Saturday, 29 June 2013

Bath Vs Shower

Are you a bath or shower person? I personally love them both but if I could only ever use one for the rest of my life then I'd have to choose a bath. As much as I love a refreshing shower I don't think I could go without

enjoying a steaming hot bubble bath ever again. I do miss not having a shower in the flat. Getting up in the morning and having a bath really doesn't wake you up and leave you refreshed and ready to start the day. If anything it leaves you tired and wanting to get back into bed and curl up. Once my bathroom has been redecorated I will definitely be getting a shower put in. I would never be without my long soaks but having a shower installed is the smart choice, with me (hopefully) starting work soon and Aalliyah moving to upper school in a little over a year a shower is definitely going to make our morning routines quicker and easier.

So until I get my lovely new shower, I have to stick to the baths which are great but don't leave me feeling very energized in the mornings which is why I get a little extra help with all the lovely shower gels and bath salts out there. Us ladies run a bath like we are making a cocktail, using just the right amount of ingredients. Using our essential oils and salts in the evening and a jazzy, fruity shower gel for the mornings!

Get the best of both worlds with this little bundle. Some fresh and fruity original source shower gels guaranteed to revitalize and put a spring in your step and for when you want to relax with a nice long soak in the tub, some yummy chocolates to indulge in. (Yes, Dolly the duck is along for the prize ride too!)

Simply fill in the rafflecopter form below. Best of luck!

Saturday Is Caption Day #SatCap

Happy Saturday everyone! It's time to caption again. Here is Aalliyah doing what she does best, acting the clown! Don't know where she gets it from?!?

Do you have a funny caption to go with this picture? I'd love to hear it :)

Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Butternut Squash ZERO Point Chips - Weight Watchers

I though zero point chips only existed in my dreams! But I have found a healthy alternative to chips and one that is just as tasty (even more so in my opinion)

I'm not a fan of soups so had never tried butternut squash before but I am now converted. For us weight watchers the butternut squash when baked is quite simply a zero point potato which Is a dream come true for us!

Start by preheating your oven to around 180-200 degrees.
First you need to cut/chip your butternut squash. You might struggle to cut the squash so zapping it in the microwave for 10 seconds before really helps. If like me you don't have a microwave then a decent set of knives will do the job.
I always use start by cutting the squash in half length ways. One half I keep in the fridge for another day (squash will be fine to store in a container for up to 5 days in the fridge when cut)
Next Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds.
At this stage you can peel the squash which is easy to do with a vegetable peeler. I personally like to keep the skins on when making chips or wedges for a more rustic texture/taste.
Cut your squash in half again width ways and then cut into desired sized chips or wedges.
Places them onto a baking tray and (if your a weight watcher) give them a few sprays of fry light oil, If you are not too worried about the oil then drizzle them with a little olive or vegetable oil.
Next choose some spices to add. I usually add salt, pepper, chili powder or paprika. I find this all taste amazing on squash chips.
Bake for around 20-25 minutes or until they start to crisp at the edges. Depending on how crispy and chip like you want them you can leave them in for longer or take them out sooner for a softer style chip.

...And thats it! Enjoy!

Let me know if you try them, and what you think :-)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bringing The Outside In

I would say the only thing I miss about moving from a house to a flat is my old garden. It was huge! Granted it was some what over grown in places and needed work but that didn't matter, we loved it all the same. I am lucky as I am in a ground floor flat and because its such a small block we do have a decent sized outdoor area, both grass and paved. So when were sent out a fantastic little gardening kit and asked to take part in the #KidsGrowWild Challenge, we happily agreed. 

Sadly the garden area has been flooded and needs some essential maintenance so we were unable to get outside, but that didn't stop us! We decided to make the most of a bad situation and bring the outside in and make our very own little garden on Eden. Aalliyah loved the idea of growing things that we could eat so we came up with ideas on what we could grow. It was a struggle as our garden was now a "windowsill" but nether the less we came up with some great choices. Granted some of them should be grown outdoors, but I've seen many a fine pepper or onion grown on a windowsill so thought why not give it a bash. 

Armed with her gloves and trowel Aalliyah was keen to get planting. 

We decided on some sweet strawberries, mini sweet red peppers, mixed chilies, tomatoes, rocket salad leaves and even a lucky shamrock plant. I wont say no to some good old Irish luck.
Aalliyah had a blast planting all the different seeds in their pots. We even made our own propagator lid using freezer bags, which Aalliyah simply sellotaped to the pots. Once the seeds were planted Aalliyah cut out the handy little labels which were included and wrote out her different plants so she could keep track of what was growing where.

 All that was left to do now was water them which Aalliyah had been itching to do the from the start, so she filled up her funky new watering can and gave them all a sprinkle. I could see how proud Aalliyah was of her efforts and know she must have felt a real sense of accomplishment. She is eager to watch how they grow and if our garden of Eden will bear any food.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ "#KidsGrowWild Challenge"

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cookie Press Review - The Craft Company

Biscuits will always be my choice when I need something quick and easy to bake. Whether its for Aalliyahs class or a rainy day activity for her to do. Biscuits can be any flavor with almost anything thrown into the mix. I love that you can literally have thousands of combinations. Whats more Aalliyah has so much fun when it comes to using cookie cutters and other tools to make random shaped biscuits. 

We were so excited to try out the Cookie Press from The Craft Company. It's a very simple concept. You simply fill the tube with your dough, pop in one of the 12 provided design discs and you're ready to go. I was able to fill the tube really easy, it wasn't fiddly or confusing. You simply unscrew and change the design disc as and when needed. It has a comfort grip handle which you press until you hear a click and it presses out a lovely shaped cookie. Some of the shapes are harder to master than the others and It does take a little bit of finessing to get the technique right but once you have the knack you can make lots of different shaped cookies in no time and at great ease. I made things harder for myself by using parchment paper as I couldn't for the life of me find my cookie trays. It still works but doesn't always stick well to the paper so sometimes wont form the shape and drop off the end. Even Aalliyah found it easy enough to use which was great as she loved getting involved.

I think this is a fantastic product and at under £11 its a bargain! Definitely a must for any kitchen. I can't wait to use it again. Fancy getting your hands on one yourself then head over to to The Craft Company where you will find lot more items at great prices. So if you need cake decorations, cake making equipment or even the ingredients, they have got you covered.

Instantgram Review

I am ever so slightly addicted to one app in particular on my iPhone.. Instagram! I use it daily and must confess that I am one of these people who capture snaps of various meals. I don't just randomly take pictures of my food for no reason, I do have a lot of followers who like me are losing weight with Weight Watchers and find such posts both inspirational and supportive. Foodie pics aside, I love sharing snapshots of my life through Instagram. Whether it's pictures from a day at the seaside or catching Aalliyah in the middle of some random funky chicken dance, there is always a magic memory to capture.

I was delighted when I had the opportunity to review the printing services offered by Instantgram. They can make high quality prints and magnets from your instagram photos. Most pictures we share with instagram, we give a bit of tweaking using the different filters available, so when you choose your prints for instantgram, they are already edited and looking great! There are two options to choose from, you can either order a set of 9 magnets each measuring 5cm x 5cm or you can choose to have a set of high quality square prints. These come in 2 different sizes. Either a set of 24 squares measuring 4 x 4 inches or a set of 48 mini squares each measuring 2.5 x 2.5 inches.

The price is fantastic as its a flat rate cost of $17.00 for either the magnets or the squares, which is very competitive when you look at local printing costs from similar items. They provide a free shipping service and although these come from outside the UK they arrive quite quickly. I received mine in a little under a week.

Its very simple to order and you can link to your instagram photos when ordering to make it really easy to choose which photos you want printing.

Here are just a few of the great magnets

...and here are some of the great printed squares. They are durable photo card and really good quality.

The prints and magnets are both great quality and I recommend them to anyone looking for a new way to keep treasured photos. They also make fantastic gifts.

Monday, 10 June 2013

One Woman's Trash..

As most of you are aware I am on on a weight loss journey. So far my grand total is 61lbs lost which is amazing but it's definitely beginning to become a strain on the old purse strings. Obviously I am over the moon at such fantastic results and although I still have a long way to go, losing such a substantial amount of weight means lots of new clothing being bought. I am finding it difficult to keep replacing certain wardrobe essentials each time I drop a few inches from my body so I am really trying to keep the spending to a minimum.

I said right from the start that my ultimate treat for reaching my goal weight would be a huge shopping spree to celebrate and I know I will be bursting with joy when I am able to slip my slender self into a nice pair of G Star jeans or a slinky little black dress. Until then though I am making do with the bare necessities when it comes to clothing.

As a result of the weight loss I found my wardrobe was overflowing with clothing which no longer fitted me and with them all being in good condition I decided they were too good to just throw away and I was going to make a few quid out of them if I could. My first thought was Ebay. Having used them previously I was aware of how things worked on the site and felt confident I could get a sale on there. Obviously when selling on Ebay you need to take all the relevant fees into account when deciding if its the best place to sell your items. If after the fees and charges it works out to still be financially beneficial to sell on Ebay then go for it! Millions of items sell every day on there so your almost sure to get a sale. If its not really worth your while selling on there then you will be pleased to know that its not the only place to sell your clothes. You have all heard of Music Magpie right? The place that buys your old dvds, cd, phones etc? But.. Did you know they also buy your old clothes too? They give great rates especially with designer labels. Another great thing with them is they offer a free posting/courier service so you are not troubled with posting and packaging problems/charges.

Failing being able to sell online, then car boots are always a winner. Whats more you are more likely to sell bulk/job lots at car boots especially if they are all of the same size. There are hundred of car boots held every weekend, just search in Google to find your nearest.

Whatever you do don't just chuck them away. Earn a few pound from your old clothing and put it towards something special. I made a tidy little sum from a bundle of clothing which was just too big for me. I am going to put it towards my big shopping spree as a reward for reaching my goal weight.

Clean Up By Clearing Out

When it comes to buying gifts, weather its for a birthday or Christmas, I much prefer buying for younger children. I loved it when Aalliyah was younger, say 4 or 5 years old as she was so easy to buy for. Anything pleased her no matter how small. I have to say I am very lucky to have such an appreciative daughter. Even though she is now ten years old she is grateful for any and all gifts received. Obviously as she has got older her taste has gotten a little more expensive and her wishlists now always seem to include the latest gadget or game. Her most desired item right now is a mobile phone. It seems she is one of the few poor deprived children left in the school that doesn't own one! What will social services think!! ;-)
I never really buy Aalliyah many expensive gifts throughout the year or for no particular reason which is why she is so appreciative on her birthday or at Christmas when she gets something extra special. I love this because so many children are brought up not wanting for anything. I know kids younger than ten who have the latest Iphone, laptop and more, which in turn makes them unappreciative with anything they receive. 

Anyway.. With all the technology that's out there there will always be a new phone or games console coming out. I am sure that I am not alone when I say how frustrating it is to buy a games console only to learn of an updated model being released just a few short months after I've purchased it. I have come to learn that these sorts of items never completely lose their value and there will always be a market for them. I sell things regularly and games, consoles, mobiles phones etc are the easiest thing to sell.

I can guarantee that nearly all of us will have at least one old item laying around the house somewhere gathering dust. Maybe an old mobile phone or computer game? So if you;re thinking "Where can I sell my DS?" or "How much is my old PlayStation worth?" Don't just leave it there in the back of the cupboard , clear the cobwebs, dig it out and make a few spare pennies for yourself. There are places in your local high street, like cash converters who can offer on the spot cash for various items, especially electronic items, so if you're looking for some quick cash then these places are your best bet. These places do tend to give you a slightly lower rate than selling online. If you are not in a huge rush for the money i'd recommend getting online to sell your items. How about listing them on Ebay? (Take the listing/sellers/paypal fees into account when selling on Ebay)

Another great site to use us Music Magpie who offer decent rates for things like computer games, consoles, mobile phones and more. Which ever way you choose to sell your items just make sure you do! There must be thousands of pounds worth of old, unused electronics, just laying around, forgotten about and unused in peoples homes. It's not always easy for us mums and dads to get our kids the latest things on the market, but at least if you cash in on your old gadgets and gizmos you can put a little extra cash back into your pocket!

*Please see individual websites for selling details/regulations.