Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Time For Fatty To Face The Music

It is Thursday tomorrow which means one thing... "Weigh In"! Normally I am not bothered by the thought of the scales, even if I think I'm due a small gain or maintain, I take it in my stride because I know I can work it off just as quick. So why is this week so different? Well I'll tell you why. Its because I haven't tracked anything for about 2 weeks. To be fair, I have been inhaling my food like a gannet so fast lately that I wouldn't even have the time to track it beforehand. I just dont know whats wrong with me lately.

I went to Blackpool last week and even though I was only going for 3 days, I knew I was going to miss weigh in so gave myself a week off of weight watchers. Doing this instantly gave me free reign to eat what I wanted whenever I wanted. Starting with the full english breakfasts at the hotel to the bags of donuts on the pier. I was an eating machine. The more I ate the more I felt crap about eating it in the first place, so what was the solution? Eat some more! Don't get me wrong I wouldn't change my time away as we had a lovely time and some lovely meals out and I always said I wasn't going to go away and be pointing but "Hello"! .. I am not on holiday anymore, so why can't I get rid of this greedy voice in my head thats always telling me I will start afresh tomorrow?

Anyway this is what has led to me sitting here on the night before weigh in venting and fretting about my 6+ lb weight gain I am convinced I am getting tomorrow. But lets face it, the fear doesn't seem to be doing the tick as I have just polished off pop corn and Cadbury cookies prior to starting this post! So maybe I need that gain to kick start my journey again?

But lets look at it from another perspective. So I gain x amount tomorrow. Will it stay forever? Can I never get rid of it? Hell no! I'll be working my ass off getting rid of it by the next week so why should I let myself get so angry with the thought of a gain? It's because I am angry with myself for letting those bad habits and old ways sneak back in and without realising it, eating like I was before I joined Weight Watchers. I am great at giving people advice and pep talks about how to not let it ruin your goals and move onwards and upwards when you have a set back but taking my own advice? Now thats a harder pill to swallow.

Well what can I do? I cant change the fact that I am getting weighed and I cant erase all the crap I have eaten these past few weeks so I need to face them scales head on and take whatever result I get. The fact is this isn't a quick fix its a lifestyle change and one of the longest and hardest journeys I will make in my life and I have already achieved so much since last year. I wont let it beat me, I will just come back more determined to lose this weight!

Until tomorrow.....

Monday, 19 August 2013

What Does Halloween Mean To You?

When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind? Scary movies? Trick or treating? Costume parties? Those with children will know that preparing for Halloween is as important as preparing for Christmas. Whether you are planning a party for the children or just simply taking them out trick or treating choosing the costume is always the high point of Halloween. My daughter starts planning her costume months before Halloween and will change her mind at least a dozen times before she is settled on a decision.

I remember Halloween being the most exciting night when I was younger. I would go out with my sister collecting sweets and treats and come home to the find the living room had been decorated with glow in the dark stars, moons and witches hats. We would be told scary stories which left me white as a ghost and convinced there was a witch in the kitchen. There would always be a terrifying movie on the TV. Something like Evil Dead or The Thing. Things that children should have never been allowed to watch but it was Halloween so the rules of parenting seem to change.
Things haven’t changed that much with my daughter. I carry on the traditions of Halloween from when I was younger. I decorate our flat for Halloween, we will always watch a few scary movies together and I will always without fail take her trick or treating. We have held Halloween parties before and sometimes the expense can seem to go on forever so it’s a good idea if you are planning a party to try and keep all costs to a minimum. Check out this great article on how to still have a great "Halloween on a budget".
When it comes to choosing an outfit, I always let Aalliyah decide what she wants to be and will gladly try and shop around to find her ideal outfit. More often than not it’s not only used on Halloween night but will used for special Halloween events/days at school also so I am guaranteed to get some good use out of it. I’ve found a few ideas in fancy dress ball’s costume section for girls, and most of the costumes are more light-hearted and fun rather than just being ghost costumes or monsters.

I don’t know if Aalliyah will like any of these specifically, but I am sure we’ll find something that’s not all too limiting, and what’s more, we could even win a prize for "Best Costume" if we post a picture of her in her chosen costume on their Facebook page.

I am still deciding on what to do this Halloween but whatever we choose to do I will make sure it’s “Spook-tacular”!

What do you have planned for this Halloween this year? I would love to hear some of your Halloween traditions.

**This post was in a collaboration with 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Spending My Winnings - The #Spend20k Challenge

Everyone of us has at some point daydreamed about what it would be like to win the lottery and fantasized about all the wonderful things we would buy with our winnings. With changes to the National Lottery taking effect in October, Britmums have been asking "How would you spend 20k"?

This is an unbelievable amount of money and when you are virtually spending your winnings, its very easy to spend it.. So here goes.. This is how I would flitter my windfall away.

First things first. A new TV! Yes you heard me right, not a holiday, champagne or a jacuzzi but a television. I have had mine for over 10 years now and it is seriously on its last legs. Turns itself off when it feels like it, turns different colours on screen and now and then the screen decides to shift left so you can't even enjoy your Eastenders! With a nice big budget too then I'd go for simply the best!

64" F8500 Series 8 Smart 3D Full HD Plasma TV


The next thing I would buy is a new sofa. Like a lot of things when I got my first place my sofa was donated to me. It was only through donations and 2nd hand sales that I was able to fully furnish my property. I have a floral velvet horror with broken handles and ripped cushions. Sounds great doesn't it? I am a single mum struggling to return to work so sometimes we just have to make do, so if I could choose ANY sofa? Then it would definitely be this one!


The next thing would be an intensive driving course! I love doing things with Aalliyah even if its just a walk round a country park or adventure trail, but sometimes Its just so restricting not being able to drive and not being able to just get up and go somewhere on a whim.


So what next... Well how about a car? After all I am now fully qualified to drive! I have always fancy cruising around, with my sidekick in tow in a mini cooper convertible.


Aalliyah always loves it when we go anywhere and she has her own money to shop. Her last birthday, all she wanted was money, so we went to London and she had an amazing time shopping with her own money. So I would love to give her a lump sum to go on a fabulous shopping trip where she could buy all her favorite things.


The next thing I would purchase would be a few gadgets. Aalliyah has been droning on about getting a phone for so long now and with secondary school just around the corner I think this would be the perfect time to get her one. I would also love an iPhone 5! No particular reason other than a selfish "I want one" . I would love a kindle so I could get back into reading and would love to update my camera to a more advanced model so I can really start enjoying my passion for photography.


My laptop has broken buttons, crashes over 10 times a days, overheats, doesn't work without being plugged in and take hours to uploads photos. How I manage to blog on it is a miracle so the next thing I would buy would definitely be a shiny new laptop thats gonna load pages at the click of a button (that isn't broken)


I can't remember the day when I woke up and didn't have a back ache, so the next thing on my list without question would be a new bed and memory foam mattress  Like the sofa, my bed was given to me when I moved in and although it has served its purpose and saved me from sleeping on the floor, it is thread bare and showing springs. It's got to go! So I would buy this beauty instead.


Well I have racked up quite a bill so far haven't I? I have so far spent £16,956.99p. This leaves me with £3,043.01p. There really is only one more thing that I would like to do with my remaining windfall and that is a holiday. Aalliyah is ten years old and we have never had a holiday together. I would love more than anything to give her the holiday of a life time. I am talking about 2 weeks all inclusive in Florida, swimming with dolphins, visiting every water park, every theme park and really giving her the time of her life! That would be amazing!

I have had a blast being able to escape into the land of make believe and spend my virtual winnings. It would be amazing to be able to do so but for now its back to reality. Yes I struggle at times, yes its hard and we don't always get to enjoy as many luxuries as I'd like to but I am grateful for what we do have. I have a wonderful daughter who is appreciative and grateful for everything she has. We have our health, a roof over our heads and when I look at others less fortunate than us I realise how lucky we are. But most of all we have love. Money can buy a lot of things but it definitely cannot buy true love and happiness. I would swap all the riches in the world in a heart beat for the love I share with my daughter. Nothing comes close...

This post is an entry for BritMums #Spend20K Challenge sponsored by The National Lottery, with more ways to win more money on the new Lotto game. Find out more about new Lotto, which starts in October, here –

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Saturday Is Caption Day

As much as I love a bit of chocolate, I adore sweeties! They remind me of my childhood! Me and Aalliyah love the fizzy types and really enjoyed our fizzy fangs! 

Do you have a funny caption to go with this photo? Head over to mammasaurus blog where you can have fun captioning more great pictures. Have a wonderful weekend.

Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Gallery - Relax

So the theme this week is "Relax" . Something which a lot have us have been able to do as it's the summer holidays. I find I can have a more relaxed morning without early alarm calls and rushing out of the door with toast hanging out my mouth praying I make it on time.

For the past few days Aalliyah has been nose deep into her book (My Sister Jodie - Jacqueline Wilson) and she has been randomly bursting into fits of giggles at the clearly comical writing. However during the last chapter she went rather quiet and in fact her giggles turned to tears as she was met with the all too common "sad" ending.

I think she certainly has the right idea on how to relax though? Maybe all that blood rushing to her head helps soak up all that literature ;-)

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Head over to Sticky Fingers and check out all the other Gallery entries this week.

Monday, 12 August 2013

An Ode To Emma Louise

The wonderful Emma Louise
Made blogging seem like a breeze
She helped me get started
Because she's so kind hearted
And always aims to please

This is an ode to my brilliant blogger friend Emma over at theminimesandme . She not only inspired me to start my own blog but is always on hand to help me :)

I am linking this up over at

How To "Really" Bag A Bargain On eBay

I am a total eBay addict and I must admit that 9 times out of 10 I will find what I am looking for on there. If not then I'll pop over to Amazon. I swear eBay, Amazon and Paypal are the 3 most frequently printed words on my bank statements. Whether its for Christmas, birthdays, back to school supplies or even a new fridge freezer, eBay has always been my first port of call. But how do you know if you are in fact getting a good deal? I have a few tips and tricks which I use myself to ensure that I am getting a bargain because lets face it, it's not really worth it if you are not getting a good deal is it?

  1. Take advantage of spelling mistakes!
    You would be surprised at the amount of adverts listed on eBay everyday that contain spelling errors. The ones that we can take advantage of are the ones in the main title. For instance if you are looking for a Mr Krabs teddy just take a few seconds to search instead for Mr Crabs. It doesn't take up any extra time and you could find yourself a hidden gem which isn't getting the bids due to a spelling error.
  2. Look locally!
    This is especially handy when looking for larger items. I recently purchased a fridge freezer on eBay. It was immaculate and a very large family style one. When you are presented with your search results, sort them by distance nearest first and you will be presented with all the results in your local area first. When things need picking up it leaves a lot of people with no transport looking elsewhere so there are lots of chances to pick up a bargain if you can collect. When I first moved in I didn't have a vacuum cleaner for ages and ended up having to purchase a budget end one that did nothing! Seriously, It left my carpet looking dirtier! For the same small price I ended up winning a fantastic Hetty hoover on eBay which is by far one of the best hoovers around and at such a small price (£19) was one of my best bargains so far.
  3. One bid maximum!
    When bidding for something, I always find that people tend to leave the bidding till the last few minutes and If you continue to bid up in small amounts it can turn into a bid war which when something is ending is time consuming and you may end up paying over the odds for it. Have your price in mind. A set price that you wont pay no more than and bid that amount. Whether its 10 days o 10 minutes left on an item just make one bid. If you win it .. great! If not then it has gone for more than what you would have paid so don't worry look elsewhere.
  4. Category searches!
    OK So most of the time when we go on eBay we are looking for something in particular and so will put that into the search bar, but when I like to browse for Christmas presents I leave the search bar blank and will just search a certain category. For instance Aalliyah loves games so instead of searching for a certain game I will leave the search blank and just search in the toys and games category. I will be presented with absolutely thousands of search result so I will break it down by clicking on sub categories on the left (Games and Puzzles - New Items Only) Then I am free to look through thousands of brand new games, some of which I wouldn't have even heard of but thanks to category search can find lots more games.
  5. BNIB!
    So in eBay language this means Brand New In Box, Its a way to describe something to immediately let the buyer know its not second hand. Another less common one is BNAS (Brand New And Sealed) and with clothing BNWT (Brand New With Tags) Much like the previous one, just simply putting BNIB in the search bar will bring up hundreds of thousands of results, but by simply clicking the toys and games category on the left I am presented with thousands of potential gift ideas for Christmas. This is a brilliant way of finding things I wouldn't normally search for but so many things pop up and I think "Oh that's good for Christmas" and at a fraction of the cost who can complain?
  6. The early bid catches the worm!
    It goes without saying that purchasing things early on saves money, especially with Christmas. I personally always start my shopping early on. Most of my early purchases are eBay. The price of a simple board game can change dramatically from August to December. Last week I won around 5 different games, each one brand new and sealed and each winning bid being no more than £1! I know without question, that if I were to bid on the same 5 items in December or even November the winning bid would have drastically gone up. There are many of us who start our Christmas shopping early but the vast majority of us are not even thinking about it, which makes now the perfect time to grab bargains on eBay, especially when it comes to the toys and games category. 
  7. Postage costs!
    Even if you think you have got a good price on something. Always take the postage costs into consideration. Your winning bid might be nice and low, but if they hit you with a huge postage charge then you might find its cheaper to shop elsewhere somewhere which maybe slightly higher but offer free shipping or other incentives. Always weigh up all the buying options to ensure you get the very best deal. Unfortunately there are people on eBay who like to keep there listing fees down by selling cheap and charging massive postage costs. Yes postage has gone up but come on.. You know it's not going to cost 12 pound to post an eyeliner out! Think smart when it comes to postage.

    There are lots of bargains to be found on eBay you just have to find them. Spend time researching your product and other online prices for it. Hopefully by following these handy tips you can grab a bargain for yourself :)

What A Difference A Year Makes...

The last time I had been out on the town was well over a year ago which is why I was so excited to be going out last Saturday. Every time I have gone out, I have always felt so self conscious and as much as I come out of my shell once the alcohol is flowing I used to spend the whole night tucking myself it, covering my arms up and trying my best to hold in the belly. I used to look at all the people out and think to myself how lovely they all looked and it honestly just made me feel worse about myself as no matter how much effort I put into my new outfit it didn't take away from the fact it was a size 22 and really didn't look no where near as good as it did on the size 10 mannequin in the shop window and this is no exaggeration but I was always one of the largest people in the pub! As much as I was upbeat and bubbly, it isn't until I look back now I realize how much of a front that actually all was. I was not happy with the way I looked, not even close, but it was easier to plaster on a smile than to deal with the weight and do something about it which is why I stayed overweight and unhappy for so long.

Now even though I am far from reaching my goal weight, when I went out on Saturday it was like a completely different person. Looking back now, not once did I even mention my outfit (in a negative way) when I was out, not once did I worry that my top was very figure hugging and not once did I worry about being the first person on the dance floor. I felt absolutely incredible and cannot believe how much of a different person I was. I was still me, but I was the me that no one got to see and enjoy her company because I was always to self conscious to ever let myself go and enjoy life. I took so much pleasure in being able to buy new jeans which wear super skinny and made my legs look sexy and sleek as opposed to tree trunks, new shoes which look great and didn't buckle under the not so attractive cankles and the fantastic figure enhancing top which nipped in at the waist showed off my curves and was short enough that it didn't cover my bum. It didn't need to be longer my bum is smaller, MUCH smaller so why not embrace it and show it off a little? I even saw school friends who commented and couldn't believe the transformation.

This was me last year (Hand Over Face)

This is me now!

The last time I went out I was 5 stone heavier and wore an outfit which was 3 dress sizes bigger! I know I have a long way to go on this incredible journey but I am having the most amazing time getting there and learning to love myself again.

*This post is in collaboration with New Look

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Gallery - Play

So the theme for this week is "PLAY".. Something me and Aalliyah seemed to have done all summer holiday so far! With a recent trip to Gulliver's you can imagine the abundance of photos I know I have of Aalliyah playing, running, jumping, skipping and hand standing over EVERYTHING! But there is one particular photo which I just had to share.

This is Aalliyah and her friend Caoimhe enjoying some play time in the ball pit. What amazes me about these two is that even though there is a 9 year age gap they always play so beautifully together. I try for ages to get Caoimhe to smile, Aalliyah comes along and Caoimhe is instantly in fits of giggles. These two young ladies also share their birthday and I always call them birth date buddies. I think this is why they have such a beautiful bond :)

Head over to Sticky Fingers to view the rest of the Gallery entries for this week,

Gulliver's Land Milton Keynes - Review

Gulliver's Land (In my opinion) is by far one of the top theme parks in the UK for children. I have been to many different parks and as good as they all are, the majority of them are much more suited to the thrill seeking older children and adults. They may have the odd couple of rides dotted around which are aimed more at the mini people but it's so frustrating to pay out on high ticket prices and not really have the younger ones benefiting from the day at all.That's what makes Gulliver's such a fantastic place for the young (and young at heart) plus they have fantastic ticket prices when compared some other parks.

The park is packed full of great rides and attractions which are designed to suit children aged 2 - 13 years old. There are soft play areas for the younger ones and even an indoor play area for the under 5's.

...And for the slightly more adventurous children that like a bit of a thrill there are many good rides such as The Pirate Ship, The Python (roller coaster) and The Log Flume.

We packed our own cool bag full of scrummy picnic foods which we ate at one of the many picnic tablets dotted around the park, which nearly all had parasols too which was great at it was a super sunny day. If you fancy eating a hot meal in the park, it offers a great variety of food choices, serving up great hot meals everyday in the food court. The Log Flume and The Python both have a photo booth which means you can get a framed snapshot or keyring to remember your special day. There is also a lovely little gift shop located near the entrance of the park with lots of great gifts and toys at very reasonable prices. Aalliyah came out with a carrier bag full and spent no more than £10!

We had an amazing day at Gulliver's Land and I would recommend it 100%. I cannot wait to go back and visit again soon. They have great events on Halloween and Christmas which sound amazing too :)

Fancy visiting yourself? Book Online now!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Saturday Is Caption Day #SatCap

As terrified as Aalliyah looks on the drop down tower, she did actually go on it about 20 times after this! We had lots of scary fun last weekend at Gullivers Land.

Do you have a funny caption to go with this shot? I'd love to hear it. Then why not head over to Mammasaurus where you can have fun captioning lots more pics and even upload your own!

Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

Companies That Recycle - And Ways You Can Join Their Efforts! Guest Post.

Recycling has the power to preserve the Earth for many generations to come, but everyone must be involved in order for our efforts to be successful. Brilliant Earth and Nike are two companies that are already making a difference through their recycling programs. There are many ways you too can join in and help keep our Earth more beautiful and clean.

Brilliant Earth a conflict-free diamond company known for their unique engagement rings, they specialize in re-refining recycled gold, silver, and platinum back into pure elements, which are then remixed into alloys and cast into unique pieces. This decreases demand for gold mining, which is one of the most destructive types of mining. It takes 20 tons of ore to produce enough gold to produce one ring. Gold mining also can release cyanide and mercury into local water sources, making the water unsafe to drink.

Nike recycles old shoes and turns the old rubber scraps into playground turf. Children can enjoy running on this turf for many years to come!  It is nice to be able to give your old sneakers a second life! Nike is also finding ways to trim waste from production and switch to more sustainable materials and also offers a stylish line of organic clothing.

Ladies, when was the last time you cleaned out your makeup bag? Unfortunately, cosmetics do not last forever. You should take out anything you have had for more than 2 years or anything that is empty and take it to be recycled. Origins retail stores recycle empty cosmetics tubes, bottles, and jars from any brand. In return, they will give you a free sample of their high-performance skincare products.

Many mattress retailers will accept your used mattress for recycling when you purchase a new mattress. Mattress recycling centers can recycle about 90% of the mattress and turn it into fiber for clothing, wood chips, foam products, and scrap metal.  Given that approximately 20 million mattresses are replaced every year in the United States alone, recycling mattresses is enough to make anyone sleep better!

Over 75% of waste is recyclable, but only about 30% of it is recycled. That means that 70% of recyclable materials are sitting in a landfill somewhere instead of being used again. Let's work together with these companies to increase the percentage of recyclable materials that actually are recycled!

This fantastic post was submitted from Sophia over at My "Soph" Called Life. Head over there to read more great articles educating us all on the importance of living an eco friendly lifestyle. Sophia is based in the US but there are companies all over the world who participate in different recycling schemes.

Blackpool Bound..

As much as I would love to be going on a "proper" holiday in the summer holidays (and by proper I mean abroad and for at least a week) sadly its just not going to happen yet. Among other things money just isn't flowing too much right now. So while most of the summer holidays is going to be filled with swimming, cinema, picnics and country parks, I did want to have at least a night away somewhere just me and Aalliyah.

I decided on Blackpool as I havent been for years and Aalliyah has never been and with so many local attractions making Blackpool a very appealing choice we are all booked up for a 2 night break. We are really looking forward to all that Blackpool has to offer. Can you believe that Aalliyah is 10 years old and this will be the first time we have actually been to a beach together?? MADNESS!!

We will be visiting the Pleasure Beach and the Blackpool Tower and then the rest of the time I'm sure will be spent relaxing in the sunshine watching the waves. Being a MASSIVE Spongebob fan Aalliyah is super excited to visit Nickelodeon Land and we are both pretty nervous about going to visit the tower with its remarkable glass floor.

We are setting off on the 22nd of August and already counting down the sleeps...

Are you planning a trip to Blackpool? How about winning a ticket for 2 people for the Blackpool Tower!!

Valid until December so plenty of time to use it.

Fill in the rafflecopter below and best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway