Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me & Mine Project {May 2014}

dear beautiful

This month we have loved:

* Birthday season - 4 birthdays in 4 weeks mean a lot of presents and, most importantly, a lot of cake!
* It's kind of related to the above ^^ but I very much enjoyed my birthday weekend in Hay on Wye.  I'm so glad I finally got to go and will definitely be returning.
* Daddy being on 4 and 3 day weeks.  Due to bank holidays and birthday celebrations he hasn't done a full week at work since the middle of April and we have loved having him here.
* Building and (almost) finishing a playhouse.
* Making lovely new friends.

Did we take this photo last night?  Maybe.

This month has been crazily busy and I'm afraid I let the side down and just didn't even think about it until yesterday when I saw some posts popping up.

We took 66 photographs to get this one.  The lighting was bleurgh and the kids were excitable; we have plenty of three of us sitting nicely and then one child doing an impression of scream...I fiddled and faffed with the settings but in the end we had to settle for the best we could get at such short notice.  Naughty me, I must try harder next month!


Friday, 30 May 2014

Book Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

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The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Families have secrets they hide even from themselves...


The story begins in 1964, when the wife of Dr David Henry goes into labour in the middle of a snowstorm.  David's wife, Norah, delivers twins, a boy and a girl.  The little boy is born first but when David delivers the second baby, a little girl, he sees that she has Downs Syndrome.  David perceives this to be a tragedy and, marred by events from his own childhood and memories of his own sister, David asks the nurse on duty, Caroline, to take the baby away.  When Norah comes around from the birth, David tells her that the little girl, Phoebe did not survive and that the body has been taken away to be buried.

Some miles away, Caroline has taken Phoebe to a home suggested by Dr Henry but on arrival finds herself unable to part with the beautiful baby girl.  Instead, she makes the decision to take Phoebe home with her, and to move elsewhere.  Over the years, as she raises Phoebe she sends David updates but never reveals the location they are living in, helped by a friend she makes in the form of her future husband, Al.

We follow the children (Paul and Phoebe) as they grow up, David's inner torment at the constant betrayal of lying to Norah, Norah as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her baby girl and Caroline as she struggles to find equality for Phoebe in a prejudiced world.

Although I found the book quite slow moving, I enjoyed the premise and thought that Kim Edwards wove a beautiful story on quite a controversial topic.  She covered each character in depth, whilst keeping the story moving forwards although I would have liked to have had more chapters from Paul and Phoebe's perspective.

I also thought the ending was a bit weak.  David never really gets his resolution for all the years spent deceiving Norah and that left too many questions for me.  Kim Edwards ties it off neatly but without closure which I thought left the book lacking particularly as I really struggled to empathise with David throughout the story; I kind of wanted him to get his comeuppance and he never really did.

That said, it's an interesting story and if you don't mind having to doggedly stick with it, then I think you will be pleased you did so, even if the ending isn't quite as you'd hope.  It is interesting enough, and certainly provides food for thought.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

C is for...

Carpentry

I took two pictures for this week's letter and I have ummed and ahhed over which one is better but I really can't decide.  I like the first shot, where you really see the blade, with the rust showing etc, but the second one is an action shot and I love the capture of the sawdust.

So...this week I am going to cheat and do two for the price of one.  I will leave you to decide which you like best!



I am taking part in the Alphabet Photography Project over on PODcast - do pop over to see how other's have interpreted the theme or if you want to join in.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Birthday Weekend in Hay-on-Wye

For many years I have looked on in book-loving envy as friends and family have visited the quaint little village of Hay-on-Wye.  We've had a few 'almost' trips there but something has always conspired against us so this year, when my Other Half asked me what I wanted for my birthday I determined that instead of presents, what I really really wanted was a trip to Hay-on-Wye.


I won't bore you with how amazing it was but, if you love nothing more than being surrounded by row upon row of books, then you really need to get yourself down there!


We found a gorgeous B&B in the village of Kington, which was about 20 minutes away from the centre of Hay and on Saturday morning we set off for the village, arriving just after 10am when the majority of the shops opened.


I think we might be showing our age a little bit though as just 10 minutes after we arrived we had stopped for our first coffee break!


It was a beautiful day, perfect for exploring all the little alleyways and corners which is essentially what makes the village of Hay.  It's really easy to get lost and a few times we realised that we had inadvertently wandered in a circle!  Our daftest moment was coming across a gem of a bookstore, spending half an hour buying books and then leaving to go and look for Richard Booth's.  We found the back of a store which looked like it was Richard Booth's but we couldn't work out how to get in.  After lunch we sought advice from the cafe owner as to where Richard Booth's was...followed the directions and ended up at the very same bookstore we had gone into originally.  Not our brightest moment it must be said!


We didn't just spend our time looking at books however, there was a lovely antiques market which was equally like a rabbit warren, lots of rooms containing piles of items, all owned by different sellers.  It was our first time in a place like that and we really enjoyed exploring and seeing what pieces of history we could discover.  I fell in love with a 1950's coat which would have been perfect for Meg...if she'd been about 6 months old!


Being with my Other Half we also couldn't escape a walk along the River Wye which is what we did in late afternoon once we had deposited our piles of books back into the car.  The weather was stunning and Hay-on-Wye is surrounded by picturesque countryside so we didn't want to waste the opportunity.  We found a quiet spot by the river and just relaxed for an hour...it was so peaceful apart from the occasional rowboat which passed us.  I think if we went again we'd definitely look into hiring a boat; I think it would be a fantastic way to explore the area.


I could go on and on and on about what an amazing day it was.  I could also have spent twice as long in each and every bookstore, exploring all the many bargains located there but I think 8 hours was about my Other Half's limit!  He likes his books but maybe not that much.

Places I would recommend visiting whilst there:-

- Richard Booth's: Three floors of amazing books in a stunning setting, I particularly loved the top floor although the real bargain books are to be found in the basement.  Just try not to be too put off by the constant creaking of the floorboards above your head!  Books are priced depending on the quality and the age, but I didn't pay more than £3 for any of the contemporary fiction ones I picked up.

- Addyman Books: I believe there a few Addyman book stores in Hay; we went to the general fiction one which is located on the same road as Richard Booth's.  It's a bit more disorganised so be prepared to root through the towers of books on the floor if you are looking for a particular novel.  Books are very reasonably priced, around £1.50-2.

- Hay Cinema Book Shop (HCB): I was a bit disappointed with this as reading around it seemed like one of the most well known shops in the village.  There wasn't much by way of fiction here although you can buy new books for the same price as second hand ones, around £2-3 which was good.  It's definitely the place to go if you are looking for non-fiction books though.


We are hoping to go back next year but would like to coincide our visit with the Hay Festival which I think takes place the weekend after the one we chose as a lot of the shops were preparing for that.

It was a brilliant way to spend my birthday and I'm really thankful to everyone who made it happen - you know who you are!


Monday, 26 May 2014

Midnight Playhouse Adventures...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly midnight, more like 10.30pm but on Saturday evening as we sat watching Rush Hour (oh the exciting life we lead...) torrential rain suddenly started falling and after a few minutes my Other Half turned to me, all excited and said, 'let's wake the kids up and take them out to the playhouse!'

I'll admit, I shot him down initially.  I said he was mad.  I said we would all be paying the price the following day when they were grumpy and tired.  I said he'd be lucky if we managed to get them to go back to sleep.

He looked at me, with sparkling excited eyes (he's like a big kid really!) and I relented.

It did sound a little bit fun after all.  

One of my favourite sounds in the whole world is the sound of rain.  When I was a teenager my room was at the very top of our house in the attic and I loved nothing more than falling asleep to the sounds of the rain hitting the roof, or cracking my skylight open to hear it all the better.

So, we hurried outside with blankets and cushions by torchlight to make it comfy and warm, my Other Half made up some hot chocolate and we went upstairs to wake two very sound asleep children up for a midnight adventure.

Meg was wide awake straight away, bouncing with excitement, 'can we really?'  'but it's the middle of the night!'  'I'm so excited!' 

Eli was a little bit more difficult to rouse.  He woke and nodded his consent about coming out into the playhouse for a treat but within minutes of being inside the playhouse he had snuggled up under some blankets and fallen fast asleep again!  Apparently, despite his own regular late night adventures, he's not one for being woken up randomly by us.


Cuddling up, with our delicious hot chocolate to the sounds of the heavy drops of rain hitting the roof of the playhouse was absolutely bliss.  It was our own little family adventure and (the snores of Eli aside) I'm actually really glad we did it.

Meg was all abuzz with what had happened in the morning and it was a lovely way of making a new memory here.


Of course, now she has all kinds of grand plans to camp out in the playhouse all night long which I have very kindly volunteered her Daddy for!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Gallery: One Word

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

My one word for this week's The Gallery theme is: Heaven...

This is my absolute idea of heaven...three floors of books.  New books, old books, well thumbed books, crumbly books, books which had never even had the spines cracked....oh I don't care how sad it makes me!!


I am going to be writing a dedicated blog post about our Hay on Wye trip but when I saw this week's theme I knew there couldn't be any other photo.  We spent 8 hours wandering between book stores, and I loved every minute of it.

Heaven...

B is for...

Books 

...or bibles, depending on which way you fancy looking at it!


If you are interested to see how other bloggers and keen photographers have interpreted this week's letter then head over to PODcast or have a look at the #alphabetphoto hashtag on Instagram.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Me & You {May 2014}

dear beautiful

We are back in the land of the selfie this month after we went away for the entire weekend and *forgot* to take our tripod.  I couldn't believe it when I remembered halfway into our 4 hour car journey.  Very frustrating!

After a sorry ending to April, we have taken a step back this month from all our every day distractions and really concentrated on our relationship.  There is no magic fix but we have made a real effort to talk to one another and to pay attention to one another, instead of rushing to the next thing.  Despite May being our busiest month with birthdays one after the other, and being away every weekend, it's actually the most I've felt at ease in a long time. 

My Other Half is my best friend and as I said last month, it isn't always easy, it isn't always blue skies and sunny days but there isn't anyone else I'd rather share life with.  I am so incredibly grateful that we can stick together as a team, even when it's really tough.

For now, we are smiling and we are enjoying ourselves again and things are definitely looking up...


Monday, 19 May 2014

A is for...

Astronomy


I am really excited to be taking part in the new Alphabet photography project hosted on Charly's wonderful blog PODcast...both myself and my Other Half are really keen to improve our photography skills and we are going to *hopefully* use this project as a way of stretching ourselves and trying to capture different things, not just the obvious.  We'll have to see how that works out!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Review: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
A tale of unlikely friendship


I was sent this book as part of the Book Swap being hosted by Jocelyn at The Reading Residence.  It was a book I had seen mentioned a number of times but one I had always bypassed; mostly because the cover and the title didn't grab me...yes, I'm afraid I am one of those people!

So when my book swap partner, Sarah from Taming Twins sent it to me and I finally read the back, I was really quite excited.  With good reason too it would turn out.

The story is about Alex Woods, a 17 year old boy who is a geeky misfit, living at home with his mother and his 'sister' Lucy the cat.  As a child he is knocked unconscious by a meteorite and becomes something of a minor celebrity.  Unfortunately, the sustained head injury also causes him to have epilepsy which only adds to his inability to 'fit in' with his peers and for this he is often sought out and tormented by his classmates.

It is during one such incident that he meets Isaac Peterson; a bad-tempered American widower, and through a series of unfortunate events, a friendship between the two is formed.  We know from the outset that Peterson will die, it is this fact which forms the basis of the story but it doesn't take away from the tale in any way...although you know what you are building towards there are still plenty of surprises along the way.

This book has a great combination of laugh out loud moments, mixed in with those which are heart-wrenching and thought-provoking too.  A lot of the comedy comes from Alex's inability to grasp things, but Gavin Extence has the teenager's demeanour down to such a tee; he is deadpan, matter of fact and incredibly compassionate all mixed in together.  Throughout the story we also see the development of Alex's moral code which I found very interesting.  It's hard to say too much without revealing some of the strange twists this story takes!

It was certainly unusual and I am so pleased that I was sent it as part of the book swap, otherwise I would have missed out on a treat.  I would definitely recommend this book although if you are a weeper, have the tissues on hand.  Knowing the end doesn't make any difference to the amount of crying you do!

Have you read anything good lately?  Come and join in with my May Book Love Linky, either by linking to a review you have written or, if you aren't a blogger, just leave a comment on the post.  I'd love to have you join in!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Gallery: Up Close and Personal

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

This week's theme for the Gallery is 'Up Close and Personal' and when I first decided on my two subjects I don't think I had quite appreciated how difficult it would be to make them sit still!

Well, one of my subjects anyway.  Meg was quite happy to pose once she saw what I was doing and although I had to stop and show her every photo I took, to exclamations of 'are my eyes really that blue?!' she was very compliant in the end.

I have no idea whether photography-wise this is a good photo, but I love it, especially the way half her face is in shadow.


My other subject was in no way as helpful as his sister.  I took twice as many photos and the majority of those were blurry.  There is just too much to see and do to bother sitting still apparently so this ended up just being a hastily grabbed, straightforward shot.


But there you go, my two favourite little people in all the world.  Up close and personal.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

When Birthdays Go Wrong...

It's fair to say that this weekend didn't go even slightly to plan.  It was Meg's birthday on Sunday and we were away in Burnaston, Derbyshire for the weekend with some family to celebrate my Mother in Law's 50th (if you are interested, have a look at Stables Lodge...lovely accommodation!)

Unfortunately, late on Saturday afternoon, Meg tripped and fell against the corner of a coffee table, cutting her forehead.  Thus we took a hurried trip to A&E which was thankfully only a short distance away.

On realising that the cut would need more than just a plaster my heart sank into my shoes; following our experience last time I couldn't imagine how a) we would explain it to Meg in a way that wouldn't make her freak out and b) how I would manage to hold myself together and not worry that it was all going to go wrong.

Luckily, the A&E we attended had a children's department and the entire experience was completely different.  From start to finish the staff were so patient with Meg, and she did really really well, all things considered, only getting upset when it was time for the nurses to place the steristrips over the cut (understandably!) 

In fact, when we went in to see the triage nurse, I went ahead and just explained that she might not be compliant because of the last time we were in a hospital and she completely showed me up, not only allowing the nurse to look and touch her cut but without making a single objection.  I suspect this may have had something to do with the new Disney Princess doll she was promised if she complied but I like to think she might be getting just a tad braver.


It was hard not to walk away feeling guilty that this was the way her leg should have gone.  If we'd taken her straight to the A&E instead of the local Walk-In Centre then perhaps Meg wouldn't even have been traumatised in the first place but...alas, I know it is pointless to think like that.

Suffice to say, it was not the birthday experience we hoped for her; by the time we got back to the accommodation there was just enough time for her to have a cheeky mocktail before crashing into bed.


Worst of all to the mind of a five year old, she can't have her birthday treat of going to the local splash park until the cut has fully healed so it's a disappointing time all round at the moment.  Her concept of time has yet to improve so apparently it will be forever before she can go and her cut will never ever heal.  Naturally.

Of course, I am just glad that it was a straightforward injury, with no complications and that in a week or two apart from a small scar, everything will be back to normal, or as normal as it ever is in our house!

Have you ever had a birthday gone wrong?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Now You Are 5...

Another one!!  Today my girl turns five.

She is such a bright spark in our lives; every day we go to bed laughing about something that she did or said in the day.  There's always a story to tell.

I once described Meg to someone as a fireball and that still rings true today.  She is ten times more stubborn that either me or her Daddy, we can have disagreements which last for days if she has made up her mind about something and nothing will budge her.  Nothing!  She is a girl who knows her own mind and I think that is something to be treasured.  Already I see how passionate she is going to be and I know it is up to us to ensure that she puts that passion towards something worthwhile and long lasting.

Starting school in September has made a huge difference too, she is truly on the road to independence, she no longer even looks back when she goes through the door into her classroom and whilst this makes me happy that she is so confident, I'm also sad that she doesn't need us as much.

I have been so impressed with how she has handled our move as well, blending into her new class and making friends with seamless ease.  She is a social butterfly (which she definitely gets from her Daddy!) moving between friends and including everyone in her games.  We laugh about her mean girl faces but I know that's not the truth, she is very inclusive and perceptive to how others are feeling and I love that about her.

Meg loves to read and write, she loves to make up stories and act them out with the assistance of Eli (mostly, she loves to take charge!), she is still adventurous enjoying nothing more than the thrill of a rollercoaster ride, it is never fast enough for her.  I hope that she keeps her spirit as she grows older, but that I don't always have to watch!

Most of all, I love the little girl she is becoming.  Yes, sometimes she frustrates me beyond measure but the pleasure is in the challenge of parenting such a strong-willed and fiesty little madam!

Happy birthday beautiful girlie.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

International Blog Swap Day


Today I am taking part in International Blog Swap Day, a very exciting concept being run by Tots100 and Digital Parents in Australia.  I was partnered with the lovely Joy from The Mama Minute and hopefully she will be back to share a guest post on the blog soon but for starters, I thought it would be nice to get to know her a bit more.

So, here we go:

Hi! I'm Joy and I've been writing professionally for about 10 years.  I've had a number of blogs throughout my career, but I started The Mama Minute shortly after giving birth to my son (now two years old) because I knew becoming a mother was a significant new chapter in my life and I wanted a way to keep a record of the lessons, hilarious stories and nice moments for both myself and my readers.  Over the past two years The Mama Minute has evolved to include parenting tips and allergen-free recipes, to uplifting videos and ideas on how to maintain a work-life balance.



Why do you blog?
From the moment I finished my first novel I knew I was in love with the written word.  At the age of seven, Roald Dahl’s The Witches had me captivated, excited and entertained, and I’ve wanted to do that with my own writing ever since.  I write professionally for a number of websites and publications, but blogging allows me to write in a free, creative space–about anything I want!  There are a host of other reasons why I love to blog, but here are my top 3.

What do you like most about the place you live?
We live in the outer suburbs of Sydney in a perfect little spot where a playground, water park and cafe are minutes walk from our front door.  Sydney is a beautiful city with so many things to do and awesome weather all year around; it's common to get sunny skies and warm days even in the middle of winter.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I love sunshine and water!  If it's summer, we pack up the car and take a day trip to any one of Sydney's beautiful beaches.  Free time is a rarity when both my husband and I are working full time, but we make a point of trying to spend at least one day of our weekend out and about, exploring parks, shows and more of our city with our little one.  And in terms of what I'd do for "me" time: nothing beats curling up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and good book.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before you became a parent?
Being a parent is challenging and frightening, as is everything in life worth pursuing, but don't let anyone ever make you feel like you can't do it or that you're not doing it well. Your body and heart were built for every crazy thing that being a parent throws at you; never doubt yourself and your capacity to love your family.

Thank you Joy!  You can see from this that we have a lot in common (I don't think I could have been given a more ideal match!) so do pop over to Joy's blog.  You can find Joy at The Mama Minute blog, or go and say hi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest

Siblings {May 2014}

dear beautiful

This month has seen the return of the team.  A little unit, in their own world, playing alongside each other.


I am sure I have said it before but I love watching their independent relationship form; the first thing they do when they wake up is start to play together and as soon as Meg gets home from school they are off, either playing outside or upstairs in their bedroom; creating memories with each other.

I know that this might not last forever but whilst it does, I am happy to just sit back and watch them learn to be together.  To be there for each other, to help each other, to make each other laugh, to fight with each other and then to do it all again.

There is something so precious about these moments and I have to constantly remind myself to not get involved.  That these times will cement their friendship for many years to come.

I've gone slightly overboard on the photos this month but I simply couldn't choose.  I love them all.  We went to the beach to walk the dog and I turned my back for a few minutes to sort Pepper out and when I turned back, Meg and Eli had set up camp and were telling each other jokes.  It was far too sweet for me not to capture it.




This post is part of the Siblings project which is hosted on Dear Beautiful.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Book Review: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld


I have to first start this review by saying that I absolutely loved the premise.  Identical twins, Kate and Violet are polar opposites in every way except one; they both have 'senses' i.e. an ability to foresee the future.  Kate, our protagonist, refuses to acknowledge her gifting and tries to live out her life as a 'normal' wife and mother of two young children.  Violet is the opposite and embraces her gifting fully, working as a psychic.

One day, Violet predicts a major earthquake is going to hit the town where they live.  Despite herself, Kate senses the date and gives this to Violet and a whole media storm is unleashed much to Kate's horror.

It was obvious right from the beginning that events would reach a pinnacle point on the date Kate sensed the earthquake would take place, whether it was an actual physical earthquake or just something which happened in their lives and that was fine.  I thought that the concept fitted very well.

But honestly, that was where the good ended.  This storyline could have been amazing.  Instead it was, at best, mediocre.  There was just too much unnecessary fluff in the book, and the characters were incredibly difficult to empathise with.

Kate is a whining, moping, uninspiring character who does nothing but bemoan her existence and how difficult she finds it all.  The story follows present events as well as flashbacks to their childhood; their relationships with their mother, their senses being 'outed' whilst they were at school etc.

I imagine the idea was for the reader to form an understanding of Kate and perhaps develop some sympathy towards her but frankly, I just found her irritating.  From Kate's perspective everything about her life, from her childhood right through to her current situation has been wrong or unfair or not how she imagined it.  I think I could have forgiven the author had she brought Kate's situation to some kind of resolution but, she really doesn't.

Violet is a much more vibrant character than Kate which I believe is intentional but continually acts like a child.  It was ridiculous to believe that a grown woman could behave the way that Violet does.  I found it incredibly frustrating; one minute she was giving a refined television interview about the impending disaster and the next she was deliberately baiting Kate into an argument.  Again, a very unlike-able character.

The peripheral characters; Kate's husband, Jonathan, and their friends Hank and Courtney are no more likeable and there is a revelation at the very end from Kate and Violet's father which is never taken any further although it had so much potential.

At the very end of the story, something happens which I found completely implausible, and although Sittenfeld has tried to tie everything up neatly she actually raises far more questions than she answers.

I was very disappointed with this book and I don't really like to give negative reviews as I believe every book has at least one or two redeeming features but this was just a real let down.  I felt like the storyline had so much potential but Sittenfeld drowned that out with unnecessary drivel.

Too many irrelevant details and not enough plot I'm afraid.

I have read other reviews which suggest that this is not Curtis Sittenfeld's best work.  Although American Wife is on my 'to read' list I'm not entirely sure I want to give it a go now!

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Have you read anything good lately?  Come and join in with my May Book Love Linky, either by linking to a post you have written or, if you aren't a blogger, just leave a comment on the post.  I'd love to have you join in!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bank Holiday Date Night with #MorrisonsMum

This bank holiday I was invited to be a #MorrisonsMum by BritMums and provided with £80 of vouchers to go and see what I could get for my money. Having just moved to the area we haven't really explored all our different supermarkets, tending to stick to ones closer to the village so it was a good opportunity to have a nosy around.

Part of the reason for the challenge, was the new campaign by Morrisons. Here is what they are offering:

This is the start of a new cheaper Morrisons.

From today, we’ve cut the prices on over a thousand of your favourite products. Not temporary reductions or supermarket smoke and mirrors, these are new every day low prices on the things you buy every week. So you’ll notice the difference with every shop.

And although we’re cutting prices, we’re not cutting corners. You can check our pricing at www.Morrisons.com/pricecuts.

You’ll still get award-winning meat and fish, still get trained butchers and bakers, still get the best of fresh on Market Street and still get friendly Morrisons service.

Look out for the yellow markers when you shop in store and online at morrisons.com. If it says I’m cheaper you know it’s staying cheaper.

I was definitely up for seeing whether this was the case! As it was the Bank Holiday (therefore no work on Monday, woohoo) we decided to have a date night on Sunday evening. My Other Half planned the menu and we used our Morrisons vouchers to purchase the food.

Our normal food routine is that we do one large monthly shop followed by fortnightly 'top-ups' of perishables such as milk, bread, fruit etc. We are very frugal when it comes to our shopping and average around £300 a month for our family of four plus one dog so I was really interested to see whether the I'm Cheaper range would make a difference. Although we bought items specifically for our date night, I roughly knew how much I would expect to pay in another supermarket so was able to make a comparison.

But, firstly, the supermarket itself.


Everything was well laid out; it was your typical supermarket arrangement and it was very easy to find the things on our list. The fruit and veg all looked fresh, and the meat was very reasonably priced. I spotted a lot of the 'I'm Cheaper' signs so it looks as though quite a lot of general household items have been included. I was especially pleased to notice lots of signs in the wine aisle!

I even treated myself to some flowers, new mugs, a book and birthday outfits for the children...so all in all it was a very successful trip! We spent £86 in total which covered our date night, a buffet the following day and the items mentioned above.

We bought the following for our date night homemade burgers and wedges:

* 500g mince beef
* Onions
* Bread buns x 8
* Tomatoes
* Lettuce
* Bacon
* Cheese
* Potatoes
* Chilli powder
* Soy Sauce

From our cupboard we used:
* Tomato sauce
* Mayonnaise
* Mustard


From this, there were enough burgers leftover for us to have another meal later in the week but if we were making this for 4 people it would have worked out at £2.33 per person.

The Recipe:

The Wedges
- Peel potatoes and cut into desired shape
- Put into a baking tray with oil and season to taste. Sprinkle with chilli powder
- Cook for 45 minutes at 180c


The Burgers
- Finely dice an onion
- Make breadcrumbs using four slices of bread in a food processor
- Add onion to processor and combine with breadcrumbs
- Place the mince into a bowl and mix in the onions and breadcrumbs. Add one egg and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix with hands until well combined
- Shape into 8 burgers
- Cook in oven for 20-30 minutes (or fry/grill if you prefer)


The Sauce
- Mix 4 tbsp tomato ketchup, 4 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp mustard and 1 tbsp soy sauce

Assemble The Burger
- Chop an onion and cook gently in frying pan for 20 minutes until soft
- Grill bacon for 10 minutes until crispy
- Remove burgers from oven and top with cheese. Grill for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt
- Assemble burgers with sauce, sliced tomato, onions, lettuce and crispy bacon

Enjoy!!


I have to admit that it was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. The meat was melt in the mouth and although I didn't manage to grab a great picture of it, you will have to trust me that it was incredibly tasty!

Disclaimer: I was provided with £80 Morrisons vouchers for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Gallery: Faces

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

This week the theme for The Gallery is 'Faces'

It's quite unusual for me to have the perfect photo without even having to think about it but since it transpired this week that if you live in a house with two silly boys then nothing is sacred, especially your phone, I just happen to have an ideal shot. 

I have been struggling with memory on my phone for a while, and finally decided that perhaps 3,000 photos was a little bit much and so I should probably get rid of some.

Imagine my surprise when the latest photos were a string of selfies taken by Eli and my Other Half.  Now, whilst on the whole I think they are quite attractive faces, I probably didn't need twenty different photos to tell me that!!




If you want to join in with The Gallery or see how other blogger's interpreted this week's theme then head over to Sticky Fingers.