Start the day with tea and a toaster (a giveaway)

Toaster Giveaway header

In homes across the UK, there will very probably be a staple kitchen appliance sitting on the worktop that has been used hundreds of times without thought; a rushed breakfast before school, a snack after a late night out or a small meal if you’re feeling poorly, the humble toaster provides endless feasts for hungry mouths.

When was the last time you used your toaster?

In our home, Little Mr is a big fan of a couple of slices of toast for breakfast. He likes it toasted golden brown with some melted butter spread on top. It’s a basic meal that literally anyone can make and the best thing is you can dress it up or down to make it as elaborate or as basic as you like. I’m a fan of scrambled egg on toast for dinner whilst my hubby loves a slice of toast to take for a quick breakfast on the way to work.

One of the most memorable meals I can recall is having tea and toast on the recovery ward after having Little Mr by c-section in hospital. I was starving and that cup of tea and couple of slices of toast were quite frankly, amazing!

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I’m pretty certain a toaster is the UK’s most popular small kitchen appliance* and in honour of the humble toaster and in partnership with House of Fraser, I have a fabulous Kenwood KMix Cream Gloss 2-Slice toaster to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Toaster 1

All you need to do is enter the rafflecopter below and let me know when you like to eat your toast and how you like it. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*statistic completely made up but possibly true 

Disclosure: I have been compensated to host this giveaway

Another dress (or two), another mini challenge

Back in 2012, I was losing weight in order to try for our very much loved Little Mr. It was also the year one of my friends was getting married and as an additional incentive to shed the pounds I bought a lovely blue and white polka dot dress to wear for the occasion and I fell in love with it. I bought the dress in a size smaller than I was in the hope I could slim myself into it and wear it for the wedding. The grueling exercise and determined dieting worked and I wore this beautiful dress at the wedding and felt brilliant all day.

polka dot dress

I was by no means at my smallest but I felt so confident in this outfit. I loved the dress, it made me feel so good and I really want that feeling back. I held my head high and I was proud of myself. I also towered above my husband in my gorgeous heels that ridiculously I’ve not worn since!

Here’s the thing.. My lovely friends are getting married in 6 and a half weeks time and I’ve bought not one but two dresses for the occasion. I was realistic and ordered the size that I am now as I was worried that if I ordered the dresses any smaller they would look too tight and I would feel uncomfortable. I’m delighted to be reading a beautiful verse at the wedding so I want to feel confident and make my friends proud.

They’re both beautiful summer dresses from Simply Be and I love them.

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Joe Browns Tropical DressFloral Skuba Dress

I don’t have any accessories at all for them or any shoes so over the next few weeks I’ll need to do a bit of shopping but I want to feel as good in these dresses as I did back in May 2012. I need to find some sort of cover up for my shoulders as I don’t want them out on show so I might see if I can find a cardigan of some sort in one of the colours from the dress. Of course, I will need to decide which dress to go for so I’ll see what I can find and see which outfit looks the best. I want to lose at least a stone in the next 6 weeks so I really need to up my game and stop picking bits of food here and there. I’ve been estimating syns for the bits of being eating and although I don’t think I’m too far off, I can’t really get away with eating unnecessary calories!

 The challenge is set.. 14lb to go, 46 days. Losing a stone will take me into the next stone bracket with a total weight of over 5 stone lost. Hopefully it will make me feel more confident and in all honesty, make me look a little less flabby too! Wish me luck.. x

Living Arrows 2015 – Week 16

Living Arrows – Week 16

We love our weekends together as a family and we try to do something aside from the usual housework, chores and food shopping. Yesterday we drove up to our local Forestry Commission to have a look around and take in some of the spring fresh air. It was a cold but dry day so we all wrapped up and had a good walk around Birches Valley. It’s a lovely space and it brings back lots of fabulous memories when my hubby and I bought our first ever real Christmas tree from here back in 2004.

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We had a lovely couple of hours in the Valley exploring all the wooden animals dotted around the forest and saying hello.

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We walked around the Super Worm trail looking for insects and wriggly worms and then stumbled across the Gruffalo. We unfortunately missed the Gruffalo Trail that was here a few months ago but it was good to see the Gruffalo and appreciate his purple prickles all over his back.

Gruffalo

We then had a walk down to the Wooden Play Area and Little Mr had a good play climbing up on the frames like the older children, walking across the bridges and balancing on tree stumps. He’s not a fan of the swings or the slide so generally won’t play on those but it was good to let him roam and choose what he wanted to play on.

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I really like this photograph my hubby took of Little Mr and I. We were looking out from under the climbing frame and Little Mr heard a plane going overhead.

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We had a lovely time at Birches Valley and we only had to spend a few pounds on parking (£1.50 for an hour, £4 all day). There’s also some toilets and a cafe open so you can get a hot drink and a snack if you don’t want to take a picnic. We’ll definitely be back in the Summer when it warms up a bit.

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Living Arrows

Meal Planning Monday 20th April 2015

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It’s that time again, we’ve come to the end of the food budget and not the end of the month. Ridiculously we have kitchen cupboards full of tins, spices, jars, boxes and packets but probably nothing substantial to make a meal from. Our freezer is again full of odd remnants of meat, less than half empty packets of frozen vegetables and squashed boxes of waffles and potato shapes.

We usually have a look at the contents of our cupboards, fridge and freezer on a Sunday and see what food we can use up. We then discuss what our commitments are for the week ahead and then put together a meal plan of the meals that we’d like to enjoy over the next seven days.

As I’m following the Slimming World diet, I eat a lot of fresh foods. I almost always have chopped fruit for breakfast and a chicken or ham salad for lunch during the week when I’m at work and for dinner I like to fill my plate with at least one third speed foods; a variety of vegetables and salads. I don’t see that changing as I want to continue with my weight loss but I do see us changing how we go about buying food and using stuff we already have in.

Meals that we ‘could’ have this week

– SW meatballs with pasta in a spicy tomato sauce
– Lemon and herb chicken, savoury rice and vegetables
– Sausages, mashed potatoes and vegetables
Bacon, Squash and Swede Stew
– Southern Fried Chicken and Actifry Chips (for Hubby and Little Mr)
– SW Chicken Tikka ready meal (for me)
– Omelettes and salad

There’s loads of random meals that we could put together but I’m conscious of existing things in the cupboard having a syn value attached. Randomly we have 3 huge tins of pineapple in juice (2.5 syns per 100g), 2 tins of mandarin (2.5 syns per 100g) in juice and a jar of Sweet and Sour sauce which is a whopping 11 syns worth!

I’d love to know how other folk keep their food shop bills down. Do you eat a lot of fresh meat and veg? I remember the days when I lived at home and my Mom used to do a ‘big’ shop once per month and then a top up shop for fresh each week. I’m sure she had a system for planning meals. Friday in the Summer always used to be salad with cold meat, homemade coleslaw and ‘really’ nice fresh baguette from the bakery. Funny what you remember isn’t it?

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday for more ideas and inspiration.

Meal Planning Monday

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