Friday, 27 March 2015

Tech Support, Coffee and Cakes #littleloves

Wow! I can't believe that it is already Friday! This has definitely been a week that has flown by, but not for any particular reason. I'm just happy I made it though the week without anything too crazy happening or forgetting money for bake sales and non-uniform days! Phew...success ;)

So here is how this week went:

This week I have been slowly venturing into the world of self hosting! Yikes!! I bought the book Wordpress for Dummies and have been really reading through it and using it as a life line. So far so good, although I have already been on the phone and LiveChats with tech support on various websites (am I in over my head?!). This book will be permanently attached to me for the next month or so I imagine.

Didn't really watch much this week. I have been keeping up with Poldark and Indian Summers on Sunday nights but the rest of the week is pretty poor for TV. I do have to watch the last episode of ITV's Mr. Selfridge on catch up, so looking forward to that!

(Ah...I have had to edit this post as I totally forgot this category! Whoops...too much going on.). This week I worn a lot of my purple Oasis winter coat (from a couple of years ago) as it was absolutely freezing and windy. However, I think I might be in need of a tailor as I have worn a couple buttons right off it and I am not too good with fixing buttons back on! Oops...

I know that this song is not new but it has been played a lot on the radio this week and it keeps sticking in my head. FourFiveSeconds with Kanye West, Rihanna and Paul McCartney!

Photo from Wikipedia
As most of you will know, this week I tried Bulletproof Coffee for the first time and am now a massive fan. Just trying to not make it everyday now ;)

I also made some cupcakes for the school bun sale. Yummy! Still working on perfecting my frosting technique...

And Lastly...
I am on my way to going self hosted! I am not the most technically gifted person in the world and have no idea how long it will take me to get things up and running (and yes I expect plenty of technical glitches once I am) but please bare with me as I work on this little project! :)


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Coffee...Coffee...Bulletproof Coffee?!

Ok, so I think it's pretty safe to say that I love coffee. I love it with just milk, with flavouring, latted, cappuccioed, etc... pretty much anyway. So recently, when I heard about something called Bulletproof Coffee, I was intrigued. But what the heck is it? I mean come on, I have heard all kinds of weird coffees all you have to do is stand in line at a Starbucks in America to get the entire gambit of coffee combos and variations. But Bulletproof, never heard of it.

So I did some research... it is supposed to be some kind of health kick kind of coffee. I don't know about that really. I'm not so sure on the healthiness of it especially when you are used to drinking coffee with skimmed milk, but I thought I give it a try for the taste of it.;)

So when I looked up how to make it, there were a small variety of ways but this is the one that best suited me (i.e. the one I had all the ingredients for and sounded the easiest/cheapest!). It is from The Pioneer Woman who has some of the most divine recipes ever, so if she likes it and makes it, I thought, heck it can't be bad, calorie laden maybe but not bad...right?

Here is the bullet proof coffee recipe:

12 oz fluid strong coffee very hot
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil, unrefined
1 Tbsp Cold Butter (unsalted is best)

To Make:
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until emulsified, roughly 10-15 seconds (it will look like a very creamy coffee).
Pour mixture into a coffee cup and enjoy immediately! (Warm it for 15 seconds in microwave after blending if you like it extra hot as the blending cools it slightly)

So, what did I think? Oh My Goodness...this stuff is good!! However, this is going to have to be a treat only as it is truly naughty as well as delicious! ;) Love <3 Yum...if you like creamy coffee, give this a try but don't say I didn't warn you (you'll be wanting more!).

Have you ever tried bulletproof coffee? What did you think? 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Cuddles Needed

Despite having some fun plans for the weekend (after all the mice will play when Daddy's away!), we actually didn't move very much further than from bed to couch this weekend. My youngest woke up shortly after Daddy left for his hike on Sat morning at 4am! He was feeling a bit warm and things only progressed for the worse from there. He ended up with a pretty high fever and was sick several times through out the day.

I always feel horrible when my boys are sick because even though I can cuddle them, clean them and rub their backs, etc... I just can't make the sick go away. :-( My little Dylan is usually very up beat, out going and full of life, but this weekend all he wanted were cuddles and for Mummy to hold him. He was a pretty ill little man.

So with a lot of cuddles and a little calpol we have our fingers crossed that he will be back to his usual cheery self this week.

Here he is today still warm and bright cheeked.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Eclipse, Rice Pudding and Bright Blusher! #littleloves

Another week has gone by quite quickly. After the challenging start to this week though, I am glad. I hate saying that because it seems as though I am wishing the week away and I definitely don't want to wish any time away, but when you have a tough day or week, it is so easy to wish for the weekend! ;)

So here are my little loves this week:

This week I finished the second in the Stephanie Plum series and moved on to the third book. So far so good and pretty funny as well. I did try to buy a couple of books this week but went to a small book shop in town and they didn't have them in, so I will have to wait on those for now. Admittedly, it is pretty rare when I actually buy a book these days as I am so in love with my Kindle (so handy!).

It may seem like an obvious answer but today I watched the eclipse! I didn't look directly at the sun but I did watch all the clouds and the sky turn darker than usual. I don't think it was exactly what I expected, as I thought it would go pitch black (like night) when the eclipse happened but it just looked a bit ominous like there was a storm coming. My husband took his camera out with him on his journey to work this morning so he might be able to show me some nice photos of it all.

Photo off Wikipedia 

I ran out of blusher this week and being desperate for some to brighten my ever pasty complexion I opted to make a quick trip to Boots and pick up Bourjois blusher in Rose de Jaspe. It smells lovely and is so pretty to look at in the container but WOW use a light handed approach when putting this on! My last blusher you really had to cake your brush with it to even notice a difference. This morning I very nearly left the house looking like a clown!! Once I toned it down, it was very pretty! :)

Annie Mac take over Zane Lowe's position as the evening DJ on Radio 1. I very rarely listen to the radio at that time of night, but I do on Thursdays when I drive to and from running club. I really liked Zane Lowe and was surprised to hear that he was leaving and then left. I like Annie Mac and so far I think she is doing alright, still finding her feet probably but so far so good!

Photo from BBC Radio 1
Yesterday I quickly made up a lovely rice pudding with some left over rice we had from one of our meals during the week. I didn't want to waste the rice and the boys love rice pudding so I fired up the hob and got making it! I haven't had any of it though as I'm trying to be careful with my sweet intake these days but it has been gobbled down by the boys with no trouble!

And lastly...
It is that time of year again. Time to vote for your favourite blogs to be nominated for a BiB Award. I would love to be nominated but the main thing is that you vote as there are so many fantastic blogs and bloggers out there that really need to be recognized. :)




Thursday, 19 March 2015

A New Workout Schedule

So this week I have begun with a new self-made workout schedule. As you might remember, before Christmas I stopped working with my personal trainer for various reasons and then I was ill and was unable to workout. However, I'm happy to say that for a few weeks now I have been back to working out but this time, it has been slightly different. Due to gym opening times, school run times and my husband's work schedule, I have been having to do all my workouts after the boys have gone to bed for the night and after my husband is home from work (late!).

This means that I miss out on most of the classes that my gym offers, which is a major bummer as I really miss my pilates and spinning but it has given me an opportunity to mix things up a bit, which is good. :)

I have worked with what I know and am comfortable with to develop my new (and hopefully improved workout schedule):

Monday- Rest Day
Tuesday- Gym, weight training upper body
Wednesday- Gym, weight training lower body
Thursday- Run (with running club ladies if they are available)
Friday- Gym, weight training full body
Saturday- Rest Day
Sunday- Run

Last year when I was pretty fit! 
I am also trying harder to include yoga during the week, so whenever one of these days doesn't work out as planned, like when my husband is working late or something, I will do a yoga video. I am trying to see if I can wake up a bit earlier to fit the yoga in too but can't promise that at the moment ;)

I think it is also quite important to say that all my workouts include a warmup of about 10 minutes. On gym days I finish up with stretches, light ab work and 15 minutes of interval training on the treadmill followed by a 10 minute cool down.

I am definitely hoping this will be the best schedule and workouts for me. I'll keep you posted. :)

P.S. I'm sure you all know that it is time once again to vote for your favourite blogs for this year's BiB Awards. There are so many fab blogs out there so don't forget to vote. :)



Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A Manic Monday

I don't normally complain or whinge but honestly yesterday was one of the worst days. I kept thinking, 'It can't get much worse' but somehow it did. All day long.  

The day 'started' with my boys waking me throughout the night/into the morning consistently every hour. I don't think I got more than 4 hours sleep. Ugh... So with only a few hours of sleep under my belt, I decided to just get in the shower. However, on my way into the bathroom I found both my boys (who had only be alone a matter of minutes) covered from head to toe in talc and the entire hallway also covered in talc! Apparently they wanted snow inside! :) Joy! 

Don't mind the mess most of these things are due to go into the attic.
I just about made the school run in one piece and decided to have a huge cup of coffee when I got home to calm my nerves and help me get on with the day. However, I never even got a sip as I managed to spill the coffee all over my desk and keyboard resulting in an alarm warning the entire Nation that my keyboard was broken. Despite drying it, there was no hope it was gone. :( 

Halfway through the clean up!
I cleaned the mess and got another cup of coffee. As I drank it I thought it tasted a bit off. By the time I was half way through it, little bits of something had started floating to the top and into my mouth. My little one started giggling, then said 'I did a spit in mummy's coffee'! So I had to face the facts that I just wasn't going to have a cup of coffee that day. 

11:30 and time for the school pick up. My youngest and I got in the car and I found that my car radio had stopped working. How, I have no idea. Ugh...

We'd arrived at school in one piece although I was extra careful to keep just under the speed limit as I sensed that I might be pulled over by police or caught by one of those pesky speed cameras for going the tiniest bit over the limit the way my day was going. As per my usual routine, before I jumped out of the car to pick up my son, I grabbed my lipstick to put a bit on and it broke in half. Luckily I wasn't too badly covered in it. So I guess I am doomed to dull lips and driving in silence...fine! 

The rest of the day passed without incident. luck was changing! :-)I was ready to cook tea for me and my husband. However, that never really made it to the table. I'm sure I was jinxed yesterday. :( 

Our evening meal :(
Fingers crossed today is a better day and that the luck of the Irish is on my side! 
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Up-cycling Old Into Chic

So it is a pretty well know thing, that I'm not completely crafty although there are times that I fool people (like at my son's 4th birthday party where I made a children's craft, batman game, buns and a few other fun bits and bobs), so mainly I get creative when I can with what I can.

Recently, in my attempt at a compete house declutter I found a few items that I immediately put into the 'nice but never going to use' bin pile. Two of these items were:

  • an old biscuit tin (I got this ages ago in a tea set and I used to let the boys roll it around when they were that weird?!) and 
  • an old pitcher for drinks (it was so narrow it didn't actually hold much and I have other pitchers that do the job a lot better, but it was pretty). 

However then I got to thinking, even though these things are kind of junky, could I still use them. Obviously my husband told me to stop being odd and throw the darn things out but I had a brain wave and now they are pretty important items in our house! :)

It's funny how it happened but around the same time as the declutter I realised that I was desperate for a new place to store my make-up brushes. You know, the ones that simply fall out of your make-up bag whilst first getting everything covered in blusher or the little ones that just fall to the bottom of a bag never to be seen again...well, I need a new place for these so that I had them to hand, they were in a more sterile environment and so that they weren't constantly falling on the floor. Ah yes, my old biscuit tin! Perfect!

Additionally, about a month ago I wanted to buy one of those beautiful white pitchers for spring flowers you know the ones I mean, everyone has them and they are gorgeous full of tulips, daffodils or lilacs in the spring. However, as I picked one up and put it in my cart at the shop I realised I didn't need that white pitcher I pitcher for drinks that was at the bottom of my bin pile! Score!

So there you have it. With a bit of imagination and a little cleaning these two things, nice but destined for the bin, became beautiful, useful house hold helpers.

Have you up-cycled anything recently? What was it? How did it work out?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Recipes, Poldark and Stary Plum... #littleloves

Another busy week has flown by, but to be honest I'm sort of glad. I haven't been sleeping well and am looking forward to a more relaxed weekend. Although, I'm not sure relaxed is what I'll get this weekend as we have a friend's 40th birthday party tomorrow night and will most likely be out with my husband's mother on Sunday morning...oh well! :-)

I haven't really read much this week. I have read a bit of my second Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum) mystery but I really haven't had the time and I've been so tired at night that I have just been going straight to sleep instead of reading, which is what I normally do.
I have however been reading through a few recipe books to get some ideas for suppers this week. Trying to cook more for the whole family (instead of a meal for the boys and a meal for me and the husband) and a little more healthy too!

Great family cook books for busy mums!
Poldark! Awesome! My very good friend got me into the Winston Graham  Poldark series about a year or two ago and I read every single one (there are 12) with delight and now it is a TV series! Yay! Can't wait to see how it all progresses. So far so good :)

BBC's Poldark is so good!

The word 'NO'! Honestly, you have thought I had teenagers living in my house but it is my toddler who is using the 'N word' consistently all week. Fingers crossed this is a short lived phase :)

I made loads of things going into last weekend: a Batman game, a parcel for pass the parcel, cupcakes (buns), superhero masks, etc... So this week I am taking some time off making anything spectacular! However I did manage to make a quite delightful smoothie! Yum :)

Sorry this was the before photo. Smoothies don't last 2 seconds in this house :)

New eyeliner by Clinique: Stary Plum. I have had this deep purpley shade for ages but it always runs out! ;) This time, I ran out ages ago and only just got around to replacing it. I love this eyeliner as it slides on smooth and it is such a pretty color which goes so well with hazel eyes.

So pretty!

And lastly...
Happy Mother's Day and have a nice weekend! Fingers crossed you all get a lie in :)


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Another Mother's Day Post

Yes, there have been Mother's Day posts around the blog-o-sphere all week and yes, I wish I could be more creative sometimes, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts about Mother's Day too! After all, I am a mother and I am a daughter.

This is actually from my birthday last year but couldn't find a good one with flowers! ;-) 

Mother's Day is a tricky one for me. Being an American living in the UK, I technically have two Mother's Days. One is the UK Mother's Day this Sunday the other is the US mothers day in May. Part of me would like to celebrate the one in May so that I'm keeping a part of my US culture, but since I live in the UK and have for a long time (not to mention I had my two boys here) I celebrate with the UK. I just have to remember to buy a card early for my Mom, otherwise I'd have missed the boat come May!

Pink Champagne to celebrate!

I always like to spoil my Mom on Mother's Day but to be honest these days it is a bit harder. I don't live nearby and that makes it more of a struggle in figuring out what to get her but we always make sure that when we get together either in the UK or the US we go out and spend time together which is the best present we can give each other. ;) It goes without saying really, that Mother's Day always makes me miss my Mom and I wish that we lived closer.

As for my Mother's Day celebration, I never really want anything. I don't make a big deal out of it either. I think, like most mums I would love a lie in and a cup of hot coffee in bed and I absolutely adore home-made cards from my boys but anything above and beyond that is a real treat. :)

All I want :-)

This year, I'll spend my Mother's Day being grateful for my husband, my two sweet boys, my furry boy and my Mom and Dad back in the States. After all, I really wouldn't be the Mum I am today if it weren't for all of them. :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A 4th Birthday Party!

As many of you may know this past Monday my little boy turned 4! I truly can't believe how time has flown by. When you first hold your baby in your arms, you can't even comprehend the fact that they are finally there with you, never mind that they will (soon) be 4! Yikes :)

Awesome Rachel Ellen Superhero Invites! 
Anyway, to celebrate the occasion he asked for a birthday party this year with some of his friends. We had yet to have a birthday party for him for several reasons but one of them was that he wasn't aware enough of the occasion to really ask for one, want one, or know he was missing out on one, etc... However this year, he knows who his friends are and he wanted to have them over to have a party, so we agreed.

Despite being excited for him to have his first birthday party, I was overwhelmed and slightly intimidated by the idea of it. We were going to be hosting it at our house and I wanted it to be just right. I was also nervous about meeting his friends' parents. I know I don't have to be friends with everyone but I haven't really met too many mums at the school drop-offs and it would be nice to have more friends in the area. I really know how to put the pressure on :/

The day of the party arrived with much planning and a couple of late nights colouring (after a few orders off ebay fell through). Saturday afternoon 5 children arrived at our house to party! We had a few party games like pass the parcel and 'pin the emblem on Batman' and then we had a craft 'make your own superhero mask' all of which I made up during many a late night! After the activities we had some snacks and cakes. Mainly the boys spent the afternoon running around playing both in and out of our house. My husband lead the boys in a game of football and I made sure hide and seek was not getting too crazy in the house!

Batman is really lopsided! Whoops.
The children's parents got to relax, have some tea and cakes and chat whilst the children had a running around. The best part was that at the end of the party, every single child was exhausted! I consider that a huge win (as did all the parents who got a lie in the following morning!).

Left over cakes (forgot to take photos the whole time!)
I'm glad that it was stress free, that it went smoothly, that the children had fun and were worn out, that the parents were all nice and relaxed, and most of all I'm glad that my big boy got his party just the way he wanted it! :)

Monday, 9 March 2015

Decluttering Part 2

Hurray! I have finally finished my house declutter! I am so happy and thankful that that little (big) project is over. In place of the clutter however, I now have a pile of things to sell. It is a little overwhelming but if I am patient I think I will get a little bit of spending money and a clean house. If it all goes wrong, then it is just one more trip to a charity shop and/or the dump.

To sell!
Most of the house was pretty easy to declutter but the master bedroom was a mess. It took me a whole weekend to get that room cleared out. Now that it is done I am looking forward to getting it redecorated and making it into a comfy oasis. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for awhile as we'll need to save up. In the meantime however, I'll begin to work on other little projects that need doing around the house and keep a list going of the bigger wishlist things ;)

So clean and tidy! 
Now to get signed into Ebay...:)

Anyone else spring cleaning or having a declutter? How's it going? 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Spicy Sausage & Red Pepper Stew

So, normally my Fresh Soup Monday soup is veggie based with nothing but veggies in them. They are either chunky or puréed but veggie filled none the less. This Monday, I decided to go back to a very old favourite that I thought the boys would also like (they are big sausage fans!), my Spicy Sausage & Red Pepper Stew.

Once again it is a pretty easy recipe and doesn't take a lot of messing around. Simple ingredients often make the best tasting soups. Also, Mondays are pretty crazy here so I can't manage to make a complicated soup...there just isn't enough time in the day. :)

*The ingredients are rough as I change it up a little each time depending on my mood or what we've got in the house.

Spicy Sausage & Red Pepper Stew

5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
600g (roughly) of sweet red peppers deseeded and chopped into chunks
500g (roughly) of Toulouse Sausages
400g (roughly) Tomatoes diced
1 tsp Oregano
150ml Hot water
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

To Make:
1) Heat oil in a large heavy pan
2) Add peppers and sauté over medium heat for 10-15 minutes
3) Slice sausages into bite-sized chunks and add to the peppers
4) Add the tomatoes and oregano to the peppers and sausage
5) Stir in the hot water, salt & pepper and cover pan
6) Cook for 30 minutes
7) Mix in parsley and serve

Serve with a fresh baguette for dunking!
Enjoy :)

Tasty Tuesdays on