Saturday, 4 July 2015

A Slimming World Update

I have not done a Slimming World post for a few weeks as I missed two week's. The first I had put a holiday in for as I was off to London for the weekend to attend Britmums Live and then the week after I ended up being a chicken and avoided class as I had a bad week and thought that I would have gained weight. This really is not the best thing to do as I have no idea if I had of lost or gained weight, I wish I had of just went to class got weighed and faced the scales. 

So this week I did exactly that I faced the scales and was expecting a huge gain as I know I had not stuck to the plan on the week i had taken off  and I was just crossing my fingers that the gain would not be too bad. So imagine my utter amazement when I stepped on the scales and found that I had actually lost 3 lb and had not gained any weight, I was overjoyed. 

Having such a good loss after having a week off and not sticking to the plan by having a week of takeaway's and wine had not ruined my diet at all. I really think that I have cracked my old over eating demons now as I no longer snack on crisps and biscuits. I can happily avoid the biscuits and crisps and I no longer crave bread and chocolate, not even at that time of the month which is a shock. 

Having a loss this week has motivated me to get back on track and focus 100 % on the plan as I know that the plan does work and I don't ever want to go back to my old eating habits. I want to lose this weight once and for all and fit into my pre baby clothes again, as I have some gorgeous dresses packed away that I would love to wear again someday. 

Nandos Chicken , rice salad, salad & corn on the cob
This week I have planned all my meals in advance and will be trying out lots of new recipes as I was getting bored of eating the same meals over and over again. I have also stocked up on lots of fruit as the whole family is eating tons of fruit lately too which is a great as I want them to eat as healthy as possible. My ten month old has a plate full of cucumber and melon, apple or strawberries every day for lunch as they are his favourite foods. 

I am really hoping for another good loss this week and i am hoping that by trying new meals and keeping track of my syns I will have a 3 lb loss which would get me my one and a half stone award. I am not getting my hopes up though as I have ate two magnums so far this week without realising they had a whopping 12 syns in each! I have found a recipe for syn free strawberry ice cream in one of my recipe books so I will be giving that a try over the weekend to see what that is like. 

I have found that this lovely weather has also made me want to eat healthier too and fruit and salads are a lot more appealing at the moment, as I really hate cooking in this heat. So fingers crossed those two cheeky Magnums have not done too much damage and I get another loss this week. 

You can find out more about Slimming World or find you nearest class on the website

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

My First Britmums Live 2015

Last year I had only just started blogging when I seen so many people mention Britmums live, being a new blogger and being heavily pregnant at the time I did not attend, but vowed to go this year as it looked like such fun. When the tickets went on sale last summer I snapped up an early bird ticket and managed to secure a wonderful sponsor MAM UK who helped me to attend the event. As the event drew nearer I was full of nerves as I had never been to anything like this before and I knew no-one, I was also feeling a bit anxious about leaving my girls and my baby too as I have never been apart from him since he was born 10 months ago. 

On the morning of the event my nerves disappeared as I made my way to the station to catch my train to London, I was looking forward to the three hour train journey as it meant I could read a magazine in peace for the first time in a long time. I arrived into London's kings cross at 11 am where I met up with the lovely Nikki and her husband from Keeping Strong And Moving Forward and the super friendly Becky from 3 Princess 1 Dude which instantly put me at ease.

I arrived at my hotel for the night the Travelodge Central city road at noon and checked in for a quick freshen up and to face time home as I was missing my children already. I then made my way to the Brewery which was the venue for Britmums live and just a short walk from the hotel, where we met up with fellow Geordie Lauren from Blogger Mummy Lauren . We sat in a  beautiful decorated gazebo outside waiting for the event to start feeling rather nervous at the sheer amount of people in attendance. 

The Brewery
Once the doors opened we quickly collected our name badges and made our way into the hub where all the brands were situated and I was given a lovely bracelet from Mercimaman gifts. I spoke to the Muchkin team and got some beakers and bottles for my children, I visited the Parragon stand and was given some lovely books and spent some time talking to the lovely SuperSavvyMe team. The room was getting so busy so we decided to have a little wander around the venue to see where things were and made our way to the main room ready for the start of the event.

Britmums Live 2015
There was a welcome talk then a keynote by Deliciously Ella, and I must have been the only person who did not even know who she was. This was followed by an inspiring talk from Victoria Wright.  Then it was time to see if we could break an official Guinness world record for the most mummies wrapped in toilet roll in three minutes. I am pretty certain that we were one of the 18 mummies disqualified as my mummy wrapping skills were rather rubbish, but even with 18 mummies disqualified we still managed to break a record and we now all have a medal to prove it. 

Breaking a world record or maybe not
Then it was time for the sessions to begin I attended two sessions on the Friday Google + as I know  nothing about this and if I am honest even after the talk it still confuses me, but i did learn some useful tips. I then attended a photo session which I found a bit disappointing and like a sales pitch. I think I will be choosing my sessions more wisely next year. 

At the drinks party
It was then time for a drinks reception outside in the lovely seating area with free wine thanks to Lindeman's. I spent a lovely hour or so sitting chatting to so many bloggers who's blogs I read on a regular basis and it was so lovely to meet them all in real life. It was then time for the Bibs with more free wine available on the tables, I was amazed with myself that i only drank two glasses of wine as I normally end up getting drunk and making a fool of myself. The awards were presented by Carol Smiley and they seemed to go by in a flash and then that was it day one was over. I seen so many bloggers that i wanted to chat to but we were ushered out of the building by security as soon as the awards ended.

The bibs
I ended up going to a bar along the road from the venue with Nikki, Lauren, Becky and Beth from Twinderelmo and seen Hannah who I have actual met before as she is from the north east too. I ended the night with a takeaway pizza in my hotel room face timing my partner before having my first full night of uninterrupted sleep in over two years! 

Lauren and myself
Saturday was another early start as I was up, dressed and packed ready to check out of the hotel and make my way to the Brewery for day two of the event which started at 8.30 am. We made our way to the hub for breakfast of fresh fruit juices and little overnight oat pots which were delicious. I skipped the Saturday morning keynote and instead spent time talking to rest of the brands in the hub, I found out about My Friend Freddy a new talking bear which will be going on Sophia's christmas list. And had some silly photos taken to apply to work with Carnival cruises. 

Carnival Cruise
I really enjoyed the sessions I attended on the Saturday which were Social media optimisation which will full of tips on keeping on top of social media, Bloggers and Brands which had tips on how to get the most from working with brands and beginning SEO which was super useful as I know nothing at all about SEO. It was then lunch time which I skipped as I did not like the look of the food so I decided to grab something to eat at the station on the way home. I spent the lunch break chatting to people outside and it was so lovely and relaxing. I then attended my final session which was photo styling for your blog pictures and instagram, this was a really great session and something I needed as my photo skills are not the best. 

I then decided to leave the event early so I could get my train home as I had a long journey ahead of me. I picked up my goody bag and jumped in a taxi with Rachel and Lucy and headed to Kings Cross exhausted to get my train home to a Chinese takeaway and a nice hot bubble bath. I had such a great time at Britmums and I learnt so many useful tips not only from the sessions but also from other bloggers I spoke to. 

The best part for me was defiantly meeting other bloggers some of whom I talk to regularly online and some who I did not know. I only wish I had gotten to spend more time talking to people as there was so many people I wanted to meet but was to scared to say hello to, or who I just did not get the chance to say hi, or people I wish I had of spoke to for longer then a quick chat on the stairs. I also wish I had of taken more photos, but I was just so busy I kept forgetting. And i am a bit gutted i missed the blogger keynotes as i have heard they were amazing. 

Arriving back in Newcastle
Being my first Britmums it was very different to how I thought it would be as I did not learn as much as I thought I would and did not speak to many brands, and if I am honest I thought there would have been more brands there. I was not keen on the craft area and avoided that as it is not really my thing as i suck at crafts. But I found everyone so lovely and friendly and there was a lovely atmosphere. I will defiantly be going again next year as I had such a great time and I would just like to say a huge thank you to my sponsor MAM UK for helping me to attend and also to StressFreePrint for my business cards and Zoe Corkhill for designing them for me. And to all the lovely ladies I met at the event thank you for a great weekend. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What's In My Changing Bag

When i had my oldest daughter i had a changing bag that came with her pram and it was useless, i could hardly fit anything in as it was so small and it had no storage pockets or anywhere to keep her bottles. It was also made of fabric so if it rained everything got soaking wet inside. When i had my second daughter two years ago top of my list of must buy items was a decent changing bag, i had my partner demented as i searched online and in shops for hours looking for the perfect bag.

 One bag i kept coming back to was the iconic Pink Lining Yummy Mummy bag, as not only was it practical but it also looked amazing too. So of course i had to buy it and i opted for the purple bow one from John Lewis. I even used it for baby's hospital bag as it was so roomy it fitted all her tiny baby clothes and toiletries in. When i fell pregnant again just five months after having Sophia i had my heart set on another Pink Lining bag as i loved my first one so much and was still using it with Sophia, as i was having a boy this time i opted for the Blooming Gorgeous woodlands bag. Once again i used this as the baby's hospital bag and i love it. I keep trying to convince my partner i need a third Pink Lining bag but so far i have yet to convince him. 

I use both my bags everyday with my children as we often take them out on their own or in separate pushchairs and i fill the bags with toys and snacks to keep them entertained. But if i am gong out on my own with them in the double buggy i will often just take the one changing bag that is filled with everything that i need for a two year old and a ten month old. My bag is big enough to fit in everything i need as it has so many separate useful pockets and compartment and even a wet bag and changing mat included, it really is like a Mary Poppins bag. So here is what is inside my changing bag. 

  • Nappies, Sophia has just turned two and we have not started potty training just yet so i need nappies for both children. Depending where we are going i normally take between 2-4 nappies each.
  • Wipes, these are a staple in every parents changing bag and i think i am a little bit in love with baby wipes as i use them for everything from cleaning bums and sticky hands to wiping highchairs and changing mats.
  • Nappy bags, again these are so useful not only for change time but also for putting empty wrappers or rubbish in when out and about.
  • Spare clothes i have one spare outfit for each child as you never know what kind of mess they can get in when out so it is always best to be prepared, there is a wet bag attached to my bag which is perfect for putting dirty clothing items into.
  • Bib's, Jacob is only 10 months old and he is very dribbly and still makes a lot of mess when eating and drinking so i always have a few bibs in my bag.
  • Beaker of juice each, i never go anywhere without a cup of juice or water for both of them especially when the weather is warm.
  • Bottle of milk for Jacob, he has a bottle to go to sleep and is still napping twice a day so i like to have this just in case he needs a nap.
  • Baby food and a spoon, Jacob does eat fingers foods now but sometimes when we are out i don't know if there will be anywhere i can buy food or if the food will be suitable for him so i always have a jar of baby food and a spoon in my bag just in case.
  • Suncream, a must in this hot weather for little ones i keep them in the shade as much as possible but when we are at the park that is not always possible so i am always making sure they have plenty of suncream on.
  • Steroid cream for Sophia's eczema she has bad eczema and is always itching so we have to have this with us which was prescribed by the GP. 
  • A book, i like to have something to entertain them when we are out and about so i normally have a book and a few toys in the bag which are great for when you are having a meal or waiting in lines.
  • Hand gel as when you are out and about you can not always wash your hands so i have this to keep our hands germ free.
  • I also normally have a selection of snacks such as fruit and baby biscuits that both the baby and toddler can enjoy. 

Like many mums i have found that i no longer use a handbag as my changing bag has become my changing bag so i will have all of my bits and bobs in the bag too, such as my mobile, keys, purse , hair bobbles and brush and maybe some make-up. Have any of you other parents found that your changing bag is now your handbag? 

* This is my entry into the The Pink Lining Ambassador Search #ItsInTheBagBaby

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Parenting A Tween Is Hard

When my oldest daughter was younger i use to think the toddler days were hard work and that things could only get easier parenting wise. They did for a few years she was a pleasure to be around when the tantrums stopped and we had so many adventures over the years just her and me. She was clever and sweet and was always getting glowing school reports and had lots of friends, she would spend hours playing with sylvanian families and barbie doll's in her room and she use to love spending time with her mum. 

Then she grew up, we would some time get a bit of cheek and her bedroom got messier as the sylvanians and barbies were packed away in favour of nail varnish and watching people paint their nails on you tube. But she was still my lovely friendly little girl who loved spending time with her family. Since she started high school last September things have changed every day she seems to get cheekier, she comes home from school stomps up the stairs to her room without even saying hello. She doesn't play with her brother and sister and she never wants to spend time with her mum, much preferring to lay in bed until after lunch time and then face timing her friends or going to her friends houses. 

I was okay with this i knew she was just growing up and was being a typically twelve year old girl dealing with hormones and figuring out who she wants to be in life. But these last few weeks things have been getting worse i have always monitored how long she spends online and check all her devices regularly and i found out she was talking to her friends until past midnight and then falling asleep on her bedroom floor the next morning whilst getting ready for school. I found she had created accounts to sites i had never heard of to talk to her friends. 

I was not okay with this she is twelve, still a child so i took her phone, laptop, tablet etc off her and she has been banned from using them. This resulted in her shouting and screaming at me and even lashing out at me, something she has never done before. I childishly shouted at her, took all her prized possessions off her and she was grounded for a month. I though she had learnt her lesson as she has been spending time with us again, playing with her siblings and being the friendly happy girl i know and love. 

Until just now when i received a phone call from her school to say she has been put in isolation for name calling another student, i don't know what was said but it must have been something bad. Apparently she has denied saying it but in my heart i know that she will have said it, i know that's awful not believing your own child but lately she has turned into someone i no longer recognise. She is Moody, demanding, lazy and messy,and sometimes unpleasant, all the traits of a normal tweenager. 

But things are getting worse then that she argues with us especially her step dad non-stop, she lies to us and she plays us off one another, sometimes the atmosphere is awful at home. I know things must be hard for her having a step dad and a toddler sister and baby brother, but she still gets lots of attention i take her out just me and her often and we have one night a week just me and her together watching films. 

Things are getting worse and i don't know what to do, when she returns from school soon she will probably think being isolated was funny and something to brag about, i would have been mortified if that had of happened to me at school.I feel like the words worst mum at times like i should have been a better mum that it is my fault because i was a single parent or had her young but i tried my best i really did, i worked hard and give her the best in life and showered her in love. Maybe i am just too soft and that's the problem. I don't know what to do i really don't. I want my sweet little girl back and i don't know what to do to get her back.

If you have a tween or teen have you noticed a change in them? If so please tell me it gets easier and if you have any tips on coping with a tween let me know as this is all new to me and i think i would prefer a toddler having a  tantrum  to a tweenage strop any day of the week. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Losing My Diet Motivation

I have been following the Slimming World diet plan in a bid to lose my baby weight and things were going well, I had lost one stone in weight. I was feeling happier about myself as my clothes were fitting better, I was eating better and I had more energy. I really thought that I had broken my bad eating habits. And then last week it kind of all fell apart.

I had a holiday put in for last weeks class as i was i was in London attending Britmums, and i think that knowing i was not going to class that week threw me off track. I had stuck to the plan all week but the night before i went away I went out for a meal to Frankie and Benny's and I ordered burger and chips. Then i went to London for the weekend and i drank wine, ate pizzas, chips, baguettes and had a Chinese takeaway when I returned home. 

I thought that I would have a weekend off Slimming World whilst i was away and then get back on the plan the next day, but it was fathers day so we had another takeaway for tea and I have well and truly fell of plan this week. I have had toast with butter on every day for breakfast, I have ate crisps and biscuits, I have had sausage and chips from the chippy and some of my meals have not been at all slimming world friendly. 

I know full well I will have gained weight as my clothes feel tighter, I feel bloated and pretty rubbish if i am honest. I was going to go to class yesterday and just face the music and see how much damage I had done but I chickened out, which is probably the worst thing I could have done as I have no idea how much weight I have gained. I wouldn't be surprised if I have gained the stone I had lost so far. 

I do this to myself all of the time I get down about my weight decided to go on diet and I stick at it for a few weeks and lose one or two stone and then I seem to just sabotage all of my good work by slipping back into old habits and over eating and then I end up feeling worse about myself. It is a vicious circle that I really need to break, I am a classic comfort eater who eats when I am down or bored, out of habit more then anything. 

 Normally I would just totally give up on a diet now and never go back to class but this time is different, this time I know that I need to keep at it. This is the biggest that I have ever been, I gained four stone when pregnant with Jacob and another stone after he was born. That is five stone of extra weight, I also could have done with losing one or two stone before I had him, so  as you can see I have a lot of weight to lose.

The thing is I know that I can do this and I know that this plan can work as I have been following another blogger the lovely Emma from Mrs Shilts who has lost a very impressive four stone on Slimming World and looks amazing! She is my inspiration to keep going as I want to be where she is a year from now. If you are wanting to lose some weight or you are on Slimming World then you really should visit her blog as it is full of honest weight loss updates and yummy looking healthy recipes.

 I need to follow Emma's advice and draw a line under this week and get back on the diet and face class next week and I fully expect a gain but I'm ok with that. As long I get back on track and follow the plan 100 % I know that in a few weeks I will be back to losing weight. I just need to do the hard part now which is to try and break this cycle of comfort eating and get back on track tomorrow, as I have just ate four chocolate biscuits whilst writing this and now feel very sick! 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Slimming World Mushy Pea Curry Recipe

I have been on the Slimming World diet plan for a while now and i have found that i have been making the same meals all the time and getting bored of them. So when i heard people talking about mushy pea curry and saying how easy it is to make and delicious it tasted i thought i would give it a try. I will admit when i heard people talking about it i thought it sounded horrible but it really is tasty and very filling, it works well with rice or as a jacket potato topping. So here is the recipe i used.

Ingredients - Serves 4

  • 2 Tins of Mushy Peas.
  • 1 Tin of baked beans
  • 1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • Diced chicken ( optional )
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • Few sliced mushrooms ( optional )
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons of medium curry powder

To Make
  • I cooked my chicken thoroughly in a pan, you do not need to use chicken as the meal is very filling without it but i like chicken in mine. 
  • I cooked my onion, garlic and mushrooms until golden brown and then added the cooked chicken to the pan.
  • I then added the 2 tins of mushy peas, baked beans and chopped tomatoes and stirred it all together.
  • Lastly i added 1 tsp of chilli powder and 2 tbsp of medium curry powder ( season to taste) and mixed it all together.
  • I then i left it to simmer for a few minutes and it was ready to serve.
I found this meal so quick and easy to make it took me less then 20 minutes from start to finish and it tasted a lot nicer then i thought that it would. It made a lot of curry and it would easily serve four people or you would be able to freeze some for a later date. I have had this with boiled rice and also as a jacket potato topping and it was really tasty and very filling and best of all it was all free foods on the Slimming World plan with not a single syn in site. 

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The Queen Of Hearts Cookie Company : Review

Sometimes when i need to buy a gift for someone for a special occasion i have no idea at all what to buy them and i spend hours searching the shops or looking online for the perfect gift. Half the time i end up opting for a box of chocolates which is not very original and a bit boring if i am honest as i love giving people thoughtful gifts that are a bit different, and something that hopefully no-one else has given them. 

So imagine my delight when i discovered The Queen Of Hearts Cookie Company an online store that is full of the most beautifully handmade cookies. There is so many gorgeous designs to choose from such as Weddings, Christenings, Birthdays and all other celebrations such as Christmas and Easter. There is even the option to create your very own design as each batch is baked to order in Lancashire using the finest locally produced ingredients, and is made by hand with loving care and attention. 

Box Of Wonderland Tea Party Cookies
I was sent a box of Wonderland Tea Party cookies which arrived very quickly in just a few days and were packaged in a lovely box which instantly give them a luxurious feel, making them perfect for giving to someone as a gift. When we opened the box we were hit with such a gorgeous smell of sweet freshly baked biscuits which instantly made my mouth water. 

The Queen Of Hearts Cookies Box
And just look how pretty and amazing they look, they are so nicely decorated and they are instantly recognisable as being Alice and Wonderland themed. They look almost to good to eat as they are just so amazing and have such attention to detail. But of course they are cookies and i have children so they were eating straight away and they were so delicious! They really did taste as good as they looked and were probably the nicest i have tried. Even though they have been sent via mail they still tasted very fresh and oh so yummy. 

Yummy Cookies ready to eat
I was very impressed with these cookies as they look amazing and they taste amazing too and they also have brilliant customer service skills to match. The Wonderland Tea Party set which we received start at £16.99 per box depending on how many you wish to order and there is other designs available starting from £9.99 per box. This is probably more then i would normally pay for a box of cookies if i am honest but they are not something that you would buy every day and they are classed as more of a treat or gift. The fact that they are also freshly baked to order and each one is decorated by hand also makes me believe that they are worth paying that little bit extra for. 

Adorable White Rabbit Cookie
I really did love everything about The Queen Of Heart Cookies and they really did look and taste so good. You can find out more by visiting the website or follow them on Facebook  or Twitter and i am sure if you give someone a box of these as a gift that they would love them as much as we did. 

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* Disclosure: I was kindly sent one box of cookies free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all words and opinions are my own honest account of the product we received. 

Family Fever