Monday, 30 July 2012

Magpie Monday - Granny Crochet

Now, I know I can make these granny blankets myself but when I spotted these beauties neatly folded up in my local charity shop, I quickly put them in my basket. They were a bargain for £1 each. They will be perfect for my summer house.

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a 1930's mirror on a chain for the summer house and was thrilled when I picked this one up for £3.

As some of you know, I cant resist a retro flask. I already have two exactly the same as this one and they are great for days out to guarantee my caffeine fix. I love that this one still has its groovy label. This one was only £1.

Linking up to Lizzie's Magpie Monday

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Gallery - Street Photography

Tara's theme for this weeks Gallery is Street Photography - My favourite type of photography. I love photo's of everyday stuff, of buildings and people. I captured some street photography while on my day trip to London recently.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Simply Swim Review

Wow, what another Scorcher it is here again in Essex. Time to dig out your bikini's and swim shorts and get swimming to cool off.

Simply Swim have recently been partnering with many swim clubs up and down the country in a bid to get people using their local pools more, hoping that the up and coming Olympics will help with that surge. They asked me if we would like to review a couple of pairs of men's swim shorts.

In the Men's section you'll find a good choice of men's swimming shorts by leading swimwear brands. The shorts come in various lengths and fabrics. We picked two pairs of Animal shorts. One bright red and one bright green, priced at a very reasonable cost of £25 a pair. We thought this was a really good price for Animal shorts.

Simply Swim specialises in swimwear for men, women, girls, boys, toddlers and babies.They also stock goggles, swim equipment and swimming aids. Pop over, you will be spoilt for choice.

Monday, 23 July 2012

London On A Budget - The Olympic Rings At Tower Bridge

As part of the run up to the Olympics I wanted to be part of all the excitement by taking a trip into London to see the giant Olympic rings, that have been suspended from one of London's most stunning pieces of architecture (one of my favourites), Tower Bridge.

We were also very kindly offered a review from so to tie in with our trip into London we picked some tickets to the London Dungeons. The review will follow in the next few days so keep your eyes peeled for that as it is a fab attraction.

I home school my 12 yr old so any day trips we take I like to incorporate some learning. I decided to  include some study about Bloody Mary, The Great fire of London, The plague and to show her The Chambers in City Hall. I downloaded lots of free teaching resources that are available online.

I have included a map detailing our walk and places of interest along the way.

1. We start our walk at Tower Hill. Across the road from the station is The Tower of London. There are public toilets here but they do charge 50p - there is a change machine. The lavs are very clean & there is a loo attendant.

We decided to get our lunch out and take tea at the Tower. At this point you could skip the walk and 'Lose your head' by spending the day exploring the mysterious Tower. Last week there was a special ceremony at the Tower as all 4700 of the Gold Olympic medals have been locked in the Tower vaults until the Games start of Friday. If its good enough for the Queen, then ts good enough for the athlete's.
Adult - £20.90, Child - £10.45, Family Ticket (2 adults & 6 kids) - £55.00
Pop over to their website because they provide further information about special offers and free exhibitions etc, plus if you book online its cheaper.

2 - If like us, you skip The Tower then, You continue your walk along the river which is full of great photo opportunities and some lovely spots to take a seat and enjoy the view (Shown on the map by red stars). Number 2 on the map is St Katherine's Dock - The site of the docks has over a 1000 years of dramatic history and is a really nice spot to wander around.

3. Climb the steps and make your way up to Tower Bridge. As you cross the bridge take in the glorious views of London and The Thames and enjoy the stunning architecture of the this magnificent bridge.

4. Once you reach the other side of the bridge, make your way down the steps to the footpath that runs along the river. This is Potters Field Park and it is another nice spot to sit and get your flask of tea out before making your way in to City Hall. This s also the best spot to get a good photo of the Olympic rings on Tower Bridge.
Once inside City Hall make your way up the unique winding path up to the 2nd floor where you will find The Mayor of London's Chambers and an exhibition of photos from the last time the Olympics was hosted in London back in 1948. This is a lovely modern building with a really nice view of The Thames. There are also some toilets on the 2nd floor.

5. Continue along the river until you reach HMS Belfast. You can admire this WW2 warship from the Quayside or board and discover what it was like to live and work on board a warship.
Entrance to HMS Belfast: adults £14.00, Child (under 16) Free.

6. Either continue following the map to the London Dungeons or carry on to London Bridge. We visited The Dungeons and thoroughly enjoyed it.

7. After the Dungeons we were a little peckish, it was raining so we looked for shelter to enjoy our flask of tea and packet of rich tea. There is a great spot just past HMS Belfast (marked by a star). Here you can make your way to The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. The view from The Shard is available to the public from Feb 2013.

8. After our tea we made our way to London Bridge, which we crossed and enjoying the views of The Thames and St Paul's in the background.

9. Lastly we visited Monument and admired Christopher Wrens flame topped reminder of The Great Fire of London of 1666. If you are brave enough you can climb the 311 steps to what was once the highest viewpoint in London. 
Entrance to climb MonumentAdults £3.00, Child: £1.50

You don't need to spend a fortune to have a nice day out with the kids in London, you can avoid the attractions and still have a great day. Just pack some sarnies & a flask of tea. I'm lucky that I live very close to the city and I love spending the day down there, just walking around, taking in the sights as I remember my childhood and my days of swinging off the back of the old routemaster buses. The atmosphere is buzzing at the moment because of the Olympics and its fab!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Hello Canvas Review


'Each happiness of yesterday is a memory for tomorrow'

When I was contacted by HelloCanvas asking if I'd like to review a 20 x 28inch canvas I was thrilled, especially as I had the perfect photo in mind. It was a photo of our dog, Luna who recently, very sadly passed away.

I emailed Hello Canvas this photo...

And within four days I received this gorgeous canvas...

The canvas arrived well packaged, wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in a cardboard box. The whole family gathered around me as I carefully opened the box. A whole lot of  "Wows" filled the room, followed by a moments silence as we remembered our beloved Luna. A tear came to my eye as we lovingly hung the canvas above the fireplace. Now, Luna is still in the room with us, looking over her family.

Photo's are so precious as they preserve all our special memories and keep them fresh and alive. A canvas is the perfect way to keep those memories constantly in view.

Bottom line - Would we recommend Hellocanvas?
Yes, Big Thumbs up from The Syders. Lovely quality product at a very reasonable price.

Prices for a canvas range from £13 - £99 - Available at
You can like Hello Canvas on Facebook: 
You can follow Hello Canvas on Twitter:
 *We were sent a 20 x 28inch canvas free of charge for the purpose of this review. We have received no financial reward for publishing this review and as a family we always give an honest and genuine opinion.*

Monday, 16 July 2012

Magpie Monday

I am so thrilled with my thrifty finds this week. I'm a bit of a short arse so need a stool in my kitchen to be able to reach tops of cabinets etc. I did have a lovely little stool but the kids managed to break a leg off somehow. I spotted this one on ebay for £20 and I absolutely love it.

Then I spotted this retro tea tray and fell in love with its cottage design.

It is so pretty and Ive been using it every day. Bargain for £2!

Me and My Shadow

Thursday, 12 July 2012

WIN a family trip to Centre Parcs up to the value of £1,000 With NEW Sudocrem Mousse

Sudocrem Mousse is asking you to take their Mascot, Bruce the Moose, on the tour of his life this summer, capture a moment on camera and share your funny or original picture with the community! Only 100 lucky applicants will receive a toy and make it to stage 2, then have the chance to WIN the grand prize of a trip to Centre Parks up to the value of £1,000.
Stage 1 entry - For all entrants wanting to apply for their Bruce The Moose
To be in with a chance of receiving your Bruce The Moose toy
·         Step 1 – Go to and ‘Like’ the page
·   Step 2 – Click on the Bruce on Tour application, register your details and complete the sentence I am going to take Bruce The Sudocrem Moose to.....”.  Make it fun, make it original, and you could be one of the lucky 100.
·         Step 3 – We will select the best 100 applications for a Bruce toy and send him to you to take on your travels over the summer.

Stage 2 entry - For the 100 successful applicants
·         Take a photo of Bruce  and upload it to (remember to make it entertaining, inspiring and original)
·         Sudocrem will select the 5 finalists and shortly afterwards announce their winner.

If you are the lucky winner, you will WIN a stay at one of the UK’s leading holiday parks, CentreParcs up to the value of £1,000. Four runners up will win a family day pass to Chessington World of Adventures.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes: Review

We were thrilled to have been asked by Warner Brothers to check out the new Lego Batman 2 game. Were we excited when Mr Postman delivered a super gift pack full of Lego Batman goodies??? Silly, silly question! The box was ripped open and the game put straight into the XBox 360!

Batman and Robin return in LEGO® Batman™ 2: DC Super Heroes, the highly-anticipated sequel to the best-selling LEGO® video game of all time, which to date has sold more than 11 million units worldwide.  This time the Dynamic Duo join forces with other famous DC super heroes including Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to stop the notorious villains Lex Luthor and The Joker from destroying Gotham City.   Batman fans of all ages will enjoy a new and original story filled with classic LEGO video game action and humour as players fight to put the bad guys back behind bars.

So what did The Syders think of Lego Batman 2 on the XBox360?
We are addicted! The last Lego game we were totally addicted to was Lego Racers and this one is proving to be equally as fun. Lego Batman 2 is pretty difficult to complete so if you like a bit of a challenge then you will love this.  

We have quite an age range in our house, my eldest child being 22 and the youngest 12 which means sometimes it is difficult to please them all at the same time. This game pushes all their buttons and all four kids have been enjoying trying to complete it. I must admit though Papa is loving it just as much and I keep catching him with Xbox controller in hand "Just trying to get the kids a bit further" He says. Yeah Right!

Do we recommend it?
Yes, Yes, Yes!  Definite 10/10 from us!

LEGO Batman 2 was released for Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3, Wii™, Nintendo DS™, Nintendo 3DS™, PlayStation® Vita, and Windows PC on the 22nd June 2012.  Available from GAME

*This product was sent to us free of any charge. We have received no financial reward for writing this review and as a Family we always give an honest opinion.*.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Our Dog Has Passed Away And We Miss Her So Much

Last Thursday at 6.15pm our loopy Boxer Dog, Luna was sadly put to sleep. It was one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do. It was the right thing to do, the kindest thing to do as she was slowly dying of cancer and had stopped eating, but felt so wrong.

We got Luna back in 2002. Our four kids were then 12, 11, 6 and 2 and they had been nagging me for years to get a dog but I kept putting them off, mainly because I knew that the life expectancy of a dog is quite low and I didn't want us to get attached to someone we would lose. Then a good friend of ours, Boxer was having pups and he asked if we would like to put our name down for one. I immediately said 'No' but when they were born I changed my mind. 

When the pups were a few weeks old we went to see them and we were asked to pick which one we wanted. It was so difficult because all three of them were identical. However, one of them picked us. Luna was bouncing around our feet the entire visit and as we went to leave she tried to follow us out the door. We knew she was meant for us.

The day we took her home the four kids giggled with excitement the whole way home, I was dreading the puppy mess that lay ahead of me. The toilet training, the destruction of furniture, the doggy smell in the house and the eating of shoes and everything else in sight. And yes, Luna did all those things but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and we lived through it.

As Luna grew, she became very protective of our family. We would say she was like a grumpy old woman towards strangers or people that she hadn't seen in a long time, but really her grumbling growls were just letting people know that she was there and looking after us. 

 Visitors to our home would fall in love with Luna and were eager to gain her affection, this wasn't always easy and bribery was often needed, usually in the form of chocolate. But once you had gained her trust, she became a devoted friend.

Luna was our best friend and over the past ten years has been through so much with us all, she travelled on our life changing journey and was a massive part of it.

Luna died in the arms of one of my Brothers, she was happily wagging her tail as she thought we were at the vets to pick her up and bring her home. The pain of losing her has been immense, much more than I ever anticipated. I miss her so much, she drove me mad and was always under my feet but the house feels so empty without her.

I miss her slobbery chops waking me up in the morning, I miss hearing her climbing into bed with our youngest, I miss her begging for chocolate biscuits, I miss her following me around the garden and tripping me up, I miss having to keep a close eye on dinner as I'm dishing up, I miss her charging for the front door every time the postman knocked, I miss her doggy smell, her loud snoring, her wet sneezes and muddy paw prints. 

Luna we all miss everything about you.
You were loved by so many.
Our Hearts are broken.


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