Friday, 27 February 2015

Whinging, Fitbit and First Hair Cuts #littleloves

Another week has just flown by! To be honest, I'm quite glad that it did as I was dreading this week. My oldest was back at school (so the hideous school run commenced) and my husband was back to work (and I knew I'd be missing him). The week did go by quickly and without too much drama but I'm welcoming the weekend with open arms (fingers crossed to a lie in!).

This week I started another series that my mum recommended to me. The book is called One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I started and finished it in the space of a week! It was good and although a mystery book there were some real laugh out loud parts. I have started the second book in this series now and can't wait to see how things go for the main character, Stephanie Plum!

In addition to my usual Sunday night favourites (Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge) I have begun watching Channel 4's Indian Summers and absolutely adore it! It is so colourful and makes me wish I was some place a little warmer to be honest! The acting is fab and the atmosphere is perfect. Glad to have another great show (only wish it was on mid week as the rest of the week is pretty weak as far as good TV shows).

I have heard so much whinging this week from my boys. They shout, they cry, they whinge, they growl and I really feel like I can't hear much more of it. Luckily the weekend is upon us so Daddy can help with the never ending whinge fest!
I know, they look like little angels...but they do know how to whinge!

This week we made a lovely roasted butternut squash soup and we made Let's Talk Mommy's Courgette Oatmeal cookies. Unfortunately, neither lasted long in our house and the boys kept asking for more so I foresee some more baking in our future!

My beloved Fitbit! I have had to take a few months off from wearing it when I didn't feel well as I figured there wasn't much point. After all, I knew I wasn't moving much never mind clocking up 10,000 steps a day. But now I've got it back on and I'm back to working out. I have also added friends to my account which is unbelievably motivating! Yes, I guess I do have a competitive streak! ;)

And Lastly...
We finally gave Dylan his first ever hair cut (at 2 and a half years old!). He looks completely different now, no more baby! I also realised that I am by no means a hairdresser, so I stopped while I was ahead and left a bit so that the real professionals could tame his lovely curls. :)

Two sweet photo bombers in the background!


Have a lovely weekend and see you back next week!

The Prompt: Reality

My reality:

I am 35 and not getting any younger (but don't feel any older than 30).
I am married and have been very happily for 9 years.
I am a mum to two terrific yet wild boys (who sometimes get the better of me).
I am the owner of a very loyal dog Tristan who I love lots and never want to lose.
I am an expat. An American living in England.
I am a daughter, a sister, a niece, a god-daughter, a cousin and a friend.

My life is a work in progress.

I have recently gone through a tragedy that has made me ill for months and each day I hope I feel better, but some days I just don't.

I constantly think of others and usually before myself. I know I am so lucky with what I have (even though I may want, I am usually not in need when so many others are).

I am me and I am blessed.

In reality, I wouldn't change anything! :)


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Why I Am Decluttering

I am definitely the kind of person that loves being organised.
I love to make to do lists and I really love crossing things off them.
I love everything to be clean and tidy.
I am not a pack rat and I love getting rid of unnecessary things that can accumulate.
However with all that said, I am a mum of two little boys who love to make messes! I am also the wife of a husband that (unbeknownst to him!) loves to make messes and horde things away in his 'man cave' or keeps things around just in case. Ugh!

So this winter/spring I have decided that our house, after living here for 4 years, needs a massive and ruthless declutter. Last summer we hired a skip and got rid of a lot of junk that was in the basement and outside in our shed/garden (mainly from the previous owners). It was a pretty large skip but we had no trouble filling it to the top! Unfortunately, there are still some things that need sorting and I feel like I can't concentrate on much else until we are rid of clutter and living in a much more organised chaos! ;) It will of course all take time as even once the decluttering has finished I will then have to Ebay, sell, throw away, donate and put in things away in the attic and that will probably take just as long.

I have finished my declutter of our downstairs and have started upstairs already. The bad news is that I have only one room left to declutter until I get to the worst room of the house...the master bedroom. I know exactly how it got so bad (you know, just putting a few things out of the way, no storage for old baby things, etc...) but I fear it will take at least a week to sort out. It seems that little by little things have been piling up in there that we have no other place to put them.

I have always dreamed of a cozy, comfy oasis of a bedroom. Lots of soft calming touches and big fluffy pillows! I still have that dream and our bedroom does need a proper renovation (i.e. carpet, new light fixture, new bed frame, new curtains and definitely new wardrobe) but that can't even be considered until we have decluttered the space.

So here it is, the before photos. Sorry it really is awful! I'm thoroughly embarrassed! :( However, fingers crossed in a week or so I'll have a nice clean after photo!

View upon entering our master bedroom...Yikes!
Yes, the mess has spread to chest of drawers, floor and bed!
More piles of clothes, a wardrobe that is broken and junk on top of it. Help!!
Anyone else doing a spring clean? Please tell me I'm not alone in my mess! ;)

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Basic Butternut Squash Soup

We had the most delicious (and easy) Butternut Squash soup last night for our Fresh Soup Monday! It was so tasty and so easy I thought I'd share it with you today. FYI- it is also a very good recipe if you children of weaning age, as it is basically a puree and made of all good stuff! Enjoy!

Basic Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • A couple drizzles of olive oil
  • Two stalks of fresh rosemary
  • 500ml of vegetable stock

To Make:

1) Cut the squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place on a baking tray and drizzle both sides with olive oil and sprinkle the rosemary over. 

2) Put in the oven at 180 degrees C (fan assisted) or 200 degrees C for 1-11/4 hours, until soft.

3) Leave to cool. 

4) Scoop out the flesh and rosemary, put in a pot and whizz with a handheld blender. Add the vegetable stock and heat through for about 20 minutes. You can add more stock for your desired consistency.

Serve with sprinkled parmesan cheese and a baguette!

Tasty Tuesdays on

Monday, 23 February 2015

Things I've Been Working On

Good morning! I know, I know I have been missing in blogging action yet again! It has just been a world-wind week of half term fun and madness in our house and so I thought I'd just go with the flow and save blogging for a little less chaotic time. In fact, I don't think I took a single photo last week! Yikes!

So now we are back to the regular routine of school, school runs, nursery days, work and getting things done in and around the house. I have to admit that when my husband headed back to work this morning I really wanted to cry but alas, I know I can do it...just need to pull up my big girls pants and get on with the day! ;)

So some things that have kept me busy but are very important and just a little overwhelming are:

1) My oldest's birthday party prep - it will be the first birthday party we have hosted for him and I am getting nervous, not to mention we are holding it at our house so I am expecting mayhem!

2) Decluttering project - I have finished decluttering all of downstairs (with the exception of one file cabinet drawer which will be the death of me) and have made a list of things that need replacing or doing so I'll need to get on with some of those. I'll also start working on the upstairs now; two of the rooms won't be so bad, but the master bedroom needs serious help! I may have to call in a professional ;)

3) Workout schedule - I have been really good about getting back into running and the gym but unfortunately I had a bit of a set back last week and have been taking time off again since last Wed. I'm hoping I'll be back to it by the end of this week but we'll see. In the mean time I have just been trying to get my 10,000 steps in (thanks Fitbit!) each day!

4) Reading - I have become obsessed by some new books that I got as a gift from my mother and really can't put them down. What I would most like to do is forget everything and sit down with a hot coffee and read but since that is not possible, I am just trying to squeeze in a bit of reading each night instead.

Right, so that is where I'm at but I promise to get back to being organised (yes, there is a theme here) and be back to blogging as regularly as I can. :-)

Have a good Monday! 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Where Does Your Motivation Come From?

Now that I have been back to the gym for a whole week (and running two days last week!) I have been thinking over my motivation. Before I got ill I was seriously lacking motivation to work out. Despite being quite fit, my body wasn't behaving the way I would have liked and it was stuck in its mummy tummy ways. Not only was my tummy not budging but I was also gaining weight (and no, it was not muscle!). It might have had something to do with my eating habits but I was not willing to agree that chocolate, cakes and indefinite cups of coffee weren't part of my healthy diet! ;)

Unfortunately, I didn't need any more excuses for my lack of motivation as I became unwell and therefore couldn't workout. Of course, once I wasn't able to workout any more I became convinced that I really needed to workout. I guess you always want what you can't have.

Now that I have the all clear to workout again. I do have motivation. I have gained a lot of weight whilst being unwell and am now at my biggest ever weight. I have lost all the endurance and muscle tone that I had previously worked so hard for and there is one more thing...I have been badly judged by someone who (shouldn't judge) doesn't realise that I haven't actually just been sitting around for 3 months eating chocolate cake all day without moving (if only!).

Despite, feeling let down by this person's attitude and lack of trust, it has spurred me to get more fit than ever before. Obviously my motivation to get back in shape is first and foremost to be happy and healthy. Secondly, to help me deal with everyday stresses. Thirdly, to get back socialising with my running friends and Finally,  to get my endurance and strength back so that I can once again say to my friends 'shall we go for an easy 5, 6 or 7k run?' At the moment, I am completely overwhelmed by a 3k run.

However, now I am also motivated to get back in shape to show all the doubters and judgers that to hell with them I can do it, I can do it on my own with the support of those who really love me and quite frankly I will probably look better than those judgers despite my time off, my age and the fact that I have given birth to two gorgeous baby boys...stretch marks and all!

Also for the record, there is no rush at all in my quest to get fit again. I know it will all happen in good time and prefer it to take awhile (it took 3 months to undo so it should take about that to get back) so that my new good habits and motivation stick as opposed to burning out quickly.

What motivates you to get moving? Or what motivates you to take on other challenges? 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

#MySundayPhoto - Music Time

It's Sunday and we are linking up again with OneDad3Girls to share our photo this week.

This weekend we just enjoyed a bit of family time in and around the house. It was undoubtedly raining for the first day of Francis' term break so we just spent some time chilling in the house where we were warm and dry!

This is a photo of the boys all playing some music in my husband's music room. They both love music and are eager to play in there whenever Daddy lets them! ;)


Friday, 13 February 2015

Eating for Less, Eye Concealer and Bean Soup...#LittleLoves

Oh my, where has this week gone? It just went so fast but to be honest I think I'm glad as next week is half term break and I'm looking forward to not doing the school run! ;) We do have a lot of meet ups planned but luckily they are all later in the day so we'll be lounging in our pjs at least during the morning hours.

This week I did something that I have not done in a long time. I bought a fashion magazine. Well, Marie Claire which I think is classes as a woman's fashion mag. Anyway, I used to buy Vogue, Elle, InStyle, etc... religiously but really haven't done it in ages (years!). I was pretty impressed by some of the articles and am still perusing the fashion and beauty bits. It made for a nice change, hopefully I'll be fashionable this spring! ;)

This week I watched another episode of  BBC's 'Eat Well for Less'. I don't usually follow this type of show and although I watched it last week wasn't sure I'd watch it again, except I did. I pretty much know all of our shopping down falls as far as money is concerned but it seems each time I watch the show I realise that actually we could do more of xyz or less of xyz. Not rocket science but interesting to see how other families shop.

We have been pretty busy this week and to be honest I haven't been sleeping well so I have been wearing plenty of Benefit's Fake Up. This under eye concealer is fantastic and comes in an easy to dispense lipstick style tube. I love it and it makes me look as though I have had more than a couple hours of restless sleep! :)

Sorry for the blurry photo getting used to my new phone camera

This week I am loving Ellie Goulding's new track from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack 'Love Me Like You Do'. I am a huge fan of Ellie Goulding so this is just another favourite from her!

This week I made a fantastic white bean soup. It only had a handful of ingredients and took a grand total of 25 minutes to make. It tasted so rich and creamy...yum! I can't wait to make it again.

Ah...please ignore the dirty hob! 
And Lastly...
I didn't get a lot of chance to blog this week between some medical things, surprise visitors (my mother-in-law and niece) and some meet ups that lasted longer than I thought (but in a good way!). So I'm hoping to get more out there next week. Thanks for hanging in there and don't forget to check out my post on surviving the morning school run!



Monday, 9 February 2015

Taking On The Morning School Run

This is a confession of a mum who has been done in by the school run.

I have previously written of how the school run literally kicked me right up the bum when my oldest son first started preschool at the primary school in September. I had never ever had to get up and have both children feed, washed, dressed and in the car ready to go before 8:30 am before... EVER (unless we were going on holiday and had an early flight but that is different somehow).

Typically, we would all lounge about in our pjs for hours have a leisurely breakfast and meet friends around 10 am and if we were running late it was no big deal as usually the friends we were meeting were also running late, due to one of the usual culprits (explosive nappies, a nap time that went on longer than expected, lost clothes/shoes, etc...). Those were the good old days. :)

It wasn't long after preschool started with a very strict drop off time of 8:45 am (trust me any time after that the place is like Fort Knox...shut down, lock down, straight to the head mistress' office to excuse your tardiness and a little bit of embarrassment to top it all off) that I arrived at my 6:30 am personal trainer appointment in floods of tears explaining that I might not be able to keep to a 6:30 am gym schedule, as I am then way too rushed with getting the boys ready and making that 8:45 am cut off time. To say I was stressed just doesn't do it justice.

All dressed up ready for school
Now, please don't get me wrong. I am definitely one of the lucky ones being able to be a stay at home mum, I know that and am thankful for it every day. Many of my friends work full time and have been getting their children into nursery for 7:30 am and then hustling off to work most days of the week. I have told many of them that I am in awe, they deserve a spa break or at the very least an award and that I truly admire them. This is not a lie, I really do! :)

Anyway, now that September has long since past and we have seen a whole term and a half go by, I can honestly say that it has gotten easier. Well, I am in a good routine now at least. I suppose that is down to a handful of things:
1) My oldest can now get dressed in his school uniform by himself.
2) My youngest can't dress himself but picks out his outfit for the day, so no more 20 minute tantrums about what to wear (even if that means he wears his Rudolph shirt in the middle of Feb).
3) They both know the routine and are more able to get everything done in good time (including run through the school grounds if we are running a little late).
4) I haven't been going to the gym in the mornings for awhile, so I am able to put a bit more time into getting everyone ready and out the door in an orderly fashion.

My little one dressed to drop off his brother at school! Yes, I did put trousers on him! ;)

With all that said;
I still really dislike the morning school run.
I still arrive at the school gates looking like the least well put together mum (I'm working on this).
I am still trying to make friends with other school mums (which I am finding challenging) and
I am still getting used to not being late.

How we all feel after the morning school run! :)
I look forward to every term break when we can all lounge till 9 am in our pjs, eat a more relaxed breakfast and be late getting to a meet up with friends because guess what that friend has just text and she's running late too. :-)

Anyone else dislike the school run? 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Mysteries, Winter Hat and Decluttering... #LittleLoves

Hello! This is my very first week participating in Butwhymummywhy's #littleloves linky so hopefully I've got all I need down here and didn't miss anything. I have previously been posting Friday Faves, on the Fridays I remember to do it ;) but this is a good way of getting my favourites from the week down and into neat little categories.

I am currently on a mystery book kick and have just started and nearly finished the first book in the Psychic Eye series, Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie. This series was recommended to me by my mum who also loves a good mystery read and it definitely lived up to its recommendation so far. I can't wait to get my hands on the other 11 books!

I have also been reading a lot of my favourite blogs recently and one blog that has been getting my attention recently has been Pouting in Heels. I absolutely love Kate's writing style and she has so many interesting and insightful things to say about blogging. I really feel like I can learn a lot from her. :)

I have been keeping up with the usual TV series that I love so much (Call The Midwife, Mr. Selfridge & CBB), additionally I have started watching Wolf Hall (unfortunately I missed the last episode so I now need to catch up). I am hoping it picks up the pace a bit as the last couple were a little slow going.

Due to this crazy cold weather, I have definitely been living in my warm winter hat!

Every hat needs a little bling! ;)
I have really been liking Hozier Take Me To Church these days. Pretty catchy.

I haven't actually made anything worth talking about this week. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners have been the usuals and I haven't had a chance to bake this week, but I have 'made' some progress in my decluttering project.
So far I have finished the entryway room/study, Hallway, downstairs bathroom and I am getting to work on the kitchen and lounge this weekend. Can't wait to have a clutter free house! :-)

And Lastly...
I really hope any of you new to my blog will follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter, Facebook. I am really trying my best to grow my blog and meet new people (and new blogs)! Thank you! :)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Slowly Getting Back to Working Out

As many of you know, I have not been 100% since before Christmas. I am now on the mend and have been given the all clear by my GP to begin exercising again! I am sooo happy that I have got the all clear. You have no idea how much I have wanted and needed to go on a long run. How I have longed to just sweat and get some stress relief.

Having lived a pretty active lifestyle for a while now I do know that because I stopped my activity quickly and haven't been exercising for a few months now, that I will have to be gentle with myself getting back into it. Despite really wanting to 'pound the pavement' for an hour, I will be better off going for a long walk or practising a bit of gentle yoga.

With that said, I have decided to start by walking with the dog or children every day for at least a half hour (about 2.5k). I may add some yoga if my boy's bed times cooperate (they have both be running around like little mice before finally settling but not after having to be talked to a few times first). This weekend, I may venture out to the gym for a 30 min elliptical or bike session, see how I feel and take it from there.

Time to dust off these bad boys! 
What I won't be doing is getting straight back into running a 10k, a balls to the wall spin class, Insanity or heavy weight lifting. I probably won't be going back to my trainer yet either. But I won't let these 'can not do nows' get in the way of my motivation to get healthy and fit again.

Fingers crossed I will be back to my healthy self in no time. work on my cleaner eating ;)

Have you ever been faced with a set back to your healthy/active lifestyle? How did you deal with it? 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

#MySundayPhoto - Sunny February Walk

Ah, so we have finally had a lovely sunny (yet still freezing cold) day. Hello February! I am not at all sad to see the end of January as it was a cold, dark and gloomy month. This morning I took the dog out for a walk in the sunshine and we both really appreciated each moment of the walk. The sun warming our cold faces and a great stretch of our legs which feel like they have been hibernating for a few months. I know this may seem strange but I definitely take fresh air for granted. Doesn't it feel good to take some good deep breathes of fresh morning air? :) (Yes, I am deliriously happy about the thoughts of Spring!)

Hmm...doesn't look so sunny here but it was!