30/04/2015

Another Week Is Done!

Another week, another 2lb 10oz lost. I've only got 2lbs left to shift before reaching my original weight loss goal of 3st 7lbs. Yay!

A typical day for me food wise looks like this:
Breakfast
300ml protein shake made with water. 

Mid Morning snack
A piece of fruit or a healthy 'crisp' type snack with a max of 120 cals.

Lunch
Usually a small salad.

Mid afternoon snack
Same as morning snack (fruit or healthy 'crisps').

Dinner
A steam fresh healthy meal containing no more than 480 cals. Chicken with rice and veg, Stir Fry, Thai red curry and so on.

I drink water throughout the day and the odd tea or coffee but not every day and only ever 1 cup a day.

Of course I allow myself a treat and have even been out on meals. I just chose more wisely off the menu.

I was delighted to be wearing size 10 clothes to meet friends the other day.


29/04/2015

One more Makes Four

As you know after months of excitement, The Duchess of Cambridge is finally going to give birth to Royal Baby number two very soon.

In anticipation JOHNSON’S® has commissioned research to find out UK parents top tips in helping the Duke and Duchess settle into life as a foursome.
 

According to research of UK parents, the top five tactics their parents used to help them adjust to having a baby brother or sister were

1) Play together (27%)

2) Hold the new baby (26%)

3) Help with feeding (20%)

4) Help dress the new baby (17%)

5) Help with bathing (15%)

The research also found, that ‘ordinary’ family moments can provide the best opportunity for siblings to form a special bond. Of those with older siblings:

· A quarter in the UK (24%) shared a bath with their siblings when they were young.

· Older siblings helped teach their baby brother or sister the importance of sharing (26%), how to ride a bike (23%) and how to make friends (13%) 


· Over a third (35%) of UK children shared a room with their siblings.


Child Psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin, said: “First born children settle into a routine when they’re the only child. They get used to being the centre of their parent’s attention, and adjusting to having a new baby brother or sister can be overwhelming, even for a well natured Prince like George. It’s important that any parent, Duchess or not, finds ways to help their first born adapt and get involved. By giving them roles like picking out clothes for their baby brother or sister, helping give the new baby special cuddles, or bathing together when they’re a bit older, are all amazing ways to create a lasting sibling bond.” 

Everyday activities such as bath time are a special part of the day for parents and siblings alike to share time together, play and bond through multisensory interaction. But it’s not just an opportunity for parents and siblings to bond.
Sensory stimulation during everyday rituals such as bath time can be critical to a baby’s happy, healthy development.


The JOHNSON'S® Bath Time Report however, shows that only a third (37%) of parents in the UK regard bath time as extremely important to a baby’s cognitive development. Research identifies that by age three, 85% of a baby’s brain is developed, so it is very important for parents to recognise that opportunities to engage touch, sight, smell and sound, like bath time, are crucial in helping to shape their baby’s brain.

And if Kate and William are worried about going back to a life of sleepless nights before endless official engagements, a study has shown that infants who follow a bedtime routine, including a warm bath with a fragranced bath product, took 37% less time to fall asleep, and that the mothers showed a significant improvement in mood in the morning.
 


Before little monkey came along I was very nervous about introducing another child to big monkeys routine and life. He was 33 months old when monkey number two arrived, so had lots of 1-1 time with us. He was our world and we his. To share us with another being must have been a shock to him.
Luckily we didn't really encounter any major issues. Just a little bit of jealousy but that's to be expected.
A few years ago
Our tips for becoming a family of four would be
  1. Talk about the new babies arrival with your 1st born
  2. Include them in anti natal visits and scans if possible
  3. Take them to buy a gift for the new arrival and likewise get them a gift from the new baby
  4. Introduce them as soon as possible once the new arrival arrives
  5. Make 1-1 time with the 1st born when possible and include them in task to help with their new sibling. 

Let's hope Prince George welcomes his new sibling and they are the best of friends like my two monkeys.
Now. Still the best of friends
As the UK’s number 1 baby skin care brand, JOHNSON’S® has been pioneering the science behind baby skin care for more than 120 years, providing products that are formulated and designed with baby in mind. For more information visit www.johnsonsbaby.co.uk




28/04/2015

Ravensburger Puzzle Review - Star Wars Rebels

Both monkeys are very much into Disney Star Wars Rebels right now, so when we were asked to review the new Star Wars Rebels XXL 100 Piece Puzzle from Ravensbuger, they were understandably excited. Aimed at 6+ little monkey is a little too young to have a good try at it by himself but big monkey got stuck in.
He used to love doing puzzles and was/is very good at them. This one, just as much so but he did ask if I would make it with him. 
We set about finding the four corner pieces, then all the edges and putting them together. Being 100 pieces I felt this would be the easiest way for him to piece it all together.
Next we filled in the middle. This took a little longer but he was determined to get it finished. Following the picture on the box helped lots.
As you can see big monkey was proud to finish it! 
The puzzle is made well using perfect age fit pieces using high quality sustainable materials. Approximately 49 x 36 cm in size.
The image shows bright actions from Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Zeb Orrelios and Ezra Bridger. 
Both monkeys love the finished puzzle and have built it several times over. 

We were sent the puzzle for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
Tried and Tested

27/04/2015

Annie Dance Workshop

We recently took an impromptu trip into London after hearing that bloggers were required for a fun afternoon at Pineapple Dance Studios. Why you might ask? Because there would be dancing to celebrate the release of Annie the Movie on Digital HD, DVD and Blu-Ray. Little monkey loves to dance (in front of the TV) and he also loves going on the 'London train', so off we went.
The Studios are so easy to find just off the Plaza at Covent Garden and the sun was shinning. This meant it was very hot inside the studios! Great fun was going to be had. Or it would have been, had little monkey decided he wanted to stay! He really did not want to join with the other children and the choregrapher in the studio to learn a fab dance routine to 'It's a hard knock life' from Annie.
I would have joined in if he'd let me. Instead we stayed a while, then within an hour or so we left as he really didn't want to stay. I'd seen some great moves and a fab 'production' coming together in the meantime and was sad we couldn't stay longer. All was good though! 
The following video is from the event. The final cut! It's awesome and all from just a few hours being choreographed by Richard. 
Annie is out now on Digital HD and on Blu-ray & DVD 27th April.  Why not also take a look at Facebook.
A family film for a whole new generation of Annie fans
Starring Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis & Cameron Diaz

ANNIE

Available on Digital HD April 20
Coming to Blu-ray and DVD April 27 

Bonus Features Include Five Sing-Along Tracks, 
Deleted Song, Bloopers, Trivia, Outtakes with Sandy, Music Video & More.

video



25/04/2015

Project 365 - Days 109-115



Day 109. Admiring the garden after giving it a cut and tidy the afternoon before. I love this purple plant.

Day 110. A glorious day and glorious blossom. 
Day 111. I had my hair cut and coloured. Always welcome and a great boost.
Day 112. Little monkey and I spent the day with my parents and spent some time on their boat. This was one view!
Day 113. Little monkey is growing a runner bean plant! Planted at Preschool and watered lovingly by Mummy.
Day 114. I couldn't help but noticed and photograph this amazing blossom on the school run! 
Day 115. Little monkey watching his big brother playing football today. We were outside the 3D pitch and not allowed inside the fence! 

Another lovely week and lots of outdooor photo's! You have to get out and make the most of the weather don't you! The chores can wait. Linking up with The boy and Me as we do every week.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky




24/04/2015

Day Dreaming about updating the Decor

Just the other day I was sat thinking I'd like to update our lounge. It was only decorated less then two and a half years ago but I fancy a change. Currently decorated in pale teal, beige and browns I do like it but I no longer love it! We had new carpets throughout back then and chose a neutral colour so that can stay. 

The sofa is looking tired and although practical being leather, I now quite fancy something more feminine and cosy. Of course with two small boys a girl can dream! Actually add another male and there's no chance my pinterest board below will come to fruition for some years to come.

A girl can still dream. Right?



I think I'd go for pale blue this time round. I think it looks soft, cosy and clean. I'm desperate for an oak sideboard and matching TV cabinet. We have matching pine units now but they have been knocked and marked and lets face it pine is a thing of the past! I want to hide away DVDs, books and bits and pieces so a sideboard seems to be the way forward. I'd also like more surfaces to display family photo's and place vases on.

Something like this one.
This matching TV cabinet would look great in the corner where our TV sits.
I just love this colour combination from a range in Next. It would really compliment the oak furniture. 
Perhaps in another few years time when the monkeys are older and are less inclined to climb or spill we can think about putting my plans into motion. I really hope so! I'm all for accessorising with cushions, rugs, flowers and so on and get quite excited putting it all together. I won't wish the monkeys childhood away just yet though!

What colour way would you choose for your lounge? Something quiet and contemporary or way out and wacky? 
Photo credit: Oak Furniture King and Next






23/04/2015

Easy Does It!

Well another week has passed and I weighed in this morning. I've lost 2.6lbs this week, so now only have 4.3lbs to lose before hitting my original 3 and a half stone target. When possible I'm trying to up the exercise game as now of course things do tend to slow down.
Another photo of me from a year ago compared to now

The other day I measured myself again. Below are the findings with a comparison from the last time I measured myself less than three weeks ago.

Here's the findings from January 22nd to April 3rd:
I've lost off my
Chest (fullest part) -13.5cms   
Bicepts -3cms  
Waist -15cms
Hips -16cms  
Thighs - 15cms  
Calves - 5cms
 
So far that's a grand total of 67.5cms (26.5 icnhes).

Now (April 19th) 

I've lost off my
 
Chest (fullest part) -18cms   
Bicepts -5cms  
Waist -17cms
 Hips -16cms  
Thighs - 17cms  
Calves - 5cms

A total of 78cms (30.5 inches) since January 22nd.

I'm still really pleased with my progress and am now adding to my new clothes collection when I can. See you next week!

 

Helen's - Gluten and Wheat Free

Fairly recently I came across FoodByHelen, gluten and wheat free foods that are 

"convenient and delicious whole foods. To support health and metabolism was the key challenge which led Helen, as a nutritionist, food scientist and busy working mum, to develop her own range of nutrient dense, wheat free and gluten free natural foods".

As far as I'm aware none of us have any food intolerances but eating healthily since last November I have been avoiding bread and pasta which as many of you know does bloat the stomach.
We were sent some samples from Helen's food range to try.
The Linseed Crunch with cranberry and almond is delicious on cereal. Giving you the added flavours and goodness of the linseeds, cranberries and almonds. All nutritional information is on each packet.
The bread was delicious, especially fresh from the oven and so easy to make. I've not actaully made bread of any kind since being at school.
Hubby was delighted when I made him an apple crumble with this fab crumble mix. I even had a little taste myself. So easy to make too.
Another version of the seeds for cereal. Chia seeds are big news at the moment! A tasty addition to your breakfast cereal.
Having cheated and bought tinned apples to prepare the fruit ready for the crumble mix I set to making the crumble. Easy to follow instructions on the packet and cooking times made for a delious desert. I could taste a difference to 'traditional' crumble but it was barely noticable. Perhaps just a little 'powdery'. None the less it went down a treat warmed with hot custard.
The bread was so easy to make. Just add oil to water, add the mix. Stir and leave to 'prove' in a bread tin in warm water. When doubled in size pop in the oven and hey presto! Lovely eaten warm from the oven. After that I could taste a differnce to 'normal' bread but it was very slight. Much like home cooked bread does taste differnet to sliced shop bought bread! 

All of the above mixes and seeds are very inexpensive and ideal for those who follow a gluten and wheat free diet. I would definitely recommend Food by Helen to those looking for a healthier option or those needing to exclude gluten and wheat.


We were sent these food packets for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
 



22/04/2015

Loving This Seasons Shoes.........

I just LOVE shoes.....any type of footwear really! Always have done and always will.

Jones Bootmaker Spring Summer 15 is set to be a showstopper. Playing with a myriad of colours, exciting textures and exquisite detailing, the collection offers something for everyone. 
Staying true to the Jones Bootmaker heritage the brand continues to be the destination for superior quality and investment buys. The classic styles nod to the trends and instantly update your wardrobe for Spring, allowing your accessories to take centre stage.

Fall in love with Luxe leathers, Liquid metallics and animal print magic: Jones Bootmaker is at the heart of accessorising this season.
The Trends: Ladies
We Are The Ladies
Celebrating the elegance of the pointed toe, We Are the Ladies is the perfect collection for a sharp ultra-glam look. We’ve got a range of heel shapes including kitten heels, contrast block heels, and the spindly cigarette stiletto. But it’s the details that make the collection, from glossy patents, to intricate patterned leathers, refined bows and leather polka dots.
 
Pastel Playtime
Our most feminine of collections, pretty pastels is the perfect range to create a delicate and demure look. Muted blues, soft creams and dusky pinks represent the key pastel colour palette. With our hero “Glint” sure to catch the eye. We’ve incorporated the most ladylike shoe styles including low profile courts, Mary Jane’s and sling backs.

Wanderlust
We’ve taken the classic bohemian 70s style and refined it for our Jones Bootmaker customer. She’s eclectic yet contemporary, a free spirited individual; Meet wanderlust. This towering collection incorporates high wedge platforms and block heels-all with contrasting textures. On the uppers expect laser cut details, colour block straps and cross over leathers. Forget strappy sandals, our wanderlust sandal style is bold and significant.

Romancing The Stone

Its time to shine with our opulent collection Romancing The Stone. We’re teaming Jewels with animal inspired textures and prints give a grown up twist to classic sparkle. You’ll find the season must have sliders with cross over detail in white, metallic and zebra. High gloss flats in bronze, silver and gold and espadrilles fit for 2015. Soft leathers and intricate strapping create the perfect day time in flats.

New England

With its Nauti-cool styling you would be forgiven for thinking you were setting sail into the sunset. Inspired by the classic all American New England look, this collection is defined by classic navy, stone and crisp white. We’ve got a shoe for every occasion; smart flats, casual desert boot, open sandals and classic court. Look out for classic coastal textures and highlight features like white piping detail.
The Trends: Mens

Fix Up Look Smart
Relaxed silhouettes and burnished leathers introduce an air of shabby chic to our Fix Up Look Smart men’s collection. Tans and soft greys dominate this collection with a range of last shapes from narrow square toes, the classic rounded toe, to the more contemporary wide round finish. Laces and double monk strap details can both be found. Look out for the subtle leather and suede contrasting uppers.

New England
All American New England meets country casual English gent. Classic navy, sandy browns and light greys in slip on styles and casual boots. We’ve got a shoe for every summer occasion; the grown up chukka, the refined desert boot, the classic boat shoe- now all you need is a yacht.

The Business
The Jones Bootmaker staples look sharp and sophisticated In The Business. Indulge in sheer simplicity and subtle details; a contrast lace, a blue highlight, a laser cut toe cap. We’ve reintroduced the classic penny loafer style made famous in the 1930s in tan, black and burgundy. Step this way for a polished professionalism.

The Club
Meet the elite: The Club features our VIPS. Affordable, premium luxury at its finest. Think of The Club think members only, first class, outstanding design, Suede loafers, the single monk strap and the brogue make up the mainstays. Look out for intricate leatherwork details, the contrast outsole and mix of matts and high gloss patents.

The Get Up
Relaxed downtime style is the order of the day with The Get Up Collection. Playful prints and comfortable finishes help deliver cool style and comfort in equal measure. Contrast lacing and eyestays are combined with a chunkier outsole to take the hassle out of looking great this Spring Summer.

Fix Up Look Smart
Shabby Chic has never looked so effortlessly stylish. We’ve taken the season’s classic shapes and introduced an element of laid back cool. Tans and soft greys dominate this collection with a muted floral design featured on our key pointed brogue shape. Lacing detail and clever cut outs are combined with a block heel that we’ve stolen from the 70s.

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