It’s A Sign – 365 Writing Prompts

Munchkin: It’s a long way to go on holiday, isn’t it mummy.

Me: Yes darling.

Munchkin: it’s a fast road.

Me: Yes darling.

Munchkin: There are lots of cars.

Me: Yes darling.

Munchkin: This next one is my favourite road.

Me: How do you know? We’ve never been here before…

Munchkin: Because there are no robots.

Me: No robots? How do you know?

Munchkin: Because the sign says so!



Where That Place Used To Be – 365 Writing Prompts

I used to stand in front of the tape wall. In the music shop.

I used to watch him.

He would serve the customers. Chat. Laugh.

Then look over.

I would melt.

Sometimes he let the smile linger.

Sometimes it was accompanied by a wink.

He was beautiful.

Those moments made my heart soar.

Skipping school to play hangman. To flirt. To talk about music. Discuss life, hopes and our dreams.

Once, in a cold, dark November evening when the windows steamed up, a friend walked past, came in – and without speaking wrote something in the condensation.

A secret revealed. A truth for all to see.

My cheeks burned with embarrassment. But secretly I loved it.

So many years ago…

Almost 30 years.

Now, whenever we pop in to buy something, I find ‘my’ spot.

My place.

Where that place used to be.

The tapes are long gone. The wall now houses other things.

But I recognise my spot.

Muscle memory.

Happy memories.

And I long to pass when the windows steam up, in the hope that the message is revealed once more.

Kirklees Light Railway

Half term is always busy.

This year, we are without Teen 1 as he’s away at university. However, Teen 2 is working incredibly hard and has barely left his bedroom. Teen 3 has exams when school resumes so he’s been revising too. But we managed to persuade him to join us (and Munchkin) for a day out.

We set off bright and early and headed towards Huddersfield, to the Kirklees Light Railway. It’s not a place I knew a lot about – and it wasn’t particularly well signposted (however the SatNav got us right to the door without any problem) but I am SO pleased we went.

The Kirklees Light Railway is a 3 and a half mile long 15 inch gauge railway. It was opened in 1991 and runs from Clayton West to Shelley, via Cuckoo’s Nest and Skelmanthorpe. We were incredibly lucky with the weather. It was the beginning of November, yet we didn’t need our coats; the sun shone brightly and the changing colours of the leaves were stunning.

Munchkin needed to stretch his legs after a long car journey so he took advantage of the outdoor adventure playground, situated next to the large car park. Then we ventured in to the main building to get our tickets (a family ticket for two adults and two children currently costs £24 at the time of writing) and look around the gift shop.

Tickets last all day and you can ride the train as many times as you would like during that time. We took our first trip out. We took our seats in brightly painted, little wooden carriages. The scenery was beautiful and we spotted squirrels, rabbits and a heron along the line.

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When we arrived in Shelley we took full advantage of the tea room and ordered  hot drinks and slices of cake. Munchkin headed off to the playground that was alongside the track whilst we took in the spectacular views. We were able to have a chat with the lovely train driver who told us that during the summer months there is a bouncy castle and lawn games available. Then we headed back on the return journey.


Mr Sixdegrees nipped to the car and brought our picnic to one of the tables so that we could eat in the sunshine and we watched the miniature train take children around the pond.

We enjoyed our trip so much that after lunch we travelled to Shelley again for another brew. Again we chatted to the train driver who told us that all the locomotives were built by the founder, Brian Taylor, and that volunteers assist in the maintenance of the railway.

The Kirklees Light Railway has special events throughout the year. Unfortunately we missed the Halloween ghost train but there are days out with Thomas The Tank Engine and even a Santa special!


Soap & Glory Flash Extension mascara

I recently sat in on a training course at work and one question the trainer asked was: what three essentials would you take if you were stranded on a desert island?

Now, he made it clear that you couldn’t take family or items that would aid a rescue, so I mused for a while and decided that if I definitely couldn’t have my family, I’d have a photo of them. I’d also need coffee. I can’t be without a decent cup of coffee. Life is just too short to deny myself a cup of caffeine.

And lastly, a daily essential of mine is mascara! It might seem like a trivial thing, but I love long, thick, dark lashes. Even if I go ‘make up free’, I still have a coat – or two – of mascara.

For years I’ve chased the perfect finish: long lasting (we’ve all been the victim of panda eyes at some point), able to give me long, thick, clump-free finish and crucially, easy to remove at the end of the day. 

I’ve tried brand after brand. Some last but are hard to remove, some don’t even last a few hours. Some make me look like I’ve glued spiders to my eyelids. And I began to think I was chasing the holy grail. 

Until recently. 

I was in my local Boots to pick up my favourite lipstick when I came across Thick and Fast Flash Extensions mascara by Soap & Glory.

I hadn’t seen it before and was intrigued. I’ve tried several Soap & Glory toiletries previously but hadn’t dabbled with their cosmetics. 

The sleek, silver tube looks attractive and more expensive than it is. Priced at just £10.50 it certainly isn’t going to break the bank.

My initial impression was good. It’s a lovely thick, lump free consistency. And one coat is easily enough for day time. 

In the last month I’ve never had a smudge or dark ring underneath my eyes by the end of the day, it’s lasted from 7am through until late. And it’s so easy to remove (a slick of coconut oil or a face cloth in hot water followed by a swipe of micellar water soaked cotton wool).

I am so impressed, I’m tempted to try more products in the range… If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you! 

The power of frozen 


Is anybody still here?

I’m about to dust off the laptop and see if I can remember how to do this…

Well, big news is both me AND Mr six have changed our jobs. He left his store and moved to head office – then a few weeks later, I followed him. We’re both so much happier and it’s lovely to be able to travel in to work together.

One of the biggest challenges is getting dinner on the table once we get in from work. I’ve always done a menu plan but now I need to be more creative as we don’t get in until after 5:30pm…

I’ve liberated my slow cooker from the back of the cupboard (it must be the week for re-finding unused gadgets) and have a couple of ideas.

Tonight was vegetarian fajitas. And it was very cost effective due to shopping at Iceland. 

This morning I put a shake of frozen, chopped onions, added a bag of frozen, sliced peppers, two bags of Quorn chicken style pieces (on offer at the time of writing this), a generous shake of homemade fajita seasoning, a couple of handfuls of frozen sweetcorn and several chopped, fresh tomatoes. 

I switched it on and went to work. That’s it. Barely any prep at all and when we got in from work, it smelled amazing.

Mr six set about grating some cheese whilst I started assembling the fajitas, spooning a little natural yogurt instead of sour cream on to the flour fajitas – and within 10 minutes all of us were sat down to a home cooked, vegetable laden, incredibly tasty dinner.

It wasn’t overly spicy – which meant that Munchkin happily ate his – so the teens spiced theirs up with Tabasco. They ALL asked for extras which is unheard of here!

I’ve got another meal to cook in the slow cooker later this week – I just hope it’s as successful!

I’d love to hear if you have any ‘meal hacks’ as any advice is gratefully received! 

Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…

When I was in primary school, I had a very wise headmaster. 

During an assembly he talked about how powerful our words can be. He quoted the nursery rhyme and said that he thought it was fundamentally flawed:

If someone were to push you and you fell, breaking your arm, it would really hurt. People would be able to see your cast and know that you had suffered. Yet whenever you thought about it you would remember that you were in pain but you wouldn’t be able to recall that level of pain.

However if someone said something that hurt you – even though your wounds wouldn’t be visible to others – for many years when you recalled those words, they would sear as if it were the first time you had heard them.

And he’s right. 

Words, however quickly they fell from your mouth, however ill conceived, they will hurt.

Once a word leaves your mouth, you cannot chase it back. Even with the swiftest horse.

     – Chinese proverb

Every ‘Lidl’ helps

We’re back to budgeting. It’s hard working full time and getting meals on the table -and unfortunately convenience costs. We’re shopping at Lidl more often; admittedly there isn’t as much choice as other supermarkets but it is forcing us to think more about we eat.

Slow cooking is great as it means there’s a healthy dinner on the table when we get in, but that relies on me remembering to prepare the vegetables before I leave for work and I’d rather have an extra coffee and a cuddle with the boys!

This week I wanted to make a stew/soup style dish and I decided that tinned vegetables would be the key to speed. So on Monday, when I got in from work, exhausted, cold, wet and hungry, I knew that comforting stodge was needed. I put a dash of oil in the pan, added a handful of frozen chopped onions and started frying them. As they softened, I added a heaped teaspoon of minced garlic (99p for a jar). I opened two tins of new potatoes and two tins of sliced carrots, rinsed them and added them to the pan. I chucked in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a vegetable stock cube and a shake of dried mixed herbs. I left this to simmer whilst I went for a shower,  then I threw in some frozen spinach and left it for another 5 minutes. When I was ready to serve, I crushed everything with the potato masher to a nice thick consistency.

Munchkin had his with grated cheese whereas Teen 2 (who is known for his love affair with spice) opted for a generous dash of extra hot chilli sauce. This went down so well, that I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it.

I think it really worked  and next time I’ll be brave and add extra frozen veg maybe broccoli, cauliflower and even sweetcorn to make it even healthier and tastier.

Snack time after school can be a flashpoint for some. Munchkin tends to just eat any leftovers from his lunchbox, but this week I decided to trial something new: homemade mushroom pate. I feel a fraud for sharing this ‘recipe’ but it’s just too delicious not to… I started with a 350g punnet of mushrooms which I chopped and gently fried. Once they started releasing thei liquid, I added some of the minced garlic and continued frying until almost dry. I left them to cool them blended with a 250g tub of cream cheese (49p). This will (technically) keep for up to a week in the fridge but Munchkin,who despises mushrooms, had a taste and discovered he loved it and has had it on crackers each evening so that’s something new to add to the menu. I realise it doesn’t look too delicious here – but trust me, it really is! 

Tuesday we had spaghetti bolognese. Discovering a new brand of meat free mince is always a nice surprise and at 1.20 per bag, it’s great value for money! It was a little coarser than our usual brand but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mr six and the teens loved it.

So that’s a few days back in the budgeting world. I’d love to hear your food savvy tips, every ‘Lidl’ helps…

Once upon a time… 

Once upon a time there was a girl. 

She found herself in a forest. A dark, dark forest. It took her a while to realise that she was in the forest. 


She was scared. She tried to call out for help but her voice was so small.  And the darkness was suffocating. It invaded every part of her. Extinguishing her happiness. Smothering her. Leaving her numb. 

She knew that there was a creature lurking in the darkness. She couldn’t see it. But she knew it was there. It wanted her. It wanted to consume her. So she ran. She ran through the trees. She ran through the forest. She ran through the darkness. Adrenaline coursed through her body, her skin was clammy.  She felt as though she would be alone and terrified forever. She despised her own actions. Her thoughts were loud and told her she was useless. She was unloveable.

Eventually she noticed that thorns had cut her skin. It hurt. Perversely she found pleasure in this; being able to feel something at last. There was a little space to breathe again. Chinks of light forced their way in through the dense canopy which allowed a tiny view of the leafy prison and offered a small amount of warmth. She could hear distant laughter but it did not move her. She heard kind words but they didn’t reach her. Didn’t connect. Didn’t comfort her. The creature, although still present, seemed not to pursue her with such intensity.  She began to relax. Adrenaline still flowed but she found she could distract herself from it sometimes. The thoughts were quieter now. They were less cruel. She stopped hating herself but didn’t dare allow herself to believe anyone could like her.

Time passed and one day she found she was able to see clearly. She was able to inhale deeply and revel in the warmth of the sunshine.  The creature had gone. At least, she couldn’t sense it… She knew that one day it would be back but for now she wanted to live. She wanted her life without fear. Without self loathing. Without darkness and negative thoughts.

Puressentiel have the solution!


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Having 4 children – and working in schools – my stomach doesn’t drop when we get a letter home informing us that headlice have been detected within Munchkin’s year group. Having said that, it’s never pleasant having to apply a treatment, especially as Munchkin has such sensitive skin on his scalp. So when Puressentiel contacted us and offered to send us their ‘anti-lice’ solution, I was thrilled.

Puressentiel products are formulated with natural ingredients in a way that’s environmentally responsible and fair to producers. They aim to be more pure, more natural and more effective. Their products contain 0% parabens, synthetic fragrances, colourants, preservatives or animal products.

The anti-lice lotion is made from vegetable oils to obstruct the respiratory openings of the lice, larvae and nits – and because of this, there is no danger of them building up a resistance to the solution (crucial if your child gets infected on a semi regular basis!) Essential oils are also added to soothe and as an antiseptic.

The bottle has a fabulous design, with a neat little nozzle that allows for precise and direct application against the scalp and reseals to prevent leaking. The lotion itself is lovely and thick and doesn’t drip down the neck or into the eyes. A wonderful long, micro-grooved, steel toothed comb is provided in the box for lice removal too.

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I decided to treat Munchkin and give my own hair a precautionary treatment at the same time. One major advantage is how quickly this treatment works; 10 minutes and you’re ready to comb then rinse. I found it very easy to wash out too as it left our hair incredibly shiny, soft and fragrant, like a conditioning treatment.

Also in this range is the lice repellent spray which is effective for up to 24 hours. During periods of infestation at school, you can spray the lotion onto the hair to increase protection.

Having seen how gentle and effective these products have been, I am going to check out other products from Puressentiel as I have been really impressed. If you want to check out why they’re so impressive, you can read about them on Facebook and Twitter.

DISCLAIMER: we were sent these products for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Festive nail wraps

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve kinda missed the boat with these little beauties – but in my defence, they were given to me with a whole pile of amazing things and I had completely overlooked them.

I love having pretty nails. Who doesn’t? I used to have gel done at the salon but finances didn’t allow that last year. So I bought myself a home gel kit which has been fabulous – but my nails are incredibly short and peeling at the moment (I assume it’s down to stress and diet) which means my gel doesn’t stay on perfectly so I needed something different.

You may have tried nail wraps previously. I have. And I didn’t really get on with them. They were the ones you need to warm before applying. They felt thick and ‘plasticy’ on my nails and I was constantly aware they were there.

But these festive nail wraps from Paladone claimed to just be stickers that you simply peel off the backing and apply to the nail.

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Oh my!

As these were just sitting in my bedroom and I was looking to avoid finishing the tidying up, I thought I’d give them a whirl. What’s the worst that could happen? I could just peel them off again and no one would be any the wiser.

The first thing I noticed was how thin they were. Almost like when you absent mindedly peel off your gel (admit it, you’ve done that too!) Secondly how easy they were to apply – no heating, no faff, apply, rub, done!

I added two coats of clear nail varnish to protect them and give a lovely shine too.

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As I said, my nails are particularly short at the moment and that kind of detracts from the cuteness of the detail on the snowman and penguin. But I love how they look  – I really love the red with white spots on and would happily wear that all through the year.  And at just £2.99 you just can’t go wrong!