19 November 2017

THE VEGAN CHALLENGE WEEK 2


Dorset Cereals American Road Trip Muesli with Oatly - Not a huge fan of this combo, the oat milk I forgot to shake before pouring and it was just like slightly cloudy, watery yellow liquid (piss water basically) which put me right off it. I tasted it (pre shaken) and it was actually alright but the fact it looks like toilet water has put me off drinking it again, so it's back to the drawing board with milk substitutes. I've heard a lot of good things about almond milk so I think that will be my next port of call.


Houmous, Cucumber & Cauldron Falafel Sandwich with Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Cob - Houmous and falafels are two of my favourite foods so this was destined to be an amazing sandwich. It had everything, the crunch, the softness, the flavour. Best sandwich I've had in aaaages!

I've found sandwiches are pretty easy to veganise and are actually nicer.


Tesco Mediterranean Cous Cous with Cauldron Falafels & Violife Cheese - This is a meal I love anyway so this was pretty simple to veganise. The Violife Cheese is kind of like a thick McDonald's cheese slice and it pretty difficult to grate but I just about managed it. It tastes kind of nothingy though, I can't pin point the exact flavour but it doesn't taste much like normal cheese. I made Ben try it and he spat it out...lame. That being said it was nice on the cous cous but on its own it's not the nicest.


Hippeas and Houmous - Snacking has been mainly houmous and various crisps. This is the best combination ever. Game changer this one, plus I finally found the big bags of Hippeas (which are fucking amazing). Bit awkward to dip but I've eaten 3 tubs of houmous with them today, mainly because the expiration date was today also but mostly because it's amazing.

This week, again, I have eaten a bunch more than a days worth of vegan meals. The only awkward thing so far have been things like topping a vegan meal with different cheese for just me or buying 2 different types of milk and them all not fitting in the bloody crappy fridge we have. Just little annoyances but food wise has been okay and I think in total, this week the meals I've eaten have been mostly vegan. I need to swap out some other bits like the Quorn pieces for the vegan ones or supermarket brand because they appear to be mostly vegan and work out cheaper anyway. I'm still not sure if I could do this full time but for the most part it's going alright!

18 November 2017

TODDLEBIKE2 REVIEW


If you read my blog, you'll probably know that Lily is tiny, which means finding anything that has anything to do with size pretty difficult. We have had a couple of different ride ons and pre balance bikes which have either been too big or too heavy for Lily despite her being within the targeted age range. We were recently sent this lovely little Toddlebike2* to put through it's paces and it became a firm favourite almost immediately! We have been testing it out for about a month now and not only has it taught Lily the word "bike" it has provided a lot of fun for not just her, but her entire toy box, who have all been given a ride too.

It's light enough for her to pick up and move about herself, she can actually reach the floor which is the issue we had been having previously and there hasn't been a day that's gone by where she hasn't toddled about on this little bike since!

It's super lightweight at only 0.8kg meaning little ones can easily pick it up and move it about, Lily has attempted many dare devil tricks with hers and is unbelievably chuffed that she can carry it to wherever she wishes.


Suitable from about 18-36months or whenever your child can walk and stands at 34cm high and has 4 wheels meaning even the littler ones can have a go without being so high off the ground they topple off. This has been the main thing we have loved about the Toddlebike2 is that it's low enough for Lily to actually touch the floor properly and light enough for her to get it moving, all whilst still being sturdy. She's a small 21 month old standing at only 74cm high herself and I just wish we had known about these little bikes last Christmas!

She has also entered the stage where she absolutely hates the pushchair after approximately 5.9 seconds of being in it she will exorcist turn and scream AT us. Family walks are normally cut short because she is either screaming or one of us is near death from lugging a 21lbs toddler around. Eloise has recently started learning to ride a proper bike again which leaves Lily toddling along after her desperately wanting to hop on and have a go, so this little bike has been fantastic for her to join in the bike riding fun. It is also small and light enough to chuck on the previously mentioned pushchair when the little ones decide they want to play with a stick or other random object they find...Or in Lily's case, to look at sheep haha!



The Toddlebike2 comes with a little tag explaining the stages at which children start to get to grips with riding it which has been incredibly helpful and accurate. Lily started out by pushing it around which progressed to sitting at the front of the bike on the frame rather than the seat and using each foot separately to move forwards in a walk like fashion. As she became more confident, this walking gait became much faster until finally, she started seating herself further back on the seat itself. I think she found this position difficult at first because she is still rather little for a toddler not long off 2 years old. She still wears 9-12 clothing to give you an idea of just how little she is. The video below gives you a little more of an insight into the progression from fit sit to getting the hang of it.


Lily hasn't got the steering quite down yet but as the bike is so light she will pause, stand up over it and lift it back on track easily. Getting on it she finds easy but needs a little help getting off sometimes because she isn't quite tall enough to swing her leg over the back easily yet but other than that she's adjusted well and I've seen an improvement in her balance since she's been using it daily!

Lily has well and truly put it through it's paces and has ridden it over various terrain including grass, patios, fields, tarmac, a wooden train (yep), down hills, up hills, wood chip, laminate flooring, carpet, and lino. All were a success although grass riding was testing but she just about managed it!

The motion of the feet and legs when riding the Toddlebike2 encourages and develops the action children need to progress onto a regular bike and great for helping little muscles develop.


They are available in Pinky Pink, Racing Red and Midnight Blue for £23.95 with free shipping and a 3 year guarantee! Click here to order yours.


*This was gifted to me for review purposes. All opinions are as always, my own. 

14 November 2017

WHAT MY TODDLER ATE TUESDAY [14/11/17]


BREAKFAST

// Peach Fromage Frais
// Pan Fried Cinnamon Banana Coins
// Brioche Banana French Toast

Lily bloody loves banana so I thought I'd jazz it up with some cinnamon for her. Of course she didn't like it and mainly prodded it with utter disgust. The brioche is also a firm favourite at the moment and she at least tried this, sort of...

To make the Brioche Banana French Toast I mashed some banana on a plate, mixed in some cinnamon and a splash of milk and placed the sliced brioche in it and coated it evenly. I added some coconut oil spray into a frying pan and then fried the brioche for a few minutes on either side over a medium heat. Simple, and makes you feel like one of those Pinterest Mums when in reality, all you did was throw some cinnamon at a banana. 


LUNCH

// Cottage Cheese
// Kiddylicious Veggie Straws
// Cheesestring
// Cheese & Apple Mini Tortilla Pizzas

This lunch was a hit because of the cheesestring, every kid likes a cheesestring, cheesestring = win. The cheese and apple pizzas were eaten by Eloise but not Lily which has got to be a first and the cottage cheese and veggie straws are guaranteed to be eaten.


DINNER

// McDonald's Fries
// Chicken McNugget
// 1/4 Veggie Burger
// Ketchup

This is Lily's first official McDonald's meal. She has pinched the odd bit here and there but after the Fireworks Display the other week we got back at 9pm so a quick, minimal effort meal was needed and I got major Mum points for this one.

Lily has got to be the only child I have ever come across who will not touch a McDonald's chicken nugget. To absolute fuckery was she going to eat that! The veggies burger she loved and I gave her a bit of my bun too which she had a good go at. The fries were her favourite though and she pinched much more than is on her plate.

Catch up with last weeks post here.



13 November 2017

THE VEGAN CHALLENGE // WEEK 1

BREAKFAST 


Tesco Crumpets with Vitalite Spread - Super easy breakfast that you won't even guess was vegan. Ben thought the spread "tasted like shit" but both me and Eloise (who is the fussiest fuss that ever did fuss) liked it. Plus he automatically turns his nose up at anything vegetarian or vegan yet will happily eat it if I don't tell him. Yeh Ben, take that.

LUNCH


Tesco Value Tortilla Chips with Houmous - This has been my go to lunch for about 2 weeks anyway so this was super easy. I really love these little pots of houmous that Tesco sell, they are the prefect size for snacks too. They sell this Mediterranean selection and also a spicy trio which has Jalapeno, Harrissa and Peri Peri flavours which are nice too! I could eat this combo all day everyday! Plus the tortilla chips are 46p a packet so you cant really go wrong can you.

DINNER


Linda McCartney Vegetarian Country Pie, Tesco Sage and Onion Stuffing, Roast Potatoes and Sweetcorn - This roast Ben said, and I quote "this is the best roast you've ever made". I also did roast sweet potatoes too and they were bloody amazing, game changers they are and if you haven't tried that already then I definitely recommend it! Eloise loved the pie too and everyone ate most of it! Couldn't be more of a win if I tried.

SNACKS


Snacks included:

Paprika Pringles - Pringles automatically enter the awesome food category. I believe other flavours are vegan too but these were just the ones I picked up!

Oreos - Yep, Oreos are vegan. 

Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate - I have Orange and Almond and Sea Salt flavour both of which are vegan and also amazing.

Alpro Dessert Moments - These were kind of crap, it's like a watery version of a chocolate pudding. It also didn't taste much like hazelnuts and was a bit of a let down and I will be buying the regular Alpro Desserts my Grandad used to buy which are amazing. 

Quinoa Chips - These were a hit with the girls and were mostly stolen by them. I also got the Hummus chips which are the perfect shape for dipping!

Walkers Ready Salted - These are my favourite crisps ever and I can quite easily eat a 6 pack to myself. Most ready salted crisps are vegan as are a bunch of other flavours.

I will point out that those are more than one days worth of snacks although I could easily eat all of them in one day though. 

After setting myself the goal of going vegan for one day a week in my November Goals post, I asked on twitter if I should share my meals weekly, or as a round up at the end of the month and you guys chose weekly so here I am! All in all, I haven't found it that hard so far. The random sneaky milk in pretty much everything is the worst though and so frustrating when the product doesn't even need milk yet they just ram it in there anyway. Also things may also look vegan, but they aren't, as I found out with some Tesco Chicken Gravy earlier this week. The ingredients all look vegan on the packaging but talking to Tesco it's apparently not suitable for vegans although they couldn't tell me why...Useful. 

The thing I'm finding hardest is cutting milk products out, I don't eat meat often at all anyway and was vegetarian for 3/4 of my life before moving in with Ben so meat is not something I miss much if I'm honest. I have a lot of anxiety around meat products anyway and cannot be near raw meat so it's something I have avoided anyway I guess but milk is another story. I wish they made vegan cottage cheese!

On the whole I'm finding it easier than I thought. I've found I have eaten a lot more than a days worth of vegan meals and I've actually been really enjoying it! I've switched up my buttery spreads for Vitalite which is lovely, I've got some Oatly milk which Lily had on her cornflakes this morning and even she liked it. I've been swapping most of my chocolate intake from milk to dark and I've not really missed it. I find I eat less of dark chocolate anyway so that's a bonus! 

If you have any vegan food suggestions or recipes, please throw them my way!

8 November 2017

SIGHTINGS FROM OCTOBER 2017













My beautiful blogger friend Caitylis has created this fantastic linky giving everyone the opportunity to share the wonderful photographs they have gathered over the last month! 

I am forever taking photographs which very often succumb to the inevitable fate of life on a portable hard drive. I don't use websites like Flikr and some photos just don't fit anywhere else so they die and untimely digital death, never to be seen again. This linky is absolutely perfect for me because I now have somewhere to share the random snaps I take to save them from their digital deaths. Here are a collection of mainly pumpkin based photographs I have taken over the course of October ranging from our day out to Packwood House, my make shift school photos with Eloise and an autumnal walk with Lily and her stick. 

I feel like this linky has given me a reason to go out, camera in hand and take photographs of everything and not just things that "fit" in blog posts and really get my photography vibes flowing again because I've been slacking! 


Gee

x



Caitylis

7 November 2017

WHAT MY TODDLER ATE TUESDAY [07/11/2017]

BREAKFAST


// Baked Beans
// Tortilla Toast


The bread was mouldy so I had to improvise with tortilla wraps so naturally she didn't eat those. She did eat the beans though, she is a bean fiend. I don't normally cook breakfast but since Eloise hasn't been at school the mornings have been a heck of a lot more relaxed which is so lovely!


LUNCH


// Tortilla Chips dipped in Jalapeno Hoummus
// Cottage Cheese
/ Cream Cheese Sandwich on Six Seed Bread
// Ella's Kitchen Blueberries, Apples + Bananas Pouch with added Blueberries

Lily was in a huge strop whilst eating this so only really poked at it, minus the cottage cheese, which she always polishes off. This week was week number two of antibiotic eye drops to try and shift this conjunctivitis which did not please Lily in the slightest. I had to bathe her eyes, then put in the drops just before lunch, so she was too busy hating everything to want to eat much. 


DINNER



// Spooky Cheese & Tomato Quesadillas 
// Lentil Pasta stuffed with Cheddar and Piccolo Carrot, Sweet Potato & Squash Pouch
// Cadbury Screme Egg Pot of Joy

This was the girls' Halloween dinner! They both ate the Quesadillas which I made by cutting circles out of a tortilla wrap and cutting pumpkin faces into one side. I then spread tomato puree and herbs on the base then added the cheese and the face. I sprayed them with coconut oil and then pan fried them for a few minutes over a medium heat, flipping half way. I told Eloise they were spooky pizza pockets though because if it's pizza, it's eaten in this house. Neither kid really liked the lentil pasta though but not enough for them to not eat any of it. I think with a sauce it will be easier to hide. The Pots of Joy were obviously devoured in record speed. 


Check out last weeks What My Toddler Ate Tuesday here.


Gee

x


5 November 2017

SUNDAY POST // GOALS FOR NOVEMBER


After seeing to my therapist not long ago, we spoke about challenging my anxiety and what I would really like to be able to do with my life. A question I have been asked, many, many times before. Me being me, answered with "normal people things", because for the most part, I just want to be able to go to the shops on my own or eat whatever I want, that kind of thing. You know, to not be petrified of living and life in general. Nothing particularly exciting to most people. But after having a little while to really think about what I actually want my life to be like, the things I really wanted to be able to do and what I want to challenge myself to do, I have been setting myself little (or big) goals to complete. These have been both anxiety based goals and/or things I've wanted to do for a while, but have been too afraid of doing for x, y or z reason or just random things that lift my mood, make me a happier version of myself or things that are centred around self care (because I have a habit of sucking majorly in that department).

I have been setting these goals mentally up until now but I thought it might be quite a nice idea to blog about it and make it into a little monthly post in the hope it will help motivate me to actually fucking do the things.

Okay, here is goes:

Take more photos - This may seem like a shock really to people who know me because I take a LOT of photos but these days, although a lot are with my DSLRs they are primarily blog photos and mainly flat lays. I want to set myself a goal of actively going somewhere to take photographs of things that are interesting to me and aesthetically pleasing without being surrounded by flowers, ribbon and other props.

Be more active - Now I would have put lose some weight, being ill for over a month knocked a good few pounds off and I'm now under a stone off my pre pregnancy weight but I know that if I set myself a goal of losing weight I will just be a dick about it and end up being triggered to fuck so instead I have challenged myself to try and stick to a simple, short workout this month.

I used to be a very active person, I used to dance and ride my horses for hours and hours everyday. Since having kids my free time has obviously gone from 24/7 to approximately 3.6 seconds but not only that, I have been too afraid of letting myself get back into exercise purely because of the fear of being triggered.

The lovely Jen from @Life Milk sent me the workout that she has been doing and I'm going to give it a whirl. I may have to reduce the amount and intensity a bit depending on how my chronically shit body takes it but here's to being positive about it not giving up the ghost too quickly.

Buy more flowers - I love having fresh flowers around the house, not only do they make for beautiful flat lays but just having them dotted about the place makes me so happy. I have quite a lot of plants around the place too and I just think every home looks that little bit more lovely with bits of greenery scattered about.

Go vegan for one day a week - I know this doesn't sound like much of a challenge because I already eat 99% vegetarian foods but everyone else in the house wouldn't cope with vegan meals longer than that. I wanted to challenge myself to a week but I reckon that would be too much of a ball ache cooking a billion different things everyday and buying extra things. I make accidental vegan meals a lot so I think actively making one day a week totally vegan I can test it out and see how doable it would be for everyone.

Challenge my anxiety - This is one I set myself every month and I slack on it a lot so I've decided to be more specific with what I want to challenge to make it less easy for me to wriggle out of or "forget". I know these will make me anxious just setting myself the challenges so I'm going to keep it short to start with:

1)  Go to a fireworks display - This is something I've never actually done but have always wanted to do. The crowds put me off and also the irrational fear of getting hit in the face with a firework and all 3489574 of the other worse case scenarios that my brain thinks up. The kids will love it so I really want to just fucking do it. So that's my first challenge.

2) Buy and eat a sandwich from a shop - Random as fuck to most people I imagine. I have had a total of 3 ready made sandwiches in my life, once when I was 7, once when I was in college and once when I was in hospital having Lily. I always look at them in shops and wish I could have one without the OCD/ED voices telling me I can't, so they can fuck off for the duration of this challenge.

3) Go to a coffee shop and actually drink it there - I never, ever, ever sit in coffee shops because I have an irrational fear of consuming just about anything public, at all, ever. I've sat outside before which is doable for me. Sometimes. This has been on my list forever now and it's still not happened but I'm keeping it on here until it's done... Could be here a while.

Wash my fucking make up brushes - I used to be really on the ball with make up brush cleanliness but since becoming a Mum of 2, I suddenly have 0 time to do anything really and things that are "me" things get pushed right down the to-do list. I had conjunctivitis the other week and have been avoiding using certain brushes so I don't need to clean them and really, they need fucking cleaning. This one is more of a digital kick up the arse.

Right, so that's this months challenges! Now to actually do them...


Gee 

x

2 November 2017

OCTOBER 2017 FAVOURTES


Another month, another favourites post! This month has been a bit of a cop out for the most part, I spent a good half of it with a cold which turned into sinusitis which had a one night stand with conjunctivitis, Lily is cutting 4 teeth and everyone else got the said cold, Lily still has conjunctivitis nearly 2 lots of antibiotic drops later and basically I've been feeling like something had chewed me up, shat me out then threw me under a bus....which then reversed back over me. I also last minute decided to do blogtober (which I managed to complete by some fucking miracle) and have literally sod all scheduled for it. Anyway, here are my favourites for the month of October:

Revlon Black Cherry Lipstick

I mentioned this in my Autumn Lipstick Picks last month, and it's bee a firm favourite for me. It's a deep cherry red with a hint of a sheen. It's quite like the MAC cremesheens in terms of finish but without the stickiness that comes with a MAC lipstick. I'm also wearing it in this vlog although I've mixed Revlon Red too on the inner part of my lips (which is a great combo!) so I have included a swatch in the photo below.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze

The first ever colour of this eyeshadow I purchased by mistake, it was Eternal Gold which is much brighter and obviously gold. I actually meant to buy this shade but I forgot about it for several years until I saw Gemma Louise blog about it which made me fall in love with it all over again. It's such a beautifully pigmented cream eyeshadow and I love everything about it. It is literally like liquid, heavily shimmery bronze (see the swatch below) and looks amazing with pretty much any nude palette out there.


Superdrug Rhubarb & Custard Shower Gel

Holy freaking shit this smells amazing! It smells just like the sweets although it is quite a strong sweet scent so if you're not into that you probably won't like it but I bloody love this so much! It doesn't dry my skin out which is a problem I face quite frequently with "cheap" bath and shower products and basically, this is amazing.

Badedas 3 in 1 

I bought this to use whilst I was ill because it was literally the only thing I could actually smell. It has a pretty strong, fresh scent which smells like trees. Horse chestnut to be exact but I really appreciated being able to actually smell something and it makes me feels so much more refreshed after using it. Bonus that it can be used as a shampoo, conditioner and shower gel!

Emily Veg Crisps

I picked these up in Boots whilst grabbing various medication because I basically lived off noodles and crisps because that's all I wanted to eat. These are the perfect amount of thickness and crunch and they fact they are vegetables means they're healthy, right? I normally get the Tyrrells ones which are nice too but these aren't as sharp when they crunch. That means sense right? The Beetroot ones were my favourite!


Maybelline Tattoo Brow

This has been a game changer for me, I fucking hate filling in my brows and anything that means I can get away with doing it for longer is right up my street, alley, life in general. You basically paint it on, leave it, peel it off and you're good for a few days! You look like a giant twat for the duration between applying it and peeling it off but it's totally worth it. Just don't forget to peel it off before you go out which I totally didn't nearly do the other day.

Crystal Pendant Necklaces

I have about 500 of these. Okay, not 500 but I have a lot and they've been been "my thing" for a few years now. I've had an interest in crystals since I was a kid and although I'm still not 100% if they work but they're interesting and it makes me feel better wearing them anyway. Plus I love the way they look! These are Dalmatian Jasper and Quartz.


Barry M Quick Dry Nail Polish

I fucking hate waiting for my nails to dry. Number one on my can't be arsed list! I always end up messing them up by being inpatient or from one of the kids needing something desperately the second I've painted them. I've tried quite a lot of fast drying nail polish and they have all been a bit "eh", they were either super thin and watery or just, well, didn't dry fast. This nail polish costs about £3 from Barry M and it actually bloody dries fast! Miracle worker in a bottle!

Personalised Hangers

These are £3.50 from Its a Haslam Thing! They cost £3.50 including postage and packing which is a steal! The back has "OOTD" on so these are perfect for when I finally get round to photographing the girls' outfits! I just love these little things so much, they look so lovely hung in their rooms!


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