Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Newspaper Print Nails Using Water - Tutorial

I am not the best at growing my nails. I try to keep them in good condition but they get to a certain length and then split or break and a manicure rarely lasts more than a day if I am at work. I love to play around with different nail polishes and decorating bits and bobs and had a blast trying out this new fun way of printing on your nails using newspaper articles. Check out the video below to see how you can get this great effect really easily.






Friday, 23 January 2015

Losing Out To Technology

A couple of days before Christmas, Aalliyah misplaced her iPod and after spending the best part of three days turning the flat upside down and driving myself crazy by searching the same places ten times over, I had to face facts. It was lost. It was frustrating as the only possible way of it becoming lost was in a matter of five minutes walking from one street to the other. She had run home from her nans house, so chances are it fell from her pocket. With Christmas day looming, I thought it was best to just deal with the issue afterwards as I didn't want it to put a cloud over our festivities.  As much as I was annoyed at the time, I really can’t blame Aalliyah for losing it. Since getting it over a year ago she has been amazingly responsible with it. It’s just one of those things and as much as I am sure I will be replacing it for her soon I can’t help feeling slightly pleased that just lately I seem to have got some quality time with her back again. Now don’t get me wrong, we do spend time together as a family whether staying in for game night or going out for a walk somewhere, but there were days when she would literally spend the best part of the evening glued to that iPod. She is an avid gamer (Minecraft in particular) so is ever so slightly addicted to those gaming videos on YouTube.

I came to realise that up until the point she got her iPod, she was a very regular reader. She has always had an exceptional aptitude when it comes to English and reading and her reading level has always been ahead by years. She would literally devour a book in one sitting and loved nothing more than getting a new book. I remember when we joined the library. You would think it was Christmas with how ecstatic she was. She would always mention new books she knew were coming out and I would always do my best to get them for her. I loved her thirst for knowledge and didn't mind paying for books as opposed to toys or games as I knew they were expanding her vocabulary and she was learning through doing something she enjoyed. When Christmas comes around, it is the perfect excuse for me to stock up on reading material.Tesco always seem to have such a wide variety of kids’ books and I am always spoilt for choice when deciding on new ones to purchase. Just look at this beautiful selection of children’s books below. This is just a small selection of the books she actually has. They are just crying out to be read. Aalliyah recently stayed at her nans house for the night and where she is used to a DVD before bedtime she had to take a book as there was no TV. She came back the next day full of excitement and telling how good the book was and how much she was enjoying it. This is what I wanted to see. I want her passion for reading to come back.



Aalliyah has made a commitment to herself to read more. She knows that she will inevitably get a new iPod but has made a promise to not only me but herself to not let it take over her other past times that she loves. In particular, reading!


Are you an avid reader? Do your children share your love of literature? Or are you left out in the cold from technology? I would love to hear your thoughts..


** This post has been contributed by Tesco.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chunky Sausage Pasta Bake - Weight Watchers Friendly #Recipe

This is a beautiful rich pasta dish. Comfort food at its best and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Would go great with a nice mixed side salad.

Ingredients:

1 batch of speedy tomato sauce
200g dried pasta
Calorie controlled cooking spray
6 Weight watchers pork sausages Chopped into chunks)
2 Red onions chopped roughly
1 Teaspoon of dried rosemary
A pinch of chilli flakes
150ml Vegetable stock
125g Light mozzarella cheese (drained and sliced)
25g Fresh grated parmesan cheese

37 Propoints per recipe
Serves 4
10 Propoints per serving

Method:

1. Make the speedy tomato sauce (The recipe can be found here)
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the pasta and return to the boil. Cook so the pasta is tender but ever so slight under cooked and has some bite,
3. Meanwhile, heat a non stick frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Fry the sausage chunks with the onions, rosemary and chilli flakes until the sausages start to brown.
4. Drain the pasta and mix into the sausage mixture, adding the tomato sauce and the stock. Transfer into an oven proof dish and scatter the mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
5. Cook in the oven for around 20 mins until bubbling, with a golden cheesy crust.






Speedy Tomato Sauce - Weight Watchers Friendly #Recipe

Weather you are a weight watcher or not it is always good to have a simple tomato sauce recipe handy. This is perfect to make in batches. You can then freeze it and have it to hand whenever you want to whip up a quick dish. It is such a versatile base sauce it can be used for a wide variety of recipes , especially pasta dishes. The flavorings in the recipe add depth while the touch of sugar helps to cut down the acidity of the tinned tomatoes.

This has a pro points value of 0

Ingredients:
400g Can of chopped tomatoes
1 Garlic clove crushed
1/2 Teaspoon of grated lemon zest
1/4 Teaspoon of mixed dry herbs
1 Teaspoon of caster sugar
Freshly ground black pepper




Method:

Place all ingredients into a lidded saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. When finished simply use in your chosen recipe.

*This recipe is featured in "The Complete Kitchen" Weight watchers book.

Friday, 16 January 2015

My First Week Back On The Healthy Bandwagon #WeeklyWeighIn

As most of you know I have been a member of Weight Watchers for some time now and having previously done amazing with my weight loss, 2014 was just a complete waste. I never put in the effort and yet expected results. I really did waste last year . I could have easily been at my gold weight by but I was just lazy. Lazy with my food choices and in my fitness. So after having the whole of December off of Weight Watchers and eating anything and everything possible in those four weeks I expected to see over a stone of weight gain when I went back to my meeting in January. I was relieved to find out that I had only put on 7lb which considering what I ate and the sheer amount I ate was a blessing. 

I really did expect to struggle in my first week being back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon.I figured it would be really tough to pull in the reigns after such a long period of indulgence but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I managed to get back into the swing of things. I went into my first meeting with such a positive attitude. I told myself that I would not be in this meeting after the next New Year still wondering why I wasted the last year and having still not shifted the weight. I decided to take each day as it came and not even think about my weigh in until the day was here. I found it so much easier to plan each day in the morning and to just have one good day after the next. Gradually I will be able to plan the week ahead like I used to and have no fear of falling off track.

Over that first week I fell in love with food again. I don't mean all the wonderful indulgent things we all love like chocolate and cake, but real food. I used to love making meals from scratch, trying out new ingredients and having loads of fresh fruit and vegetables in the kitchen to cook with. The amount of fast food and sweet snacks I ate over December had made me lose my passion for food so I was glad that Weight Watchers was giving that back to me. It may sound like a cliche but it has never felt like a diet for me. I have always eaten what I wanted to eat and never deprived myself of anything. Just look at some of the beautiful meals I made last week.I really do look forward to meals times now and have even dusted off the old cook books in search of new recipes.





So Saturday came and It was time to Weigh In . 3lbs down! I was very pleased as it proved that I was very much back on track and heading in the right direction. Onwards and downwards! I have made good choices again this week and look forward to Saturday and seeing if it has paid off. I plan to keep you updated each week sharing my weekly weigh in results as well as some of the lovely meals I have been making. Who knows, maybe I will inspire some of you to make some? You don't have to be a weight watcher to enjoy delicious healthy food. Are you on a healthy kick yourself this year? Would love to know how you are getting on? You can also follow me on Instagram by clicking here. I post regular fitness and foodie updates, so be sure to follow to some inspiration and support.



Monday, 12 January 2015

My New Year Commitments

I don't believe in New Years resolutions. For me when ever I make a resolution it's like I am immediately setting myself up for a fail. The minute I tell myself I must quit something, it makes it near on impossible to do. I used to be a smoker and I have lost count of the amount of times I have quit on New Years and then started up again within a few days. I did eventually quit after a few attempts and it was not a New Years resolution nor was it because I had told myself I "must" quit (although I needed to) Instead I told myself I was going to try my best and attempt to stop smoking. If I failed then it was ok and I could simply try again. When we make (and then break) resolutions it leaves us feeling defeated and dissapointed in ourselves so this year I decided to make some New year commitments instead. I made a commitment to myself to "try" and change certain things in my life. Nothing was set in stone, I am not setting myself for a fail, I am simply commiting to trying. So here are my own personal New Years commitments for 2015.


  • Eat breakfast every single day - Ok , this may sound like a silly one but for me it's actually quite necessary. I used to have such a rubbish routine when it came to my diet. I would literally never have breakfast and it really is the most important meal of the day. Now that I am back on track with Weight Watchers it is even more important to have a hearty breakfast each day to set me up for the day and really give my weight loss a boost.

  • Drink more water - Again another very simple one. Most people drink water as a normal part of their daily routine. I would literally drink zero water daily. Just a few cups of coffee and plenty of Coke zero (another slight addicition I have kicked) but no water. So this year I have made water my new best friend. My fridge is stocked up daily and I always have a bottle with me. It is such an amazing aid to your weight loss and remarkable for your skin.

  • Be a little more selfish - An odd one this, as selfish is considered to be an ugly trait to have. But this year needs to be a little more about me. Don't get me wrong Aalliyah will always come first and nothing will ever change that but I really need to spend more time doing what makes me happy, after all I am more than just a mum.



I am hoping this year will be a wonderful year for me. I am looking forward to making so many more amazing memories with family and friends and just enjoying every moment I can. We spend far too much time focusing on the negatives in life and worrying about things that more often than not either wont happen or are out of our control anyway. What will be will be. Enjoy it.. Live, laugh and love in 2015...



Happy New Year

Monday, 8 December 2014

Fitness And Fun With The Virgin Active Crew

It's no secret that Aalliyah is an active girl. Whether she is skateboarding, playing football or simply running around like a maniac, she is never happier than when she is working up a sweat. So when we received an invitation from Virgin Active to trial a new fitness class aimed at kids, she very literally jumped at the chance.  Virgin Active have worked alongside SAQ International to develop an exciting new fitness class aimed at children ranging from 8-15 years old. It's a fresh, new approach to children's fitness which is not like your normal mundane fitness classes. Instead it incorporates exciting challenges which proved to be a huge hit with all the kids involved. 



The kids were really put through their paces right from the initial warm up. They took part in some great team challenges involving balls and sand bags, focusing on their throwing , catching and teamwork abilities. Then they moved onto individual challenges and some animal antics with Nathan Helberg from Zuu chimps. Aalliyah loved the animal movements like the gorilla and the frog and found these the most strenuous. Another thing she seemed to really enjoy were the reaction challenges using the fit lights. She was rather good at these actually and has some lightening fast reflexes. What was also great to witness is how the team members were so involved with the children and kept them motivated throughout the class. The kids were seriously sweating by the end of it but were enjoying themselves so much I am sure they could have easily carried on.




All in all our experience with the Virgin Active Crew was amazing. Not only did Aalliyah have a wonderful time getting active and socializing with other kids her age, but it was amazing to meet and speak to some of the people behind the Virgin Active Crew and to really hear first hand how beneficial these programmes could be. Not only do they improve core fitness and ability but they are proven to improve a child's academic performance and even improve a child's handwriting literally within weeks of starting a class. After seeing first hand how much Aalliyah enjoyed the class, It really is something I would be interested in following on with. 




Do you or you children attend any fitness classes? How do you find them? Why not give Virgin Active Crew a go?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.


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