Friday, 30 May 2014

Friday Faves- 30 May 2014

Well, we have officially made it through another horribly rainy week here in Yorkshire. I am really not sure how much more rain I can take, although I am starting to come up with some really good indoor activities for the boys now, so at least I can be prepared!

We didn't get up to a lot due to the weather and things being busy with children on school half term breaks (soft play areas get sooo busy), but we kept out of trouble and had a bit of fun while we were at it!

Here are some of my faves from the week:
1) My new kicks! Trying out Saucony for the first time ever. I am normally a Nike/Asics girl but these Saucony are comfy and look pretty good too!

2) Sausage pasta...totally should have taken a photo of the real deal, but I was so hungry I forgot. This pasta is amazing and the whole family just gobbled it down.

3) Catch up TV. This really makes us sound like TV fanatics, we really aren't but there are so many good programmes on at the minute we just can't keep up. Some of our choices: 24 Live Another Day, Boss, Wallander, & Fargo.

4) Finishing off 2 weeks of strength training on my own while my trainer is livin' it up in Mexico and completing (tomorrow) my 30k in May challenge! I only have 3.36k left and I was planning on running at least a 5k tomorrow so I should break 30k! BTW pull up challenge is going strong. I think I can do one whole proper pull up now but want my trainer to check my form (exciting!).

RunKeeper, keeping me accountable for doing my runs.

5) Frankie and Dylan being so enthusiastic for walking, running and wrestling all day long! I am so happy that my boys enjoy being active and this week not only were they active but they were requesting walks and runs...the wrestling is part and parcel of having boys (I think!).

Wrestling with Daddy (even Tristan got involved)!
That's it for today. Hope you all have a lovely weekend (sun please come out!).

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Food & Fitness 25th May 2014

Ok, so here is my very late food & fitness plan for this week. I was still camping on Sunday (we got home around 10pm that night and I went straight to bed as I wasn't feeling well). Monday was spent doing laundry and getting a bit of food shopping done. I really haven't got much planned yet on the food front to be honest and the fitness plan is pretty much the usual.

I spoke with my personal trainer before she left on a two week vacation about goals and she told me that I should really come up with a new race or something to challenge and motivate me. Although I do love my current exercise plan I agree that I need a new challenge. I guess I was really counting on doing the Aquathlon that I competed in last year but unfortunately the organisers decided not to run it this year.

Are you challenging yourself to something this summer? If so let me know what...I really need some ideas :-)

Sunday- Nothing (I got a migraine and all I could do was get in bed)
Monday- Chicken Curry with Rice & Lentils
Tuesday- Pasta with Sausage & Tomato Sauce
Wednesday- Soup with Fresh Bread
Thursday- Shepard's Pie with Peas
Friday- TBD
Saturday- TBD

Sunday- Rest (camping)
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Spinning
Wednesday- Strength
Thursday- Running Club (5+k)
Friday- Strength
Saturday- Run (5k)

Running with Racheal

Have a good rest of the week!

Monday, 26 May 2014

A Camping We Will Go...

A little bit of rain could not stop us. Oh ok,  torrential downpours and the cold couldn't stop us! On Friday evening we headed down to Rutland to go camping for the weekend with 4 other couples and their children. 

As always we were slightly less prepared for the trip than I would have liked but once we figured out where we were headed and what the camp-site was like I was able to become a packing ninja and have us ready to go in about 2 hours (and bonus, I only forgot to pack two things: Will's swimming trunks and Frankie's pjs) not too bad ;-) 

Snug as bugs in the car on our way camping!
We arrived at the camp-site at around 7pm and got the tent set up in no time. It was lovely to catch up with our friends who we don't get to see often and enjoy a nice warm camp fire. The following day we were greeted by a down pour. We ventured out of the tents to get some hot chocolate and chat and then some of the group headed off to a maze whilst others headed back for naps (that would be us!). Later we met up with some of the later arrivals to the camp site to do a bit of bird watching (we spotted the elusive Osprey...exciting!). 
I spy an Osprey mummy!
The trip was full of the usual camp things: camp fires, bbqs, walks (when the weather allowed), boat trips/wind surfing, the children playing with each other and various toys, etc... 

Blurry camp fire shot...whoops!
Although it was great to catch up, the first camping trip of the year was just a little bit too soggy for my liking. I also realized that my hiking boots are no longer water proof so it looks like a new pair will be in order before our next hike or camping trip. Should have brought my wellies instead :-( 

As for camping with the boys, well this was our third trip so we are getting better at packing and knowing what kind of things to do to entertain them. They get so excited about putting up the tent and sleeping outside that they tend to listen to what we say for fear the trip will be put to an early end. They eat bbq food and like doing the outdoor activities with the other children but sleeping is still a bit of an issue. The boys just get so excited about everything camp related that they just can't be convinced to settle down. I suppose it doesn't help that the sun is usually still up and shining through the tent when their bed time arrives (yes, even with the rain inside the tent was still bright enough to keep them up)! 

Making funny noises in the tent while the rain comes down.
So here's to another great camping trip with hopes that the next one will be a little bit more sunny and a lot less soggy! 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

5 Reasons Why I Love The Gym

A lot of the friends I have spoken to about my current exercise program recently think I am crazy! Some of the responses I get are: 'You wake up at what time?' 'Why don't you sleep in?' 'What are you training for?' 'You don't need to lose weight.'

So, to answer these questions: Usually about 6am. Because I want to be fit and healthy (although yes, I would love for a lie in!). I am currently not really in training for anything, although I do have the 5k Race for Life coming up the end of next month. Finally, I actually do still want to lose a little weight to get me back to my pre-second baby weight.

 The below however, are my main reasons for heading to the gym these days:

1) The gym is like its own little world. There are no windows in my gym (which at first I thought might make me feel claustrophobic, but really it doesn't) so you are really focused on what you are doing in that moment. My gym is also pretty new (it got a refurbishment in Dec.) and all the equipment, facilities and rooms feel good to be in (not worn out, sweaty and smelly).

2) I love the music! I usually bring my iPod shuffle with me but when I am there for spin or personal training I just listen to what the trainers have provided. We have similar tastes in music and I love the feeling that I am at a night club but without the inevitable creepy guy, having to find a babysitter and with the benefits of getting fit!

3) I like the stress relief a good workout brings. When I first started working out seriously I was at university and although I was working out to get rid of the 'Freshman 15', I found that it also helped me to combat the stresses of 3 jobs, classes, projects, exams, relationship issues, etc... I still feel a major stress relief when I workout.

4) I feel strong. I certainly have days where I think 'I can not move.' I have lazy days and worn out days just like everyone. But when I am at the gym I feel strong. I can lift my oldest son's weight (about 36lbs) over my shoulders and do walking lunges around the room. I can do dead-lifts and squats all with at least 30lbs added weight and then still run intervals after. I can even almost do a pull-up!! Gym time is a time I push myself and I don't feel lazy or weak (even if I am a little tired from the early morning alarm).

5) Finally, when I am working out at the gym I feel like my self. A workout at the gym is one of only a few things that I do for myself (although it does ultimate affect everyone in my life). It is familiar (something I have been doing in some form or another since high school) and it centres me when I need it. It makes me breath deeply, release tension and focus on what is good in my life without all the pressures of life being there with me.

Do you have a favourite activity that makes you feel good? 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Growing Up Milk Info Pottery Party

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in 'The North' and both Frankie and I were pretty excited to jump in the car and drive into Manchester for the GUMI Pottery Party!

We didn't really know what to expect, especially as this was our first ever blogger meet up event but I had looked up the venue Minikin Emporium (which I knew nothing about) and looked up the Growing Up Milk site (which I knew a little about) so I felt pretty good in thinking this would be a great afternoon! The event organiser was Frank PR and I didn't need to do much investigation into them as I had done some interning with them about 9 years ago!!

We arrived early and were greeted by Katy and Laurence from Frank PR and Claire from Minikin Emporium. They were all very nice and filled us in on the afternoons' itinerary, which was mainly to have fun painting our mugs! We could do that ;-)  Unfortunately, Frankie was a little bit grumpy so he wasn't off to a good start. I think it might have been the fact that he had fallen asleep in the hot car (despite all windows being open!!) on the way into Manchester. Heat and exhaustion do not a pleasant little boy make ;-)

We got painting right away. Minikin Emporium had provided some T-shirts for painting (no paint on clothes = good idea & a happy mummy), paint, paint brushes and most important a mug to paint. Frankie found the blue paint and was from then on pretty happy!

Whilst we were painting Katy from Frank PR came round to speak to all of us and I was surprised to find that this was the very first blogger event put on by Frank PR up North! She talked with us all about Growing Up Milk who hosted the event and I definitely came away with more knowledge on the brand and how they are committed to helping us parents provide the right vitamins and nutrients for our little ones!

The Growing Up Milk Info website is a great source of information on toddler nutrition, so if you are struggling (like I am) to get your toddler eating their greens then definitely check it out.

The day ran smoothly and everyone was so lovely! Thank you again to everyone at Growing Up Milk, Minikin Emporium in Manchester and Frank PR!


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Weekly Food & Fitness Plan

Hello! I hope you all have had a lovely and relaxing weekend.

We have been busy with lots of activities and a very cool blogger meet up and now we are ready to get prepping for the week ahead. This week is looking pretty calm until Friday when we head off for a camping trip with friends so I am definitely looking forward to a bit more of a low key week in preparation for a weekend of camping chaos ;-)

Always time to wrestle Daddy at Cannon Hall Farm!

Sunday- Left over Chinese food
Monday- Farm Shop Pie with Mash and Veg
Tuesday-Prawn Stir-Fry with Rice
Wednesday- Chicken Wrapped in Bacon with Salad and Bread
Thursday- Pasta (made by the husband whilst I attend the nursery parent's evening)
Friday- BBQ (probably sausage with peppers and couscous)
Saturday- BBQ (possibly chicken with veg kebabs)

Sunday- Rest
Monday- Run 5k
Tuesday- Spinning
Wednesday- Strength Training
Thursday- Run 5k 
Friday- Strength Training
Saturday- Camping (probably walking lots but no formal exercise planned)

Running with Racheal

Friday, 16 May 2014

Friday Faves

Phew... it has been an extremely busy week here with us. Birthdays galore, meals out, nights out on the town! I am really ready for a quiet weekend except that this weekend is going to be a busy one (more birthday parties and a North Yorkshire blogger event - which I will probably be blogging about at a later date, stay tuned).

Next week should be a little less hectic so I will hopefully be back to a better blogging schedule but for now here are this weeks Friday faves:

Winning - I won a dermalogica facial at the charity fashion show I went to on Wed night so I am really looking forward to getting that booked! PS I never win anything! :-)

Sunny Yorkshire Days - typically rainy and overcast Yorkshire, although beautiful makes me crave the sun especially in the summer when I really want to be wearing a summer dress and sitting out. But today is a nice warm sunny day and to me Yorkshire is so much more beautiful for it!

our back garden
Birthday Presents - normally I don't mind too much if I don't get any presents for my birthday but I am always so happy when I do. :-)

from my lovely friend Sally
Bodyfit - this is a new to me fitness magazine and I like it a lot so far.

Blue Finger Nails - the trendy colour of the moment!

My One Blue Love from the Gelish Once Upon a Dream Collection

I hope everyone has a lovely (sunny) Friday and I'll be back soon with next weeks food and fitness plan and a recap of the blogger meet up.


Monday, 12 May 2014


Today was my 35th birthday! I honestly don't know where the time goes. I have to be honest and say sometimes I even forget how old I am. Age hasn't really ever seemed to bother me (yet!). But I'll tell ya what, I felt so old the other day when I was Skyping with my parents and they told me that a tiny baby I used to babysit is getting married next week!!

So today being a Monday meant that I wasn't really going to be whooping it up like a party animal for my birthday celebration and to be fair I haven't really done that in years anyway so I knew today would be pretty low key.

My birthday snuggle bugs!

Some high lights thus far (my husband is still out at soccer/football which he goes to straight from work every Monday, so who knows what he has in store!):

Baked a chocolate cake with the boys, only to find out it was still pretty raw in the middle. Massive fail, even though recipe was followed to the T.

Ok, I am by no means a cake decorator but come on it should have at least been cooked!

Got a lot of love via email, facebook, cards and presents today! :-)

Flowers from my boys!

Tonight holds visions of left over Easter chocolate, so I'm a pretty happy lady all around.

Have a great rest of the day!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Weekly Food & Fitness Plan

Happy Sunday (and Happy Mother's Day to all my US readers)! I hope you are having a wonderful day where ever you are.

Not too much going on here today except house work. Tomorrow is my (ahem...25th!) birthday so I wanted to have all the usual chores out of the way. I know that it will be a Monday so things will probably be the same as most Mondays but hopefully I will at least be down a load or two of laundry.

We didn't get up to too much this weekend so no big news or lots of photos except one of me in one of my favourite t-shirts at the moment! Every time Dylan see this shirt he points and says 'Mummy'! That's right little one ;-)

sorry it is a little blurry but you get the idea!
Sunday- Chicken Stir-Fry
Monday- Beef Taco Salad (birthday cake?)
Tuesday- Salmon with Couscous and Veg
Wednesday- TBD (something fast as I'm off out to a fashion show!)
Thursday- Steak Pie with Mash and Peas
Friday- Possibly out or take-away
Saturday- Lamb Chops with Veg

Sunday- Pilates
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Spinning
Wednesday- Group Session Training
Thursday- Personal Training Session & Running Club
Friday- Rest
Saturday- Run

Running with Racheal

Have a great start to the week!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Friday Faves

I know, I know, totally missing in action this week. Bad blogger! ;-) I ended up feeling really under the weather on Wednesday so really didn't do too much and then yesterday seemed to go on and on without any break. By the time I got back from my run with the running club I felt like if I didn't just sit down and relax I would end up feeling horrible again. So that's what I did. I ate some sausage, mash and veg and washed it down with a little 'My Cousin Vinny' which really is hilarious!

Also, this is totally random but I totally can't believe Ralph Macchio from 'My Cousin Vinny' and more noteably 'The Karate Kid' is 52 years old?!! What! I thought he was my age ( 25, right?!).

Here he is the karate kid (probably like 35 in this photo!)
On to my Five Friday Faves:

1) Orange is the New Black & 24 - I know this is kind of a double one but they both are TV related so I thought I'd pack them up together. I have one episode left of Season 1 of Orange is the New Black. What's going to happen!! (Don't tell me). Also, my husband and I are huge fans of 24 and the new season which takes place in London has just come out. So far so good...only little snaffu is that it was on the night I wasn't feeling great so I fell asleep about half way through but I will catch up.

Love Jack Bauer!
2) Dens - My two lovely little men were playing together so nicely this morning making dens and playing dinosaurs. They are definitely getting to the ages now where they can play together (constructively). I love it!

Tristan keeping guard on top of the den

3) Workouts - Even though I haven't been feeling great I have still made all but one of my planned workouts this week. My run last night was hilly and wet but awesome. I felt so good after :-) I also had a fab strength workout with my trainer this morning and feel sore but in a good way. It was also nice to hear that I am the only one of her clients that can 'almost' do a real pull up. Give me a couple months and fingers crossed!

PULL-UP Challenge
2 months to one real full pull-up

4) Spring Cleans - I got organised this week too. I sorted all of the boys old clothes that no longer fit into labelled plastic containers and I got ruthless on my wardrobe too. I have an entire bag of clothes that no longer fit, are not in style (I tend to hoard things, like from a very very long time ago), and things that are pretty worn out. Good thing my birthday is coming, I feel a shopping trip coming! ;-)

5) Curry - I know I put this on my food plan for Tuesday night but it never happened. We had a lasagne instead so tonight is Friday night curry night over here and I can't wait. I absolutely adore spicy food and I could live off Mexican, Thai and Indian food. So I am going to have a gorgeous chicken curry tonight!


Have a good weekend. Hope to see you back here soon.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A Late Weekly Food & Fitness Plan

Sorry to have disappeared again but it was a long weekend (bank holiday) over here and we got a bit busy! I also now have a cold or flu due to lack of sleep. I am actually pretty certain now that whenever I have not had at least 6 hours sleep in two consecutive nights I get sick. I try to avoid that but sometimes you just have to take what life throws at ya ;-) 

Anyway, we had a fab weekend! We spent Saturday on a walk with hopes of a picnic (but the weather had other plans). Sunday was spent out doing some house work and visiting with Grandma and Grandad. Monday was spent making dens and recovering from the rest of the busy weekend. 

Climbing a giant tree stump

Throwing things in the pond

So trying to get back on track after vacations and long is my plan for the week!

Sunday- Lamb Tagine
Monday- Lasagna
Tuesday- Chicken Curry
Wednesday- Thai Beef Salad
Thursday- Shepard's Pie with Broccoli
Friday- Salmon with Pasta
Saturday- TBD

Sunday- Rest
Monday- Running club (5.15k)
Tuesday- Spinning
Wednesday- Group Personal Training
Thursday- Running club (possibly another group training session)
Friday- Personal Training
Saturday- Run or Rest

Have a great week! 

Friday, 2 May 2014

Review: Baby To Five An Early Years Journal

Hello and happy Friday! Today would normally be a day that I would write up a Friday Faves post, but to be honest I'm not really feelin' it. I think I am just having post holiday blues ;-)

Anyway, I mentioned before that I got a really nice baby memories album and I thought I'd share more of my thoughts on that.

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, my cousin made a scrapbook for me for his first year. All I had to do was put the photos of him in when I had the relevant ones. I absolutely love that album and will cherish it always.

When my second son was born I received a Peter Rabbit 1st Year Memories book for him from a friend. It was also nice, especially since I didn't have any place else to keep the memories of his first year. Now however both my babies are past their first year. I am still taking photos of them, there are still some milestones to remember and they are now even making little things for Mummy and Daddy to keep. So the question then became: 'What do I do with all these things?' 'Do I buy a plain old photo album?' 'Do I start another scrapbook (which I only wish I had time for)?'.

I totally remember this kind of album from my childhood!

So...I did a bit of googling and came up with a sweet little book which is available on Amazon. I believe I paid about £10.50 for each of them but if you are in the States the retail price is $19.95. The book is called 'baby to five an early years journal', published  by Ryland Peters & Small. It is such a great find that I really wanted to let you all know about it.

The front cover has a cute baby/early years design on it. Unfortunately it has not been designed to be personalised and that is probably one of my only criticisms as I did end up buying two of them. I am going to either make my own cover or add a label so I know straight away who's is who's.

Cover design

Inside there is a sort of pre-birth section which I really like. You are able to include ultra sound pictures and your thoughts on baby and your pregnancy, along with some family history. Then it goes right into the first year tab.

There are some really nice relevant prompts such as: 'Your 1st Smile', '1st Steps', 'Likes', 'Dislikes', etc... Unlike other memory books I had seen or read reviews on this one has plenty of space with each prompt for your stories and quite a few blank pages at the end of each section. The tab of each section is also a little folder for any keepsakes you might have from that year.

A page with some prompts

Also included and a nice touch, is a little growth (height chart) which both my boys are starting to really get into now!

Best Things:

  • Colourful
  • Up to 5th birthday
  • Folder for keepsakes

Folder tab

Things I didn't Like:

  • No outside personalisation opportunity
  • I ended up repeating a lot of info from my 1st year albums in the 1st year sections (but I guess you could skip that bit if you already have a 1st year album)

Overall I think this is a great product that I would highly recommend if you are looking for a memories album/journal for more than the first year or a nice present for anyone you know who is expecting.

**I am not affiliated with any of the companies or publishing houses in this review. I also was not paid or compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. This is simply a product I like and wanted to share.