Project Paul 55

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So here’s the promised post about what we did for little daddy’s 55th birthday!

So for a few months (less than 55 months), Leah and Becksie have been working very hard on a top secret mission – a mission we’ve named ‘Project Paul 55’ – we named it this because it was a) a project b) it’s for our dad who’s called Paul and c) it was in celebration of his 55th birthday! Project Paul 55 aimed to not only show little daddy how much we love him but also give people who have known him throughout his 55 years (seeing how many age mentions we can get in – wonder if we can get to 55??) a chance to say nice things about him and share their memories of how he has been a part of their life.

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So, we hear you ask, what is the gift?

Well the gift is a box filled with 365 envelopes, each envelope is labelled with a date and there is one for everyday of the coming year. Each envelope contains a different memory / photo / story / kind thought from lots of people who have been a part of little daddy’s life so far! The box of envelopes also comes with a scrapbook and a Project Paul 55 glue stick so that every day the envelope contents can be stuck in and should little daddy wish he can add notes to the memory – perhaps his version of events or a memory he gets that is triggered by someone else’s memory.

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So, we hear you ask, why did you do this?

  • Little daddy always moans about how people wait until people’s funerals to say nice things about them when they should tell them whilst they are alive.
  • It was very cheap we only had to buy envelopes, glue and a scrap book, and pay printing costs
  • It means that dad will get a gift everyday of the coming year
  • The scrapbook will last a lifetime
  • It was something we could do together
  • It meant we got to get in touch with lots of people who have also been a part of our lives

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So, we hear you ask, how did we do it?

Well it was very simple really we sat down together and came up with a list of people we needed to contact. We then divided them up into how was best to contact them (email, phone, facebook, twitter) and then  – contacted them!! We then got all the memories together printed them, stuffed the 365 envelopes (we actually ended up with 385 which was fab because it meant dad had 20 to open on his birthday) mixed all the envelopes up so that it was totally random and labelled them with the date stickers. We covered the box and scrapbook in brown paper and presented it to little daddy, the newest member of club 55!

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So, we hear you ask, would you mind if we do this as a gift for someone we love?

Not at all, in fact we’d be delighted and to help you here’s a rough copy of the email we sent:

Dear  …………..

We do hope this message finds you well.

As you may or may not know, it is our Dad’s 55th birthday on 29th November. After racking our brains for something suitable to buy him but to no avail (and in this time of double-dip recession) we have decided to make him a cheap-o present. Cheap-o presents, however, can be super sentimental. And this is where you come in…

Here is our plan: we are going to make Dad a whole year’s worth of presents. These year-long presents will be an envelope per day housing a memory.  We want to gather happy memories from people who are a part of Dad’s 55 years.  It would be great for you to be a part of this project as you are a special part of Dad’s life.

Here is what you need to do: think of two special memories that you have of Dad* (perhaps of something funny he has done, an event you went to with him, an annoying (but comical) trait he has, something he said to you or something that he did that made an impact on you).  So,

  1. Think of the memory
  2.  Email , post or call us with the memory (we are happy to send SAE or to call you)

Remember: this is top secret so please do not tell Dad.

*Please feel free to do more than two memories if you want (we do have 365 to collect…)

Our contact details are:

INSERT YOUR CONTACT DETAILS (we set up a special email account)!

Lots of Love …………………………


All things Bright and Breakfasty

Well first things first a very Happy 55th Birthday to Becksie’s daddy, Ian’s Father – in – law and Lizzie’s Grandad! We know yesterday we said we’d feature his birthday gift but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read all about it as we are off out for a birthday meal meaning today’s blog post must be published before he receives his gift!

So what to discuss today Becksie thinks, as she watches Ian dash out the house in a flash with only a nanosecond to pass through the kitchen and leave empty handed! Still no ideas she proceeds to get up discovers the homemade bread stash is empty and pours a rather uninspired bowl of cereal and prepares a banana for Lizzie to munch on! And only as she lifts the first mouthful of cereal (it’s a little soft – the clip had fallen off the top – that is soooooooo annoying!) thinking this is naff does it hit her like a smack in the chops with a wet fish  – today’s blog post should be all about breakfast!

So we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day but we all also know that the mornings can be busy, stressful and people  (in our house the daddy shape character, and on Wednesdays also the Mummy and Baby shape character ) are frequently (ok nearly always) running late! So how to do we balance the fact that all family members should eat breakfast with the fact that most days Ian simply doesn’t have time and although Becksie and Lizzie eat breakfast currently, as life goes on and we have to start to factor in things like the school run it will get harder and yet even more important that we manage this process!

Ok – sit back, think long and hard (this is not a new problem Ian and Becksie have been facing this issue since way before Lizzie was on the scene)!

Ok – we know the answers, we’ve known all along, we are just rubbish at actually sorting out these issues! But hey, let’s focus on the positives – undertaking our year without supermarkets has been a sort of life laundry and we are making steps forward to a more simple, better life – we now grow our own salad, have a tidy and productive windowsill, have batch cooked meals in the freezer – so all we need to do is………………

Set ourselves another mini challenge in the shape of ‘Eating Breakfast together’!

This means that for the coming week we shall (starting officially on Monday but tomorrow can be a practice day) try the following:

A)     Becksie and Ian to go to bed before 10.30pm (this is our first problem the adult part of Team Pugh are dreadful at going to bed)

B)      Include breakfast prep in our night time routine – (this is currently have tea, one person baths Little’s, the other washes up) so from now on we will get the breakfast pots out and ready on the side and decide what we are going to have.

C)      Stop pressing snooze on the alarm

D)     Get up and eat together before Ian leaves the house on time at 7.30 (we will be exhausted so maybe the bed time thing won’t be so hard)

E)      Give some thought to some exciting breakfasts and get some homemade stuff ready in the freezer so that the process is smooth and the food isn’t just toast or cereal!

Wish us luck and keep posted for further details!!!

Wrap it up!


Tomorrow sees a certain guest blogger turn 55! So we have given his gift careful consideration, got his gifts ready to wrap (ssshhhhsss they are secret) gone to the wrapping paper cupboard only to discover it is EMPTY! Oh bother! So in normal circumstances with such a wrapping disaster on our hands we’d pop of to the supermarket and get whichever was prettiest, most appropriate and cheapest! This is obviously not an option and other shops that do sell it will not be open in the evening! So as we have a stuff to do tomorrow and really want the birthday shennanigans wrapped tonight we’ve decided to improvise! We can’t show you the final wrapped gifts as Becksie’s dad might see them (its very hard to disguise a brand new car with makeshift wrappings ;)) but we can show you how we made a most excellent bag and a beautiful bow! So please enjoy our photo tutorial! And come back tomorrow if you please for more birthday details!  

take one good quality carrier bag (Recognise this Jenny??)

cut thin strips of plastic from it

trim these down so you have 4 big pieces, 3 a little smaller, 2 smaller still and 1 about half the size of the original strip

retrieve double sided tape from baby

make each strip into a figure of 8 bow with the double sided tape

almost there!

start to layer bow on bow with double sided tape, starting with the biggest, soon it will look like the above!


now for the bag – take 2 sheets of newspaper and fold over the top edge twice and tape down

fold the paper around a cereal box, and tape it where the 2 edges join

fold the bottom in and tape up

add some handles (plastic bag strips work well) and add a little decoration and a tag!

Our latest ‘Advent'(ure)!


With Christmas fever really starting to take hold we know it’s not very long until we hear the classic ‘holidays are coming, holidays are coming’ jingle of the coke a cola advert! And whilst while we are nowhere near as prepared as some (jenny has wrapped some gifts, Ian’s mum is storming ahead in the shopping stakes and has also wrapped many gifts) we are starting to think about the festive season! We have a small pile of gifts so far (and a list of ideas), oh and in typical Team Pugh style we have thought about Christmas food – oh the delights – cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets, christmas pudding,  more meat than you can shake a stick at and Cheese – glorious cheese! We must get truly organised and check out what markets are open so that we can buy and eat our festive delights!

So with Christmas countdown about to begin and Advent very fast approaching we wanted to make Lizzie an advent calendar that she will hopefully be able to use way beyond her childhood years. Now advent calendars are great but it is indeed something we would buy at the supermarket – we know the local news agent stocks them but in the spirit of our year without supermarkets we thought a home produced, reusable one was right up our street!

As Lizzie hasn’t yet learnt the art of chocolate loving we’ve decided to this year’s daily treats will come in the shape of a puzzle piece that will eventually make a complete jigsaw, some treats to be enjoyed by daddy and also in order some notes that will instruct Lizzie to spread a little Christmas joy to those around her! Okay so we know this year she is a little too young to understand but she has two willing helpers.  We hope this will become another yearly tradition that will bring joy to Lizzie but more importantly help Lizzie year on year bring joy to others on the countdown to Christmas and help in the stress of it all keep us focused on what really matters!

So here’s what we plan to do:

Cut out felt numbers 1 – 25 (you could leave it at 24 but we decided to include Christmas day itself and even gave it a bigger number).

Make 25 pockets (the size of your choice)

Stitch randomly onto the backing fabric (you could put the pockets in order but we figured it would be more fun to find the numbers every morning).

Hem the top and insert a piece of cane to use as a hanger.

Source a small puzzle

Write kind gesture instructions

Fill with treats, puzzle pieces and notes of kind gestures to be completed.

Hang up

Let the countdown commence!

Tune in on the first of December in order to see the completed calendar, in fact if we were you we’d take two minutes to sign up to receive email updates every time we put out a new post, follow us on twitter and like us on facebook!


As promised tonight’s blog post brings you, our loyal reader, details of yesterday’s cookathon! Our freezer is now bursting with tasty meals in a variety of Tupperware tubs (and yogurt pots and ice cream tubs etc etc)!

We were going to write a detailed explanation of what we did but on reflection it seems pretty boring, so here comes the 10 second version…..

Chop lots of veg, put in very big pan, add garlic and meat and cook through, divide into different pans and flavour one as spag bol, one for lasagne mix, one as chilli and one as shepherd’s pie, make the dishes, put into 3 person size portions, let cool then freeze – voila!!

It didn’t quite take ten seconds, but for an hour or so’s effort we now have a selection of classic comfort food dishes ready to be heated up for when time or effort is short!

The afternoon of freezer filling was a good opportunity to sort out our freezers. Now we have in the past tended to find things lurking in them that we had long forgotten about, but when we went through them we found a very nice selection of sausages, all of our venison, a few bits of fish and some lovely berries from our local farm shop. We did also find some bits of supermarket chicken and pork which seem to look far less appetizing now than they did when we bought them, must be something to do with the amazing quality of meat we have been getting lately! The other nice surprise (for Ian) was some faggots we bought at a market a few months ago, Ian LOVES faggots, Becksie on the other hand thinks they are ‘offal’ 😉 !

So the freezers are now cleaned out and we have a meat freezer and a batch cooked food and fruit freezer – how organised!!!

Our only problem yesterday was a bit of a tupperware shortage (if only grandad had not gone crazy the night before and destroyed all of grannie’s which fell out of the cupboard on him)! This meant we had to do a bit of freezer raiding and swap some stuff from tubs into food bags. It was for this reason that we ate up the last of our ready-made meals, some delicious pork casserole, for our lunch, with a side of some Peshwari Naans from a well known supermarket that we had bought reduced and dumped in the freezer. They were easy to prepare (5 minutes under the grill) but in terms of taste we can definitely say that we are not missing supermarket food!