31/10/2015

Project 365 - Week 44!

Day 298. Brunch at the Diner after the cinema to see the Minion Movie (again) and Hubby had this delicious looking all day breakfast!
Day 299. The view from our room on a sunny clear morning.
Day 300. This Thomas track was played with for the first time despite being bought last Christmas! 
Day 301. Loving how wearing stripes makes me look super slim!
Day 302. Dinner out with the monkeys, my brother and my parents. This risotto was yummy!
Day 303. A surprise day out for the monkeys at Thomas Land! 
Day 304. Big monkey gets a new hair cut at his first ever trip to the Barbers! Looking very handsome.

Half-term has flown by and has been fun. I'm chuffed I managed to keep the monkeys surprise trip a secret (even though it was hard)! We're taking part in Project 365 for a 2nd year. Only a few more weeks or so to go! Yikes! Where has 2015 gone!! 
 



30/10/2015

11 Things - Tagged!

Just today I was tagged by Chantelle from Mama Mummy Mum in an 11 things post! Chantelle wanted to learn more about me after telling us more about her! Now I have to say I'm pretty boring but Chantelle has very specific questions so here goes!
  • What's your party trick? 
  • Where is your ultimate holiday destination?
  • What is the best piece advice anyone has given you?
  • Do you prefer Summer or Winter?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • If you were left stranded on an island what three things would you have with you?
  • If given the chance would you change anything you've done in the past and if yes what would you change?
  • Which of these British classics would you opt for, Sunday roast or good old fish n chips?
  • Do you have a favourite blog post, care to share?
  • What is your favourite feature?
Party trick? I'm not sure I have one! Not that I've been very drunk much but when I have been (a long time ago) I used to laugh incessantly and then cry! Not sure that's a party trick though! 
My ultimate holiday destination would be a deserted Island in the Caribbean where the water is deep blue and clear, the sun shines and I could relax in peace and quiet, with good food and a cocktail.
The best piece of advice I've ever been given is that you have to make your own life, no one else can do it for you! 
I much prefer summer to winter! It's brighter, lighter and warmer.

Oh my goodness, I really could not say which book I last read! I honestly haven't read a book (in full) since having the monkeys and I love reading too!
I grew up in the garden of England! 
If I was left stranded on an Island the three things I would have with me would be hubby and the monkeys! Does that count?! Otherwise my phone, flip flops and crisps! 
If I could change anything I would have liked to have been younger when I met my husband. That way we may of had children younger and perhaps we would have had more! 
I'd choose a roast dinner over fish and chips every time! Roast dinner is my absolute favourite meal but I rarely have one.
Mmm, now there's a question! There are lots of great blog posts but I can't remember my favourite off the top of my head.
I'm not sure I've a favourite feature but I love my upper arms at present! They are more toned than ever and I think they look great! However I didn't think so 11 months ago!  
So there you have it! 11 things. Now I'd love to know 11 things about TheBoyandMe, Over 40 and a Mum to One, Me, The Man and The Kids, Mum Turned Mom and The Olivers Mad House.
Ladies if you'd like to join in here are my 11 questions! 

  1. Where were you born?
  2. Did you love or hate school and why?
  3. What did you want to do when you were grown up?
  4. How many pets do you have?
  5. Books or tablets?
  6. What's your favourite drink?
  7. What do you love about blogging?
  8. How often do you blog?
  9. Cake or biscuits?
  10. Where is your least favourite place?
  11. Who would you most like to meet?


29/10/2015

Making A Switch! *Sponsored Post

Already a little heavier than I wanted to be, when I became pregnant with each of my sons I decided to be relaxed about what I was eating and maybe even at times 'ate for two'! I started at the same weight with both boys and put exactly the same weight on with them both too! 3 stone, 7 pounds to be precise! The only exercise I did in general was walking. I guess, especially after the second pregnancy that I was naive. I would assume the weight would just come off. First breast feeding, then running around after a newborn and his older sibling. Except it didn't! I would eat, then eat more.
Last October before my life switch
What was your ‘Life Switch’ and what influenced you to make it?

Then last November 2014 something clicked. I was fed up of feeling tired, unfit and generally too heavy! I'm only 5 foot tall you see, so any extra weight shows. Even my now 7 year old had started saying 'Mummy's fat".

The gym my husband works in started running a six week course in the run up to Christmas. They wanted their clients to continue with their exercise routines and not give up just because it was almost Christmas. Let's face it, the festive season is when most of us want to look our best! So, feeling enough was enough and fed up of saying to myself that I really should lose weight (whilst tucking into yet another packet of crisps) I said I would sign up to the program.

What happened next totally shocked me into meaning business and really knuckling down to make a switch


I did a work out at the gym, then the instructor (in this case my husband) took my statistics.....heart rate, height, weight, body fat ratio and so on! I knew I was overweight but at 13 stone 6lbs I was disappointed with myself! Meaning I had at least 3 and a half stone to lose. THAT was the moment I knew I had to make a change! 
That photo!
We took a photo of me post workout on that very day and I could not bare to look at it! Only a head and shoulders shot but not one I wanted to see. With the promise of weekly weigh-ins and more gym members signed up to do the same as me, I was then fired up to nail this.

What have been the improvements?

From that moment on I set about living a healthy lifestyle, exercising and generally increasing my health and fitness.
In my forties I want to run around after my boys, I want to set a good example and I want them to be proud of me. Not ashamed.
Out went all crisps, cake, biscuits, sweets, deserts, pasta, cheese, processed foods and so on. I started eating more healthily by cutting down to one sugar in tea and coffee, having breakfast every day (and not just when I felt like it) and eating fruit and vegetables. Meals would include salad and I had much smaller portions of everything I ate. Drinking water by the bottle load! I also exercised when I could.

At the end of that 6 weeks (just before Christmas) I'd lost 9lb, 2cms off my waist and my body fat was already down by 3%. This kept me going right through Christmas and beyond. Even with meals out over the festive season I continued to lose weight.
During January of this year I did a nine day detox which saw me lose nearly 7lb, 9.5cm from my thighs, 6cm from my waist, 5cm from my hips and 3cm off my chest. Taking my total weight loss at that time to 22lbs off.

During and after
By mid May I'd reached my weight loss goal of losing 3 and a half stone but feeling fabulous and fitter than ever. I continued with my new lifestyle and went on to lose another half a stone. By June 21st I was finally where (I thought I wanted to be).
Member of the month in June at the gym
What have you found difficult? 

Now in October and a month away from it being a year from starting my life switch I'm now almost 4 st, 7lbs lighter than I was last year. The hardest thing is now maintaining it. I'm exercising 3-4 times a week and have done solidly since last November. This is huge for me as I really wasn't into fitness before. Now if I miss a class for whatever reason I miss exercising and cannot wait to get back into it. I'm now a healthy 9 stone. Staying off the 'naughty foods' is sometimes difficult but if I fancy a treat I usually have it.
The 50k bike charity bike ride
What’s your one biggest tip to those looking to do the same?

I would advise anyone who is looking to lose weight and get fit to take the plunge. No faddy diets needed or slimming clubs, just hard work and determination. I feel fabulous at 44! Never been fitter and so much healthier. Gosh, I'm even wearing size 8 clothes! The last time I did that was about 20 years ago. Go to a gym where you'll feel comfortable. Don't worry about other people and most of all do it for you, no one else!
Me now (October 2015)
What do you want to have achieved in 5 years time?

I can honestly say that I will now continue to incorporate exercise into my week, every week and eat (much more) healthily! Don't get me wrong I do have the odd treat and I still go out for meals but I make healthier choices. I'm loving buying a whole new wardrobe of clothes and wearing what I want to and not something to hide in. I really feel that in 5 years time I will still be lighter and fitter than before. This new me is here to stay! I've already cycled further than I'd ever done before, raising funds for a 50k charity bike ride. I next want to achieve a 5k run. Little to some but a while back my knees would never allow me to run at all. Now I can! Hey, I might even train to become a fitness instructor.
 
Disclaimer: Written in association with M&S Bank.

 


28/10/2015

Pretend To Bee Dressing Up Clothes - Review

The monkeys were never ones to dress up, especially big monkey but since starting school and no doubt with a bit of encouragement from his peers he does now dress up from time to time. Mainly for classmates themed parties or for events such as World Book Day! Whilst he dresses up of course his younger brother wants to too. He is more keen and especially loved dressing up at Preschool. So when I was asked if the monkeys would like to review a dressing up outfit for Pretend to Bee I instantly thought of little monkey. To be honest I'd not come across them before now as I tended to pick up dressing up costumes in the supermarket.
Here's a little info about them!
 
  • The Pretend To Bee Brand started in 2005
  • They are a small family run business
  • Their costumes are designed at their premises in Nottingham
  • All are tested to Toy Safety Standards and carry the CE mark
  • Quality fabrics and trimmings, made with proper stitching, durable
  • Most of our costumes are designed for ease of dressing eg large openings, elasticated waists & Velcro fastenings
  • Little Pretend To Bee sizes are 6 months to 3 years
  • Pretend To Bee sizes are 3yrs/9yrs with a few up to llyrs  

Having looked through the costumes online I decided little monkey might like to dress up as an F1 Driver. Both monkeys love Lewis Hamilton (who as you may know has now won the F1 World Championship the 3rd time over) and little monkey loves all things cars. In fact anything with wheels on!
His chosen outfit arrived very quickly once I'd made my selection and was very well packaged with branded packaging and compliments slip.
A little red cap and red F1 Drivers outfit. So cool! One of my favourite colours on both monkeys.
My first observation of the costume is how well it's made. I was very excited to see little monkey in it and whilst he seemed delighted to have it alas he initially refused to wear it! Typical.
Given time and the odd 'nudge' he did in fact wear it and we've enjoyed bike riding with it on (as we don't actually have a racing car!) He and his brother dressed up to go for a ride in their wagon too. The suit fits him perfectly, although the cap is rather large on him. He swapped it for his cycle helmet! We have the 3-5yrs size. The costume is
  • All-in-one Suit and adjustable cap.
  • Made from 100% Polyester.
  • Size 2-3 years does not include cap for safety reasons. 
I think you'll agree that little monkey looks fab in his new costume which looked just as good after wear and a wash. Very durable! He seems really proud of it! It costs £18.95.
Whilst it is a little more expensive than I would usually like to pay for dressing up costumes I think the quality would lend itself to being that bit more expensive and worth the extra few pounds. Of course the diversity of the costumes available is great too. I'm really pleased with his outfit and would definitely recommend Pretend to Bee. They sell role play costumes, character costumes and more! 
 
We were sent this costume to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
 
 

27/10/2015

Nothing But - Review & Giveaway

Nothing But - the UK’s first freeze dried fruit and vegetable snacks, gluten free with no added…well anything! Nothing But is a healthy range of freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks with nothing added, just the water taken away. Each bag provides one of your five a day and these delicious snacks are great on the go, in lunchboxes or at your desk to keep the snack cravings at bay. 
We were recently sent some to try! 
Nothing But come in 6 different flavour combinations (3 fruit and 3 vegetable varieties) - Beetroot & Parsnip, Pea & Sweetcorn, Mange Tout & Red Pepper, Strawberry & Banana, Apple & Fig, Pineapple & Grape.
Nothing But is Vegetarian Society UK approved and is a FreeFrom Awards 2014 shortlisted product. Cool hey! We've not tried anything like it until now. The monkeys (as predicted) weren't too keen but hubby and I have been nibbling on the packets as a go to snack. My favourite flavour is the Strawberry & Banana. Hubby likes that one too! An acquired taste you soon get used to the texture. So light and ideal for keeping in your bag for a quick healthy snack option.
All varieties of Nothing But are suitable for vegetarians and vegan and what's more they are all under 80 calories per pack.
The process of making them could not be more simple -
  • We freeze themFreeze them
  • We evaporate the waterEvaporate the water
  • We lock in the goodnessLock in the goodness

We like them and would definitely buy more. Available online and in stores, Holland and Barrat sell them for £1.25 per pack. Also available elsewhere! 

GIVEAWAY

Nothing But have kindly agreed to give my readers the chance to win some goodies! 
x2 packets of each Nothing But flavour combination (Beetroot & Parsnip, Pea & Sweetcorn, Mange Tout & Red Pepper, Strawberry & Banana, Apple & Fig, Pineapple & Grape)
x1 Nothing But branded hessian bag
x1 Nothing But branded mug
x1 Nothing But branded t-shirt
x2 Nothing But branded pens
x2 Nothing But branded shopping trolley tokens

Just complete the rafflecopter form below by Midnight 16/11/15. Open to UK residents only, other T&C's apply. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win prizes with theprizefinder.com 
We were sent some samples to try for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
  
Tried and Tested

26/10/2015

Fire Safety With Fireman Sam!

Everyone's favourite, Fireman Sam Launches ‘Special Safety Month’

The ultimate hero next door fronts a new national campaign highlighting the importance of fire safety for children.

With the clocks going back and Halloween and Bonfire Night fast approaching, much-loved hero Fireman Sam is launching a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of fire safety amongst children.

Known for protecting the citizens of Pontypandy alongside his colleagues, Fireman Sam teaches valuable lessons on fire safety whist reinforcing the importance of staying calm during an emergency.

This October, Sam is sharing his top tips for staying safe at Halloween and enjoying the festivities at bonfire and fireworks displays. Bringing these important tips to life, Fireman Sam and his team feature in animated videos that will ensure all members of the family are aware of the potential fire hazards around these special events. 

Real-life fireman for East Sussex Fire & Rescue and advisor to the children’s TV show Paul McIvenny comments, "My advice to parents would be to be extra vigilant while trick or treating at Halloween this year particularly with naked or open flames, opt to attend a well-organised fireworks display, or if you hold your own event ensure all your family and friends follow Sam’s Safety Tips”.

Paul, who attends many accidents at this time of year, adds "I’ve seen severe burns as a result of handling fireworks incorrectly and also a lot of small accidents where children are lucky to have escaped with minor burns which could have been avoided, so I would strongly suggest parents take extra care as well as making their children aware of the potential dangers too”. 
Fireman Sam’s Top Tips Bonfire Do’s and Don'ts

  • Site bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and always keep away from fireworks.
  • Build the bonfire stack so that it is stable and never light with flammable liquids.
  • Keep everyone away from the fire, especially children who must be supervised at all times, and pets are best kept indoors.
  • In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.
  • Pour water on the embers before leaving.

Firework Dos and Don'ts

  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions on each firework. Read them by torchlight - NEVER a naked flame.
  • Light fireworks at arm's length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick. NEVER go back to a lit firework.
  • Always wear gloves when handling sparklers and hold at arm’s length. Once finished, put in a bucket of water.
  • Never give sparklers to children under 5.  
     Please stay safe everyone! 
     
     

    Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere

    The monkeys have been enjoying this fab Halloween book from Parragon Books - Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere.
    Follow the adventures of four little trick-or-treaters as they make their way to the pumpkin parade. This book is full of vibrant colours and fun illustrations.
    It's written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by Lorenza Alvarez. 
    The monkeys listened to the simple story intently and loved the themed pages depicting the mood of the pumpkins everywhere! 
    A great picture book for children that can easily be read during this Halloween half term. We loved the pictures and the fun it conjures up.
    This lovely book can be purchased from Amazon. Price: RRP £5.99 and age range: Young children.

    MamaMummyMum




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