Follow Friday

I started doing a follow friday post ages ago, where I featured a blog I’d either followed for ages or recently discovered and a bit about why I loved it. I thought it was about time I resurrected it and first to feature is www.slimmingeats.com.

I discovered this blog through a slimming forum I belong to a few months back and set about recreating a few of the recipes on there. It’s written by an expat mum in Canada who is quite literally cooking herself slim. I’m back on the diet wagon yet again this week and have already worked some of the delicious recipes into my meal plan for the week.

The latest recipes that have caught my eye are Baked Arancini a dish of stuffed baked rice balls that were very popular in Malta, yet I never got round to trying them. These will be going on the list for next weeks meal plan. Strawberry Shortbread Frozen Yogurt sounds amazing and I’ll definitely have to try it. I’m forever denying myself treats when I’m on a diet then of course end up stuffing my face with them when I feel deprived. I’ll also have an excuse to buy some strawberries as now the baby is starting to eat finger foods I’m sure he would love to suck on a strawberry!

Despite going to America and seeing this on every breakfast buffet cart and menu I’ve never tried Pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, so this diet friendly version may well have to rectify that!

One of my favourite recipes for lunch is the Bacon and Cheese Tortilla Espanola, it’s easy, filling and went down well with the man and the fussy 10 year old! Another one that had us all reaching for seconds was Fajita Pork Pasta – simply delicious and full of flavour!

This stuff is famous among Slimming Worlders, yet I still haven’t tried it! It’s definitely time for me to try Diet Coke Chicken

Perfect for a hot summers day is Iced Tea, I made my version with normal tea bags (didn’t have any posh fruity stuff in) and sugar free peach squash and it was delicious!

Mini Oreo Baked Cheesecakes are simply begging to be made, infact I may well have to nip out and get some Oreo’s so I can make these tomorrow!

I love Mediterranean flavours and I love cake, so what better way to combine the two than with this recipe for Orange and Almond Cake. My only problem will be not eating the entire cake on my own!

There are loads more delicious recipes on the blog, some of which I’ve tried and some of which I’m yet to try. I’m thrilled to have found this blog though as dieting can be rather a bland and boring time for people who love food and flavours as much as I do and this blog provides some delicious recipes that certainly don’t make you feel deprived in the slightest!

Holding back the years

No I’m not about to launch into one of those woe is me I found a wrinkle posts (I haven’t – yet!). The ten year old is growing up fast, yet it seems not as fast as her friends and I don’t know whether this is a good thing or not.

It’s my fault entirely, having worked for the police and seen the delights of unruly teens first hand along with dealing with cases of missing and abused children, I’ve kept her pretty sheltered to a certain extent in terms of where she can go without me and what she can have – although that’s more down to financial reasons and my archaic views. Having lunch with one of her school friends recently made me question whether keeping her as sheltered as I have done is a good or a bad thing though.

Although the same age, this girl exuded a confidence far beyond her years whereas my daughter although confident around people she knows is very reserved around those she doesn’t to the point where she questions her own abilities. My daughters friend is allowed out in the area she lives to visit other childrens houses etc whereas I don’t even let my daughter take the bins out (outside our gated apartments and across a road) and if she goes to a friends I expect her to stay inside that friends house. On one occasion she visited a friends house who lived near a park and despite me telling her she wasn’t allowed to go without her friends mum I knew full well her friends mum wouldn’t stay with them and I felt sick the entire time she was there. I think I have to learn to trust her, she is sensible the majority of the time, but I worry she will be led astray by other kids.

As for the material side of things I am a terribly unfashionable mum and probably cause her much embarrassment. She doesn’t have a mobile phone for a start – her little mate on the other hand had one resembling a blackberry that she happily tapped away on, updating her facebook page throughout our day out. I did promise I would let the 10 year old have my old phone, a horrificlly  old fashioned little flip phone that is worth about a fiver for when she goes to her friends houses and might want to contact me, however I then worry about her being bullied for not having a more fashionable phone.

She didn’t have a DS until she was 6, despite asking for one for 2 years and her peers having them much sooner, but I was determined not to let such a young child have a computer game. In an ideal world she may have only received one for her tenth birthday, but in actual fact she got a 3DS as the DS is no longer cool or something along those lines. Her friends all have iPads and laptops. She bought herself a cheap android tablet using her birthday and Christmas money and instead of accessing her facebook account on her behalf and relaying information to her to ensure she isn’t receiving any messages she shouldn’t be, I’ve let her access it on her own, however I still have it registered under my email address and can see what she does and what is sent to her etc, so I’m gradually letting go, even just a little. (Another instance of my being rather embarrassing is she wouldn’t have been able to have a facebook profile in the first case if we hadn’t moved away from all of her friends – twice, as I’m not keen on kids having them)

I really am feeling torn between keeping my little girl as a little girl for as long as possible or encouraging her to spread her wings and gain a little more independence. What do I do?

Latest project

That’s right I’ve joined the legend that is Mamsaurus  in her new venture, Minibookworms which is a group of parent bloggers and their children who all love a good book. The children range from 6 months (mine) to 10 years (ooh mine again – trust me to have such a big age gap!) and they will be reviewing their favourite books, books picked up from the library and those sent from publishers and authors.

I love reading, the daughter is obsessed with Michael Morpurgo and the baby loves having a chew on any board book you just so happen to leave within grabbing distance, so it will hopefully be something we all enjoy and encourage us to read more as a family. Please pop over, have a look what we’re up to (there are lots of opportunities for bloggers to get involved with linkys etc) and say hi.

Weekly Must Haves

Last time it was a bright and summery Mia Tui bag, this week it’s a gorgeous dress from Mango that’s caught my eye and matched with these shoes and bag from Nine West it makes a great outfit for lunch with the girls in the sun, a wedding guest or a romantic evening with him indoors.

Summer stripes

Meal Planning Monday

After having visitors last week and my birthday and therefore cake and lots of other delicious treats, I’m back on the Meal Planning and dieting wagon. Instead of just planing my dinners, I’m planning breakfast, lunch and dinner as I find when it’s written down I stick to it and that is ultimately what will help me lose weight.

Monday

B – Cheese on toast

L – Tuna salad

D – Chicken and pasta in a creamy sundried tomato and basil Philly sauce

Tuesday

B – Cereal

L – Slimming World quiche and salad  (for a nice SW quiche recipe see my friend Cass’s one here)

D – Pork in sherry sauce with vegetables

Wednesday

B – Bacon sarnie

L – Slimming World quiche and salad

D – Piri Piri Chicken and jacket potato

Thursday

B – Cereal

L – Slimming World cheese and bacon tortilla

D – Steak pasta with a creamy roasted pepper Philly sauce

Friday

B – Cheese on toast

L – Slimming World cheese and bacon tortilla

D – Jerk chicken and rice (from the new SW mag)

Saturday

B – Cereal

L – Tuna salad

D – Andalucian Meatballs (from the new SW mag)

Sunday

B – Cereal

L – Chicken and bacon salad

D – Chicken kiev and jacket potato

For more meal plans check out At Home With Mrs M

Frugal & Fun: A Review

I actually begged to review this ebook from Cass Bailey, Jen Walshaw and Becky Goddard-Hill, with an 11 week summer holiday stretching before me I was desperate to keep my 10 year old entertained while retaining a grasp on my sanity. Two weeks in to those holidays I’m pleased to say that so far my daughter has been kept entertained (and not threatened with remaining in her room for the duration of the holidays) and we’ve planned a whole host of other things to keeps her occupied, both when she’s with me and while she’s staying with her nan for a few weeks with the help of the ebook.

The ebook covers a whole host of planning ideas and activities to ensure that the summer holidays will go with a bang and not break the bank. It starts with a planning section with a suggested activity a day to make sure that you know exactly what is available in your area throughout the holidays and to ensure you have everything you need to hand to keep the kids entertained. Although I try to plan ahead I never quite seem to manage it so having it laid out before me in such an easy to follow way really helped me to get organised and research what was going on in the local area, as well as getting the house ready for the holidays – well as much as you can when you have a 6 month old flying about in a walker and destroying everything you do!

One of the first things we did was create a boredom jar, I won’t ruin what it is by telling you, but it is an absolutely brilliant idea. One I’d never have thought of and has proved invaluable in keeping my daughter occupied. We also did a wish book early on too and are gradually ticking things off our list that we have done – there’s even a separate one for when my daughter is staying with her nan!

Having an older daughter I let her read the ebook and pick out activities she wanted to do herself. So far she fancies making a patriotic cake, building a den (it seems no matter how old kids are they still want to build a den!), and trying out the rest of the recipes in the ebook. We’ve had a BBQ and made Smores for the 4th of July, have a Mexican themed meal she’s making tonight, tapas at the weekend and she helped make a Greek themed meal (her favourite period of history at school is the Greeks apparently) last week too. She also made a photo collage of herself, her friends and our family, which living so far away from them was a really nice thing for her to do and she’s even used her pocket money to turn them into proper posters using an online photo company. That is just the tip of the iceberg, we have so much more planned and certainly no reason to be bored over the coming weeks and if she is, that’s when the boredom jar will come in handy (did I tell you how much I LOVE that idea?).

There are so many ideas to keep children of all ages occupied within the Six sections of the ebook, which are:

The Olympics

The Great Outdoors

Around the World

Heroes and Heroines

Home Sweet Home

Colours

The ebook is currently selling on Amazon for £2.99 and it’s worth every penny! I’ve saved money by creating fun activities at home using things we already have, finding out about local free events, I’ve not killed my ten year old (yet) or resorted to cracking open the wine by 4pm (again, there’s still time for this of course – I’m only human after all!)  and above all we’ve been having loads of fun. You can also find more ideas on the website Frugal & Fun which will be added to throughout the summer.

Please note I was provided with a copy of this ebook for the purpose of the review. For further information regarding my disclosure policy please click on the Disclosure tab above.

Reasons to be cheerful

It’s been a while since I joined in with #R2BC over at Mummy From The Heart so I thought I’d give it a whirl again this week.

1. The sun is shining and we’re enjoying the school holidays, swimming, exploring and enjoying views like this.

Beautiful view from the covered terrace of a lovely little restaurant we discovered on a recent drive into the countryside.

2. Both the 10 year old and the baby are an absolute joy to be around. They’re both very funny, cheeky and both seem to be changing by the day at the moment – my daughter into a beautiful kind yet ever so slightly hormonal pre teen and the baby into a crazy little boy who is keen to explore (or should that be destroy!?!) everything in sight.

3. I’m attempting to get back on the diet wagon again and am feeling really positive about it. How long that will last is anyone’s guess, but while it does (probably about half an hour) it’s reason enough to put a smile on my face!