Working towards a healthier me.

A few months ago I posted about how it was time to change. Although I gave it my best efforts at the time, my new ‘healthy lifestyle’ didn’t last long. I think looking back I was expecting too much too soon. Nancy was only six weeks old at the time, I tried running and it really hurt my knees, I also found ‘dieting’ to be tough so I kind of put things on the back burner and then a few weeks ago I felt ready. So on the 21st May 2014 I walked into my first ever Slimming World meeting and I am so glad I did. It has been 7 weeks and I have lost 14lbs – I love the Slimming World plan and can honestly say I haven’t felt deprived at all. It is not a diet, it is a way of living and one that can suit all the family, I love that we can all share the same meals, which is what makes it different to everything else I have tried. My husband follows the plan at home with me and he has dropped 19lbs himself!

On the 21st June 2014, I ran the race for life. It was hard and I probably walked more than I ran, it was the first time I had run since my previous attempts had failed and although it was hard I finished the 5k and I enjoyed it, I decided then to retry running, using the 5k runner app, I have been running every 2-3 days since, the app runs for 8 weeks and is based on you running three times a week, it starts as a combination of running and walking with the running stretches gradually getting longer as the days go on. I am now mid way through week 3 and can already see a difference from day 1. I also feel my weight loss has helped with my running.

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This morning I completed my first Park Run which is a 5k run (the same length as the race for life) it was still hard and I did have to walk at times but I shaved 3 minutes off my time Race for life time,  which I am really proud of.

To help keep me focused I have created an instagram account – @projectmrs_c

I will pop the odd post up on here still but I will mainly post about my progress and journey over on instagram so it would be lovely to see you over there!

Thanks for reading!

*Review* Mini Changing Bag by Ruby and Ginger

Anyone who has had a baby will appreciate what a military operation leaving the house becomes. Suddenly you can no longer just “get up and go” instead you need to run through a long list of ‘essentials’ to ensure that you are prepared for any situation that your baby provides you with. Obviously one of the key buys when expecting a baby is a Changing Bag, this is an absolute must for any parent when out and about with their little one. I have a bag that in all honesty I do love but sometimes I just don’t need to carry such a big bag around with me, I also find that the more space I have then the more “stuff” I find to fill it., this is why I loved the Mini Changing Bag by Ruby and Ginger. I have been using this changing bag for the last month and think it is great.

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The changing bag is available in three different designs, and contains a nappy purse, travel change mat and wipe case. Nancy is currently in size 3 nappies and I am able to fit 3 of these into the changing bag at any one time, there is also a small internal pocket where I can keep nappy cream and a couple of nappy bags.

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 Sometimes I don’t want to carry my big changing bag and actually prefer to use my own handbag, the mini changing bag fits perfectly into it and as it is compact I can just find it with ease, which means no rummaging is required! It also has its own handle on so if we are nipping out somewhere I can just carry the bag itself, and its handy for leaving with my parents if they ever baby sit as they have everything that they need in one place. My husband also prefers to use the mini changing bag as he feels that it is more discreet than carrying my big “girly” changing bag around when I am not there (his words not mine).

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Having a travel change mat in the bag has been invaluable to us, it’s so useful when visiting friends and family to have something to lay Nancy down on, also when out and about and using public changing areas, these are usually plastic and you can never be sure how many babies have previously used it and how often it is cleaned, so for me its just nice to have something to lay her on and of course it comes in handy when we’re completely caught out and I have to change Nancy in the back of the car (for example) the mat is also machine washable and has been through my washing machine on a few occasions and it still looks as good as new.

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The mini changing bag is available from the Ruby and Ginger website and currently retails at £20.00 – a bargain if you want to treat yourself or even buy as a gift for a new mummy!

Disclaimer: I was sent the mini changing bag free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Degustabox {May}

 Last month we received our third Degustabox. For anyone who hasn’t seen my previous posts, Degustabox is a subscription service where you get a surprise food box delivered to your door each month! I love it as it has given me opportunity to try new foods and flavours that I otherwise wouldn’t have. The boxes cost £12.99  a month however you can cancel your subscription whenever you want to.

In our last box we received:

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1. Garofalo Pasta – Made from the finest robust durum wheat, this pasta really was gorgeous, it didn’t feel ‘heavy’ like other pastas that we have had previously and it also didn’t leave us feeling bloated. I would definitely buy this pasta again.

2. Cawston Press Cloudy Apple – After trying the rhubarb flavoured Cawston Press from April’s Degustabox, I couldn’t wait to try the apple, and it didn’t disappoint, it was a lovely refreshing drink, perfect for these warmer days that we have been having recently.

3. Taylors of Harrogate – These are tea infusions using fine fruits and herbs and although I haven’t tried these myself, I have had guests who have and they seem to have gone down really well with them.

4. Raw – This sugar free chewing gum tastes just like an energy drink and they were claimed by my husband as soon as he saw them, Raw is a sugar free chewing gum, which gives you a boost when you need it most.

5. Cirio – This is a ready to use Passata, we put it together with the Garofalo pasta and made a lovely Pasta Bolognese for all the family, the flavour and texture were lovely and we have since bought more, it is now a staple ingredient in our cupboards!

6. Hornsby’s Crisp Apple Cider – Again this is another item that was claimed by my husband and to be honest I didn’t even get a look in! He tells me they were nice though, especially after being the fridge for a couple of days. He’s usually a lager drinker himself but he would definitely buy these again.

7. Kettle Sweet Potato Chips – We were sent the sweet chilli flavour to try, they are perfect to pour into a bowl and share with the family, my daughter loved them, we have a movie night one evening a week and she chose these over her usual popcorn snack!

8. Lizi’s Granola – This single portion of granola is perfect for when you are on the go, the packaging doubles up as a bowl and it also comes with its own spoon, so there is no fuss at all. There is a lactose free milk powder in the pack, so all that is required is a few spoonfuls of water and then you have creamy, lovely, breakfast!

9. Elizabeth Shaw – I am a self confessed chocoholic, so I was delighted to find these in our degustabox, these new flutes are batons of chocolate, with a selection of fillings and flavours, they are perfect to snack on, or to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Needless to say they didn’t last two minutes in our house.

10. DR. Oetker Cake Release Spray – This is an oil spray that is perfect for those that enjoy baking, as it eliminates the need for  greasing or lining tins and trays. My husband and our oldest daughter used this at the weekend along with the Dr Oetker fine cook chocolate that we received in a previous degustabox to make my birthday cake – it was yummy!!

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The total value of this box is £21.46 and as I said previously they cost £12.99 including delivery. So as you can see they are great value for money. If you would like to order your very own Degustabox then you can do so by visiting the Degustabox website. You can also visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter for more information.

Still undecided? then why not have a look at what we received in March and April’s boxes :)

Disclaimer: I was sent the Degustabox free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

*Review* LeapFrog LeapPad2 Disney Princess Enchanted Bundle.

A few weeks ago I shared with you that we had been chosen to be a part of the Toys R Us Toyologist team :)  Well last month we received the LeapFrog LeapPad2 Disney Princess Enchanted Bundle to review.

Gracie was delighted when she received the Leapfrog LeapPad2 Disney Princess Enchanted Bundle. Before we even opened the box we got lots of “Oh Wow’s” as she admired the Disney Princess and she was very eager to get stuck in!

Included in the bundle is a Disney Princess Enchanted LeapPad2 with matching Disney Princess Carry Case, 2 Necklaces (which Gracie loved!) 8 Disney Princess Wall Papers and a £15 Digital Download Card.

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The initial set up was really simple, we created Gracie her own profile which allowed her to start using the LeapPad2 straight away, there are so many different activities available including paint, music and videos that there is no way Gracie could ever become bored. In addition to the apps already installed on the LeapPad2 we also downloaded a Peppa Pig Video, Frozen Book, Minnie Mouse Book and Leapfrog activity game using the £15.00 Digital Download Card.

At 3 years old, Gracie has been able to navigate around the LeapPad2 with complete ease, the picture quality is of a high standard, as is the sound quality. Gracie can independently switch it on herself and choose what activities she wants to play without having to ask for help. As she is not able to read yet, having voice instructions really helps her to understand and play. Gracie’s favourite app is the Art Studio, In addition she also loves the camera and loves to take photographs using both camera’s on the front and rear.

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As a mummy one of the things that I love about the LeapPad2 is how robust it is, it really has stood the test of time as it has been dropped a couple of times and occasionally Gracie has also pressed on the screen harder than she should have but this has not damaged the LeapPad2 or affected its use in any way. Of course when she is not using it then we encourage her to put it into her carry case which really is great, it’s well padded, yet light weight and has an handle to hold while carrying, it also has extra space for cables and games which is ideal as this means you can keep everything in one place and it avoids anything getting misplaced or lost.

We would definitely recommend the LeapPad2 to others, it’s reassuring know that Gracie is safe while using it as she can only access the apps installed and it is something that I believe can grow with her.

Disclaimer: I was sent the LeapPad2 for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Job Hunting…

I’ve been feeling quite distracted lately, which explains why I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks after Nancy was born I learned my job was ending. It wasn’t a complete surprise as I was on a fixed term contract but it was still a bit of a shock. After having my initial 12 week contract extended three times, it kind of felt like it would never end!

So now while my maternity leave is in full swing I have the rubbish task of looking for a new job, it’s really hard to get motivated as time updating my CV, emailing companies, searching job websites, completing application forms is all time that I should be spending with my girls. It’s also difficult to find jobs that I feel will work around me and my family, before Nancy was born I was working full time and I really had hoped to reduce my hours on my return.

Hopefully I will find something but I just wanted to explain why things had been quiet,  in the meantime if anyone knows of any jobs going then be sure to let me know ;)

Degusta Box {April}

Last month we were very lucky to receive another box from DegustaBox. We were so impressed with March’s box that we didn’t think it could get any better, but guess what? we were wrong! As soon as we delved into the box we were met with so many different yummy goodies and we wasted no time in trying them out.

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degusta5Included in this months box was:

1. DR Oetker – We received two bars of DR Oetker fine cooks chocolate, we haven’t got round to using them yet however included in the box is a recipe for chocolate fondants which we will be attempting to make soon!

2. Crabbies – Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer comes in a variety of flavours, we received Raspberry and I can honestly say it was one of the nicest drinks I have ever tried, it was so refreshing, I was almost disappointed that we only received one bottle as that meant I had to share with the hubster ;)

3. Clearspring – Miso Soups are perfect for a quick lunch or snack, you simply add water to get a rich flavour. I found them particularly useful as with a 3 year old and 16 week old I do struggle to find the time to stand and prepare meals for myself and tend to just pick, it was nice to be able to enjoy a little snack for a change.

4. Lindt – I am a chocoholic so the Lindt chocolate bars were a welcome addition to our Degustabox, they were delcious, the hubster preferred his once it had been in the fridge but I think that spoiled it a little and much preferred mine at room temperature as this made the chocolate inside go gooey, each piece just melted in my mouth, perfect with a nice brew!

5. Go Splash – This is probably one of my husbands favourite items, his job requires a lot of driving so he now keeps this on him for when he is out and about, I was a little dubious due to the size of the bottle however after almost a month he is still using the same one, these would also be ideal for work, before going on maternity leave I worked in an office and often drank water from the office water machine, Go Splash would have been perfect for adding some flavour to my drinks.

6. Cawston Press – In all honesty this isn’t a drink I would have considered buying as I am not keen on Rhubarb and I wasn’t even going to try it as it didn’t appeal to me but I had it one evening and I’m glad I did as it was lovely, especially as it had been in the fridge for a couple of days so was nice, cold and refreshing.

7. Keogh’s – Keogh’s crisps did not last very long at all, they were opened almost immediately, they were delicious and so moreish it was a fight between me, the hubster and the toddler who could eat more.

8. Mornflake – I enjoy anything that makes my morning’s just that little bit easier and Mornflake is perfect for a grab and go breakfast. I was a little surprised at first as there didn’t seem to be much cereal considering how big the container is but despite this it was actually really filling and tasted really good, it also got a thumbs up from the 3 year old.

9. Jaffa Cake Mini Rolls – I love Jaffa Cakes and I love Mini Rolls so these were an absolute dream and went down a treat with every member of the family, we also froze some which I had never thought about doing before, my daughter especially enjoyed one in her lunch box.

The total value of this box is approximately £20.00 and the actual cost of the box is £12.99 including delivery.

I really do love the DegustaBox, as it gets you trying things that you may not have bought otherwise, my favourite item this month was the Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer and since trying it I have treated myself to more.

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I also mentioned in March’s post that we were going to purchase a box for our friends as an house warming gift which we did and I’m pleased to say they were over the moon, when we asked what their favourite item was they couldn’t decide as they genuinely enjoyed everything.

If you would like to try your own DegustaBox then you can use this code 5KVOQ to receive a £3.00 discount when registering and don’t forget to show some Facebook and Twitter love and of course visit their website for more info.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Desgustabox free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am a Toys R Us Toyologists :)

I am super excited to be able to share with you all that I (who am I kidding?) that Gracie has been chosen to be a Toys R Us Toyologist! We received our first product earlier this week and Gracie is putting it to the test as I type and I can’t wait to share our thoughts and feelings with you all!

So keep a look out for our first review which will be published on the blog in the coming weeks!

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Living Arrows 20/52

I first joined Living Arrows the weekly linky hosted by I Heart Snapping last month, if turning up to the linky four months late wasn’t bad enough, I also haven’t joined in since – eeeeekkk I’m sorry, I know I am terrible! But last week it was Gracie’s 3rd Birthday and we bought her this piano. We captured this photograph and I really wanted a reason to share it and I think it’s perfect for Living Arrows :)

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A 3rd Birthday

On Tuesday it was Gracie’s third birthday, three whole years she has been on this earth and one of the biggest parts of my life, her birth feels like it was so long ago yet I remember it like it was yesterday.

At the weekend we had a birthday party at The Butterfly House, it was a wonderful day, the rain held off and Gracie and her friends ate lunch, sang, danced, laughed and best of all they were able to get close to the animals.

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Having a 14 week old baby and not being the worlds best baker at the best of times, we made her birthday cake using these pre bought farm yard animals and each kiddie got their own little cake which seem to go down well and Gracie absolutely loved have everyone sing Happy Birthday to her!

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Monday night I tucked my little two year old up in bed, she was so excited about her birthday, I think this is the first year that she understood what it meant, once in bed we got the balloons and banners out and started to lay out the presents, we baked a cake and put together her sparkly new bike, the next morning she crept downstairs and was absolutely delighted with what she found, I was so proud as I watched her open each present and take the time to look at her gifts and really appreciate each one.

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We had decided that although Gracie usually goes to nursery on a Tuesday afternoon that we would keep her off, selfishly I wanted to spend the day with her, the day we share as her birthday and the day that I took the leap into motherhood, I figured that soon enough I wouldn’t get the choice to spend the day with her as she will be in school before we know it and will have to go regardless.

We asked Gracie what she wanted to do and although we gave her some ideas, including going out for the day, she just wanted to go out for dinner and play, I think sometimes we forget how much the little people love the simple things in life so we went our local pub for dinner and park life!

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We ended the day with a film (of Gracie’s choice of course!) which was Monster’s University complete with PJ’s and popcorn.

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We had such a great day and I still can not believe that my little baby who came into the world weighing 7lbs 11.5oz is now a beautiful, creative, funny, intelligent 3 year old.

Happy 3rd Birthday to my fabulous Gracie Kate xxx

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