Thursday, 25 February 2016

Spring Gardening - Storage Solution From Garden Buildings Direct

Spring is finally in the air! I always get excited when my Hyacinths make an appearance, it tells me that it is time to start getting my garden ready for the warmer months ahead. I spend a lot of time in my garden from now up until about October so I like to prepare early in the year. I usually have a bonfire, burning any old brambles or wood that I have managed to accumulate over the winter. I like to prune my Himalayan Honeysuckle's, Jasmine, Clematis and Buddleia's this time of year and I trim my conifers.

When organizing your garden storage is really important to keep your tools and equipment protected and tidy. It doesn't have to be a big shed, some people just don't have the room. A bike shed is perfect if your garden is smaller, or even if you have more space a 6 x 4 BillyOh Ashingdon metal shed is perfect. Not only can it store your bike but it is a great size for a lawn mover, garden tools and spare pots. 

Garden Buildings Direct supply a good range of garden sheds, all different sizes and styles. I ordered the BillyOh Ashingdon metal shed which is priced from £169 and it arrived within a few days by two friendly delivery drivers. I received a confirmation of delivery via email and I also received a phone call checking the delivery time was convenient. I really like this type of service because it gives you the opportunity to change your delivery should you need to.

Building the shed took us two days because this time of year the weather is unpredictable and every now and then we had rain showers, but usually it should only take a few hours with two people. Be careful of the sharp edges, wear gloves. The edges are not a problem once built, just be careful when building.

The BillyOh Ashingdon Metal Shed features:

  • Hot dipped galvanised steel throughout
  • Strong entry/exit ramp across door width opening
  • Uncomplicated home assembly in approx. 4 hours (help required to eaves height)
  • 15 Year 'No Rust Perforation' Warranty

We placed our shed at the bottom of our garden and planted a Himalayan honeysuckle (a cutting from an established bush in my garden) next to it, which will eventually grow a good eight foot tall and will disguise the shed. 

Bottom Line - What do we think? I love the sliding doors and the fact that it has a protective powder coating so no need for varnishing and maintenance. It is also weather proof with a fifteen year warranty, so I wont need to replace it for a long time. You also have the option of ordering a wooden base at the checkout, we didn't as hubby had some strong wood stored in the garden that he wanted to use up. Excellent quality, highly recommend.

Big thumbs up from The Syders!

*We were provided with a 6 x 4 BillyOh Ashingdon metal shed from Garden Buildings Direct free of charge for the purpose of this review. Our thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and unbiased. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Baking With Kids - Heart Shaped Cupcakes


  • 110g/4oz butter or margarine
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110g/4oz self-raising flour
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the eggs and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Fold in the flour using a wooden spoon, adding drops of milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full.
  4. Place a marble in the top of each tin hole.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a blunt knife inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Decorate with pink icing.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Slimfast Challenge

I have always been quite the fan of Slimfast, ever since I had my first baby back in 1990. The first time I used it I lost three stone in three months, so it is no surprise that it was my chosen weight loss program after having my next three kids. 

Twenty six years later and losing weight seems much harder. As I get older I am finding the weight much more difficult to lose and I have noticed a definite slowing down of my metabolism. The pounds do not just fall off me anymore, I have to work a little harder.

I spotted the #SlimfastChallenge on Twitter and thought I'd love to give it a go again after all these years. To be honest, I was not really convinced that I would be able to stick with it. I'm a woman in my mid forties and I love my grub. I like my comfort food, but I feel so unhealthy being over weight so I was determined to give the seven day challenge my best shot.

The plan is very straight forward and that is what I most like about it. The fact that I don't need to spend my day thinking about food and what I can eat or can't eat really appeals to me. I like the simple 3,2.1 approach because it keeps me organised with what I'm eating. 

What I do on a daily basis is start by putting my 3 x 100 kcal snacks aside for the day. I usually have a piece of fruit, a crisp type snack in the afternoon and a chocolate snack in the evenings. I always make sure I have an evening snack because that is the most difficult part of the day for me with regards to sticking to a diet. I'm always at my hungriest when I'm watch Eastenders.

Meals - For my evening meals I buy low calorie ready meals. I prefer to do this because that way I know exactly what calories I am eating and I don't have to put any thought into it. Sometimes I'll add some salad to it or a slice of bread if I'm craving carbs. As for my water intake, I find it keeps my hunger pangs at bay if I have a bottle of water constantly by my side. 

Slimfast Challenge App - This app is really helpful. You can set your goals, track your weight, find 600kcal recipe ideas, exercise programmes and a photo gif generator to show your progress. I also joined the Slimfast Challenge facebook group which is really supportive and friendly.

Exercise - For my exercise I have been doing my Davina DVD 3 x times a week and I have just bought an exercise bike. I also walk every day, even if it is just around the block, I go on my walk. 

The Results:
I lost 3lbs! Yay! Since then I have lost a further 7lb. I have a lot of weight to lose so I'm still on the plan and aiming to lose three stone for the summer, so watch this space.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

How To Make A Two Tier KitKat Cake

What You Need:

  • Ready made birthday cake serving 12 - 15
  • Ready made cake serving 6
  • Ready made fondant icing
  • 3 x packets of 16 two finger kitkats
  • 16 x Ferrero Rocher (or any other sweet or chocolates of your choice)
  • 3 x bags of Galaxy eggs  (or any other sweet or chocolates of your choice)
  • 2 metres of ribbon
  • packet of straws


Slide about 6 x straws into the middle of the bottom tier.

1. Unbox your cakes, cut down some straws and poke them into the center of your larger cake (which will be the bottom tier). This gives your cake the strength to hold your second tier.

2. Start sticking your kitkats or Cadbury fingers around the outside of the bottom cake. You can secure them with a blob of ready made icing.

3. Carefully place your second tier on top of the larger cake, then stick kitkats or fingers around the cake. Ensuring they are standing straight.

4. Tie your ribbom around both cakes to secure the kitkats and fingers are tightly in place and for decoration.

5. Fill around the edge of the bottom tier with golden eggs or sweets/chocolates of your choice. Then fill the top of the cake with your Ferrero Rocher. 

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