confusion and potentially cause arguments about who’s ball is closer to the green. You can do this by investing in a colourful ball, but then, you could achieve the same effect by simply marking your ball with a marker pen with your initials – or a smiley face if you’re so inclined.

Dress the part
You might think that you could get away with wearing football boots with studs for a sport like this, but you’d be wrong. Only golf apparel is appropriate for an occasion such as this, from the flat cap on the head to the golf cleats on your feet. Making golfing clubs will turn you away for not having the correct gear so don’t assume footgolf centres will be any less strict. Some Under Armour golfing gear might just do the trick.

foot golf

Every touch counts as a shot
Your foot must be removed from the ball at all times, unless you’re taking your shot that is. The ball is played in a single movement, so those of you that might want to chip it out of a bunker, you’ll have to be a bit more skilful than just scooping your foot on the underside of the ball.

Only shoot once the ball has stopped
It might be tempting to boot the ball closer to the green as you see it rolling dangerously closer to a hazard, but it’s against the rules we’re afraid. There are exceptions however, as you can stop your ball if it is obviously rolling due to the wind.

foot golf

Play foot golf where you lie
You aren’t permitted to move the ball at any time, so if you’re facing an obstruction or the ball is wedged into something, we’re afraid you’re just going to have to play through it. You can make a mark of where your ball has fallen and then take it off the playing field if your ball will interfere with another foot golfer’s shot – but you’ll have to put it right back on the mark later.

Water hazards carry a penalty
Should you be unlucky enough for that your ball ends up going for a swim during game time, you have two options. Option one: you retake the shot from your last marker. Option two: you retrieve/replace your ball and take the shot two stops from the closest point on land. Both options come with a single penalty point to your scorecard.

If you like the sound of a game of Foot golf, there are plenty of centres located around the country. Click here to view the range of UK courses.

Does this sound like something your family may wish to try?

 

*** Collaborative post ***

Lifestyle

20 Wishes

20 wishes 2017

20 Wishes 

Boy are we glad to see the back of 2016, it started off good but then dreams came crashing down. We have 20 wishes for 2017 – forgetting the bad of 2016 and moving forward thinking positive with a huge sigh of relief it’s finally over. Here’s to a new year and new start.

We was kindly tagged by Vicky from Being Tilly’s Mummy to write down our 20 wishes for the year.

Five wishes for our family

  1. Being a full-time working family time together is precious, we hardly get time together where we are all here. Spending more family time together just us is going to be our main aim for the year which we have all agreed to…..yes even the teens.
  2. As much as time together as a family is perfect we would also like to spend time together as a couple. Time together in the DIY store or at the kitchen sink doing the dishes isn’t quite quality time. We aim to get our once a month date night back in the diary and go out for a nice meal – swap those cleaning rags for glad rags.
  3. Looking back at our photo’s and there are hardly any of all 5 of us. This is something we would love to change this year and get these photo’s updated.
  4. Getting our foot on the property ladder and investing in our family future was our dream for last year – sadly this didn’t happen but we are hopeful it will this year.
  5. Making our new house a home. This is something that we know will take time but together we will make this happen.

Our five wishes for our blog

  1. We plan to get back to blogging again, our blog was quiet for a while whilst we was busy moving house. We have moved now and are finally starting to find our feet again…..Moving is such hard work.
  2. Work on promoting our blog more, such as guest post, join in linkies and be more active.
  3. Get more active on social media, join in with twitter chats and chat more with fellow bloggers.
  4. Continue to attend blog conferences, meet fellow bloggers and learn as much as we can to help our blog grow.
  5. To mainly be organised, keep on top of things and enjoy our blog.

Five personal wishes

  1. Confidence is something I seriously need to work on.
  2. To go on the hunt for this thing called “Me Time” – do you know what that is? no, same here. Apparently it does exist so keep looking.
  3. Get back on track with my weight-loss is a HUGE must.
  4. Be more organised, this is something I keep saying I will be/do but it never happens so let’s try more harder this year.
  5. I want to worry less and learn what will be will be.

Our family hopes and wishes for 2017

  1. We hope for this year to be less of an emotional roller-coaster.
  2. We plan to have more family fun day’s out together.
  3. Not everything has to be planned, live spur of the moment more – its way more fun.
  4. To be happy, healthy and not let anything stand in the way of our dreams.
  5. To try our best to make all of the above happen.

Fun family day in the woods 😀

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Wishing you all the best for 2017.

Lifestyle

10 Reasons why I’m #RockingMotherhood

10 reasons why in #RockingMotherhood

10 Reasons why I’m #RockingMotherhood

10 reasons why I’m #RockingMotherhood is a post I have been tagged in by Hannah it is where I give 10 reasons I believe makes me rock motherhood. If I’m completely honest I am just winging it, but here goes….

These are my 10 reasons I think I’m #RockingMotherhood.

  1. Parenthood is oh so magical, you learn to run purely on cold coffee and very little sleep. With my boy’s now being teenagers I have this learnt to a T.
  2. In my years of being a mum I have learnt there isn’t a book that has all the answers in for being a perfect parent. I have had to learn along the way, yes making mistakes, accepting help, advice and also support. I may not have all the right answers but what I do have is three beautiful teenage boy’s that I love with all my heart and would do anything for. We make the perfect team.
  3. I have also learnt over the years Not to ask Google when I need to know something – silly me, why would I want to do that when I have teens who claim to know everything!!…I have raised my boy’s to be strong and confident in all they do.
  4. I am not just a mum I am also a cook, cleaner, referee, mum’s taxi, walking cash machine, cheerleader and so on but I wouldn’t want it any other way. My teens are not just my boy’s they are my world, my everything and most of all my best friends, no one or nothing comes close.

Sunday selfies with my boys at my birthday meal. 😍 #ukparentbloggers

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5. Meal planning is something I learnt fast, planning ahead and being as organised as we can be. Being a full-time working mum this is a must, especially if we want to eat at a reasonable hour. My slow cooker has become our family best friend as none of us like cooking when we get home of an evening.

6. I have managed to keep my kid’s safe and well. My first-aid training as come into action on more than one occasion….boy’s will be boy’s. I soon learnt the trick of when looking for them to look up high as I’ve more chance of finding them up in a tree than with their feet on the ground.

7. I get let out once in a while on good behavior…I even come back home on time too (get me).

8. I am learning a new skill, yes a new language called teen texts. Have you experienced it yet? some I figured out and some I own up to and admit I had to text back saying “can you re-send in a way I understand”. I mean if someone text you saying “HAND” what would you reply? or “HAK”? “IKR”? “JIC”? there are so many to learn but I’m getting there slowly.

9. I support and encourage my kid’s in all they choose to do. They may not always listen to me or make the right choice’s but we all learn by our mistakes and I am always here for them the best I can be.

10. I always have time for my boy’s, always have and always will. Making memories that will last a lifetime.

So these are my 10 reasons why I’m #RockingMotherhood, over to you now ladies.

Marie from Marie’s Beauties

Lucie from Our world and autism

Nikki from Keeping strong and moving forward

RockingMotherhood

If you do decide to take part then the rules are:

  1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.
  2. List 10 things that you believe makes you a good mother. (10 is just a guideline, it can be more or less).
  3. Tag 3-5 other bloggers to take part in the #RockingMotherhood tag.
  4. Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add to your sidebar or blog post.
  5. You can also tag in your tweet @whitecamellias for her to have a read if you wish.

 

 

Lifestyle

New Year New Dreams

new year new dreams

New Year New Dreams

Wow, where did that year go? – last we knew it was early summer and we was in the process of buying our much-loved home and dreams finally were coming true.

You may or may not had noticed but our family blog has been on the quiet side for the past few months – this has been because we have been busy trying or hardest to buy our much-loved family home that our children had grown up in. Sadly this didn’t happen for the reason below.

We have needed time to adjust and come to terms with our dreams sadly NOT happening.

Some dreams are just NOT meant to be

How things have changed and time certainly don’t stop. We was happily putting our plans into action and preparing to become first time buyers. The forms needed was filled out and the necessary fee’s was paid.

All was going so well and was accepted by our housing association following all the necessary checks – eek it was all so exciting, we was so excited to be getting our foot on the property ladder and investing in our children’s future.

Word’s can’t describe how happy we all was.

The all important appointment was then made with our bank along with a few others just to make sure we got a good idea of mortgage rates on offer at the time. We found there wasn’t much of a difference in the rates so had chosen to stay with our own bank and keep everything in the one place.

Credit checks was done once we gave the go ahead, these went through no problem and the dotted line was then signed.

The surveyor appointment was then made.

It was all so exciting….

This is a moment we had dreamed of and worked towards for so long and it was finally happening.

Until…..

Bad News Then Struck

The surveyor arrived as planned to check the property – this being our home of 13yrs, he arrived and broke our hearts. Our home was made of prefabricated concrete and sadly no mortgage lender will lend on these properties…..Our application was then rejected by our bank for this reason.

Giving up was something we didn’t do easily, we went on to apply elsewhere and get second opinions but all the surveyors was saying the same and pre fab properties are not something to lend on.

Heartbroken and not knowing where to turn or what to-do, we even went as far as chatting with a broker where we didn’t want to give up on our dream – sadly a BIG NO came back there too!

new year new dreams

What Now?

So we have been living in a housing association rented property, living there for 13yrs – 13 happy years in hope of one day being financially able to buy the property. It came to the point of having to have that horrid chat about what-to-do now?

It was then agreed that we was paying out dead-end money, something that was agreed that we didn’t want to do. The time had come to be realistic and start making other plans for our future, our dreams of owning the house we had lived in for 13yrs had sadly come to an end.

New plans was then made

A phone call to our housing officer was had to see what our options was from here. It was then advised if we was wanting to still use The Right To Buy Scheme to get our foot on the property ladder that we look for what is known as a home swap/tenancy swap. This is where two tenants swap houses.

We then signed up to a website called HomeSwapper and the hunt then began. We knew we didn’t want to move too far away from where we was in North London as we had all settled here and our day-to-day commitments was here.

It was a heartbreaking decision, we all had mixed emotions about moving but we pulled together as a family and knew it was something we had to do.

new year new dreams

The packing began

The packing then began and the tears began to flow. We had a meeting the day before moving, this was to sign all the home swapping paperwork – signing over of the tenancy to our much-loved home and then signing to take on the tenancy to the new home.

On our way back home from signing the paperwork we stopped off and collected one of the removal vans….Deep breaths was being taken all day and tears was being held back, it was now time to let go, get loaded up and say our goodbyes to our home and neighbors.

Our last night was spent in our much-loved home, we sat reminiscing before saying our goodbyes to our neighbors.

The big day had now arrived 

The moving day soon arrived, we hired two Luton vans, one we picked up on the Friday which we loaded on the Friday evening to make the move a little less stressful, mainly to get a bit of a break from the heavy lifting.

On the moving day itself it decided to rain…..Yes rain ALL day!

We are now in our new home and starting a new year with new dreams. We are still in North London close to all our day-to-day commitments. We found a house 2.5 miles from where we was which is good. We have had amazing support from friends and family for which we can’t thank enough.

We needed time to find ourselves again. We are now gradually getting back on top of things again, we know it will take time so for now we are thinking positive and taking things day-by-day. We moved back in November and it’s been hectic ever since. The last of the boxes are slowly being un-packed and routines are now taking place again.

Do we miss our old house? – yes, it goes without saying but we are now looking forward to the future.

We are starting our new year with new dreams and thinking positive!

review.

Comparison – HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Comparison – HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

The printer in our house is a highly used product, it is used by ourselves as well as our teens on a daily basis. It is used to print our teens school/college work. We use it ourselves to print off our work files, tickets, recipes, photos, contracts etc so high quality printing is highly needed.

Here are both the printers..

This is the HP Envy 5540.

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

And this is the Epson Ecotank L355.

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Setting up

We found the set up for both rather straight forward. Both printers came with instructions which was easy to follow. Setting up of both printers was rather stress/hassle-free, didn’t take long at all.

Price comparison

Epson Ecotank L355 is currently priced at £199.99. This is a 3-in-1 inkjet printer.

HP Envy – 5540 is currently priced at £74.99. This is an e-All-in-one printer.

Feature comparison

HP Envy 5540 is wireless. Prints, scans and copies. The printer also features a 2.2 inch display screen. There is an option to subscribe to Instant Ink and utilise paying for your ink with a choice of different ink subscription packages. Packages start from £1.99.

Instant Ink is where the HP original ink is ordered from your printer via Wi-Fi when your running low on ink (never run out again) and then delivered to you before running out.

Comparison – HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

The Epson L355 can also print, scan and copy. This printer comes with a 2 year supply of ink. The ink for this printer is designed to do away with the need for cartridges and has an integrated ultra-high-capacity ink tank system, there are NO ink cartridges to replace with this printer. In the box with the printer was four 70 ml Epson genuine ink bottles, you simply keep the ink tanks topped up using the ink drip-free bottles. With the ink you can print up to 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 in colour. With this printer you can print from mobile devices, making life that bit more easier when at home.

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Printing

HP Envy is wireless and compatible with these operating systems:

Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista OS X v 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X v 10.9 Mavericks and  OS X v 10.10 Yosemite.

With the HP Envy we can print, scan and copy with lab quality borderless photo printing from our PC and also from our mobile device, making our life that little easier by managing printing tasks directly from our mobile device by using the free HP app.

We can also connect our mobile device directly to the printer and print without accessing a network. We can also print from any room without causing any disruptions, we simply use the quiet mode option. We have been printing when at home and when away from home, we simply emailed the printer and had our print-outs printed and ready for our return home, reducing the to-do-list/work load.

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

The Epson L355 is also wireless and is compatible with Mac OS 10.8.5 or later, Mac OS 10.6+, Mac OS 10.7.x, Windows 7, Windows 7 x64, Windows 8, (32/64 bit), Windows Vista, Windows Vista x64, Windows XP, Windows XP, Windows XP x64.

With the Epson we found that Wi-Fi connectivity helped us print with ease using wireless printing around the home from our laptop and mobile device. The wireless printing made it easy to position and print from many places around our home. The free Epson iPrint app made life even easier for printing from our mobile devices from within our home.

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

 Testing

We have been using both printers now for a while, whilst using them both we have run a few basic tests.

Water test:

Don’t know about you but in our house there is always someone with a drink near important files, and yes drinks have been accidentally spilt so we thought we’d put these printers on a water test and see how well the ink survives once wet.

HP Envy 5540

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Epson L355

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Both smudged slightly but once dried they was still readable.

Smudge test:

Our teens are always printing off last-minute work…..If i’m honest so are we so we thought a smudge test would be a good test to do. This is how well/fast the ink dried. This test was carried out straight from each printer. We found that neither printer photos smeared when wiped with dry cotton wool pads.

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Print quality comparison 

Print quality is something we highly need from our printer. Here is a print comparison of the two printers.

HP Envy 5540 

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

Epson L355 

Comparison - HP Envy Vs Epson Ecotank

We asked our followers their thoughts on the two photos. Their thoughts can be found on our Instagram here.

Speed test

When in a hurry some printers can seem to take forever to print. Whilst using the above two printers we found HP was slightly quicker for printing documents and photographs but we found the quality of the photographs better from the Epson.

Final thoughts

HP looks tidier, the paper is nicely stored away, there are two separate compartments for the different papers, photo/A4 which was great and saved time. We have had the printers now for roughly four months and have changed the HP cartridges to our second lot of ink that was sent to us before we run out and was changed hassle free.

With the Epson we have not had to top the ink up as yet. We have found the printing speed to be faster with the HP, with the Epson we had to manually change the paper when wanting to print a photo which can be annoying at times.

Ink levels can both be checked which we found great, with the Epson you can physically see how much ink you have and with the HP you can log in and see on your account how many pages you have left.

The HP is bigger in size compared to the Epson but it is more tidier to look at and have in our home.

We found the HP printer to be more suited to us. It is quicker, compact and the printer ordering the ink for us saves us from a huge worry of running out of ink. Giving us peace of mind and worry-free printing.

Disclaimer: we was provided both printers for the purpose of this post. All thoughts are our own.
General post

Girly Day In London – Finding Dory

A girly day in London - Finding Dory

Girly Day In London – Finding Dory

A girly day in London – finding Dory was enjoyed not that long ago. We very often have our nieces come for a sleepover, when they do we always like to make sure we have something fun planned.

We had our youngest niece Lexi come and stay. Lexi has made good friends with Tilly from Being Tilly’s Mummy blog. We have met up before in the past and the girls get along brilliantly together and have become good friends. We planned to meet with Vicky and Tilly at Disney HQ and have a girly day, being a mum of three teen boy’s I really enjoyed having some girly time.

Girls day out

It was mine and Lexi’s first time at Disney HQ, admittedly I was rather excited, are you ever too old for Disney? We was there to have a private screening of this summers must-see kid’s movie – the new Finding Dory movie. Lexi is a huge fan of Dory so she was rather excited.

Specsavers – Finding Dory Frames

Whilst we waited to be seated for the movie Lexi enjoyed trying on Specsavers new kid’s frame range. They have introduced four new frames – Finding Dory frames. These frames are exclusive to Specsavers and will be launched in the £64 range.

Children’s eye care is very important, Bradley has had to wear glasses now for many years. At first he would refuse to wear his glasses but we soon found that if we let him choose a frame that he liked and wanted then he would happily wear them.

Finding Dory Frames

These new frames are available now in Specsavers stores perfect for children between three and eight years. Eye tests are free on the NHS for under 16s and all the glasses in the kid’s range include UV filter, a scratch resistant treatment, case and cloth. The range cater for different sized frames and fittings, catering for active children as well as the older child.

Finding Dory Frames

Children also get to choose a second pair in the kid’s get two pairs offer. With kid’s glasses it is always safer to have that spare pair handy, Bradley’s glasses was always getting misplaced or damaged when he was younger. Thankfully he has got much better at looking after his glasses now.

These lovely four new frames have the characters of Finding Dory on the arms with a choice of colours to suit every style.

Lexi had great fun trying on the different frames.

Finding Dory Frames

She loved seeing what her frames looked like on.

Finding Dory Frames

Finding Dory Frames

The movie itself…

Finding Dory Movie in 3D

Finding Dory movie

Once I managed to get Lexi to put the glasses back she had her arm painted before we was then seated to watch the Finding Dory movie in 3D.

Finding Dory Movie 3D

We enjoyed being taken back to the wonderful underwater world from Finding Nemo. We really enjoyed welcoming back our favorite, friendly-but-forgetful blue tang – Dory. Lexi was glued to watching Dory’s determination to return home to her forgotten parents, cheering her along her journey.

finding dory 3d movie

This animated sequel will have a wide audience glued, cheering Dory along on her journey to find her parents. This heartwarming movie is this summers must-see movie and is out now. Lexi couldn’t wait to return home herself to tell her older sisters and anyone who would listen about the movie.

We had a fantastic girly day. Every girl loves a new bag, look at the smile on this girls face.

Dory bag

 

health

Epilepsy – Taking Charge

Epilepsy - taking charge

Epilepsy – Taking charge

Life as a teenage boy can be hard, your noticing hormone changes and your also making important choices. You’ve life choices to make at school and you’re preparing and taking charge of your life with GCSE also taking place.

Lee was busy with all of this going on, he was happy and taking each day as it came, getting up and going to school meeting with friends along the way – after school doing any homework he had and then going out to play football with friends just like many other teenage boy’s.

This was soon to change….

One Sunday morning I had noticed Lee to be having a seizure, luckily with my job I’d had training in epilepsy awareness and noticed the signs. I took Lee straight to the hospital where they run some tests and it was confirmed Lee has had his first witnessed seizure.

Lee was referred to the epilepsy specialist where more test was run over a course of time, MRI, ECG, EEG, sleep deprived test and light tests. Lee was so brave especially with the MRI test as this really scared him, he hated the loud sounds and small space but with us in the room with him 2nd time round (we wasn’t allowed in first time) he was brave and braved it out, we couldn’t have been more prouder.

We awaited Lee’s results which was given at a follow-up consultants appointment where it was confirmed and Lee was diagnosed with Tonic-Clonic and Absence seizures.

Our poor boy…

When Lee was diagnosed he went withdrawn, we noticed a loss in his appetite and he hardly went out with friends anymore. He was put on medication (Lamotrigine) but he’d refuse to take them, he didn’t want anybody knowing about his diagnosis, he would close any conversation down quickly if we was to try and talk to him about his diagnosis, and we also noticed a change in his behavior at home and at school.

It was so upsetting to see our poor boy change before our eyes, we knew this was not Lee.

We set out to get him the help needed..

Lee found it really hard to open up so with specialist help from his epilepsy nurse we sat down with Lee and explained that he IS NOT the only teenager to be diagnosed with epilepsy and he IS NOT this alien he had pictured himself to be in his head.

Lee felt different, he felt embarrassed, he just wanted to hide away but at the same time not be on his own because he was scared. He wanted to talk about it but at the same time didn’t because he was scared and didn’t want to hear or accept the answers. He would look so drained and tired, it was so upsetting.

Lee finds it hard to accept…

Lee’s Tonic-Clonic Seizures would mainly happen at night while he was sleeping so in his eye’s he’s not seeing or witnessing anything because he’s not aware that they have happened, he just notices the side effects the next day – side effects being, loss of appetite, headache, feeling sick, aches and pains along with extreme tiredness and on some occasions unexplained bruising.

When Lee has had a seizure we would keep a close eye on him for a good few hours after, meaning we keep him home from school if it’s a school day (school being fully aware) as he needs to rest and sleep it off as it wears him out – plus for his own safety.

Putting a care plan in place…

We have had a care plan in place at his school informing his teacher’s of what to do if he was to have a seizure whilst at school. When Lee was at school it was noticed he was having absences on many occasions, this is where he blanks out for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes – side effects, headache, sudden tiredness, confusion, confusion to loss of time and to why people are asking him why is he not listening to them.

Lee has just finished his GCSES but whilst he was taking them his seizures got more frequent resulting in a visit to the hospital where we was informed stress can bring the seizures on more frequently. This put us in a very tricky situation as you can imagine. Lee was needing to take his exams but at the same time he was suffering, he did take his GCSES but we kept a very close eye on him and he would rest and unwind that bit more.

During his exams he was given extra time, this was to help with the pressure a bit, this really helped him, we worked very closely with the school and I must say the school have been fantastic with helping support Lee during his time with them.

Lee is still coming to terms with his diagnosis, he still finds some things hard to accept as changes have had to be made but he is more open and willing to talk about it now which is a huge help. He now takes his medication 150 mg twice daily with reminding but he does take them. It has been a very tough time for us all and still is but we are working through it together as a family. Lee is on the right path now to taking charge and not letting it beat him, we couldn’t be any more prouder of him.

epilepsy - taking charge

***Posted to help raise awareness***

Collaborative post

Making Your House Feel Cosy

making your house feel cosy

Making Your House Feel Cosy

 

Making your house feel cosy is the easiest and best way to make your property feel like home, whether your motivation is the winter months setting in, a new house or maybe just a desire to do something new to your decor.  To create a cosy and homely feel does not necessarily have to cost you too much or take up too much time, in fact you might find you already have everything you need to make your property just that little bit cosier than before. Here are some of the many ways you can revitalise your room with a cosy decor, which or how many of these you choose to use is completely up to you:

9 Ways Of Revitalising Your Home:

  1. Buy some throws and blankets and place these around your home, you could place them over the back of sofas or chairs or you could even hang them on display. If you do use this idea, think about the current fabric trends of 2016, we are seeing the return of tie dyed fabrics, textured fabrics and bold colours are also popular this year.
  2. Re-light your fire. Nothing is cosier than a nice warm fire with its soothing glow and comforting heat, most fires now can be turned on without actually heating up, creating the cosy feel without making you too hot, use this feature whenever you are home and want to cosy-up with the family.
  3. Re-paint walls to a darker colour, something like chocolate-brown or a charcoal grey would be perfect, use lighter colours such as white and cream to break-up the dark colours and lighten the room, otherwise it may be too dark.
  4. Add plenty of family photographs and portraits to the room, hang these on walls and add frames to mantle pieces, even consider adding some black and white or sepia effect photographs, i.e. pictures with an old feel.
  5. Add rugs, even consider putting rugs on top of rugs. Layering like this instantly creates a cosy feel, as does rolling a rug out onto the floor, this is especially perfect for anyone with hard-wood or laminated flooring.
  6. Plants and nature are always a good way to make a home feel cosier. Consider adding some potted plants or even fill some glass bowls with some soil and plants to create a ‘nature terrarium’.
  7. Transform one wall by covering it completely with a curtain instead of painting or wallpapering it, this will make the room instantly warmer and cosier. This works perfectly in bedrooms.
  8. Add a comfortable chair in the bedroom, this will bring the sitting room into the bedroom and tempt you to curl up in the chair and make the most of the room. For the icing on the cake, think of adding a warm and comfortable looking blanket over the back of the chair.
  9. Include hanging fairy lights into your interior design, even if it is not Christmas. These usually work the best in a bedroom however, if you place them right hanging fairy lights can be used all year round in any room to make it feel a little bit cosier.

You do not need to do all of these things, just start by implementing one and keep going until you feel like your house is finally as cosy as you’d like it to be.

 

*** This is a collaborative post ***

Collaborative post

7 Summer Party Ideas For Kids

7 summer party ideas

7 Summer Party Ideas For Kids

Summer – for all its joyous warmth and opportunities to finally get outside and make the most of being alive – presents something of a challenge for parents. With the kids off school for a significant chunk of the season, keeping them amused isn’t always that straightforward.

 

When the temperature rises, the desire to party increases, and this could actually be the key to keeping your kids busy and out of trouble this summer. Thankfully, there are a tonne of themes and ideas you can choose from.

 

In this post, we’ve picked out 7 brilliant summer party ideas for kids.

 

A great British bake-off

The UK is gripped with baking fever and what better way to take advantage of this than to host a bake-off themed party for the kids? They’ll love getting their hands dirty and by introducing a competitive element (best cupcake, tallest cookie tower, for example), you can keep them engaged with the promise of prizes.

There are plenty of recipes for kids to choose from online and in most baking books, so grab the ingredients and let them take over the kitchen!

 

Pirates!

No matter how many Playstation or iPad games they have to hand, kids still love good, old-fashioned party fun and there are few ways to get them more excited than by throwing a pirate bash.

Pirate hats, eye patches, plastic hooks and parrots can all be purchased relatively cheaply from costume shops and the addition of a scavenger hunt for sweets and other goodies will have them amused for hours.

 

Real-life Angry Birds

The incredibly popular Angry Birds game centres around the process of flinging small objects at large obstacles, breaking them down in stages. Kids love it on-screen, but we think you can go one further than that this summer.

You can hold your own Angry Birds-themed party by using mini bean bags as the birds (or Angry Birds toys, if you have them to hand) and old cardboard boxes, magazines and empty bottles for the obstacles. Kids will love playing a real-life version of their favourite video game.

 

Make a splash

If it gets particularly hot, a brilliant kids party theme involves two very simple ingredients: balloons and water.

Simply fill a bunch of balloons with water and tell the kids to take turns in bashing them with a plastic bat or cardboard tube, piñata-style. It’ll provide endless entertainment as they all desperately avoid trying to get soaked (even though we all know they’ll love it when it happens).

 

Painting party

Give your mini Picasso’s the opportunity to demonstrate their creative side by placing large canvases or sheets of paper in the back garden and giving them a bunch of colourful paints. Better still, introduce a summery theme to really get their creative juices flowing.

 

Tough little mudder

Kids love getting muddy, and when the weather is nice, there’s no better time to allow them to indulge in this messy past time. Better still, you can make an event out of it by setting up a muddy obstacle course at the local park.

A string maze, oversized cardboard boxes as tunnels and treasure hunt finale will tap into their primeval sense of fun.

 

Slip and slide

Another water-themed summer party idea bound to get the kids excited is a DIY slip and slide in the back garden. All you need is a long, heavy-duty drop cloth staked to the ground, a few buckets and plenty of water. You can then watch – and, probably join in – the slippery wet fun that unfolds.

 

We’ve attempted to keep the party ideas above low-cost (or free) and simple to set up, but, most importantly, they should be easy to clean up afterwards! Make the most of the summer this year by treating the kids to a few of these brilliant summer party ideas.

 

Do you have any fun summer party ideas that you would like to share?

 

 

 

***Collaborative post***

 

General post

Home Improvements

Home improvements

Home Improvements

Some of you may already be aware but we are currently on an exciting journey, that journey being a first time buyer’s journey. Lot’s of fun home improvements are to be made. You can read more about our journey so far on a guest post over on Being Tilly’s Mummy.  We have so many home improvements that we would love to make and get started on. We have some exciting plans but there are also areas where we are needing help and advice. Where better to head off to for this help and advice other than the Ideal Home Show.

Myself and Bradley headed off there for a day out together, we went there with a few ideas in mind but came away with so many more, some ideas we would never had thought of. Bradley came away with some new ideas for his bedroom and I must admit I love what he has in mind.

Whilst there we even had a chat with Martin Lewis.

Home improvements

 

On our day at the Ideal Home Show some fantastic renovation advice was given to us, we was told that planning as much as we can and keeping things simple is the key to any succesful project. Any rushed and unplanned projects will most probably end in mistakes being made. Plan as much as we can in as much detail as possible, get colour samples and always double-check measurements.

We found the Ideal Home Show so inspirational, there are so many ideas under one roof it was amazing, we had so much fun looking at the gadgets and trends. There are so many different sections such as food, technology, home furnishing, garden and so many more. We had such a fun day out and will defiantly be going again next time. Our exciting plans are going to be put into action very soon.

Have you ever visited the Ideal Home Show?

Slimming World

Slimming World Weight loss Continues

slimming world weight loss continues

Slimming World Weight loss Continues

It has been a while since we’ve had a Slimming World update, we can confirm our Slimming World weight loss continues. We are still attending Slimming World every week, we lost our way for a while but have slowly been getting back to where we was a while back.

Our weight has been going up and down by a few lbs, we would love to get fully back on track so we recently had a chat and have both decided to go back to basics. We have recently had a food shop and have stocked up with fruit and vegetables for healthy meals we have planned.

We are now meal planning and batch cooking in advance so when we’ve had long working days we’ve a nice healthy meal waiting for us on our return home. We have both admitted to skipping meals so this is also going to change. Healthy snacks are now ready for us to grab as we go so there are no excuses.

Our problems have been 1) skipping meals and not eating three meals a day, 2) on most days eating the wrong foods when we have been eating as we have not meal planned in advance. We both need to make sure three healthy meals are eaten every day along with topping up our water intake.

Fast forwarding a week or so and…..

The past few weeks have seen us both really getting back on track and getting back into the swing of it all again, weighing our food again, cutting/removing fat from our meat, drinking more water, meal planning and most of all enjoying three meals a day along with cutting down on sweet treats and alcohol……our weakness!

With both of us working full-time jobs we find that preparation is key to helping us a great deal.

We have also been topping all this up with exercise and have been enjoying the great outdoors by having fun family days out, walking in the countryside with Buddy. Exercise doesn’t have to be taken inside a gym, it can also be enjoyed outdoors.

We lost our way throughout the winter months but we are now slowly getting back on track and back on plan. The past few weeks weigh-ins have shown great results, one week showed a whooping -4.5lb and another -3lb loss which we’re more than happy with. We are looking forward to more fab losses to come.

We now hope our Slimming World weight loss continues.