Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cake Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been in the baking mood recently and one of the things I love to bake is Chocolate Chip Cookies. I could eat these cookies all day long and they are pretty easy to whip up. You can also freeze the dough to make them at a later date (which might help me with portion control...but never mind!).

I do normally prefer my cookies a bit on the doughier side but for some reason ever since we moved to the UK these cookies just seem to be a more cake like consistency. Still nice and still addictive so I highly recommend sharing with friends :)


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Sunday, 25 January 2015

#MySundayPhoto - Outdoor Play

We were blessed with some sunny days this weekend which lead to a bit more outdoor play! The boys enjoyed running around wildly in the park, getting rid of some pent up energy. Where all the energy comes from is beyond me! ;)

This is a photo of the boys playing a game on the tree trunk pathway in the wild-flower garden. It still looks a bit grey but spring will have this garden filled with flowers and plants of all colours. We are looking forward to it! :)


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Keep Healthy This Winter

It's now the middle of January. Many of us have made health related New Year's resolutions that may be starting to flag a bit. Or maybe you're still chugging along but need some motivation, especially during these cold winter months.

Although I am not a nutrition or fitness expert, I thought I would share some of my strategies for keeping motivated and healthy during the winter months.

Keeping Hydrated - I know this seems like something you are told time and time again no matter what the season but keeping hydrated is especially important in the winter months when there are lots of illnesses going around. I like to start my day with a cup of hot water and lemon to warm up, get hydrated first thing and get my metabolism going. I also like to have a green juice or smoothie if I can find a quick recipe and have some spare time ;)

Get the Right Kit - I never used to be an outdoor winter fitness fanatic until last year when I joined my mum's running club. Now I prefer outdoor workouts, even in those freezing cold months but it does help to have the right kit. I am definitely not one of those runners you may see decked out in shorts while its freezing out there! I wrote a previous post here about what I think makes up a good winter running kit.

Hit up the Gym/Home DVDs - If you really can't bare the cold or live in a place that has constant snow and ice all winter then definitely hit the gym, your local yoga/pilates studio or even dig out those fitness DVDs you might have at home. Take a class, go for a swim, lift some weights or jump on an elliptical. Whatever you decide to do just get your body warmed up and moving. Getting the blood flowing through exercise helps keep you fit, get a good nights sleep, reduces stress and can even help fight off colds and flu.

Remember to Eat Healthily - I know it is tempting to snuggle up on the sofa with chocolates and comfort foods during the colder months, but making sure you are eating the right foods will help you to feel at your best (and energized) all winter long and confident for the up coming summer months.

As you may know I have been doing a lot of research into sugar free and Paleo eating and although I haven't yet taken the plunge I did come across some new recipes at ALOHA.  I have previously tried Yogi Glow Banana Protein Smoothie and Homemade Crunchy Kale Chips so I am really looking forward to testing out Amazingly Healthy Cookies & Cream Morning Parfait and Cashew Lime Dip. I think after having a look at those recipes you can safely say that healthy eating can be delicious!

Have you got any tips for keeping fit in the winter? I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chunky Chorizo Soup

Mondays seem to be pretty hectic in our house these days. Nothing in particular is going on but I think it is just getting back into the swing of normal day to day activities (work, school, etc...) and then additionally it is the night of the week my husband goes straight on from work to play football and doesn't get home until about 8pm.

I used to cook a normal meal on Monday nights but by the end of the day I was exhausted and my husband had to have it reheated which isn't that great only a few hours after it has been initally cooked and so we started to implement 'Fresh Soup Mondays'.

Almost forgot to take a photo it was so good!

Soups are one of those meals that you really underestimate. Many of them are super quick to whip up, they are pretty healthy and they stay hot for ages after cooked! Fresh Soup Mondays works like a dream for us on such a busy day :)

We have had a lot of different fresh soups but here is the recipe for the one that I whipped up last night (adapted from a recipe on BBC Food).

Bon Appetit!

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

#MySundayPhoto - Keeping Warm

This weekend we have seen rain, hail, snow, single to negative digit temps and fierce winds. We haven't ventured outside much except for a couple essentials. Mainly, we have remained huddled together in the lounge keeping warm by the fire.

 A very cozy weekend indeed. :) 


Friday, 16 January 2015

5 Friday Faves

Yes, it is back my 5 Friday Faves! I have not posted one of these for ages and thought I would get back on the bandwagon. Although, once I have got my 2015 blog calendar up to date I might change my Friday Faves post a little to take part in a linky (we'll see).

So this week, despite still being under the weather and not really getting up to much, I do have some definite faves...here they are:

1) I am in the midst of de-cluttering the house. This is a long over due task and I got started this week by de-cluttering my email account (which I don't think I have ever done). Baby steps ;) Having said that, it did take me three days to do. Anyway, in my quest for de-cluttering advice I have come across this new (to me) blog Mary Organizes and I love it. I have warned my husband that things are about to get serious!

2) Ted Baker Regency Houses Body Wash. I don't usually go for the 'fashion' brand body washes as I often find them too perfume-y and a little irritating on my skin but I got this as a Christmas present and really like it. It is a lovely refreshing scent and so far hasn't affected my sometimes sensitive skin.

3) Beauty Blender Sponge. I got this a few months back in a Birchbox and at first I didn't even bother to unwrap it. However, I have been using it for a couple of months now and don't know how I ever got on without it. I use it for my foundation and sometimes depending on how my eyes look to help blend concealer. In my opinion the application is much smoother than a brush and gives more coverage than with your fingers.

4) Baking. I feel a little like Izzy from Grey's Anatomy here, but being inside and not feeling great prompted a baking frenzy. This week I baked about 4 dozen various cookies and some orange flavoured cupcakes. I did have a good friend over this week so I shared out some of the cookies but mainly I'd say I'm eating most of them...whoops!
Chocolate Chip! 

Orange cupcakes; some frosted some not.

These were supposed to be oatmeal cookies but came out to crumbly so now granola!
5) Mary Higgins Clark. I love her. Seriously, I love her books. I have always been a fan of mystery books and her's are just right for the moment. Easy reading and enough to get my inner Nancy Drew working. I have almost read every single one of her books (even non mysteries), I think I have about 5 left to read!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Being Sick & Being Thankful

Hello! Things here have been a bit chaotic to say the least. I have been pretty seriously unwell for a little while now and that is why I have not been posting. I have been advised by my GP and family to take care of myself and rest. So, I have been doing just that. I haven't been going out as much and unfortunately for the boys most of our current play revolves around indoor activities where I can supervise but not get too involved. It is annoying (for lack of another word) to not be more active, outside in the fresh air or playing more hands on with the boys but for the sake of my health I must follow doctors orders.

Because I have had a lot of time on my hands to relax, I have also had some time to think. Mainly I have been thinking of what I am thankful for during this difficult time.

In no particular order:
1) My husband being home to help out while I recover! I love that he is here to support me and the boys. He has been my rock and I love him :)

2) My boys! They make me laugh everyday and provide ample kisses and cuddles which I can never get enough of :)

3) Junk TV! Thank you so much for existing Celebrity Big Brother, The Housewives of 'just about anywhere- Miami, Orange County, New York, etc...' and Judge Rinder. These may be hideous shows for some people but it is so good to laugh when you are feeling a bit down in the dumps.

4) Good TV. We have been watching Person of Interest on Netflix and it is great. Also looking forward to the return of Mr. Selfridge and some of the new 10 part mini series out in the next couple of months.

5) My cosy (but messy) house. I love that I am comfortable and usually annoyed that it is messy but at a time when I don't fancy cleaning I can't see any new mess ;)

6) My good good friends. I am not a person with hundreds of 'best' friends but those few I have are amazing and I love them

Hopefully be back with some new posts soon but please bear with me :)

Monday, 5 January 2015

A Look Back on 2014 and Look Forwards to 2015

Hello! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season. Sorry for the little blog break, but I really needed it. I really just wanted to spend some offline time with family and friends and not stress too much about what was happening online.

We had a great Christmas and New Year's but not without some usual stresses (you know like cooking the Christmas meal and where those pesky presents have gone, etc...).
Two happy Christmas elves!
Anyway, before it got too far along into the year I wanted to have a quick look back at 2014 and get some ideas going for 2015.

As I have previously posted, I absolutely love resolutions and love the idea of starting things a-fresh! In the words of Anne of Green Gables 'Everyday is fresh with no mistakes in it.' Don't get me wrong I think making mistakes is how we learn and grow but I just like the idea of waking up and having a clean slate sometimes.

So last year I made 5 resolutions:
1) Drink more water
2) Have more me time
3) Do more Pilates
4) Get back to my pre-baby weight
5) Spend more time on those who I care about and care about me

How did I do?

  • Well, I did end up drinking more water (although probably not as much as I should, it was progress!). 
  • I didn't get that much more me time but I am still working on that one. 
  • I did do Pilates every week until about April when I just couldn't make the class schedule work with mine. I did however venture to a new pilates studio to check it out and loved it, but again class scheduling wasn't on my side.
  • I did not even come close to getting my pre-baby weight back. I was the girl that worked out the hardest, most and best but I just couldn't get there and in fact I put on weight. I ended up calling it quits with my personal trainer which was one of the hardest calls I made all year and spent some time re-evaluating my fitness goals.
  • I think I did spend more time with people I really like this year and those people are fantastic. I met some amazing friends running and kept up with others that I do really care for both locally and abroad. 

So all in all a pretty decent year, resolutions-wise!

This year, you will be surprised to know...I have not made a single resolution (yet!). I have been really ill the last couple of weeks and so I have been focusing all my energy into getting well.

New Year's walk in the Peak District

Beautiful sunset, but tired and cold little man

I do have a few things in mind so I'll share those with you:
1) I'm seriously thinking about cleaning up my eating and have found Paleo eating might be for me. So once I am totally back up and well. I may ease myself into that.

2) Continue to re-evaluate my fitness goals but think I am looking at getting back into swimming, running and some gentle weights at the gym. Back to basics for me!

3) Say yes to help more often. I really need help sometimes. I wish I had more help. However, sometimes when I'm offered help I say NO!! Then I spend the rest of the day really disliking myself, why do I say no...I may be a tiny little control freak ;)

4) Get our house in order. Seriously our master bedroom looks like a scene out of Hoarders! I really need to get some things on ebay, get my wardrobe sorted, throw things away. I also want to continue work on our entryway (which had to be put on pause due to some financial restraints) and get some quotes on fencing in our garden.

Other than that, I'm just looking forward to a healthy and happy 2015 with fingers crossed lots of good things to come :)

Happy New Year!