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Saints and Slimmers – A Review

I was recently sent some packet meals and shakes from Saints and Slimmers to use as part of the 5:2 diet.
As a lot of you will know, I’ve been doing Slimming World for a year and a half and for the last 6 months my weight loss has slowed dramatically.

I thought I’d try the 5:2 diet out of curiosity really. I wanted to see what it was all about and whether it was something I’d be able to stick to easily the way I did with Slimming World in the beginning.

I was quite surprised at how easy the fast days were. I didn’t feel hungry between meals and all the food, apart from the porridge (I can’t stand porridge but the husband, who does like porridge, says it tasted like regular porridge) was really nice. The vanilla milkshake left a bit of an after taste but the strawberry one was lovely.

I really enjoyed both the chili meals and even though the portion sizes are childlike, I felt full after eating.

I have to be honest here and say that for the previous five days, I hadn’t stuck to the recommended 2000 calories a day (or Slimming World food optimising either) as we’ve been super busy decorating our new house and we’ve just grabbed whatever we can to keep our energy up so I was expecting a huge gain when I went to Slimming World on Wednesday morning.
I was delighted to find that I’d lost 4lb from the previous week 🙂 If I hadn’t done the two fast days, I would have gained around 5lb at my weigh in after all the takeaways, biscuits with coffee, crisps and everything else snack wise that I ate!

It’s been another bad week for snacking again since we’re still decorating and our meal times are all messed so I tried doing the two fast days again this week and according to my scales this morning, I’ve lost another 2lb from last Wednesday’s weigh in. On Monday I had weighed a huge gain which I’m not going to share because it’s quite embarrassing how much I put on in one week, when it wasn’t even Christmas!
Suffice to say that if I hadn’t done the fast days, I’d be dreading this morning’s weigh in!

Disclaimer: I was sent the meals to review, my opinion of the meals and my 4lb weight loss is totally true! 😀

 

Bedroom Furniture

As some of you may know, we’re currently decorating our new house and I’ve been doing lots of planning and virtual window shopping, wishing I had an unlimited budget so I could buy some new furniture for our new house!

I’ve been looking at bedside tables for Kaycee and Ella. They currently have bunk beds but we’re thinking of putting them out as single beds and I thought it’d be nice for them each to have a bedside table for their lamps and bedtime story book.
Ella has a Moshi Monsters lamp that she had for Christmas…

and Kaycee has a ceramic mushroom fairy house lamp that was mine when I was younger 🙂

I’ve been on Pinterest a lot having a look at different ideas for bedside tables. I love little round tables but we need storage so although they’re pretty, they’re not very practical.
There’s a great selection of bedroom furniture at The Range and I’ve been checking out the different styles.

Because I’m looking for furniture for the girls I naturally went straight to the ones with pink on but they seem to be rebelling against pink at the moment, only allowing their most favourite possessions that are already pink, in their new room! They haven’t let me buy anything pink and I had strict instructions that their bedroom walls were not to have any pink on them at all!

The girls are having our wardrobe and set of drawers as we have a built in wardrobe in our room so I’m now thinking it might be better to buy new white bedside tables for us and give the girls the ones we’re using at the moment because they match the wardrobe and doors.

I think I’ve settled on this one 🙂

Disclosure: The post is brought to you in collaboration with The Range.

Jungle Dogs Review

Like many kids, mine love hot dogs but we don’t have them very often because I’m always unsure of exactly what it is they’re putting in them.

When Jungle dogs offered to send us some hot dogs that are made from all pork, with more meat than other hot dogs and they don’t have any artificial colours or flavours, we couldn’t wait to try them 🙂

We talked about the best way to have them for dinner tonight and the girls were in full agreement….hot dogs and spaghetti.

We do our hot dogs and spaghetti a little differently to the conventional way because it’s so much fun! Check out our pictures below 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls, Aiden and I all thought these hot dogs tasted delicious and at only £1 for 6 from Asda, they’re affordable as well!

Disclosure: We were sent some Jungle dogs to review; all opinions are honest and accurate.

A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrokes

Crafty Christmas

The girls and I love crafts, especially at Christmas time. We were all excited when Ladbrokes sent us some lovely crafty items to make a stocking and some Christmas crackers as part of their Deck the Halls campaign.

We especially loved the stamping kits and the red spotty ribbon and bows for decorating the crackers with!

Crafting on my own!

Unfortunately, the girls didn’t get the chance to help me make them. The days over Christmas were hectic then they spent this week and the new year in Derbyshire with family. Don’t worry though, I’ve saved them some crackers to make for next year. I’m going to use them as one of our advent activities.
They’ll love filling them with gifts for one of their friends 🙂
Making crackers for A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrooks
As well as all the crafting goodies, I also received a voucher for John Lewis. My first thought was to buy more Christmas presents for the kids but Ant and his mum had said I’d bought them too much already!

John Lewis

I opted to treat myself for a change and bought some gorgeous things for our new kitchen (we’re moving house in the next couple of weeks). I’ve been so excited waiting for them to arrive! I ordered some ceramic measuring mugs and a tiny butter dish. The butter dish was a bif of a surprise as I had thought it was a proper sized one, (that’ll teach me to read the whole of the description!) but it is still totally lovely! Also, a beautiful ceramic cheese board and an old-style tin of hot chocolate.
I can’t wait to get them put on display in our new kitchen but, until then, I’ll just keep gazing at them lovingly!
Disclaimer: I was sent the craft goods and John Lewis voucher in return for this post.

De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas

Innovative Ways
to De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas!
When your home is filled with clutter, it can be very
overwhelming (particularly if it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner this
year!) With less clutter comes less stress, so de-cluttering prior to the silly
season is always a good idea. However, these do not necessarily need to be
thrown away. We’ve come up with a list of creative, innovative ways to get rid
of unwanted items around your house.
1. Sell them!
Other people consider their clutter as trash, but what
they don’t realise is that these items can easily be turned into cash (and
let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a bit of extra cash during the holiday
period!) The first step is to collect all the unwanted goods that you find in
your house, sorting the real trash from items which have resale value. You can
check similar second-hand items online by checking classifieds sites like Friday Ad or Quicksales. Have a look to see what
other sellers are pricing the same or similar items and this will give you a
good starting point. Remember to give your item a price that is right for the
current condition of it.

After determining the price of the item, you’ll need
to find a place to sell it. There are a number of places where you can sell or
list your item. The best, most affordable options would be to list it through
an online classifieds or auctions website which doesn’t charge fees, or have a
garage sale. You can also look into consignment shops but make sure you give
them a call first to find out their store policies, commissions and what
products they sell.

2. Renovate or
refurbish
If you’re feeling crafty why not reconstruct your old,
unwanted items into something new! This is best done with furniture or homewares
, but can basically be done with anything. There are lots of
do-it-yourself websites which will give you inspiration and take you through a
project step by step (such as this one on how to refurbish old wooden
furniture
). You can give a boring cabinet a new look by painting its
surface or reupholster an old chair by using fun and fresh fabrics. You can
even get your kids involved and get them to create their own ‘masterpieces’ using
scraps of fabric, odd bits of wrapping paper, buttons, or basically anything
laying around!
3. Donate to
charity

 

If you do not have the time to sell your items, you
can simply donate them to a worthy cause. This is a great idea this time of
year as plenty of charities collect Christmas gifts to give to the less
fortunate, such as the Domestic violence charity Refuge  A good rule of thumb when donating items is
that they should be in decent condition, do not require repairing or mending
and must be clean. Keep in mind that these items are going to be used by
another person or a family and the charity organisations often don’t have the
time or resources to repair or clean items.In collaboration with Quicksales

Lego Friends from Argos – Review

It’s nearly Christmas so excitement is in abundance at the moment in our house, so much so I didn’t think it possible for the level to rise any higher; however, when this Lego Friends set arrived from Argos for the girls to review, the level nearly went through the roof!

 

I told the girls to sit at the kitchen table and I’d be in shortly to help them. They must have misheard because when I went in they were sitting on the kitchen table and this became their preferred place to sit while building this lovely doll house 🙂

All the pieces to make the entire house were split into 7 bags and the aim is to work your way, in order, through the bags.

The age range is from 6-12 and whilst Ella (6) could follow the instructions, she couldn’t maintain her concentration for very long (she’s very active and likes to be on the move a lot!) so Kaycee (8) who just loves this methodical way of working, ended up making the majority of it on her own and Ella took interest again when it was all done and she could get down to the business of playing!

 

It took Kaycee a couple of evenings, with a little help from me at times, to complete it and when it was done she loved it 🙂
She didn’t want Ella to play with it though because she didn’t want it breaking so we had to have a little talk about sharing and the beauty of Lego which is it can be easily put back together!

They now want the other sets from the Lego friends collection!

Argos have a large selection of all things Lego available to buy here

Disclaimer: We were sent the Lego friends kit to review but all opinions are my own and are honest.

 

The Croods DVD – Big thumbs up!

We received a copy of The Croods on DVD from 20th Century Fox and Mumsnet and I have to thank them for bringing a little bit of peace and quiet to this house for a while!

I think it must have been the first time the girls and Aiden had agreed on the movie choice and sat together to enjoy it 🙂
This movie got us all laughing, especially at belt who is easily our most favourite character. Ella does a great, ‘dun dun dun’ Belt impression and makes us all laugh!

I must admit, we did spend a lot of time laughing at Ella laughing at the movie. When she finds a movie funny she lets it all out, very loudly!
I think her and our favourite part has to be where Guy shows them fire and they accidentally make fireworks and popcorn.

For those who don’t know, the movie is about a family living in the Croodaceous period who find themselves having to travel through a fantastical land when their cave is destroyed.
The dad, Grug is very over protective and clashes with his teenage daughter, Eep who wants more from life. She doesn’t think it’s worth fighting so hard to stay alive if she’s not allowed to really live.

Grug’s married to Ugga and they also have Thunk and Sandy who I have to say is a little crazy but so adorable! Grugs mother in law lives with them and is another of our favourite characters; the relationship between Grug and Gran is archetypal mother and son in law, which makes for great jokes!

Eep meets Guy and Belt at the start of the film and he tells her the end is coming. They all end up working together to survive and as expected, there’s a lovely happy ending for them all 🙂

The Croods will be available to buy on Blue Ray and DVD from Monday 9th December 2013, just in time to fill the stockings of your little darlings, who will love it, I’m sure, just as much as we all do 🙂

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Croods on DVD to review. All opinions are honest and accurate.

Learn Cliki – A Review

If you’re looking for online classes, working one on one with your very own tutor, or indeed, if you want to share your skills and be a tutor, Learn Cliki is a great place to go.

I was asked to review this new website and I have to say I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the lesson.
I chose to do a graphic design lesson as I like changing my blog design occasionally and it’s been a few years since I last did web design but there are loads of other topics to choose from.
Hobbies and crafts, cooking and academic subjects, among others, are all on offer.
To take part in a lesson you will need a webcam and microphone, a computer or laptop (availability on tablets will follow soon) and a good quality Internet connection.
When you book a lesson, you send a message to the tutor and tell them the date and time you would prefer. You then work out with your tutor a date and time that suits you both. When the lesson is confirmed you make your payment.
I was a bit nervous about using the webcam as I’m quite shy but once the lesson got going I was put totally at ease by my tutor, Alison.
After a few technical difficulties to start off with, we got them sorted and started the lesson. She was very patient with me and explained things in a way I could easily understand.
We managed to cover quite a lot during the lesson and I definitely feel it was worth the money. I made my new blog header with help from Alison and I’m going to get the girls to draw me a picture that I can then scan in and use for my blog background 🙂
When the lesson is complete, you’re asked to rate your tutor and leave a comment about them/the lesson.
I’d definitely use Learn Cliki again, maybe to get some help with the accounts that I have to do being self-employed because I find all that self-assessment malarkey very confusing!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was given the lesson for free but this didn’t guarantee a favourable review. All opinions are my own and given honestly.

Turtle Mat Christmas Challenge

The people at Turtle Mat have set a challenge for bloggers to create a mood board showcasing their perfect Christmas theme that will help make their home more welcoming during the holiday season.

There are three themes to choose from:
A welcoming entrance
A welcoming living room
A welcoming dining room
I’ve chosen the living room and here’s my mood board 🙂
welcoming Christmas living room
I love the Christmas door mats from Turtle Mat but unfortunately, all of their Christmas designs have sold out!
I don’t know what it is that appeals to me about The Nutcracker but I’ve always wanted one as part of my Christmas decorations but never got round to buying one.
Now we’ve got a fireplace and mantel, I’ll definitely be adding one to our collection so he can stand on the hearth at the side of the fire 🙂
We used to always have mistletoe at Christmas when I was younger but it’s a tradition I haven’t kept up with since getting my own home. It’s time that changed!
The most important thing at Christmas that helps make our living room welcoming and cosy is the twinkling lights so I like to have lots on the tree and on the mantel.
It looks so lovely with the fire switched on and the lights all shining round the mantel 🙂
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Child Sponsorship with Plan UK

Make
Someone Smile this Christmas

Give Child Sponsorship with Plan UK as a gift
It’s fun to give gifts at Christmas time – sometimes it’s
even more fun to give than to receive. However, other times it becomes a
competition, or a nightmare, trying to buy something wonderful for the person
who already has everything.
This year, why not give that gift to someone who has
nothing?
Purchasing a child sponsorship as a gift is a beautiful
present, both for the recipient and for the child who will benefit from it.
This action brings us back to the true spirit of Christmas, and is sure to
bring a smile to the face of someone special when they realise that this year,
they have received the gift of giving.
Child sponsorship is a wonderful opportunity to make a unique
connection with a child who has the chance to shape their future for the
better. Make someone’s Christmas extra special this year by giving them the
chance to forge a special bond with a child who is in need.
Letters, photos and reports between the child you have
sponsored and the recipient of your Christmas gift will continue to make a
difference long after Christmas has passed. You will learn how your sponsorship
has made a difference, not only to the sponsored child but to the community as
a whole. Your contribution will be put to work where it is needed most, be it
education, agricultural training or the provision of clean water and
healthcare. Most importantly of all, the focus is always on giving the
community ownership of these initiatives so they can continue to grow stronger
and develop.
Local children are involved in deciding, planning and
carrying out these projects, and you will be able to see your sponsored child
benefit directly from your contribution through the letters and photographs sent.
You can also rest assured that you money is going where it is needed, as at
least 80 pence of every contributed pound goes towards each individual
charity’s development work for children and their community.
For as little as 50 pence a day you can give someone an
amazing Christmas gift, the effect of which will last for generations. You can
choose which country you’d like to sponsor a child in, and you can even choose
the gender of the child as well as their approximate age. Children are usually
sponsored until they are 18, but you can stop at any time if you need to. The
benefits of child sponsorship are manifold, from the obvious benefits of
education and clean water, to the subtle improvements to a child’s self-esteem
and motivation to succeed by simply letting them know that someone else
cares.

 

Sponsoring a child means that child is more likely to
survive in to adulthood, be free of disease and be educated. Make someone smile
this Christmas by giving them something completely unique and special – the
gift of giving a child a brighter future. Visit http://www.plan-uk.org/sponsor-a-child/
today.
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