Sunday, 29 March 2015

Slimming World Sunday: Ham and Leek Risotto

This is the official start of my Slimming World journey. I've had my first weigh in and I didn't break the scales like I thought might have happened! I'm at the heaviest I have ever been but hoping with a little hard work and some support from my family and online friends we'll get to where I want to be.

What I do love about Slimming World is how excited I am to try the recipes. It doesn't feel like dieting as I still get to eat many of my favourite meals. One of my favourite meals ever is Risotto however I was worried it would no long be my go to dish while dieting. With all the cream, cheese and whatever else I feel like throwing in at the time it would be a syn nightmare. I have actually managed to find a syn free (On Extra Easy) recipe which I'm going to share with you today.

Ham and Leek Risotto.

Serves 4
Syns per serving - FREE (EE)

You will need...

Low calorie cooking spray
1 onion, chopped.
3 Leeks, chopped.
250g dried risotto rice.
110g lean ham, chopped.
2 pints of chicken stock.
Salt and Pepper.

- Spray a large saucepan with the low calorie spray, and place on a medium heat. Fry the leek and onions for a few minutes until they sort to soften.
- While these cook, heat the stock in a separate saucepan once boiling, lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
- Add the rice and ham to the leeks and onions and cook for one minute then add a ladle full of stock to the rice.
- Stir regularly until the stock simmers away and then add another ladle full. Repeat this until all the stock has disappeared and the risotto rice is soft. This should take around 25 minutes.
- Season to taste, and enjoy!

This is a great recipe as it's super tasty but also really adaptable. You could add in any free or super veg to bulk it up more, and if you don't like ham you can change it to chicken. It's also really yummy if you save your healthy extra and add a little cheese on top! 

Debs over at SuperBusyMum has shared her journey this week and it would be lovely if you could also head over and give it a read!

We thought doing it together would help keep us motivated! Feel free to link up your SW journeys, recipes and anything else you have that is Slimming world related. Feel free to link up TWO posts if needs be and both OLD & NEW posts are very welcome.

We'd love it if you could grab our badge too!

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Friday, 27 March 2015

Bluestone National park Resort, Wales Review

Last week we were very lucky to spend a week on holiday at Bluestone National Park Resort. We were very excited as it would be our first family holiday as a family of six and from everything I had seen online the place looked amazing! It's easy to say it I wasn't disappointed!

We were given our lodge free as I was asked to be apart of their #Bluestonebloggers. I'm sure if you are on Instagram or Twitter you would have seen this hashtag a lot.

Although it was a terribly long drive for us, the kids were amazing and coped really well with it. We arrived at Bluestone about an hour before check in however we were allow to use the Adventure Centre until we could head to our lodge. It was super easy to check in as the arrivals are dealt through a drive through system. I thought this was great and we only waited around 10 minutes until it was our turn. 

At 4:30 we were allowed to our lodge. For this we were able to drive our car to our lodge to unpack our bags. One of the things I loved about Bluestone is that they try to be a car free zone, however there are exceptions. We were staying in a lodge called Grassholm lodge which was located in Preseli one of the higher parts of the park. It was a lovely four bedroom lodge with three bathrooms! As soon as we arrived the boys went upstairs and declared the bedroom which over looked the living room as theirs. I think it was the window that sold it.

The whole lodge was beautifully decorated and felt very modern. It had all the bits you would need to make your stay comfortable and I was over the moon to see the dish washer! A luxury I don't even have at home!

With the lodge being four bedrooms one of the rooms was on the ground floor which would have been perfect for my sister who has a disability. The whole lodge had enough room that she would have been able to get her wheel chair in which I think it brilliant as there are so many places that only have a few lodges/rooms aimed towards wheel chairs users.

The park was very hilly and we quickly realised the ones with little legs in our group were going to struggle. This wasn't a huge problem though as they hire golf buggies for £80. It didn't seem like a huge expensive to us as they became a big part of the holiday and the boys got just as much enjoyment out of them as they did the parks and play areas.

There is plenty of things to do with the family around the park. We didn't go swimming however because the adult to child ratio meant we didn't have enough adults. I did think this was a little silly as we go swimming almost weekly and never had an issue at any other swimming pool. Bluestone had offered to book us in so that we could swim and have a life guard accompany with us which was nice of them to offer but we decided not to bother with the hassle as we normally just go on a whim.

We spent a lot of time in the Adventure Centre as all the kids loved this and there was some thing for all ages.

Morgan even had a go at Crossbow and loved it. The only downside we found with the activities was that they were either aimed at the over 8's or for the under 4's. This meant there was very little Ewan and Rhys could do and when we tried to book them in a class of making lanterns it was fully booked.

We didn't actually eat out while at the park as after a full day of being on our toes we just knew Abby wouldn't stay up to late. The Farmhouse gill actually did a take away service which was brilliant for us. It came extremely fast and the food was tasty. It was the only take away on the park but they had managed to cover a few different things to suit every one. We enjoyed it so much that we ordered from there twice.

We did get to eat out while we were having a day trip to Tenby but I'll be updating about that in another post soon.

Other than the one down side that it felt a little lacking in the 4-5 year old activities the whole holiday was amazing, and we would certainly head back again. It is located in a stunning area and the view from our lodge was gorgeous. The boys are already asking when we can head which I think is the best review you could ask for.


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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Make your kitchen look rustic in five simple steps

Known for their relaxed, homely style, rustic kitchen designs have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering the perfect combination of warm country comfort and stylish aesthetics.
If you’re looking for ways to give the heart of your home an authentic overhaul, take a look at these simple steps:

1. Wooden worktops

One of the most effective ways to give your kitchen a rustic revamp is to invest in wooden worktops. Not only does wood have timeless charm and heaps of character, it’s also extremely durable, making it an ideal choice for busy family kitchens. There are a variety of natural materials to choose from, with oak, pine and cherry timbers among the most popular choices for traditionally-styled countertops. To browse the selection of materials available, worktop specialists such as Worktop Express offer a wide variety of unique, high quality timber surfaces that are ideal for creating an authentic look.

2. Open shelving

Rather than having a sleek, clutter-free kitchen, try bringing some personality to the space by having all your items on display. Open shelving can really help to set the rustic trend and add character to your decor. With a little imagination, you can easily create a unique and vibrant storage space by stacking your crockery and using a mix of containers, jars and bottles to hold frequently-used utensils and ingredients. To accentuate the country feel even further, you can even add copper or iron racks to your shelving to display your pots and pans.

3. Pendant lighting

As well as being a practical necessity, lighting has the power to transform the entire look of a room. To create a warm and inviting space, pendant lights make stunning centrepieces and work particularly well when hung over kitchen tables or islands. To keep in with the natural style, choose fittings that have a non-glossy finish. Raw materials like copper, steel and iron have an industrial charm and are a favourite among rustic enthusiasts.

4. Kitchen island

To complete the country-style look, you may also want to consider having a central island. Not only can these countertops create extra space for cooking, eating and entertaining, they also make a great home for all your culinary knickknacks. Simple, wooden designs, such as butcher block counters, are perfect for creating a relaxed, family-friendly style. If you’re keen on creating a ‘lived-in’ look, using reclaimed or distressed wood for your island will give the room a homely, vintage feel.

5. Farmhouse sinks

Installing a farmhouse sink is a simple way to give your kitchen the added wow-factor. These spacious, deep sinks are not only extremely practical, but also offer a unique focal point with an exposed front panel. Cast iron, fireclay, stainless steel and copper are popular choices for this style of sink and they work well in both contemporary and traditional interiors. With impressive looks and durability, it’s no wonder these stylish sinks have become such a sought-after feature in today’s kitchens.

*Guest post

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Starbright Toddler Bed Review and BearHug Toddler Bed Giveaway

Recently we were asked if we would like the chance to review a Starbright toddler bed. I was keen straight away as just a day before the email Abby climbed out of her cot! Once I saw a photo of the toddler bed I was amazing at the level of cuteness! StarBright Toddler bed is not only practical it's adorable! Did I mention how cute I think it is???

The bed has a lovely cloud head board with a cut out of a moon which places a gorgeous battery powered nightlight with a starlight projector! It also comes with a side table which can go either side. It has small bed rails towards the top perfect to stop little ones from rolling out.

The above photo was of Abby just after her nap. Straight away she loved it and kept lying down saying "ahhh".

I'm honestly in love with this bed and find myself peaking in on Abby a bit more than normal simply because I can't believe my baby is in a big girl bed!

I attempt to build it myself while Abby was having her last nap in her cot. Although it said it would take two people to do it I had it done within an hour and it was super simple to do!

You can also get matching furniture and if you head over to SuperBusyMum's website she also has a giveaway offer the choice of storage cupboards or toddler beds!  Simply fill out the rafflecopter to enter!

I'm super excited to also be able to offer another one of WorldsApart toddler bed's as a giveaway!

HelloHome BearHug Toddler Bed bedtime is extra cuddly with their favourite ted. With protective side panels that hug and the bear’s friendly face for nighttime comfort, the BearHug Toddler Bed is perfect for when your little one has outgrown their cot.
Simply fill out the rafflecopter to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Ordinary Moments

This last week has been far from the ordinary. We spent the week in Wales at Bluestone, it's been amazing. We've been very busy having lots of family time and it's been just what we needed.  I'll be sharing what we got up to later this week.

One of the evenings that stuck out in memory the most for me was one where we had nothing planned at all. Just an ordinary night planned relaxing with a movie.

I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and Ben was outside with the kids keeping them entertained and from under my feet. I was chopping away and all I could hear was the kids giggling. I peeked out the window to find them taking it in turns to roll down the hill.  Morgan decided to take on the role of teacher and spent his time telling Ewan and Rhys how they could be doing it better!

I spent the next half an hour cooking but taking quick peeks out the window to see what they were doing. I honestly could have sat at the window spying on the for hours. It really made me miss summer and I can't wait for the long afternoons playing in the garden.

Spring has definitely Sprung!


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Monday, 23 March 2015

Diet Chef Week 3

This week has been much harder than the last few as we've been on holiday. I took along my meals for the week but with being on holiday I certainly had a glass of wine or two. I even ate out at a very nice restaurant so I was sure my week wouldn't have gone well.

What I loved about Diet Chef this week was how tasty some of the dinners are. I've loved the meatballs and they really don't make you feel like they are diet meals. They just feel like smaller portions.

I kicked myself a little though because I only have soups left and I wished I had saved some of the pasta pots for at least the 6-7 hours of traveling. However while in Wales I headed to a Tesco's to find some food for the rest of the family and I actually found pasta pots for sale! I was actually shocked to see them but so pleased because I think I would have ate out for lunch a lot more if I had only had my soups.

I'm shocked to say that I've actually still lost weight this week!

Week 1 -6lbs

Week 2 -2lbs

Week 3 -1lbs
It's only a pound but it's still a loss! I have one week to go on my Diet Chef trial. It's been a tough few weeks but it's shown results.

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Slimming World Sunday - Week 1 Lazy Lunches

You may have seen my posts about Diet Chef recently. I only have one week left trying it so afterwards I'll be moving back over to Slimming World. Although I loved the boost Diet Chef has given me, Slimming World is a lot easier to follow on a long term basis. Simply because I find if I'm hungry I'm very quick to head for a snack. I think Slimming World is great for filling you up and I'm sure there are people that would suit Diet Chef better than me because they cope better with the controlled portions.

When I make the move to Slimming World, the meal I used to struggle with the most was lunch. I'd always use my healthy extra B at breakfast for a slice of toast and so I felt that only left me the option of salad for lunch. Although I do love a good salad now and then having it 7 days a week can get old pretty quickly. Mid-day is also the time I'm probably the busiest. Abby heads to bed around lunch time and so it's the time I do most of the cleaning and blogging. Standing in the kitchen for ages isn't something I always want. So I've compiled a couple of lunch ideas that are super quick but also super filling.

Lazy Lunches Ready in under 10 minutes!

I'm a huge noodle fan, so when I discovered that these are actually SYN FREE I was over the moon. It's only the low fat ones that are free, and the other flavors all have a syn value so be careful while shopping that you grab the correct ones.

These are great by themselves and only take 6 minutes in the microwave. If they are a little too boring, you could always add a bit of fat free bacon and some veggies and it'll be like a little stir fry.

My second lazy go to meal are another new favourite of mine! These Pasta 'N' Sauces again are from Batchelors. They only take 10 minutes to cook. Although you can actually do these in the microwave I do personally find that they are better cooked on the hob!

Remember though that these are only syn free if you don't add the milk and butter! I don't notice the difference though and they still have a nice creamy sauce! There are other flavors but they do have a syn value.

Debs over at SuperBusyMum will also be sharing her Slimming World posts every Sunday. This week you can read all about her starting her journey along with what she's been eating so head over and give it a read HERE!

We thought doing it together would help keep us motivated! As well we've included the linky below as we would love for you to link up any related posts so we could all help each other along!

Feel free to link up your SW journeys, recipes and anything else you have that is Slimming world related. Feel free to link up TWO posts if needs be and both OLD & NEW posts are very welcome.

We'd love it if you could grab our badge too!

In My Bubble

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My Sunday Photo: The biggest and littest


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Monday, 16 March 2015

Diet Chef Week 2

We're already into the second week of my Diet Chef diet and it's going well. Again  I've struggled with feeling hungry but I'm being good and sticking with it. I'm still really enjoying the food and I've discovered my love for the fruit oak cookie! It's so good and reminds me a little of Christmas Pudding! Again I've loved the pasta pots and just love how easy they are. When Abby naps it's so easy just to grab one and relax for a few minutes before cracking on with some dishes.

I'm still enjoying the food and feel like I've had more chance to try some of the other items I like. The first week I did stick to some of the things I first tried and found out I liked but I don't know why I was worried. Again it's all being yummy and I don't think I've disliked anything.

This next week I'm heading to Bluestone for a holiday so I'll be taking my food with me. I'm hoping to let my self have a little treat and eat out seeing as it is our holiday so I'm hoping to still have a loss!

This week I have lost again, Not as much as last week but losing such big amounts aren't good for the body so I'm still really pleased with my loss.

Week 1 -6lbs

Week 2 -2lbs

In two weeks I've lost just over half a stone!

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