Friday, 17 October 2014

Portugal 1

Hello from Portugal! Well, I was going to be blogging through out my trip over here but... Despite the promise of wi-fi at each place we have stayed, we have only just got it at our final destination with only two days left to the holiday! Oh, well!

Our trip has definitely been eventful. Full of good times and interesting things and also full of crazy stuff that really could only happen to me. I mean who else bites into a homemade baked good to find a maggot crawling into their mouth? Yes, this really happened and yes, my husband did nearly drive off the road when I screamed, threw the cookie and was literally paralysed with disgust! Poor husband, poor boys (what the heck is up with mummy?), poor me and poor maggot!

We have so far travelled from The Algarve in the south of the country to Amarante (just outside Porto, in the north) and now we are in Lisbon.

I will try to get my act together and write a proper holiday catch up post when I get home as I think this trip warrants a little post at least ;) but for now just wanted to say Ola! We are all alive and well...with the exception of the maggot (I hope) and I will be back to regular blogging soon my friends. :)

P.S. the below was meant to be my food and fitness post for this past Sunday! Pretty right on with the exception of the fitness. Despite bringing gym kit, I haven't done anything fitness related except walking. Back on it next week!

Well, I haven't got a clue but I can imagine it will be a lot of seafood, meats, cheeses, wine, pastries, and more wine.

Again, not sure. We are moving through Portugal on a bit of a tour so every location will be different.  I do hope to get out for some runs and if time allows do some body weight workouts too.

Have any of you been to Portugal? What was your favourite thing about it?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday Faves 10th Oct. 2014

Happy Friday! Yay, it's the end of the week and a long one at that. I suppose it has been long for us as we've all be looking forward to starting our holiday in Portugal next week! I am looking forward to a little bit of sun, warmer weather and fingers crossed a bit of time to relax - as well as, obviously, soaking in all the culture of Portugal.

Apparently, all the places we will be staying in have wifi so fingers crossed I'll be able to get a bit of blogging in while away, but if not I definitely promise photos and a post from the trip when we return!

Here are some of this weeks faves:

1) New key chain- this beauty finally arrived and I love it! All my keys fit (no need for a ghetto rubber band to hold things together) and it even has a little hook thing for my Sainsbury's cart token (ah, it's the little things!). Also, I am a big fan of cute owls and this one is fab :)

So cute!
2) A new training plan- my trainer has developed a new plan for me with a focus on core repair (still struggling with diastasis recti) so when I get back from my holiday I fully intend to embrace this new plan!

3) Genius Gluten Free Bread- Ok, so I don't think I have any intolerance to gluten although I simply can not eat white bread (I feel bloated for like a week after I have a slice) but I picked this up on a whim with some suspicion that I may be eating too many glutinous things and boy is it good!! I am definitely a fan...mind you I may have cancelled out any good thing about it by adding Nutella but hey ho! ;)

4) Holiday- It's no secret, I have been pretty stressed out with things recently so a holiday is really just what the doctor ordered. Hoping my lovely husband and I will switch who gets up early with the boys each day and I get some time to read and relax. Although, I'm pretty sure some vino and sun will be enough to cheer me right up!
Attempts at packing! Disaster!
5) Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil- Ok, a friend of mine recommended this to me a week ago and I can't stop using it! Normally I use the entire bottle of cream or whatever it is I am using on my skin before I swap over to a new one but man this stuff is good. The smell is heavenly, the oil sinks right in (no sticky mess) and man oh man it seems to be working! I am currently using it on my stomach to help with stretch marks and generally to get the skin there back in shape...LOVE! Get yourself some  :-)

This stuff is fab!

That's it for today! Have a great weekend and hopefully be back with posts from Portugal soon!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A Photo Shoot with Two Toddlers

About a month ago we decided that a long over due family photo shoot was in order. We kept saying that we wanted to do one for ages but then never really got around to doing it. We also didn't want anything too cheesy. I guess it is important to note that my husband is a very good photographer (and photo editor, thank goodness) so therefore he was leery about getting just anyone to take some mediocre shots and pass them over after we have parted with hundreds of pounds.

Admittedly, I did none of the research as 1) this is not my forte and 2) I would have just gone with the photographic studio in Mothercare or asked a friend to recommend one. At any rate, my husband picked out a photographer that he often saw the sign for on his way to work. What my husband failed to notice was that the sign on the studio said 'Commercial Photography'...whoops!

At any rate we made the mistake of really bigging up this photo shoot to the boys, so needless to say they were completely unruly when we arrived for the shoot. No, they didn't want to smile; no, they didn't want to change into something nice; no, they didn't want to sit/stand/lie down! My husband and I did a good job of making things work given the circumstances but the photographer didn't have a clue.

Unfortunately, this photographer was used to working with models so kept asking us how often we had practised with the boys? What?! Never! It is supposed to be fun and natural and we were expecting him to have had a bit more experience with children on shoots. The boys are normally quite happy and love to smile and laugh - just not that day. He also kept saying things like get rid of that toy or just hold them still. Again, not helpful and not happening! I think his biggest mistake was not taking the camera off the stand and walking around to capture less posed moments.

At that point, I told my husband that we should just make due with what the photographer had already and head out. We did get a few of the two of us as well which were nice, but not made without comments from the photographer such as 'you know you don't need to smile with your teeth!'. Cripes, sorry mate, that's how I smile when I'm happy!

I don't want this post to come across as a massive whine; after all we did manage to get a few beautiful family photos (after some editing by my husband), we spent the afternoon together, probably got a deal on the price and I'm sure we'll someday be able to laugh at this experience. Plus we have some good photos to show at the boys wedding (hehe!)! :)

So here are a few tips I took away from the experience:

  • Book a reputable family photographer who has a few year's experience (especially with little ones)
  • Don't make the trip to the photographer's a big deal (I think in hindsight it stresses the little ones out, this might be different for slightly older children)
  • Put the little ones in the clothes you want them in for the photos (changing doesn't work, or just change shirts)
  • Make sure clothes, props etc... are ready well before the shoot (yes, we were ironing about 2 minutes before we left the house!)
  • Bring only props that you don't mind having in photos (just in case they won't let go!)
  • Try for more natural photos (less posing = less stress for the little ones that don't want to sit still)
  • Go to the shoot with ideas of any poses you do want
  • Go to the shoot with ideas of what you don't want 
  • I would recommend a morning shoot (we had afternoon) but that is based on my children being happier and more rested then
  • Have fun and relax! Show who you really are toothy  grins and all! ;)
Have any of you had good or bad photo experiences you'd like to share? 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Food & Fitness 5th October 2014

Hello on this very very rainy Monday morning! It is pretty torrential over here today but luckily we can spend most of the day inside! Just a couple of soggy school runs to contend with!

We had a fantastic weekend just getting some things organised around the house and starting to get prepared for next week's holiday to Portugal! We still haven't finished our entryway room but it is nearly there and the last bits that need doing really must now be done by a professional so fingers crossed we'll have it done by the end of this month ;)

Passed out after all his hard work!

Here are my plans for this week:

Sunday- Coconut Chicken Curry with Rice (I could totally eat curry everyday!)
Monday- Salmon with Asparagus and Roasted Veg Couscous
Tuesday- Sausage Pasta
Wednesday- Meatballs with Mash and Peas
Thursday- Chicken Broccoli Gratin
Friday- At the airport
Saturday- Portugal Feast!

Sunday- Rest
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Strength
Thursday- Running Club
Friday- Personal Training
Saturday- Holiday/Rest

Running with Racheal

That's it for now. Have a great week!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friday Faves 3rd Oct 2014

Phew...another busy week has finished up! Although it was busy I really feel like I got a lot done and even caught up with some things that had been hanging over me for awhile.

This week my faves are:

1) Pumpkin Spice Latte - I love it! It isn't great for you but it tastes so good and it is only a treat ;)

Pumpkin Spice Latte robber!

2) Autumn Decorations - I have been Pinning on Pinterest and have come up with some good decor for this Autumn. I am also digging out some of my fast faves this weekend. Ikea had a lot of nice things I just got one but I may end up back for more!

3) Curry Night - Some nights when you can't be bothered cooking and you know you want something that will definitely be good and spicy; a curry is the best treat!

4) Finished Painting - I have finished what turned into a mammoth task of painting our entryway room! It looks fab if I do say so myself. Now to get a handyman in to hang some curtain rails, blinds, shelves and fix a step (an even tougher job!).

No more pink walls or magnolia!

5) Workouts - Yes, workouts have been back on the menu this week and I am happy about that. I got in a good strength workout this morning and a fantastic run on Thursday night! Fingers crossed my workout mojo is back!

Alright, well off to enjoy my curry! Have a good weekend :)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Weekly Mishaps

Happy Hump Day!

As fast as this week is flying by... I need it to slow right back down so that I can carry on catching up with all the things I want to do! I am doing so well at getting on top of all the back log I had from not doing much last week but I'll tell you what, things do pile up when you least expect it ;-)

Enough whinging! ;-)

This week, so far, has been full of mishaps. We are a few days in and I can probably count 10 at least and they keep on coming. I thought it might be fun to let you in on a few:

1) I went food shopping with the boys (I know, I know I really should hop on the online order and delivery option but I'm too lazy to take the easier option!) and as per usual, Francis had to use the toilet half way through the shop. Someone (ahem...Dylan) pulled the handicap cord that alerts everyone if you have fallen or are in need of assistance and lights started flashing AND an alarm sounded through out the entire store. A lady knocked and asked if we were ok. I blamed it on the boys! ;) She tutted and walked away. It wouldn't have been too bad except that the alarm kept going for about 15 minutes after we left the bathroom...the entire store knew it was us...whoops!

2) I bought paint for our entryway redecoration. Choose a warm brown/stone colour from samples we had painted on the wall (ahem...a year ago!!). Painted the entire room by myself taking a full day to complete. Woke up the next morning to a PINK room!! Not to fear, I bought new paint and we are back on track (sort of).
Pink almost gone!
3) Back in the day (pre-children and when I had a well paying job) I used to buy myself some luxury treats. At one point after my younger sister had had a breast cancer scare I bought a Coach Breast Cancer Key Ring. It was pretty and some of the purchase money had gone to a good cause so I was happy. Last month my husband broke it. Crystals had fallen out, paint chipped, metal bent and the darn thing wouldn't even open enough for me to put a new front door key on it. So being glamorous (don't cha know) I hooked myself up with a nice rubber band to hold everything together. This week the band was in tatters. Yesterday morning at the school run the whole thing fell apart so everyone could admire my ghetto key ring! ;)
Must get new key ring stat!
4) My husband plays soccer/football on Monday nights. This past Monday was no different but because we are redecorating our entryway room he had no place to put his sports bag. So into the main house came the stinking bag. This morning in my rush to get everyone off to school I noticed some green slime on the carpet. In fact there was still slime dripping on the carpet. This was  a puddle of green slim on our cream coloured (don't ask) carpet. My husband hadn't closed the cap to his body wash and it has leaked out of the supposed water proof bag straight through the chair the bag was on, onto the floor. Not quite sure how to sort it out yet. :/

Any ideas how to get this out?
5) Francis' class had invited parents to come to a new music class on Wednesday mornings. I decided that this morning I would go (they are optional for parents). The woman leading the class made the parents get up and dance and sing along too. I tend to not sing loudly at these things because our nursery rhymes and songs in the USA are different and the ones we have that are the same have completely different tunes over here. Unfortunately, everyone picked up on the fact that I wasn't belting out Jack & Jill. So the next song I thought I knew I got a little louder...unfortunately that was the song that was a different tune all together from what I was singing! So back to basic music class for me next week ;)

Good old Humpty, how could I get it so wrong!
Anyway, I think we'll leave it at that for today! Hope your week is going well and you haven't had too many crazy mishaps :)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Food & Fitness 28th Sept. 2014

Wow! This weekend went by fast! I can't believe all the things that we managed to squeeze in it. :)

On Friday night, I headed out for a lovely girls night out. We managed to close the place down (we were there till after midnight) but enjoyed every minute. We laughed so hard our cheeks hurt and drank enough to last us awhile. My two friends even got dragged into impromptu Karaoke and dancing! I happen to be organising our taxi so managed to escape those shenanigans that night ;)

Saturday we had scheduled a family photo session at a studio, so we spent the morning getting organised for that and then headed off. This was the first family photo session we have ever had. We finally decided to bite the bullet and do it before the boys are 18 and we've missed out on the chance ;) Unfortunately, the boys were not game for this photo shoot and it took the patience of a saint and many other tricks to even get one good photo!
After the shoot we went out for a Starbucks treat! The boys got fruit smoothies and I got a Pumpkin Spice Latte...YUM! First of the year :)

Someone stole a sip of my latte!
On Sunday we were off again. This time to my in-laws to see my brother in-law who was back for only two short days from Sierra Leon. It was great seeing him and the boys enjoyed the time playing with their cousins!

By the time we got home it was time for Downton and time for bed. We were exhausted. Now I just have to get organised for this week and get back to the painting! BTW- started painting in selected colour (Malt Chocolate-a tan stone sort of colour), left it to dry and it is most definitely PINK! Not the selected colour we had hoped :( So I bought some new paint today, fingers crossed!

Here is my tentative plan for the week (featuring a new fitness plan as I ended up doing nothing fitness related last week).

Sunday- Roast Pork Sandwiches
Monday- Soup with Toast (on my own)
Tuesday- Prawn Stir-fry with rice
Wednesday- Italian sausage pasta
Thursday- Chilli Chicken Thighs with sweet potato chips and salad
Friday- Curry Night!
Saturday- Family over TBD (husband will probably cook)

Sunday- Rest
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Strength Training (possibly at home)
Wednesday- Insanity or Strength Training
Thursday- Running Club
Friday- Personal Training
Saturday- Rest

Running with Racheal

Have a great week!