Our day at The Deep

I’ve been wanting to take Harry to the deep in Hull for a long time but either didn’t have the money or the time. So when a friend suggested going I jumped at the chance to get him out of the house. I didn’t worry about the cost thanks to surveys and other money making schemes I’ve been slowly putting in place.

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I saved £1.25 just by booking online instead of paying when I got there, I did it on the day too so I didn’t even have to book days or months before to save that money. It is worth making that extra little bit of effort after all £1.25 each soon adds up for a family. It was £11.25 for an adult ticket online and £12.50 in store. Under 3’s are free so I didn’t have to pay for Harry.

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The BEST thing about The Deep is that you pay the once then can go as many times as you like within a year, excluding bank holidays. We plan on going again when the kids go back to school. Hopefully it won’t be as busy and more freedom for Harry to run around.

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We found Marilyn! (Nemo’s Dad from Finding Nemo)

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And we took on the Jellies 🙂

It was a great day out, Harry was unsure to start with as the first bit is dark and has fossils on the wall but he soon got over the nerves and enjoyed looking at the fishes and the lights on the floor!

I would definitely recommend going and if you want to make a full day of it the marina around there is a lovely walk. They even have Penguins and Sharks and at the end you exit in a lift or stairs with a view, we got a great view of the sharks and a tortoise as we left. I did take a video but don’t want to spoil it. I really enjoyed the day out and so did Harry we will be back within the next month or 2 and I can’t wait!

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Free slots on bingo, how I’ve won over £100

I thought like a lot of people out there, you never win on bingo sites but regardless I do like to play a bit of bingo. So I decided to give heart bingo a go. This was the first of a few sites I discovered have games you can play daily for FREE as long as you’ve deposited £10 in the past, you can win free spins and cash. Each week you pick a free game to play, they vary from site to site but I will include a list below of the ones I’m currently playing.

I came across heart bingo from a cashback site, I couldn’t tell you which one but I know swagbucks currently give you 1,250 points for depositing £10. The terms say to wager it but at this current time you can withdraw the £10 after your swagbucks are credited. DO NOT accept the bonus money unless you want to play bingo as wagering terms apply and you won’t be able to withdraw your money.

The more days you play in a week the higher your chance is to win and every day earns you a bonus at the end of the month and the closer you get to the £10 withdrawal or alternatively top up your balance to £10 and withdraw.

Each day you pick 6 different squares and need to find so many of each picture

Heart bingo free game example

I have to be honest with you sometimes I gamble the money because I have won it, sometimes it pays off other times it doesn’t but at least it hasn’t cost me anything! I got my £10 back and more a long time ago when I was lucky on bingo. Not to mention referring my partner for £20 and taking advantage of offers like deposit £10 and they matched it 100%. This went into my account as cash so I ended up withdrawing most of it.

Always read the terms and conditions. Wagering requirements do apply if you accept the bonus, check which games count more to the wagering terms for example bingo is normally 100% of what you spend and slots 10%. Heart bingo at the time of writing you need to gamble 4 times the welcome bonus before you can withdraw any bonus money. That works out at £160 and some other sites can be worse.

DO NOT play these games if you have problems with gambling. When the fun stops STOP!

Please enter my referral, prettyplease26, if you wish when you join any of these sites.

Good luck let me know how you get on, Ellie xxx

Tired mum confessions

*Not sure what beach this is at. Me, my 2 younger sisters, mum and dad <3*

Recently I’ve been thinking. I’m not looking after myself enough and a lot of this is down to being tired a lot. I get up at 5 am most mornings and even when Mike gets up with Harry I still end up getting up at 7 am, I can never just relax. I haven’t been taking Harry many places recently and really want to change that.

I always feel so much better after going to the gym and eating healthy. Also when I’m not spending money randomly instead of planning. I’m thinking of starting a step by step program sharing what I’m doing on here to get all parts of my life in order and the way I want them to be. I want to be able to go on holiday, not anything really fancy just to Cornwall, I love Cornwall and I haven’t been since I was 15.

Every year we would make the long drive down to Cornwall, usually overnight so the traffic was better. We’d have some sweets to last us the journey, my love of milk bottles started there, I remember riding in a recovery truck one of the times we broke down eating a packet of milk bottles, I think it was the first time I’d tired them. It was such an adventure, but I have a feeling my mum and dad wouldn’t have enjoyed breaking down on the motorway 2 years running half as much as we did as kids.

I want to take Harry and re-visit all the places we used to go to. We would stay on a camp site that was also a farm called Trencreek farm, it was family ran so we got to know them each year we went. I remember pork belly pigs, goats and even a ram who decided to chase my dad. He had a stick at the time and was using this to keep the ram from headbutting him while stood on a picnic bench. I forgot about that, its funny what you remember while writing.

There was a quiet beach nearby called Port Holland where we would go quite often, my kind of beach it had only 1 shop at the time and now only a small coffee shop (as far as I know). There wasn’t big crowds of people but enough people around for us kids to make friends or I play cricket with a group of friendly strangers.

My last visit to Port Holland ended in a typical dramatic Ellie fashion, I was in the sea with my body board. I don’t have the balance for real surfing ha ha, I’m more like to get covered my a wave like the time me and mum went looking for a jelly shoe, sat on her shoulders still covered us both! It felt like I stood on something really sharp, I assumed it was glass so hobbled out of the sea. When I looked at my foot all I could see was a pin prick but it was quickly swelling up and very painful. On the way back to the car hoping in flip-flops I did a spectacular fall and grazed the same leg and my hands on the stone car park. So clumsy but makes me laugh now.

There is more places where I want to visit again some of the amusement parks, the swimming baths in St Austell, Mevagissey a little fishing port where I remember running down the peer in between waves splashing over. My aim is to do this next year. I want to save money by planning my meals, bills and any other way I can think. I want to see how much I can earn as an extra income, mostly online and fitting around Harry. Most importantly I want to be healthy and to a weight I feel comfortable at and hopefully more confident 🙂 I hope you enjoy my posts. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you like. Ellie xxx

Ellie’s simple bolagnaise and left over chilli

This is one of my old favourites, I’ve made it time and time again. Recently I have been making a bigger amount then adding a tin of baked beans and making into chilli for another meal (I add the chilli after taking a bit out for Harry).

Ingredients

  • 750g minced beef
  • 2 medium onions (or 1 large)
  • 3 tins of chopped tomatoes (400g each)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 heaped tsp of mixed herbs
  • About 4 tbsp of tomato puree
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Dice the onions and crush the garlic. To crush the garlic I dice it as finely as possible, add some salt and using the side of your knife work the garlic into a paste. I find it helps break the garlic down but if you don’t fancy doing this just dice as finely as possible or use a tsp of powdered garlic (The taste isn’t as good in my opinion but I have used that shortcut).
  2. Brown the mince and onions in a pan together until the mince is fully cooked. Drain any excess fat and put it back in the pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes, garlic, mixed herbs and a bit of pepper. Give the mix a good stir and then add half the tomato puree and stir again. Cook the tomato puree in for 5 minutes and add the rest of the tomato puree if the sauce is still runny (This depends how thick you like the sauce).
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta, rice, jacket potato or chips. I chose spaghetti today as its yummy and cheap. Enjoy 🙂

Tip: Add a bell pepper for a different flavour or use this to make a lasagne.

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Nice and messy but he loves it 🙂 I gave up trying to keep a bib on him a long time ago haha.

Battles with the inner voice

The war with my inner voice began many years ago. My personality has always been shy, quiet and reserved which naturally led to me being bullied for as long as I can remember. I remember at primary school not having many friends and the ones I did have being the worst bullies of all (I must have been 6 or 7 at the time). I would come home at least every other day and cry my eyes out to my mum about my friend falling out with me. Oh how I wish I could have told myself these friends aren’t really friends at all, just bully’s pretending to be your friend.

As I started to grow up I wish I could say it got better then this and that I never got bullied again. No far from it, what followed was a long line of being bullied at secondary school, home and work. The result of all these little bits of bullying added up to me never thinking I was good enough, depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

What is bullying? You know that time on facebook where you called someone a name? That time you gossiped when someone made a mistake? The whispering to each other when you see someone different? Letting someone else take the blame for your mistake?

Have you ever stopped to think about the person on the other end of these actions? Surely one of these small things won’t make that person do the worse possible act of suicide! Right? WRONG! That small action could have pushed them over the edge, I know a few of these things almost did for me but I was lucky to have someone pick me up every time I was in pieces and remind me I am good enough.

Why am I writing this? One reason is I’m fed of going on facebook and seeing how nasty people are sometimes. It reminds me of memories of being told I’d never be good enough by my mum’s boyfriend and bullies picking on me for wearing second hand clothes and looking different. The quieter I got the more I was bullied and the more I was bullied the quieter I got and the more I believe it was me not them. One thing I will teach my son to stick up for himself and not just take it.

Years and years I’ve battled trying to change my thinking. My inner voice would tell me after I’ve seen someone that I’ve said something I shouldn’t, I’ve made a fool of myself, they won’t like me, why would they, I’m no good?! I would go over and over it in my mind and eventually I would believe the thoughts, it was true there was no point in seeing people, no point in anything. It would lead to me having panic attacks whenever I was in crowded places or the thought of going to places with people.

People don’t see it so they don’t believe it, when I was at one of my many low points in my life I remember people at work talking behind my back about how I wasn’t sick, I was just lazy and pulling a sicky. Yer right that was why I was sweating and being physically sick before going to that job. It wasn’t until years later that I realised they had nothing better to do then talk about someone who was having a hard time.

I couldn’t shake all the bad stuff that had happened to me from the bullying, to my parents breaking up when I was 11ish, seeing my mum treated like she was nothing by her boyfriend and then watching her suffer with leukaemia, all while being a angry teenager and still being angry that she hadn’t left him after she passed away. How on earn was I meant to deal with all this death and suffering, I just wanted it to end but I knew people would miss me and somehow I clung onto this thought with the help of a few very important people along the way, so thank you to these people (you know who you are) for being there when I needed you the most, I will never forget it.

Harry gave me something extra to fight for something that made me get up in the morning, he is a little ray of light out of a cloud that never seemed to stop pouring. He reminded me of the innocence in the world, the good that can come out of it and also how difficult it is to be a parent.

I want to use this to my advantage and open up more on this blog, I want to share more of my experiences good and bad. Prove to myself I am good enough once and for all.

10 years goes so fast

10 years ago to this day my day started with a distant buzzing noise, it was about 8am and a phone was buzzing constantly on a table in the living room. I hadn’t been able to sleep that night so pulled myself off the mattress on the floor and looked at my phone, it had been on silent not even vibrate, a bad habit of mine. The phone buzzing in the living room was my partners phone but it was my parents house calling. I had several missed calls and that was the last and only time the house phone was unplugged in case of midnight callers.

Everything next is a bit of a daze but I remember talking to a very shaken mum on the other end of the phone who just managed to get the words out ‘Michael’s been killed in action’ somehow I remember asking her to repeat what she just said, not being able to believe it I hoped I had misheard and she meant Michael her boyfriend had been killed in an accident, not my brother in Afganistan, I must have still been dreaming.

I sobbed on the phone and hung up in shock.

I don’t remember a lot after that only that my auntie Dawn picked me up to take me to my parents and there was everyone there talking, crying, hugging and trying to get our heads around what these 2 men had come to tell us all. The worst possible news you could get as a family that a loved one is no longer here.

How could this have happened? This world was so cruel. I sat on the grass outside underneath the window hiding from all the people not being able to believe that my big brother who I was so proud of and always looked up to wasn’t going to walk in the door any minute and tell us all its been a big mistake. It wasn’t to be.

As I write this its strange to think that now I’m 2 years older then you will ever be. I want to, I need to write everything down for years I’ve held things in but I need to follow my passions of writing and being creative. So I write this blog post today for my big brother Mike and hope to fill the blog with my adventures and daily life.

You had so many people that loved you and still do, your send off was so big you would have loved it. Not many people have the red arrows fly over and have that many people turn up that they line the streets and fill 2 pubs at the wake. They checked the drains and sealed up the bins. Honestly Mike the security was crazy, the reporters where buzzing around constantly, one even turned up at our front door, me being polite and young (OK maybe a little stupid/naive) I let him in, only for dad to say he was too upset to talk and for him to leave. I will never be able to hold back the tears when I hear the last post and I miss you everyday.

I hope your happy with the everyone else up there we have lost since, I’m sure mum is keeping you in check and I’m so sorry I never wrote this letter before it was to late. 10 years too late I wish I’d taken the time to write to you, I felt so guilty for so long. But here it is now a much overdue letter, a start of finishing things I’ve meant to do. I have Harry now, he would have loved to play with you, he’s currently 19 months and the time is going so fast. He has your name as his middle name and is so cheeky and cute. I will teach him to live how you lived and be brave and proud of his Uncle Mog (Sorry had to throw your nickname in here somewhere). One day I will see you again and when I do I will have lots of stories to share. Love you to the moon and back, Ellie xxx

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Mince and onion pie

I love pie! Its definitely an old favourite in this household but these days finding a pie that is cheap and tasty is rare so I thought I’d share my simple recipe.

Ingredients 

  • 500g mince (I used beef)
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small)
  • Gravy granules
  • 1 pack of puff pastry (Mine is 340g)
  • egg (beaten, for glaze)
  • Flour for rolling the pastry out.

        Method

        1. Chop up the onion and fry it with the mince until brown. Drain the fat if your mince isn’t lean.
        2. Mix up some gravy don’t make it too runny. I usually use roughly a pint/600ml. Pour into the mince and stir thoroughly.
        3. Next grease a deep tray, I used margarine for this. Dust a clean surface with flour and a rolling pin. Cut just over a third of the pastry off put this aside for the top.
        4. Roll the bigger piece of pastry out to be a bit bigger then the size of your dish to make sure it covers the sides. Using your rolling pin roll the pastry up and put it in your dish. Then add the mince.
        5. Roll the other piece of pastry so it fits over the top of your dish. Brush the edges with egg. Roll the top up and put it onto the pie using your fingers press the pie together all around.
        6. Make 2 holes in the middle for the steam to escape. I cut the egdes off before cooking some people do it after. Then brush with egg.
        7. Cook at 180 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

        I served mine with mash potato, peas and carrots this time. You can serve it with salad, chips or what ever veg you like. Usually I make my own shortcrust pastry but I had this to use up and it makes it so easy. I hope you enjoy trying this.