No Holiday As A Family For Us This Year

This year my little family won't be going on a holiday. Don't get me wrong, we never took a holiday abroad and did anything fancy. We have always done the sun deals with Haven and always had an AMAZING time.

We both work and we have three beautiful children and NOT ENOUGH childcare. Our annual leave will be saved this year for the childcare at half terms, inset days, summer holidays and special school days that parents can attend. My husband and I will also only spend weekends and bank holidays together as we have to take it turns to cover all the kids holidays. I feel a little sad about this but what can the working parent do?

I had last week off work. it has been 11 days straight with no less than 3 kids to entertain. Tonight the kids went to bed without any fuss. My job is done.

It has been brilliant! I promised myself that I would keep on top of work emails by checking daily but reality is, the kids needed my attention and they are too important to ignore.

I am so lucky to have a park so close to home. Its walking distance within minutes. It's nothing special but the kids enjoy it and there is a massive field with some goal posts. Football madness to tire them out!

We have been swimming, on a National Trust day out, pretended we were giants at a model village and did an Easter Egg hunt, played at the park on more than three occasions, been to the library, been to soft play and done wall climbing, football, slides and jumping in the ball pit, kids holiday club, drawing, colouring, racing, jumping, dancing... I think we only spent one day at home in the garden and that was Sunday. A whopping 9 hours of trampoline fun!

I miss my husband. I miss our family holidays already. I didn't realise how crazy life would turn out and how much of a juggling act childcare is once the kids start school.

Back to work tomorrow and it's hubby's turn to cover the childcare. His turn to have amazing fun with the kids. I'm sad that I can't have fun with them but I have to remind myself that I am earning money to buy my girls new summer clothes ;-)


Feeding The Family. Here's An Idea.

I have pinched this from Jeni Wood - Poole Mamma but for a really easy cooked meal try this...

Place the following in a casserole dish and then warm in the oven at Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes

A tin of beans
A tin of tomato soup
A tin of chopped tomatoes
Diced onion
Diced mushrooms

Whilst the above contents are warming in the oven, cook a pack of (low fat) sausages. I fry in Fry Light for 20 minutes and then add to the contents above and cook in the oven for a further 20 minutes.

Tada! Add rice and you have a really yummy meal for the family.

Thanks Jen! Everyone loved it.


Money Off With Sainsburys and Thinking Slimmer

Determined to shift at least a stone before the summer holidays I have taken up power walking/running with Jeni from PooleMamma blog a couple of times a week and listening to the Thinking Slimmer SlimPod (which has been great! I always fall asleep so no idea what they say BUT I'm not as hungry!) and i'm doing MuTu System which so many other mums love. (Now I just need to get myself a Fitbug Orb as I am fascinated as to how many steps I actually do every day with all my running around)

However, I have noticed that my daily intake of food is awful. I find it hard to eat the right foods in the day due to three kids and work so I am grazing on chocolate, bread or the kids leftovers in order to get through the day until mine and hubby's dinner is ready at 8pm. To be honest i'm not as hungry these days since listening to the slimpod. The food I am actually consuming is such a bad lifestyle choice. I realised this yesterday, whilst wondering how the weight isn't shifting when I don't eat that much!

So the weekly food shop is usually done on a weekend. Hubby and I got a £15 off voucher through the post the other day which gives you £15 off your first online order with Sainsburys. After much healthy eating research on forums (googled 'what to eat on Slimming World') I sat and ordered all those things in order to make that lifestyle adjustment.

Here is what I have ordered... (The chocolate and the crisps are for the kids/nephew and hubby and the pizza is our weekend treat)

1 x Sainsbury's British Pork Chops x4 700g - Total Price £3.33
1 x Sainsbury's Mixed Vegetables, Basics 1kg - Total Price £0.75
1 x Sainsbury's Chunky Mixed Vegetables 1kg - Total Price £1.80
1 x Sainsbury's Stir Fry Vegetables 650g - Total Price £1.50
3 x Sainsbury's Extra Lean Beef Steak Mince 500g - Total Price £10.00
1 x Sainsbury's British Diced Chicken 500g - Total Price £3.29
1 x Sainsbury's Low Fat Rice Cake, Be Good To Yourself 130g - Total Price £0.90
2 x Sainsbury's Butcher's Choice Reduced Fat Pork Sausage x8 454g - Total Price £3.50
1 x Sainsbury's Passata With Onion & Garlic 500g - Total Price £0.80
1 x Napolina Passata With Basil 390g - Total Price £0.95
1 x Weight Watchers Fat Free Greek Style Coconut Yogurts 4x100g - Total Price £1.50
1 x Weight Watchers Fat Free Greek Style Strawberry Yogurts 4x100g - Total Price £1.50
1 x Sainsbury's Chopped Onion 750g - Total Price £1.25
1 x Sainsbury's Sliced Mushrooms 750g - Total Price £1.25
2 x Sainsbury's Sliced Mixed Peppers 750g - Total Price £2.50
1 x Sainsbury's Free Range Woodland Medium Eggs x12 - Total Price £2.60
1 x Heinz Baked Beans 4x415g - Total Price £2.50
1 x Petits Filous Fromage Frais 18x50g - Total Price £2.00
1 x Smash Instant Mash 280g - Total Price £1.95
1 x Pom Bear Original 6x19g - Total Price £1.00
1 x Sainsbury's Fairtrade Bananas, Basics x8 - Total Price £1.15
1 x Sainsbury's Grapes, Basics 500g (green or red, colour may vary due to supply) - Total Price £1.25
1 x Philadelphia Cheese Light With Garlic & Herbs 200g - Total Price £1.00
1 x The Laughing Cow Cheese Triangles, Extra Light x8 140g - Total Price £1.00
1 x Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese x8 128g - Total Price £1.00
1 x Sainsbury's Mild White Cheese, Basics 300g - Total Price £1.70
1 x Sainsbury's Crunchy Salad, Basics 200g - Total Price £0.90
1 x Sainsbury's Wild Rocket Leaves 70g - Total Price £1.00
1 x Sainsbury's Cherry Tomatoes 335g - Total Price £1.00
2 x Sainsbury's Cucumber Whole - Total Price £1.38
1 x Baxters Sliced Pickled Beetroot 567g (410g*) - Total Price £1.00
1 x Sainsbury's Pickled Gherkins in Sweet Vinegar 675g (360g*) - Total Price £1.00
2 x Hovis Wholemeal Bread, Medium Sliced 800g - Total Price £2.00
2 x Hovis Soft White Bread, Medium Sliced 800g - Total Price £2.00
2 x Alpen Light Double Chocolate Bars 5x19g - Total Price £3.00
1 x Sainsbury's Milk Chocolate, Basics 100g - Total Price £0.30
1 x Sainsbury's Mini Portion Pack Breadsticks 120g - Total Price £1.30
1 x Sainsbury's Sugar Snap Peas 200g - Total Price £1.60
1 x Weight Watchers Crustless Bacon & Leek Quiche 160g - Total Price £1.50
1 x Sainsbury's Pasta Shapes, Basics 500g - Total Price £0.35
1 x Batchelors Pasta & Sauce, Cheese, Leek & Ham 120g - Total Price £0.84
1 x Batchelors Pasta & Sauce, Chicken & Mushroom 122g - Total Price £0.83
1 x Batchelors Pasta & Sauce, Cheese & Broccoli 123g - Total Price £0.83
1 x Sainsbury's chocolate wafers 9x11g - Total Price £1.25
1 x Sainsbury's Toffee Biscuit 7x40g - Total Price £1.00
1 x Sainsbury's Reduced Fat Mayonnaise 500ml - Total Price £1.10
1 x Heinz Reduced Sugar & Salt Ketchup 550g - Total Price £2.20
1 x Sainsbury's Thin & Crispy Vegetable Pizza 320g - Total Price £1.50
1 x Sainsbury's Thin & Crispy Sweet Chilli Chicken Pizza 328g - Total Price £1.50
1 x Warburtons Sandwich Thins x6 - Total Price £1.30
1 x Sainsbury's Pork Cocktail Sausages x20 200g - Total Price £1.40
1 x Sainsbury's British Ham Slices x10 125g - Total Price £1.10  

Not a bad shopping list right? Now for the next challenge... To get even more organised to allow me to eat much better. Keep those fingers crossed ;-)

So my latest measurements are as follows;

Neck: 34cm
Chest: 106cm
Waisst: 104cm
Biceps: 34cm
Hips: 108cm
Thighs: 63cm
Weight: 12st 3lbs

I'm looking forward to being much more organised and cooking some fresh meals and snacking on the right foods!


Do You Craft? Are You On Social Media?

Image from April 2014 Creativity Magazine
So, have you heard about #docraftsmonday? As you may know, I have worked with docrafts for 10 years now. I ADORE the craft industry. Scrapbooking precious family moments, being a kid again and playing with buttons and glue. 

The team over at docrafts HQ have come up with a plan. It seems like a few of us like to grumble when Monday appears. Back to routine. Back to work or school runs. They also understand just how busy some of us craft lovers are crafting on a weekend, so they have created the #docraftsmonday hashtag. It is a 'show and tell' for crafters. Great idea isn't it? It's so much fun and really is interesting seeing so many great craft makes!

So how do you get involved? Here is the science bit ;-)

To get involved on Facebook: On Mondays, post a photo on the docrafts Facebook Page of a recent craft project and add the hashtag #docraftsmonday.  You can see other #docraftsmonday projects by visiting their page and viewing the 'Posts by Others' section, clicking on the #docraftsmonday hashtag, or searching '#docraftsmonday' in the Facebook search box. 

To get involved on Twitter: On Mondays, tweet a photo of a recent craft project, add the hashtag #docraftsmonday and add their username (@docraftsteam). You can see all #docraftsmonday projects by clicking on the #docraftsmonday hashtag, or searching '#docraftsmonday' in the Twitter search box. 

Your project can be anything you have handmade recently including a scrapbook layout, a sewing project, cake decorating, a piece of handmade jewellery, a card, some craft play with the kids or something you have upcycled. Whatever you like! When you see a #docraftsmonday project you like, make sure you give it a Like/comment/ReTweet and share the love!

See... easy enough to get involved! 


Why I Love Our Phil&Teds

I have never been obsessed with pushchairs. I have friends who have collected them over the years and I am gobsmacked at the collection and the variety they have, and all for different occasions!

With my first born in 2009 we owned a Silver Cross travel system and we thought it was amazing. It was really good but we could have chosen a better colour and something not as heavy! It was our first, so it was seen as a lesson learnt.

When we were expecting our second daughter, there was only going to be 18 months between the girls so we purchased the Phil&Teds Sport in black. This is a slimline double pushchair which has been AMAZING! My only problem was that I didn't realise you could get an adaptor for the car seat to simply attach to the pushchair like a travel system...until baby number three!

We still have this pushchair. I can't bear to part from it. It has, however seen better days but i'm sure I just need to find the time to give it a (really) good old clean! This pushchair is my one handed, light and all occasions pushchair that will glide (well almost) over every kind of ground. It's not the smallest once folded up to pop in to the boot, and it's not the lightest to lift into the boot BUT I love this pushchair and I managed to do it after each C-Section!

Oh and this is PERFECT if you want to do some buggy fit! It even has a strap to pop around your wrist, which is connected to the pushchair so if you loose grip then you still have hold of the pushchair in an emergency! (or your kids can pretend to be dogs on a lead, on their wrist!)

Each baby has looked so comfy in this (and so keen to be in it!)

I purchased a Confort Bebe Streety from a friend when my baby girl was born last year and it was THE BEST THING EVER when I was doing the school runs or popping to the shop as the car seat just simply slotted onto the base of the pushchair in seconds, you could fold it up with one hand and it folded so small! Once we upgraded from baby car seat to the next stage seat, this is when the problem started. She looked so uncomfortable, she would cry and even friends commented on how awkward she looked in it. That's it. I'm tempted to sell this now and hunt for something else as compact to keep in the boot. Something which is quick and comfy for the school runs and coffee dates and shopping trips.


The Contents of my MakeUp Bag. The Shame.

Since becoming a mummy I have really let my make-up routine go. I mean, is this what the normal contents of a make-up bag looks like?

How many beauty bloggers will be horrified. It's my birthday in a couple of weeks so perhaps it's time to head out with the credit card and invest in some new content...and a new bag.

What do you recommend?


Meeting Friends in a Swimming Costume

I had post-natal depression when my first daughter was born in 2009. She never liked sleep. I had it when my second daughter was born in 2010 too. I never had any 1:1 time with her so I suffered with guilt. When I fell pregnant with my third child last year I knew that things were going to be different…

I had researched and read numerous forums over the duration of my third pregnancy and many mums who had suffered PND wrote that doing an activity 1:1 helped towards bonding with baby and regaining self confidence.

Something that I had always wanted to do was sign up from an early stage to swimming lessons that were more specialist and progressive, a must really when living on the coast!

My 9 month old baby and I have been attending Turtle Tots swimming classes since she was just 8 weeks old. I remember crying with happiness driving home on week two. It was an amazing experience. I was lost in her eyes, watching her delight to be splashing around in water, singing songs, being stimulated, having special time with mummy and also making new friends.

I have done swimming lessons with my other children but this time it’s different. The smaller venue, the smaller group of mums, the fast progression in my babies swimming skills is very different from what I have done in the past. The teacher; Caroline is a mum to two young children herself and is a really lovely, empathetic and understanding swimming teacher. The lessons have also been a fantastic bonding experience for me and a great activity for both my body and brain. I actually relax and enjoy making a splash! Apparently you burn up to 250 calories in one lesson too. Not bad right?

If you think that you could be suffering with post-natal depression than you are not alone and there’s ways you can get through it. For me, there have been several steps that have helped over the years which started by being honest with my health visitor and seeing my doctor, but I can honestly say that doing a 1:1 activity with my baby just once a week has been a massive contribution to my mental wellness.

From attending a swimming course, I have found the confidence and courage to go to other groups. If I can go to a baby group where I wear a swimming costume, no make up and sing nursery rhymes loudly (I’m no match for X Factor!) then I’m pretty sure I can face other baby & toddler groups where I’m covered up and I can simply chat!