Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Starting Nursery - Settling in days

A few months ago we decided it was time to move Ted from his childminders to a Nursery. There were so many factors that led us to this decision but mainly that the nursery is in the village I work in and also where we would like to move to so it made sense. 

Finding the right nursery was a lengthy process of scouring the internet, getting recommendations and arranging viewings. Having worked in a nursery myself during my A-Levels I knew what I wanted and what I didn't. 

One day whilst collecting an item from a Facebook selling page I looked over the road to see a nursery I had never seen on my internet searches and it was 2 minutes from my office! How I had never heard of it I don't know but I went in for a look around and it was perfect. A small friendly nursery that felt like a little home, the staff were lovely and the prices were really reasonable (compared to most I had viewed!).

We decided to move Ted on the first week in March and that meant cramming inductions in to a few weeks but it needed to be done. 

Session 1 I went along with Joe and we stayed and settled Ted in, he seemed to like it so despite some tears when we left we went for a walk around the village for 10 minutes. He cried most of the time we were gone and I felt so concerned that this was the wrong choice but we had to keep trying.

Session 2 was for a whole hour and I went on my own, again there were tears but I was brave and left him. When I came to collect him I was told he cried for 10 minutes and they almost called me but then he settled. They even tested the waters saying "Mummy will be here soon!" and he just said "Mummy, soon? Okay!". Phew!

Session 3 was for 2 hours. My sister and I went to drop him in and again there were tears...lots of tears. We had to peel him away from us before we left but low and behold the minute we left he settled and had a lovely time...in fact he didn't want to come home!

Today was his 4th and final settling in day. He went from 9.30 to 12.30. On the way in I reassured him by telling him how he was going to nursery to play and Mummy would be back soon. He responded "No Thanks!" (his new favourite phrase!).

When we arrived there was a lady working he hadn't met before, an older lady who seemed very friendly and calming. Ted was having nothing to do with her and the tears started. I kissed him, said goodbye and left. I am one tough Mumma! 

I enjoyed some peace and quiet on my day off, watched Broadchurch (oh em gee!) did some blogging and had a cuppa before heading back to get him. When I arrived they were playing outside, Ted was in the playhouse and when I said hello he screamed and ran away! Clearly having too much fun to come home with Mummy.

That was the end of his inductions. He gives me hell when he gets there and I am sure that will continue for a while but enjoys it once he gets settled. Monday is his first day at Nursery and Thursday is his last day with his childminder. I know she will be sad to see him go and I am going to miss that stage of his life as he has been there since he was 7 months but change is a good thing and I am excited to see him develop.

I will let you all know how he gets on...
Have you got any tips for making drop offs a little easier?

My Weight Loss Journey - Weeks 3 and 4

A whole month of my low calorie diet gone and I am really enjoying it. Continuing with this same 1400 calories a day as with weeks 1 and 2 and discovering lots of new recipe's which is great fun!

Week 3

I haven't managed to get on top of my water intake as I would have liked to and the motivation to exercise  isn't coming very easy either which is something I need to work on.
We had our Valentines meal this week which consisted of steak, new potatoes and green beans with a mushroom and cream cheese sauce. Surprisingly it came well under my daily food goal at 399kcal (Joe plated...explains the # of green beans!)

Week 3 Weigh In...

Week 4

This week was all about trying to get a balance. I ate out with my family and I ate more than I should, it meant I had a sore tummy for hours after as my stomach isn't used to big portions. It did however teach me that I need to treat myself sometimes in order for this diet to work. Treating myself regularly means I don't cave in and binge eat just because I feel fed up, it gives me something to look forward to!

Here is a little daily meal plan for one of my 'normal' healthy days so you can see that keeping under 1400 calories doesn't mean starving yourself or living off lettuce!

Breakfast - 231

2 Slices of Brown Bread - 160
1 teaspoon of Iight spread - 18
1 teaspoon of Marmite - 10
Tea with whole milk - 27 (we ran out of semi-skimmed otherwise it would be 16cals)
1 teaspoon of sugar - 16

Lunch - 251

Quorn Curry - made with a jar of sauce and chicken style pieces - 122
Small Jacket Potato - 128

Dinner - 316

100g Spaghetti - 156
20g Grilled Peppers (in a jar) - 13calories
27g Sundried Tomatoes - 115
10g Light Grated Cheese - 32

Snacks - 336

8 Mento's - 80
2 Jaffa Cakes - 104
Roasted Chickpea's with Cinnamon - 152

Pudding - 240

100g Frozen Fruit - 39
Banana French Toast - 201

Total - 1374 Calories

Don't get me wrong I ate complete rubbish and should have opted for fruit and veg instead of sweets and carbs but like I say it is all in proportion as the next day I had lots of vegetables. However this was at the weekend, we were at a friends and I caved in to a Jaffa Cake or two. 

Week 4 Weigh In...12st 2.8lbs - This is a weight gain of just over 1lb but considering I ate out once and haven't been exercising I don't think I can be too tough on myself.

I am beginning to feel happier in myself, I look in the mirror and see the changes I am making. Joe treated me to some new clothes and underwear for Valentines and I got a vest in a size 12 for the first time in ages...and it fits...and I mean really fits without looking like a sausage bursting out of its skin!

I promise I will have some healthy recipe's up soon, it has been a crazy couple of weeks but I will explain all in my week 5 update so please come back and say hi.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Oh Cr*p! I Forgot! - 5 Steps to Avoiding a Valentines Disaster

Forgotten the big V day tomorrow? Here is some last minute inspiration to save you from a Valentines Disaster!

I have the perfect romantic night in planned and I am going to share some little tips with you to get yourself all set for tomorrow.

Step 1: Grab some paper and a pen. See this is the easiest bit, write your loved one a letter and tell them you have a special evening planned tomorrow (don't go too OTT, we don't want them to think it is a proposal...although that wouldn't be a bad thing!)

Step 2: Set your alarm for an early wake up...you have work to do!

Step 3: Get your butt to the shops. If you have a local Home Bargains store that will be your first stop and then into your nearest Tesco for the final supplies. (Keep reading for more details on these!).

Step 4: Back home with your haul and time to get those creative juices flowing. If your other half lives with you then you may have to find an excuse to get them out of the house, I think on Valentines Day they may be understanding if you ask for a little time to 'do something'.
Lay the table, light some candles and dig out some smoochy tunes!

Go on..Get Wooing - Wooing??!! Did I just say that?!

Step 5: With dinner cooking away nicely, a glass of fizz and your gifts at the ready all you need to do now is put your glad rags on and prepare to amaze!

The Gifts...

With a huge selection of gifts, treats and decorations, Home Bargains has everything you need to put a smile on your special persons face. Their range of Valentines treats are all super cheap too so no need to break the bank to stay in the good books!
Chocolate Rose
Plastic Champagne Glasses
Heart Fairy Lights
Love Crackers
Snowglobe Photo Frame
Heart Shape Balloons
Heart Shaped Mini Frying Pan
Heart Chocolates
Lip Cookie
All of these romantic gifts start from just 59p and are available in your local Home Bargains Store. They are great quality and I think the Snow Globe and Chocolate Rose make the perfect gift while the Heart Fairy Lights make for great mood lighting.
The Meal...

Last year I wrote about the bargainous Tesco Valentines £10 Dinner for 2 and it is back! For just £10 you can tuck in to a Main, Side, Dessert and a bottle of wine.

I am unfortunately on my low calorie diet so this was off the menu for me to try but Joe happily gave it all a test run for us and said the Lasagne was one of the best he has ever had and the roast potatoes went down a treat too. Although he did have them on separate nights (carb overload!).

You can choose a more balanced meal than Joe's though as there is an extensive range and something for everyone (although not for the dieters amongst us).

Check out the full range here and pick it up in store.

I would love to know what you all get up to for Valentines so please feel free to let me know below and I hope you have a wonderful day.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

What Ted Said - Barney The Dinosaur......Yet?

New word of the week appears to be 'Yet'. Ted has been experimenting by using this word at every opportunity. He also says it in a weird way like it is always a question.
"Not go out Yeeeeeet?" "Have Breadstick Yeeeet?"
You can imagine my upset when we were driving home from the childminders the other day and he told me "Not go home yet...Gill's (the childminders) House!". He promptly burst into tears until we got home. I know when I am not wanted!
Having realised that now he knows words he can actually string them together to make songs Ted has been serenading us on a regular basis.
The theme tunes to his favourite TV shows are constantly being belted out but my favourite has to be when he sings the I Love You song from Barney The Dinosaur....90's kids you will appreciate this one!
Ted says we are a 'Pappy' Family *collapses from cuteness overload*

I love this one too as I get lots of kisses and cuddles to end the song!


My Weight Loss Journey - Weeks 1 and 2

I made a resolution this year to take care of myself. This started quite slowly in 2015 with me just taking time to adjust after Christmas a couple of weeks ago I decided to kick start my ‘healthier happier me’ plan with a low calorie diet.

I weighed in at 12stone 7lbs and at 5’3 I am classed as obese. Not just overweight but unhealthily so and that scared me.

I decided to start by reducing my food intake to 1400 calories a day which is considerably lower than the 2000 calorie recommendation for women. I also was going to up my fruit and vegetables and reduce the amount of carbs where possible.

Week 1
The first week went really well, I unfortunately came down with a cold which almost 2 weeks on still is lingering but I promised not to let a cold throw me into a spiral of comfort eating. The diet continued.
I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app as recommended by a few friends. It allowed me to track what I was eating and I could use it to socialise with other people who have the app so we could encourage each other. Something I thought would help me stay motivated.

Recording and weighing everything I ate seemed a little strange at first and quite hard work but as I kept it up I realised I was beginning to understand portion sizes and calories a bit better. It also logs everything you have eaten so you can find your regular foods easily.
The app also works out the calories in your own recipe’s by inputting your ingredients and how many people it will serve. This is great for family meal planning and it means if I have Chilli Con Carne for example, I will know how many calories it has every time and can plan my day around it.

I must admit I have had a few bad days where I have ended up starving myself most of the day so I can have a big treat for dinner which isn’t the best way to go but most days I have had a balanced diet. I also love that I can have treats as long as they are part of a healthy diet. Some nights I have a little bit of chocolate after dinner but as long as I have a good breakfast and lunch that is ok.

Week 1 weigh in:  12stone 4.5lbs. That is a loss of 2.5lbs and I am so proud. I managed that even with a horrible cold.
Week 2

Still going strong with the My Fitness Pal app and recording everything. It has become second nature already and I actually don’t find it that time consuming, although Joe may disagree! I am finding it really helpful that my food is tracked so I know if I have a banana of a similar size to my last one it will be the same calories meaning no tedious weighing.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover I could still have a takeaway on payday too. My friend Lucy at Mrs Bishops Bakes and Banter suggested a few low calorie options and I decided to go for a Chicken Shish Kebab with lots of salad. By choosing the chargrilled chicken and swapping the garlic mayo for light mayo I had at home I was still able to have a pitta and a couple of Joe’s chips all for under 700 calories!

Joe is being so supportive and is putting his fussy eating aside to have more healthy meals with me. We had Turkey Burgers and Quorn Curry this week which were diet friendly and super tasty. I will pop some recipe’s up soon!

Still having a cold and my chest being tight I haven’t been able to find the energy to exercise so my plan for Week 3 is to exercise more. I had a feeling that my reduced calorie intake could be what was making my cold last longer but have no evidence to support it so have just battled on. I did have to laugh to myself as I logged my Halls Soother on MFP the other day as it had 15 odd calories in…what have I become?!

Week 2 weigh in…. 12stone 3.25lbs - Another 1.25lbs off!

Joe has promised to treat me to a shopping spree when I reach 11st so I am really motivated to keep going in time for my Summer wardrobe. My challenge for the next 2 weeks is to drink more water...that is easier said than done for me so wish me luck!


Friday, 6 February 2015

Valentines Day Gift Guide 2015

It is nearly that time of year again. The mushy, soppy, lovey dovey, smoochfest that is…Valentines Day!

Haven’t even thought about it yet? Where have you been?
Luckily I am here to lend a helping hand…just call me Cupid (but without the nappy...or bow and arrow!) Oh heck…just call me Jade!

I have scoured the world wide web to find some of the best Valentines gifts for your loved ones, so without further ado I give you…My Valentines Gift Guide 2015!

Sweet Nothings...
The biggest and best seller at Valentines apart from Roses of course is Chocolate and Sweets. This gorgeous box of chocolates from Godiva would make any girls heart melt!


After something a bit more fun? Why not get your loved one a personalised tub of their favourite childhood classics from Retro Sweets. These little boxes are adorable!

I Love You sweet Words Boxes

Spice Up Your Life
I adore this wooden spice box from Spice Kitchen. It contains handmade spice blends and teabags that are bound to put a bit of kick in your love life!


Love Game
This unique game called The Art Of Conversation is a great way to get to know your partner. Whether you are looking to work on your relationship or just want to have a bit of fun, it is designed to bring couples together and develop a deeper understanding of each other. 

...available from all good bookstores
(Always wanted to say that!)

I must admit Joe and I have given it a go and we loved the way it brings out conversations we would never naturally fall in to. We sat down together without any distractions and just chatted. It was so nice to spend quality time together and we learnt things about each other that we never knew!

Here is an example of some questions...

* Do you speak to each other in at least as pleasant voice as you use to your friends?
* An ideal night in is…
* When and why did you last say thank you to your partner?

It made us realise that there were things in our relationship that we could work on but also made us see how much we knew about each other and how much we still have in common.

This is one of the top gifts for me but tread carefully as your other half may misread it that you think couples therapy is needed! 

Blow Them Away!
Here is one for the ladies. Gents we all love a good blow dry but they are expensive to get done at a salon. Why not treat your lady to a top of the range Braun SensoDryer this Valentines and cut her 'getting ready time' in half!


I will be reviewing the Satin Hair 7 over on my YouTube channel soon too so send them my way for a few hair drying tips!

Make Their Heart Pop!

I love popcorn and when I discovered these bags of low calorie deliciousness I was so happy! Love Popcorn is a range of high quality gourmet popcorn in 5 tasty flavours. My favourite is the Cocoa Crisp but the savoury Sea Salt and Black Pepper comes close second. 

I really recommend these for snuggling up in front of the TV so why not pick up a box set and a blanket to give to your loved one this V day!

Pamper Them

The Ginerva tea tree range from Janiro is a line I have only just discovered and I am raving about it already! I have been trying the Green Tea Marvel Gel and the BB Cream which I am loving. The Marvel Gel is a gentle exfoliator and it is one of the best I have tried. My skin feels smooth and I have less blemishes just after a week of trying it. 

The BB Cream is also fantastic and may be swaying me away from my regular brand. It evens out my complexion and doesn't have the orange tone most BB creams on the market seem to give me. 

Why not treat your special lady to one of these Bright Eyes Perfect Complexion box sets this Valentines?
Bright Eyes Perfect Complexion

Serenading Sweethearts

Not a great singer? That's fine! Albumcards have the perfect gift for serenading your loved one without breaking into song yourself.

Albumcards are a fantastic unique gift for today's download crazy world. Who needs CD's anymore it is all about downloading music. 

A personalised greetings card and digital album all in one. The album's artwork is printed onto a card along with a personalised message and download code inside which in a few clicks of a mouse will be yours to play. Starting at just £9.99.

I have the Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith Albums and they are fab. Super easy to order and even easier to download. A great unique gift for your sweetheart! 

And The Rest Is History

I have mentioned the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal on the blog before and I love everything they do including the breathtaking Poppies at The Tower of London this year one of which my Mum was lucky enough to get her hands on. 

They have stunning jewellery on their online shop and none more beautiful than the new First World War Poppy Necklace commissioned to help commemorate the Centenary of the First World War (1914-1918). Its design is based on a 100 year old dried and flattened real poppy and I think it would make a beautiful Valentines gift.

If you want to get your loved one a little piece of history you can find this necklace and more on the Poppy Shop Website.

Have a very special Valentines Day and remember the greatest gift you can get your Valentine is love and perhaps an extra big hug!

*I was sent sample products for inclusion in this post but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Galaxy Books

I am literally so bad when it comes to reading. I am super impatient and struggle to find a book to keep my attention for any long period of time. The last books I really loved were the Harry Potter series and after I completed one book I would sink into a ‘post Potter depression’ and complain about how boring life was compared to the world of witchcraft and wizardry!

Books really have to be exciting to keep me engaged and I barely make it through a few chapters of most before giving up. However, I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Galaxy about their new short stories called Quick Reads. This selection of small books from really fantastic authors are just £1 each too which is a bargain!
I have a copy of Paris for One and Pictures or it Didn't Happen to get stuck in to and will keep you updated over on my Facebook page as to how I find them. Perhaps a smaller book will be easier for me to finish!

Unfortunately I am on a low calorie diet at the moment so my Galaxy chocolate has been demolished by Joe. I’m sure a nice cuppa or a soak in the tub will be the perfect accompaniment to some light reading.
They are available from bookshops, supermarkets and online or can be borrowed from libraries across the country. They are also available as eBooks across all major eBook platforms and at just £1 why not treat yourself to a couple!

Titles in the offer include:
Dead Man Talking - Roddy Doyle
Paris for Two One - Jojo Moyes
Red for Revenge -Fanny Blake
Pictures or it Didn't Happen - Sophie Hannah
Out Of The Dark - Adéle Geras
Street Can Bob - James Bowen

For more information visit www.quickreads.org.uk.