Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Heat Holders Review

This was meant to be a completely different post.
It was meant to be full of pictures of us having a picnic on a hot, sunny day. Of how we took the blanket and socks that Heat Holders sent us out to a field, patted down the grass and laid it out for our picnic.


However, a few things have happened since we had that picnic, one of them being that the camera with all our lovely pictures on got stolen before I had chance to upload them onto the computer.

We planned to go again, but we got sick and then life went into overdrive as we got ready to go on holiday and then my birthday plans (which is another post entirely) leaving us no time to do anything let alone go out and enjoy a  leisurely picnic.


So you won't see the pictures of Talia outstretched on the rug running her hands along it because it was so soft.

You won't see Aidan wearing the socks in the field and grinning widely and loving how cosy they were and you won't see me, eating my sandwiches and feeling all posh because we had such a great picnic blanket to use.

But what I can tell you is that the Heat Holders socks and blanket we were sent to try out are lovely.

Each item is wonderfully cozy, soft and warm.  

The blanket is big - all four of us could sit on it comfortably when we had our picnic and Talia especially loved the texture.

She kept lying down on it and rolling over, pushing her face into it and going 'ahhhhhh.' 

The socks are lovely and fluffy, really thick and very warm.  We could only wear them for a little while on our picnic as the sun was out and they really do keep the heat, but since then, Aidan has been using them as slippers around the house.

They're going to be much used as the weather gets colder, and although we were sent these products, I wouldn't hesitate in buying them.  In fact, I think I'm going to get some more of the socks so we always have some to hand in winter.


And a new camera has now been purchased, so when we get time, we're going to do the picnic again and that post will be full of the right pictures!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Raw Chocolate Brownies


I've been meaning to make these for ages but couldn't find the raw cacao powder anywhere - I know I can get it online and at some health food shops, but I just never seemed to get round to getting my hands on some.  Anyway, that all changed when I saw it in Tesco. I snapped up a jar, quite pricey, but totally worth it, and then got the other ingredients together - pecan nuts and dates.

The magic of cacao powder is that it's made by cold processing raw cocoa beans, which keeps the living enzymes in, but not the fat. Meaning that it helps do loads of wonderful stuff like reduce blood pressure, protect the nervous system and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

It can even help to slow down the aging process, which I think is pretty impressive for something that tastes divine. Needless to say I will be drinking a lot of hot chocolate made with this stuff from now on and eating these brownies, which were ridiculously easy to make. You basically just chuck everything in the food processor and that's it!


I worked off this recipe from Deliciously Ella.  
I'm a little bit in love with this site to be honest, I've tried out three of the recipes from there so far and they've all been lovely.  (Even the courgette pasta which I was totally sure would taste terrible.)

Next time I make them I'm going to increase the maple syrup, use less dates and maybe add a little coconut oil.   
Ella doesn't really give measurements - just to use the same cup size, and I think my levels on my first attempt might have been a little out.  However, the batch didn't last long.  Gone in two days.  It's quite addictive stuff, every time I opened the fridge I seemed to be eating some so next time I need to store it right at the back of the top shelf, just so they last a little longer.


Friday, 4 July 2014

Changes


I took this picture this morning.  It was just taken with my phone, nothing fancy, but I wanted to record what was ahead of me.
I'd just come from dropping Aidan off at high school for his taster day and it surprisingly knocked me sideways a little.  I watched him walk off, on his own, into the doorway of this huge building, alongside all these other massive kids and had to fight the urge to run after him.  To make sure he was okay, that he knew where he was going, that he'd find where he was supposed to be.
I'm not going to lie, it was a little hard.  I cried just a tiny bit and, as my husband pointed out, he's not even started properly yet.  What will I be like come September?

So we took a walk into the woods, one of our favorite spots, just so I could clear my head.
But to be honest, it's been that kind of week.
One of the agents I sent my book out to got back with some edits and trying to get through those, whilst doing the day job, whilst doing the million other things that need doing alongside child care has just been a little...overwhelming.
I've neglected this blog. (I have so many posts I want to do) We've eaten mostly junk and the house is, well, not as tidy as it should be.

This weekend I plan to get myself together a bit so next week isn't so hard.  I'm back to the meal planning with a vengeance, I'm doing a bit of baking and cooking and then freezing the stuff and I'm getting organised with the house work.  Everything is going back to where it should be so I can feel a little calmer about it all come Monday.

Some day I plan to actually do a post about writing and editing, but for now, that will have to wait. I have a large glass of red waiting with my name on it.
Have a good weekend y'all. x

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Nearly 15 months

Now at nearly fifteen months, Talia has gotten wild.  Bruises dot my arms and legs.  We are entering the world of the toddler and although it's wonderful, it's a difficult age.



Difficult in the sense that she's starting to communicate - nod her head for yes and a definite shake for no and I'm impatient to hear her thoughts. Difficult in the way she gets so very frustrated when she can't do something or isn't allowed.  Difficult in that she wants to run, skip and dance ahead of herself but her little body can't yet do the things that she wants to.




She's happiest when she's exploring.


If there's a bag that she can delve into and take things out of, or a drawer or cupboard that she can empty then she's content.


She is never still; she trots everywhere, like a drunken old man, plodding along on her two feet to get where she's going and if you try to stop her....she lets you know how unacceptable that is.

She's proving to be a thrill seeker, squealing with delight when we swing her around or throw her high into the air.


She starts our day at five am at the moment.
As soon as it's light in her room she wakes and then wakes the whole house by shouting for her brother at the top of her voice.

She sings, soft long notes with no tune, but she cheers afterward.  Applauding the sound she makes and we can't help but cheer along with her.  And when she hears music, any kind of music, she starts to dance.  So we are all singing and dancing along to her tune.

And almost everything she picks up is used as a phone, it gets put to her ear as she babbles happily away in an imaginary conversation.



And she's so loving now, regularly giving hugs with her 'ahhhhhhh' sound to let you know that she's giving affection.

It's tiring, exhausting, frustrating, delightful, funny and exquisite.
The months are passing so quickly and with every new moon she changes. I want to memorise every second of her like this and stamp it into my brain because I know that in twenty years or so I will miss this little tyrant as she is now, at almost fifteen months, who has our hearts so much, however demanding she can be.


Linking to:

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Cunard – Mediterranean Competition Entry

The sun is hot here at the moment.  Lovely and warm.  Bright in the mornings - waking us up at an early hour and staying vibrant all day and well into the evening.

It makes us all want to be outside as much as possible.  We're lucky as we have lots of green spaces around where we live, but we also have a garden...well a garden that's in desperate need of a makeover.
A makeover in the sense that it needs character, a sense of something inviting about it and when I saw this competition over on Love Chic Living to create a Pinterest board of bringing the mood and colours of the mediterranean into your home, it was all the motivation I needed.

Follow Zoe Lea's board Mykonos, Greece, (favourite port of call) on Pinterest.

I've picked Mykonos, Greece.  Why?  Because of all the Greek isles, this is my favorite. I love the contrasts  - the brilliantly white washed walls set against the deep turquoise of the sea and bright blues of the sky.  The traditional houses, built like little sugar cubes with vividly painted doorways and decorated with plants.

I love that the houses and architecture are a part of the landscape, flat roofed buildings huddled together all using local materials and shining against the deep sea.
And I love the way that spaciousness and comfort are mixed together in this mediterranean place to bring a light airiness to every interior.

So, how to get this into my own backyard.
If you look at my Pinterest board, you'll see the colours I'm planning.  Deep blues to light turquoises mixed with brilliant, unforgiving white.

I'm even going to go so far as to paint the tree trunks against our fence white, and then bring in some large, Greek planting pots.  I'm planning to paint the shed door a vivid turquoise and set it all off with some greenery, mixed in with some new Greek designed covers and cushions.

If you fancy having a go, pop over there now - be quick the competition closes soon and good luck to all!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

decluttering


Yesterday Talia was teething something terrible.  She was tearful, clingy and restless.  Her back teeth are coming through and she's having a terrible time with it.  The only thing I could do with her was to cuddle up in bed and try to calm her, gently singing to her and administering what medication I could.

It worked and she fell asleep and I didn't want to move, couldn't move for fear of waking her and starting her crying again so instead, I sat in my darkened bedroom for an hour or so, holding her and thinking.  
And as I stared at our bedroom, with the shelves totally cluttered and the clothes literally spilling out of the wardrobe I was reminded of my March nearly four zero goal
To declutter.  
I've been a bit lax with these goals as the months have gone by, but I remember going through the bathroom cupboard and not much else and so, as I sat there, I did it in my mind.  I went through exactly what shouldn't be in the bedroom and what should. 

Later when Talia was fed, bathed and feeling better, I put her to sleep for the night and set to.   I decluttered and as I write this, sat on my bed, I feel so much better in the space I've created.  

So, my first step?  I cleared all the surfaces.  
I found all manner of things on the shelves and on the top of the drawers  - old receipts, magazines, buttons, toys and discarded change.   Now, our bedroom is not big.  Not by any stretch of the imagination, we have two shelves and one set of drawers and they were stacked with just...stuff.  

I remember reading somewhere that when you declutter you should look at an item like you would a fork.  If you picked up a fork in your bedroom you'd immediately know where it belonged and that's how it should be with every item in your house.  Everything should have a place.  So for those items that I didn't know where to put, I made a place for them somewhere else.

Next I went to the wardrobe.  I'm one of those people that never throws anything away, but I was ruthless.  Ruthless!  I did it by the rule that if I hadn't worn it in the last six months then it was going in the charity sack.  
And now I can actually see my clothes instead of just a huge jumble and it's so much better.  I didn't realise how much it was all weighing me down. 
I know I want more space and not more stuff.

Tomorrow I'm tackling the bathroom.  Properly.  I'm going to declutter this house one room at a time but first, I'm going to spend some time really looking at the space and what can go and what can stay.  I'm going to apply the fifteen minute rule and treat anything that stays like a fork. So tell me, do you declutter?  Do you have any tips?  I'm totally in need of them for when I tackle the medicine cupboard and...(gulp) the kitchen.

*the above photo is of an orchid that the husband bought for me today. Lovely isn't it?


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