Sunday, 23 February 2020

Project 366 : Photo Diary Week 8

This week was half-term, for me and the kids. Even better news, in France you get two weeks off, so we're still on holiday for another week - woohoo ! We've headed over to England to see the grandparents and my sister and we're having a great time, despite the pretty constant wind and rain. Here's what we've been up to this week.

Sunday 16th February - Back together again ! My dad came and picked us up and drove us all the way home. It was pretty windy so I was glad we were on the Channel Tunnel rather than the ferries ! There were a few delays on his way over but it didn't really matter, as we were all heading back together - it would have killed it if it had been just for the usual day trip though.

Monday - It was Juliette's birthday just before we came over, on the 14th February - we had a strawberry cream cake on the day itself but we'd already eaten half of it before I realised I hadn't taken a photo. Oops, it shows how hectic things were when I was at work last week ! I knew we were having another cake with the grandparents though so I made sure we took a photo this time. Happy birthday Juliette, 15 years old and still smiling so hopefully we'll avoid all the teenage angst that I was expecting ! lol

Tuesday - I actually left my camera behind by accident so I've asked the kids to take over on taking the photos this week. They said OK but they wanted to take a photo of me for a change. Well, OK, I guess !

Wednesday - After a trip to the Old Town in Hastings, wandering through all the quirky boutiques and spending some time in the amusement arcades (where Pierre would happily spend half of the holidays !), we headed to the main town centre for some last minute shopping. Sophie treated us all to a smoothie in Muffin Break.

Thursday - We all headed out for a family meal for Juliette's birthday at the local Brewer's Fayre. Alongside us four, my parents and sister and her boyfriend, my aunt came along too, so it was lovely to catch up with everyone. After some lovely Smothered Chicken (chicken breast topped with mozzarella and bacon, served with chips, coleslaw and garlic bread), we still all found space for dessert ! Yum !

Friday - We headed to Eastbourne for the day, as the weather wasn't looking great. They have a shopping arcade so at least we'd be under cover if it poured hard - which it did. We managed to fit in a quick trip to a park next to where we parked the car before heading to the shops, which was perfect. We grabbed some clothes, some books and - Pierre's favourite purchase of the day - a giant tennis ball !

Saturday - My mum and dad bought a dog bed for each of their dogs when we went to Lidl for supplies. They are very comfortable ... according to Pierre, who spent all evening laying in there until the dog pinched his space back !
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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Fab freebies of the week 22/2

Well, it's been a week of wind with its fair share of rain, but hopefully, you still managed to have some fun during the half term holidays. We did ! Enjoy the last weekend and hopefully, you'll grab a few of these freebies to start things off in style !


Another Debenhams Beauty Card freebie - From Friday 21st February, pick up your sample of bareMinerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Serum!

It's back! This Pancake Day… Pop into your nearest Bella Italia for 2 free pancakes and your choice of chocolate or strawberry sauce while stocks last. Just mention the "Big Bella Pancake Giveaway" and receive two buttermilk pancakes, with no other purchase necessary

We are looking for 1,000 parents with a baby between 6 and 12 months old to try SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk. Are you interested? Subscribe before 2nd March on The Insiders.

We're giving 100 Caboodlers the chance to read Camilla Lackberg's gripping psychological thriller The Gilded Cage, before it's out in April.

You Could Win Free Greggs Delivered To Your Door For A Year If Your Name Is Greg (or Gregory or Gregor, etc)

Insiders, we’re looking for 100 of you to take part in this campaign to try Nestlé OptiFibre® and let everyone know how it has helped you with your digestive issues.

Join the SmileStones Club and look out for freebies of children's toothpaste

Become a Vinosculpt Tester! Try your luck: sign up now to be one of the first to try the NEW Vinosculpt Lift & Firm Body Cream (250ml).

Gressingham Duck have teamed up with their friends at Bloom&Wild to give you the chance to win one of 100 letterbox bouquets.

A team of lucky trndsters will be recruited to test the new Braun Male styling and Female Hair Removal devices! (500 participants)

Are you on BzzAgent? You're Invited! Apply now for THREE FREE KAJA Lipsticks in exchange for a public review of your favorite shade!

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

Friday, 21 February 2020

Book review : One Good Reason - Susan Stairs

One Good Reason is a book (another one !) that I picked up at The Works in their 3-for-£5 deal. I usually go for crime fiction but this book is a tense family drama. Reading the blurb on the back of the book, it appealed to me though, and I wasn't disappointed.

It tells the story of the Pierce family, who are going through the wars. After a violent house break-in, which ended up with them being tied up and brutalised by the intruders, they manage to get one of the offenders into court. When he walks free, however, with insufficient evidence to condemn him, the father ends up having a fatal heart attack.

The rest of the family - the widowed wife, two grown-up daughters and one grown-up son - are left to put the pieces back together and get their life back on track. Eldest daughter Laura is determined to get revenge and tracks down the father of the liberated offender. He is an artist, living the high life in France, and she heads off to meet him, determined to make him pay. She ends up biting off more than she can chew, however, as more and more secrets and lies come out of the woodwork.

It's a gripping read and you can really sympathise with and understand the motivations of the hard-done-by family. However, the main emotions seem to be anger and a desire for revenge rather than sadness, which I thought actually made it less hard-hitting. As the events start to spiral out of control, I lost the ability to imagine myself in their position and couldn't really condone their actions.

It's an enjoyable read though, that has several surprise twists popping up at the end and I raced through it, eager to find out how things would end up.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £7.99

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland (5 July 2018)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1473618134
    ISBN-13: 978-1473618138
    Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 2 x 20.2 cm

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Cookery book review : Carpathia - Irina Georgescu

As I mentioned recently, I'm planning on getting seriously back into cooking, something that I've let slide since Madhouse Daddy died, going for quick and simple "kid options" rather than trying out new recipes. But no more ! I want to get back into globe-cooking, trying out weird and wonderful dishes from around the world. With perfect timing, I recently received a copy of Carpathia : Food From The Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, who is a born and bred Romanian food writer. Just flicking through the pages, I was frequently drooling at the lovely colour photos and reading the interesting descriptions of the dishes, which give great insight into life in this cultural melting pot.

Romania is situated in the heart of Europe, with its character and dishes shaped by the Greek, Turkish and Slavic influences from the south and east, as well as Austrian, Hungarian and Saxon from the north and west. The author says that her cooking is inspired by the recipes of her mother and grandmother and this sense of hearty, family-friendly cuisine is what really comes through. Many of the recipes use nothing that you won't already find in your kitchen cupboards and in the introduction, the author explains that the recipes can be adapted to suit what you have to hand - pork and chicken are the most frequently used meats, for example, but they can be replaced by anything from beef, veal and mutton to duck, goose, wild boar, deer and even bear meat.

As in many of my favourite and most frequently-used cookery books, there are numerous dishes that are so simple, you can't work out why you've never thought of them before. Cheesy polenta with soured cream and runny fried egg (a full Romanian breakfast but I'd eat this as a quick lunch or supper any day of the week !), Bulz (oven baked polenta balls, served with yogurt and roasted tomatoes), Scovergi (yogurt and cheese flatbread, known as 'Romanian popcorn', which was the perfect snack in front of the two hours of television diffused every day) … the kids were as enthusiastic as me, when I described the recipes to them ! The dish in the picture, called Cascaval pané, is breaded Alpine cheese (or you can just use plain cheddar) that can be served simply with a fried egg or a sliced tomato - another quick lunch or evening meal option that sounds delicious, not to mention incredibly simple. Perfect when I get home from work and I'm feeling too tired to cook up a big meal. Also ideal if I need a quick veggie option that can be cooked alongside a family meal containing meat.

If you're looking for a bigger feast, there are some lovely-sounding family dishes on offer too. We've noted down a quick list of the first recipes to try and the kids were very enthusiastic. Potato moussaka, gammon-stuffed apples (I sometimes put fruit - mainly apples or apricots - into stews, but I'd never thought of stuffing apples with a savoury filling as a main meal option - definitely one to try), smoked ham hock and butter bean casserole, chicken in garlic tomato sauce with polenta dumplings, ... There are also some desserts to try, as well as soups and stews and a few drinks. Definitely everything you need to put on the ultimate Romanian feast.

If you want to get a quick insight into the author's Romanian recipes, you might like to check out her website at

    • Hardcover: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (17 Mar. 2020)
      Language: English
      ISBN-10: 0711241821
      ISBN-13: 978-0711241824
      Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 2.7 x 25.1 cm 

The book has an RRP of £22. (See below - currently available for £17.60 on amazon.)

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Project 366 : Photo Diary Week 7

Guess what. This week was another busy week at work. Pfffff. BUT … hold on a minute ... now we're on holiday for two weeks ! Woohoohoo ! There should finally be time for some fun in the next week, hopefully ! In the meantime, here's this week. Not much of interest going on again.

Monday 10th February - The week got off to a very windy start. No damage at home luckily but it was blowing a gale when I was waiting at the bus stop to go to work. Part of the roof of the school gym blew off apparently, but it was all fixed up and lessons could still go on. Can't show the wind in a photo unfortunately but here's the sky as I headed to work, looking very grey and gloomy. Yuck !

Tuesday - Nothing much to share as I was at work all day. I've been trying to get the kids to eat some veggie sausages from Heck. Well, they may offer Veg With Edge but the kids weren't keen, especially on the green ones. Some of them were nicer than others though - I'll be posting our review shortly.

Wednesday - What a difference a couple of days makes ! Look at the colour of the sky. Absolutely nothing like the start of the week. It was still quite chilly and a bit blowy but so much nicer than the gale force winds. I headed into town to get some holiday ideas from the travel agent's. We usually book earlier, before Christmas, but I was a bit worried about the big travel agent chains going bust. This is the beffroi (the belfry) that I walked past. The bells play out a nice tune to mark each hour and there is the tomb of the unknown soldier at the base. There is also the tourist office inside the building. You can pay to go up on the roof, which I've never done. Maybe one day !

Thursday - Another busy day at work. We had an author/illustrator of children's books in for a visit with the school librarian for one of my classes, which was fun. He showed them how to draw camels and kangaroos (two illustrations from his books) which the kids loved ! I can't share pictures of the pupils though, so here's a poster of Dunkirk carnival that I walked past in town. On est heureux = we are happy. It's from one of the carnival songs.

Friday - This is a photo of a website that we've been scrolling through repeatedly as I headed back to the travel agent's on my morning off and booked our summer holiday. We're all really excited as we're going somewhere that I would have thought was totally out of our budget - the Dominican Republic !!! I gave her the usual budget on Wednesday and she said "hmmm might be tricky this year as, with the travel agents going bust, it's put the prices right up for everything … blah di blah di blah" … She went looking through what was available and came up with the usual suspects - Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco … there's nothing wrong with those places but we've been to them all, several times for some of them, so they didn't really hold that much appeal. She did mention Greece and Italy, which were possibles. Then she looked at me and grinned and said, "or … how about the Dominican Republic? It's a ten hour flight though !" Well, that didn't really bother us after going to Alaska last year so I said I'd ask the kids. Funnily enough, they got really excited. I still can't quite believe it myself !

Saturday - Despite having loads to do, I decided to take the time to go and visit a dear friend. We used to work together but she retired a couple of years ago and I go to see her every now and then. She loves to read so I took her all the books I've read since our last visit, which was at the end of the summer. She was so happy to have loads of great new books to read. And I was happy to make some space on my bookshelves !

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Saturday, 15 February 2020

Fab freebies of the week 15/2

Whether you're in a couple or all on your lonesome, I hope you had a lovely day yesterday. It was Juliette's birthday, so that took over from Valentine's Day this year for us ! More importantly though, it was the end of this half term which means - yahoo ! - we're all on holiday. Time to chill out for a while - phewee ! Not sure what the weather is going to be like but never mind, we'll still have some fun. Whatever you're up ton have a lovely weekend and grab yourself some lovely freebies from this week's selection :)


On Facebook :  From us, with love ❤️ Get your FREE Crushed Oil Infused Gloss sample at any standalone Bobbi Brown store, this weekend only ❤️ No purchase necessary, while stocks last...

Not sure if this was a one-day offer, but might be worth popping in if you have one local :  @BackyardNatUK Bugs and other insects have a BIG impact on nature. But these incredible creatures are disappearing. We need to welcome them back! We need to #LoveBugs! Fly down to @icelandfoods or @foodwarehouse this #ValentinesDay to pick up a FREE bug hotel kit!

The latest Debenhams freebie is here, if you have their Beauty Club card : From Friday 14th February, pick up your sample of Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum; the perfect Valentine's Day treat! This best-selling fragrance embodies happiness, freedom and elegance with the smile-shaped bottle, delicate organza ribbon and fresh feminine scent.

This free Fun Football Activity Book from McDonald's provides provides great activities; including football related tasks and also creative challenges. The Activity Book comes with stickers, so your children are always rewarded for their efforts.

WIN One Of 300 STORIES Parfums Eau De Parfum Samples. Closes 25th Feb.

Sign your kids up to the Little Dish book club and receive a welcome pack with stickers, a bookmark and a voucher for a free Little Dish meal

Monuskin are giving away free samples of their natural skincare range.

Grab a free can of Nordic Spirit nicotine pouches - click on the tab at the end, use code FREESAMPLE at checkout

On Pretty Wild Seeds Facebook feed :
FREE WILDFLOWER SEEDS! From Yes, we're doing it again! This time we're giving away a sample packet of Wildflower mix and all you've got to do is like & share this image, send us a message with your address and we'll send it out, completely free!

Grab a Pampers Nappy Pants size 4 free sample

Get your free stickers from Huggies Pull Ups

Trying is Believing. We Let Our Product Speak for Itself. Register for Free Beaubelle Skin Care Complimentary Samples Now.

Make of the most of the Feathrs try-me-free offer - grab one of their beauty products with a special sticker from Superdrug and claim back your money here

Grab this week's freebies from Shopmium : Smooth & Creamy Half Fat Cheddar, Ember Biltong

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Nim's Apple Fruit Crisps review

 The postie recently dropped off a fun new snack for us to try out here at The Madhouse - Nim's Apple Fruit Crisps, made with the very aptly named Redlove apples. Sounds like the perfect snack for any Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day, if you want a night out with the girls) celebrations that you have planned !

If you've never tried Nim's Fruit Crisps before, they are made from air-dried fruit and vegetables, with no oils, additives or chemicals. The whole fruit is used, resulting in almost zero food waste, and more than 80% of the fruit and veg is grown in the UK, with most of it sourced within 40 miles of the factory. The Redlove apples used for these crisps were all grown and air-dried in Kent. They not just eco-friendly though - they are also kosher, vegan-friendly and count towards your 5-a-day.

The kids loved the fact that they are red all the way through, although they did turn their noses up at the ones with stalks and pips left in - "it's good for you, a bit of extra fibre", I told them, but they weren't having it ! We are all big fans of the sweet, tangy, apple flavour though. I think they would be the perfect match for a glass of champagne, if you want something a bit different to nibble on for a special occasion, but the kids were happy to just grab a bag and munch on them !

Nim's Apple Fruit Crisps can be picked up at Tesco's for £1 per 20g bag, but there's a 3-for-2 offer on at the moment. 

for more info and to buy online :

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Book review : A Cold Flame - Aidan Conway

A Cold Flame by Aidan Conway is one of the books that I recently picked up in the 3-for-£5 deal at The Works. While it's not at all clear from the front cover or even the blurb on the back of the book, this is the second book in the series and I think this is what frequently left me feeling as if I wasn't sure what was really going on. While some of the things I felt that I was missing out on were largely unimportant - such as one of the police officers' complicated, if not completely failing, relationship - other things left me feeling slightly miffed that I wasn't fully up to speed, including a surprise appearance at the end of the book of a particularly nasty character who, as far as I could tell, featured in the first book. This isn't something that usually bothers me - I read a vast amount of crime fiction and many of the books feature in series that I haven't read - but this is one of the few times that I felt ill at ease, lacking vital knowledge from previous events.

The novel is set in Rome and, although I did get a general feel for the city and its inhabitants, I was also completely lost in the various street names and districts that are mentioned. The book begins with a nasty crime - a flat that is set on fire with the door sealed up from the outside. The illegal immigrants on the inside have no chance to escape. It felt wrong to me that such a vicious crime goes completely unpunished and is barely investigated. Next, a priest is killed and mutilated - another crime that doesn't seem to really go anywhere. With the police department already at breaking point, a series of terrorist attacks are being planned, to throw the city, in the midst of a gay pride event, into absolute bedlam.

The main detectives in the novel, DIs Rossi and Carrara, are thrown in at the deep end, trying to link all of these different events together. They have a mysterious journalist-in-exile helping them out - presumably another character putting in an appearance from the previous novel? - but they seem to be putting their fingers in way too many pies, running around the city pretty randomly trying to figure out what is going on.

The city is packed with tourists and locals and the summer heat is pretty oppressive. Maybe this is why every time I'd read a few chapters, I felt the need to get out and find some fresh air (figuratively speaking !). The final chapters, where I could see where everything was heading, had me racing through them, but for most of the first two thirds of the story, I felt at a loss, with no idea of where the book was heading.

Even now that I have finished the novel, I don't feel like all of the questions were answered. I ended up with a sense of everything being thrown into the mix - terrorists, racists, anti-LGBT+, illegal immigrants, paedophile priests and goodness knows what else for good measure - and many of the themes seemed to be left up in the air, once the story was all tied up.

Maybe I would have had a much clearer picture and more positive impression if I'd read the previous book though, so I'd definitely suggest starting off with that one.

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: One More Chapter; Digital original edition (6 Sept. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000828119X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008281199
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm 

Monday, 10 February 2020

Giveaway #737 : Win 2 x Abominable on dvd - closing 25/2

Half-term is on the way and at the moment, the weather is pretty diabolical, but never fear - Abominable is here to help while away the time, released on Digital on 3rd February and on 4K Ultra HD, DVD and Blu-Ray today.  

A co-production from DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio, this magical, action-packed adventure will appeal to the whole family. It follows teenage Yi as she encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in China. She and her mischievous friends, Jin and Peng, name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish, a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara to help Everest get home. 

This magical journey is brought to life with the voice talents of Chloe Bennet (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”), Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winner Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”), Eddie Izzard (Cars 2), Tenzing Norgay Trainor (“Liv and Maddie”), Albert Tsai (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Tsai Chin (The Joy Luck Club) and Michelle Wong (“Scandal”). 

It also features tons of fun bonus content, including 2 original short movies, deleted scenes and activities for the entire family to enjoy. If you want even more ways to keep the kids busy during the holidays, I have some fab activity worksheets to share with you - click through for some Bao Recipes (for Steamed Pork Bao, Christmas Ham Bao or a delicious Chocolate & Candy Cane Bao) or a lovely colouring sheet, guaranteed to entertain the kids.

Abominable is out now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray™ and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

I have some more good news for you. I have two DVD copies of Abominable to give away. Just enter your details in the Rafflecopter widget below to go in the draw. Good luck !

UK only. Closing date : 25/2/20

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. The winners' personal contact information will be passed on to the PR / Brand responsible and used only for delivery of their prize.

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

… coming soon !

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 7

This will be the last menu plan for a couple of weeks, as we'll be on school holidays and catching up with family. One more week of mad-dashing about with work and school - I can definitely do with a break and I'm sure the kids are the same ! So last week, we stayed totally on plan - woohoo ! I've already done the shopping for next week, so that should keep us on plan again. It'll be winding down the fridge mainly this week anyway !


dinner - I bought a double pack of fresh beef meatballs on special offer, so I've been looking up some recipes to make with them. I like the look of this one - Meatball Stroganoff, with rice and veggies or salad


dinner - Crunchy breaded chicken with Ebly (and I have some fish for me for a change - baked in the oven with lemon and garlic sounds good to me - oooh, or maybe spread with pesto, as I found a jar in the cupboard the other day)


lunch - smoked sausages with lentils and maybe some boiled potatoes for the kids, who might moan about the lentils otherwise !

dinner - creamy chicken & bacon pasta - or maybe chicken with creamy bacon sauce and leftover potatoes, if there are some waiting in the fridge


dinner - the other half of the meatballs - I think I'll just do the usual meatballs and spaghetti with a tomato (& whatever veg is in the fridge) sauce, or maybe with couscous, as there seems to be a lot of pasta on the menu this week !


dinner - fridge clearout - as it will probably be full of leftovers by now !


lunch - our regular Saturday lunchtime fast food trip. Probably McDonalds as usual.

dinner - sandwiches or cheese on toast

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***


Sunday, 9 February 2020

Project 366 : Photo Diary Week 6

This week was totally boring - definitely a case of all work and no play. Even Saturday was our school open day so I had to go in to work in the morning, then after meeting up with the kids, going for food and getting in the shopping, I fell asleep for two hours - oops ! Thank goodness the holidays are on the way !

Sunday 2nd February - Our patio is looking decidedly grungy and waterlogged, with all the recent rain. I really need to get out there and clean it all up. The mud, the moss, the things that have blown about in the wind … Not doing it today though as it has been raining on and off all day. 

Monday - I start work later on a Monday and don't have to get out of the house until 9am. Much better than the usual dashing to the bus stop at 6.55 ! This morning's sky was full of promise. Bright blue with loads of aeroplane trails, which got me thinking about this summer. Where will we go this year? I really need to get something booked. We got as far as heading to the travel agent's to see what they had to offer on Saturday, but they've changed their opening times and are now shut on Saturday afternoons. That's crazy as I would imagine it was the busiest time of the week !

Tuesday - A busy day at work. Alongside all the usual lessons, we had kids from all the local primary schools visiting us and sitting in on our lessons this week. They were quite well behaved, so it was fine - much better than some years ! On the way home from work, I giggled at this cheeky seagull sitting on the head of the Jean Bart statue. He looks like he's about to flick it off with his sword !

Wednesday - A giant trowel, next to the local technical secondary school just down the road from our house. It's really big - my height is about equal to the rounded top of the trowel, below the handle. Today was a boring day, catching up with all the chores I hadn't had time to do at the weekend. This shot was snapped as I headed to the bus stop.

Thursday - Pierre has got a horrendous cough so he didn't sleep much. I said he could stay off school but I still had to go to work. A quick snap from the bus on the way home from work. The days are drawing out now. The sun is starting to set at about (5pm) but not too long ago, it was already dark by the time I arrived home ! I was looking outside at 6.30pm the other day, thinking yep, it's still light, spring is definitely on the way !

Friday - The end of the week. Well, not quite, as I have to go to work tomorrow - boo ! Pierre has still got a really bad cough, so he had another rest day. I finished off the Sticky Chinese Chicken Traybake that I'd made the day before. Very quick and simple to throw together on a work day but very tasty - I'll share the recipe next week. The Moroccan Chicken Traybake was another great midweek dish. I'm enjoying getting back into cooking and trying out new recipes again. I'd got lazy and gone for the same old fuss-free kid favourites since Madhouse Daddy died.

Saturday - Not only did I have to get up early to go to work, I also had to wait for the bus in freezing temperatures. So much for my comment about spring being on the way earlier in the week ! I haven't seen frosty rooftops since before Christmas - brrr !

Sunday - I got up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and was amazed at how brightly the moon was shining. In fact, I went to check I hadn't left a light on in one of the rooms ! It was a bit cloudy but the moon shone straight through. This is the storm moon, which sounds about right, given our current weather. A few hours later, it was blowing a gale. I don't think we'll be heading out today !

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