Sunday, 14 September 2014

My Sunday Photo

Autumn is well and truly on its way now... my favourite season of the year.... the ground littered with colourful leaves, and not too much rain, and not too hot. Means Christmas is just around the corner... oh no... I've said the Christmas word now...
We enjoyed a lovely day out in the woods whilst J was recovering from a bug which kept her off school all week, but fine in herself, if not a little hyper, which is why we escaped to the great outdoors for an hour or two...
.....this is my favourite photo of the walk, both girls sat resting for a moment in a full autumn picture, and their bright clothes just popping out...  and full of natural smiles... no posing smiles... the girls at their happiest...
On the way home, we came across a little robin, which seemed to keep an eye on us. This is when we told the girlies about them being Santa's little helpers so they can keep an eye on the girls when he can not see... they bought it... yes!!!!!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Paleo friendly cinnamon and apricot buns

As my regular readers know, I am embarking on a lifestyle change, and trying paleo eating. I NEED to make my food taste delicious for me to stay on track, as I am a real foodie, and can not stomach salad day in day out. I was told about some cinnamon and date buns and was tempted to try, but only had apricots in the house... I tried them for a comforting lunch, but could be had for a breakfast too.
What you will need:

For the dough
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 egg
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
For the filling
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Honey, for drizzling
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
For the glaze
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. coconut cream
Pinch of cinnamon
To start with you will need to whisk the honey, egg, vanilla and coconut oil together, and then stir in the flours, baking powder and salt. Until it has all combined.

Transfer the dough to some grease proof paper, and cover with another sheet to roll out until a rectangle shape, not to thin, as it needs to be rolled!
 It is very sticky so needs the paper! Once rolled out to desired thickness, peel off top sheet and drizzle the filling on.
Then comes the tricky part, or the bit I found hard, roll the dough up, into a swirl, it is sticky, so may break in places. I found pulling the paper up and letting it fall to roll was best.
Once in a log, place in the freezer for 10-15minutes, meanwhile preheat the oven to 180'C.
I then made the glaze by mixing the coconut cream, and honey together.
Once the log has come out the freezer, cut it into mini buns and place on a baking tray, and place in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Then drizzle with the glaze and serve....
Was a hit with me and my 2 year old! If you are craving a sweet treat then this is the one for you. :-)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A little moan about LegoLand Windsor

Back before the kids started school, we went to LEGOLAND Windsor and stayed in the hotel before, which you can read here. On our planned day, it was raining on/off but we didn't let that deter us. We went prepared, and still had fun.
We were a little annoyed we had to pay £4 to park the car, in their own car park, and we still had to walk in from the furthest point... what do we pay our admission price for?? Not a great start to the day. However we had to pay it, so no point moaning about it, but heads up if your going... if you want to park closer to the doors... of course the price goes up!!
Any way on to our day.... we arrived about an hour after opening, so the park was already buzzing, and the queues were already in place, so we decided to not rush to the first ride, instead stopping for the first photo opportunity.
We had measured the girls before leaving so we could have a rough idea on what rides we could go on, S was 1cm short for the majority of the rides.... d'oh.... so I attempted to make her a bit taller by putting a high pony tail in and big boots... we risked it, and queued for the first ride... its like the teacups, but under a large lego spider... however we got to the front, and they said no to S... so we had an extremely upset little girl... so haribo came in handy, whilst I went on with J. I can understand the staff not letting her on, this is fair enough, they are just doing their job, however having a 90cm restriction on the teacups seemed a little excessive, and this seemed to be a recurring theme through the theme park- very OTT height restrictions for tame rides. (She went on much bigger and faster rides in Disney, Florida last November. So this was laughable at how high the restriction were)
After S was so disappointed, we decided not to risk another ride, and kept to the all ages rides, which meant J missed out on a few good rides but with an hour waiting time, it wouldn't have been fair on S. So we decided to go to the mini Ferris wheel, S loved it, and so did J... phew!
After that we decided to do the carousel... again both girls loved this...
And then the heavens well and truly opened up...
we thought about heading to the decent rides to get a shorter queue time, but decided against it, as we would then be wet for the rest of the day, so instead we queued for a ride for 70minutes, but thankfully it was under cover, and had Lego statues inside to keep the girls entertained.
When we got out we decided to do the land train around the park as the queue was again under cover, and we came across a giant duplo block...
The rain then stopped, so we headed for a ride that J had spotted on the train. The queue was slow moving as they had a lot of people with fast passes or disabilities taking the boats. Which fair enough, but maybe stagger it 1:1 or 1:2 not until their queue is gone... but once finally on the boat ride, both girls had fun again steering the boat around a little track.
Time was ticking and we decided to head to the atlantis submarine voyage ride, this was our favourite ride of the day, and something we have not been on before. You enter a submarine, and dive into a live tank with sharks and other fish swimming round. We were mesmerised. And this was the one ride I would say was worth waiting for. However, they have a little kiosk about 5 minute from the entrance (in the queue system) we made the error of buying hot drinks to warm us up, BUT you can not take them on the ride.. this kiosk should not be that close in the queue, I refused to put them in the bin after spending just over £5 for 2 drinks, so they put them to one side, along with another families behind us, on returning, they could not say which ones where whos... so wouldn't recommend buying a drink from that kiosk.
After the ride, they had some shrimp that the girls could touch... they both loved the sensation of them cleaning their fingers
 We went to the shop after the rides and J was over the moon as they had a Lucy large character... her one figure she really wanted.... however to get a Lucy figure you have to buy a set, you cant get her on her own... so we lost a fair few quid in that shop... but we have a few Christmas presents sorted now.
 ...and the obligatory lego car photo too...

On reading this review back, it sounds like we didn't have fun, but we did, I wouldn't recommend under 3's going in half terms though, as the rides they can go on, have huge queues, and its hard to entertain them in such a small space. Would we return again? Probably yes, (but not paying full price) once both girls are tall enough to go on all the rides, and even then it will probably be a weekend rather than a half term as we only managed about 5-6 rides in the 7 hours we were there, we didn't get a chance to see the LEGO cities due to the rain, and we didnt stop for lunch as we filled up on breakfast, and had snacks for the queues.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The start of the new me... week 1

I have take my before photos, and I am horrified.... how did I let my belly get so round? The pictures are saved so I can compare, and I will upload, as and when I feel like I want to show my new body off, or big changes can be seen.
Workout one was completed. And I found it much easier today then a few weeks ago.
Food: Breakfast - banana, strawberry, pineapple and blueberry smoothie mixed with water and Greek yoghurt.
Lunch - homemade sweet potato and coconut milk soup
Dinner - I attempted a pizza casserole... bit more tweaking is needed I think, with corn on the cob
Snacks - tandoori chicken drumstick and thigh (hubby ordered a takeout as didn't like the sound of the pizza casserole when he found it had cauliflower in!)

Then caved in and had a piece of chocolate cake that was bought around from a visit from Grandma and Grandad, and a sneaky vodka and coke.

Roundup - I did very well on the food front today until the evening kicked in, but I am not going to bet myself up with the small slice of choc cake and sneaky drink. Just need to make sure it doesn't happen every day.

I started the day again with a smoothie, as its so quick and easy first thing wit the school run. Todays one consisted of Pineapple, cherries, banana, Greek yoghurt, blueberries and water.
After dropping J off for her first day of school, we sat down and had a coffee and a bit of that chocolate cake... PLEASE  don't bring cake to my house... I WILL eat it... :-( my will power is really poor.
We then went for a morning stroll about a mile, possible 1.5miles with S to enjoy the sunshine. I pushed myself to have a salad on returning even though I didn't 'fancy' it, but I ended up really enjoying it. Opted for turkey breasts torn apart, lettuce and cucumber and full fat mayo.
Dinner I had found some Gluten free sausages, so we had bangers and mash, and I also done some slow cooked mushrooms and onions to go with it... yummy!
I skipped pud and evening snack due to the choc cake earlier in the morning.
Todays smoothie was cherries, blueberries, raspberries, banana and Greek yoghurt with water. Delicious!
After dropping J of to school I pushed myself to come straight home and switch into my workout gear and completed workout 2... we were a little pushed for time as was meeting in-laws for afternoon tea, and I was so tempted to skip a round (Workout consisted of 6 exercises done in rotation for 4 rounds), but I talked myself in to completing all 4 rounds, I would only be cheating myself for skipping it, and with the naughty planned food, I really needed that extra kick...  
so..... lunch time was afternoon tea.... which was a variety of sandwiches (made up 1 full sandwich) and a little taste of 2 cakes each, and a scone. I felt bloated before I had even finished it, after being bread free for almost 3 days. Amazing how quickly I can feel the bloating already. But I did still enjoy this celebratory afternoon tea.
Dinner We had roast lamb, veg and healthy roast potatoes. I allowed myself 1 Yorkshire pudding, I cant not have a roast without one of these...

Day 4
This is where my medioka week turns bad... Breakfast i decided to have a bowl of porridge as it was a cold morning, and I really wanted a bowl of something whilst sat down with the girlies for breakfast... I instantly felt bloated and sick.. porridge must be one of my trigger foods like bread..... I met a friend in Warrington, and took snacks to get me by until I got home, which was fruit, however due to the bad M6 traffic, I only just made ut back for school pick up time, and therefore no time for lunch.
Daddy and I had also decided to start organising our garage, as it was a state... so a trip back down the M6 to buy storage shelves then led for the girlies to have a McDonalds, and daddy and I decided on a kebab once they were in bed... its grilled meat, so not that bad ey??

Day 5
This was meant to be a planned workout day, but due to time difficulties I failed to get it done. J had a speech therapy appointment first thing, so routine was disrupted a little, so when we had to head back to IKEA for more bits they didnt have in stock the night before, after she was taken to school, Daddy and mummy decided to have a breakfast there.... it would be rude not to... It wasn't the best, and it probably has put me off having one there again. Due to cooked breakfast, lunch was skipped again, and pizza was done for a family night in front of Tinkerbell and the pirate fairy... some much needed cuddles on the settee..... this may be naughty food, and probably one of the worst of the entire week, but was one of my favourites as the family all tucked in happily, so will probably keep a Friday night takeout/fakeout night going. One meal a night shouldn't be too bad ey?

Day 6
Breakfast I skipped again as I squeezed day 5 work out in, and then was rushed out the door for dancing lessons. Lunch time was my left over kebab from day 4, was just as nice today... grilled meat isn't to bad. Dinner time, I started to claw it back again. I am in control.... I made a homemade fried rice dish, chicken thigh, white rice, soy sauce (I know naughty) peas, onion and egg... so nice, and comforting... and apart from the soy sauce was paleo. Yeay!!!

Day 7

Breakfast we had dippy eggs, so I swapped the white bread for seeded bread, my body is very happy at this switch, and I didn't bloat out, yeay!! Lunch... this again was skipped as we were out sorting out products that have failed us... :-( I hate complaining... but slipped a biscuit and a packet of monster munch... yes I am hanging my head in shame here... Dinner.... well what can I say... its not going to be good....

I have come to realise that paleo eating with a family in tow is extremely hard.... and I mean....HARD!!!! This is not going to deter me... its going to make me plan.... PLANING IS KEY.... AND ESSENTIAL.... This is what I have learnt.... and I will amend to keep me on track.

Tomorrow isn't going to be on track either as shopping is planned, once I have planned the week ahead out. But it is lasagne so not too naughty. I was torn between just calorie counting and exercising, but I have had a long hard think, and I haven't given this way of life a fair chance just yet... plus with it being the time of the month my body is craving sugar and carbs.... not the best start.

HOWEVER.... I have managed to loose 4cm from my body in just 7 days, and with eating all that crap!!! Scales, I'm not sure as didn't step on just before starting.... Lets hope week 2 is better on the food front. Exercise was spot on, and I'm glad I managed all 3 in, as well as some gardening....


My Sunday Photo


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

J's first day at School

Today, the 2nd September 2014 marked the start of J's school life. She is no longer a pre-schooler, and now a fully grown little big girl.... if there is such a thing.
She has been super excited, and we have been preparing her all over the summer holidays.
Her school doesn't do warm up sessions in the new term, and instead goes straight into full time. This is a big step for us as a family, and we now need to start a rigid routine... up at 7am, breakfast between 7-30 and 8... then all dressed, if there is time to play, then brilliant.
This worked surprisingly well today, and even allowed us time for photos. Here are just a few from this morning, you can see how excited and nervous she is...

Running, jumping and shrieking into the start of the school journey...

She has come back full of excitement, and is actually opening up about her day. She has been fantastic, (words from the teacher) and understood one of the tasks first out of her class, yeay... she is fully embracing the school life with both hands, and has made friends on day one... fingers crossed the rest of this school year will be just as exciting for her.

Monday, 1 September 2014

The start of my new journey....

Today marks the 1st of September.... The month my eldest starts school, the day that I am changing my lifestyle so I will no longer be the fat mum at the school gates....
Here is to the new me, and the challenges that lie in front of me.... it wont be easy, but I am prepared to fight for the healthy fit me that is screaming to get out of this body.

What am I doing to change my lifestyle? I have just signed up to the 2 sizes in 8 weeks body transformation challenge.

I have to eat clean... that means like the caveman.... if its grown, swam, or breathed you can eat it... if its got chemicals and names you cant pronounce its off the cards.... no more sweeteners, no more dairy (apart from goats cheese)...AND the big thing to me.... no more coffee..... this is the hardest part for me, so instead I'm going to cut it right down to social situations only, with nut milks.
I will be drinking only water.... and giving my food all the nutrients it needs through food.... the more colourful the better...
Workout wise is just 3 x a week to start, doing interval training, and I am sent a workout each day its needed, and different each time so no boredom. Its tough, and you certainly need a shower after. I did it for a few weeks at the start of the summer holidays, but with the temptations I soon reverted back to old habits. However, that trial has proved to me how great I can feel off the gluten, and I know now that my IBS is linked to Gluten. If I have the energy, I'm hoping to get back into my running, on my rest days. as I had to stop just after I started due to Daddy M having to study for his 6 monthly exam, and me going running for the 20 minutes, added extra stress that wasn't needed.
I need to start putting myself on my list to look after and nurture.
I have always battled with my weight, I have tried all the diets going, I have succeeded in most of them for a short time... and I have looked great, until old habits come back. Now I know this clean eating and no coffee wont last, but for 8 weeks I am going to give it my all... and then after that, one cheat day a week... and allow myself coffee if my body will be ok with it once I re-introduce it.
I will post once a week here (hopefully), and will probably tweet and instagram regularly about my new journey I'm about to take, and I would love some lovely paleo recipes if you have any....
But here is a quick look and some inspiration to myself that I can do it.... here is my weight journey over the past few years....
This is my favourite slim picture... not skinny just right for me... taken 2010
Wanted to be slimmer for my wedding, but things didn't work out,
but covered my arms to help me feel slimmer
August 2013, didn't realise how far I had come on my slimming world journey until this picture

January 2014, this was just before the weight started piling on... just before my depression reared its ugly head

one of the nicest pics with me at the biggest, I normally delete all the picture when I'm as big as this.
I would ideally like to loose 3 stone in total, but would be happy with the 1.5 to take me back to my comfort zone which I can easily maintain... anything lower would be amazing! 
So my first goal... 7Ib in 4 weeks.... wish me luck!!!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Potty training update.... again!

This just a quick post to update on where we are with S potty training. I haven't really had much to update on before now.

We attempted potty training with bare bottom.... and she is 100% on that now, when she has nothing on, she is trained. Within a few days of her getting dry we attempted a supermarket shop, and I was brave enough to try her with knickers.... it was a success. When we reached the checkout, she then said she needed the loo.... que mad dash to the loo's whilst the cashier packed for us... however she refused to go on the big toilet as she was scared she would fall in. When we got back to the car, I tried her on the potty... and she did it... yeay... our first outing, a success!
The next day, we did a much shorter trip to another supermarket, and she had an accident. Didn't tell me, until we got back to the car and I noticed her knickers were wet.
We decided then for our trip to LEGOLAND we would put her in a nappy again, she is absolutely fine in soiling the nappy, and will happily sit in it. After our trip away we went back to bare bum, and she was straight back to doing it. We then attempted knickers at home....
... every time she had knickers on, she wouldn't even try. They would be soiled within 10 minutes. We tried saying they were big girl knickers, they need to stay dry. She even pulled them up and down to show us she could do it.... I felt like we were going back to square one.
HOWEVER.... today, I decided no matter wha, she would be in knickers. And so far... so good... no accidents. Its only been half the day, but its another tick finally on the list to becoming toilet trained.

My Sunday Photo


Friday, 29 August 2014

Hotel stay with under 5's @ Park Inn Heathrow

This week we stayed at the Park Inn in London Heathrow. It was part of our LEGOLAND trip booked with holiday pirates. (This is a great site, if you are after some cheap trips and holidays) Our stay for 4 people in the 4 star hotel, with LEGOLAND tickets was £119... in the summer holidays!!! WOW!!! The tickets alone would have cost us £101.
We were very impressed at the hotel, we are used to budget hotels, catering for round 100 rooms. On walking up, the girls were captivated with how big it was, with revolving doors and a statue in the middle of the reception. We were greeted almost immediately, and once checked in, the children were given an activity pack each. Great start after 4 hours in the car. And Daddy was very happy, as there was free Wi-Fi too, with no fiddly passwords to enter.
We were given our room card, and told where to go for the lifts... the lifts had multi-colour changing mood lights... the girls were fascinated. We found our room easily enough, and when entering, we realised we had a great view of the airport...
View from our window
Once again the girls were fascinated. The family room was made up with two double beds. This was the only thing that let it down to me, in the budget hotels the girls had their own single beds pulled out from the big double base. But this did not cause a problem for us, the girls refused to share, so mummy had to share with S, whilst daddy shared with J.
S soon found the complimentary shampoo and soaps... I didn't get around to taking a picture of the bathroom, but it was very modern, with a glass shower guard over the bath, and glass shelves on the wall, you can tell its recently been refurbished.
The room had an extra something that we weren't used to either... a small fridge. This would have been perfect if we'd known about it before, as we could have bought some milk for the girls hot chocolate. Along with a safe and 4 cups, not the usual 2! And a bottle of fresh water, I really liked this, as I enjoy a drink at bedtime, and don't really like tap water when away... I know I am fussy!!
 ...along with the usual wardrobe, iron, and ironing board, and spare towels.
and TV, with Freeview...
We didn't try out the restaurant in the evening, but we did try out the breakfast buffet. I've never seen such a variety before. There was the full English breakfast with actual fried eggs.. and fried bread, along with the usual hash browns, sausages, bacon etc.. but also the pastries, fruit, yoghurts, ham, cheeses, breads, cereals, smoothies, juice, and noodles and a rice dish too. With hot tea and coffee bought to the table.
This cost us £21 for the 4 of us.... great deal, as the under 8's eat for free. We also did not need lunch this day as we were still full from the breakfast. I would recommend this breakfast, but the restaurant was busy, and as a result, noisy.
The hotel also has a swimming pool the children can use, but we didn't get the chance as the girls were too naughty, and as punishment, they got it taken away from them. (S refused to go to sleep, keeping J up, then when S finally dozed off, J would wake S up, then S would hit everyone trying to sleep, and run around crying, they were bot still away come 10.30pm- mummy was not impressed!)
Would I use this hotel again? Yes, definitely. They are so close to Heathrow, if we were ever to fly out from there, we would book here for sure.