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New Blog Design & Easter Recipes!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Hello all!
A bit of a random coupling in the title there, but I didn't want to spring such a big update on you without talking a little about it first! As you've probably noticed, we've had a big makeover here today, I say today, it started yesterday at midday and is still needs tweaking after 13 hours of editing! BUT, I'm finally happy enough with it to publish it, I think..

If you've followed my blog for a while, you would've seen me change the design so many times, but after a bit of a stressful start to the new year with anxiety and other bits going on, I wanted a fresh look for it, something simple but a little more current I guess. I'm really bloody proud of it actually, so I hope you all love it as much as I do, if there's anything not quite right or doesn't work, do let me know so I can sort it out!

Anyway, onto the actual reason why you've clicked on this post...cake.

My second favourite time of the year is coming up, Easter! The time when we can devour our body weight in chocolate and no one can judge you. This year however, I am going chocolate free, I've not eaten any for a good few months now and I can't even say I miss it (shock of the century to those that know me personally). But it doesn't stop me looking at lots of yummy treats and making some for the family anyway! 

Growing up, Easter was one of my favourite times of the year, firstly, every year, my Nan would host an Easter Egg hunt for the grandkids and we'd all be at her house for the day, each of us with a little wicker basket, searching for colourful eggs amongst the trees, bushes and the rockery, we all had one of each colour to find, to stop us just collecting every egg we saw! There would be little yellow chicks everywhere, and even big easter eggs for the grown ups hidden on the tops of the greenhouse! We also had a tradition where my cousin and I were able to design our own Easter Bonnets (I really must dig out some photos!), we could do to them whatever we wished, add ribbon, add chicks, beads, glitter, anything! It was an amazing day and is something I really want to do with Abbie as she gets older too!

My go to recipe tends to be shortbread cookies at the moment, they're quick, easy, delicous and you can decorate them however you wish! I bought these adorable cookie cutters from Matalan a few weeks ago, so i'm looking forward to using those this year!

So without further ado, here is a little selection of some of my favourite Easter Inspired Recipes i've found!

Peanut Butter Cookie Pie
First of all, giant cookie, secondly, peanut butter and thirdly pie. I mean, do I really need to convince you anymore? Ok go on then, lets throw some Mini Eggs/M&M's on top too! And no, you don't need to share if you don't want to...

Creme Egg Brownies
You can't really write an Easter post and not include something about creme eggs can you?

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Cakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Birds Nests
Click here for the recipe

Chick Macarons

Easter Bunny Popcorn Bars

Carrot Cake Pops

Cadburys Magic Bars

Chocolate Chunk Hot Cross Buns

And last but by no means least..
Creme Egg Cheesecake
by Taming Twins

What are your plans for Easter this year?

My Favourite Place

Monday, 1 February 2016

I was recently invited to take part in a competition with James Villa's to talk about my favourite holiday! The winner will receive a 7 night stay at one of the gorgeous villas from a choice of 5 destinations across Europe, including our personal choice of Mallorca. Obviously I couldn't miss out on the opportunity, so I set to work on my post and dug out my hard drive, and chose 5 of my favourite photos to bring you the little story of my favourite ever holiday...

Since I was eight years old, i've had this *little* obsession with New York, after being bought Home Alone 2 on video, my love affair began, I wanted to be just like Kevin McCallistar, go on the huge airplane, sit in a hotel room stuffing my face with all the yummy deliciousness, I wanted to play all day in FAO Schwartz, and I wanted to walk through a snowy Central Park and feed the pigeons with the scary lady. My first crush began and I need to go, pronto.

It soon became obvious, this wasn't just a silly crush, this was to be my first true love!
I would talk about it all the time, watch the film every day, I would beg my mum to take me there, and she promised, she promised that before I turned 18, I would go. I held on to that promise.

February 14th 2009 started like any other day, except my Mum had insisted I go to the airport with her to pick up a family friend, obviously being the lazy teenager I was I moaned a little, but then I agreed to go along, I can always go back to bed when i'm back after all!

So we are standing in the airport, with my Mum and Step Dad (why we all needed to be there I don't know), she asks me to check her passport to make sure it was definitely hers so I open it up, and panic hits..

"Mum, you've got my passport, this isn't yours!" 

I'm then told,
"You might as well have this as well then"
and given to me was a New York Guide Book, things still didn't trigger for me, I remember feeling confused, then I'm asked 
"Would you like to go?"
Thats when I realised, in that moment I WAS GOING TO NEW YORK, RIGHT NOW, I instantly burst into tears, this was it, it's actually going to happen.

I can't even begin to tell you how magical this trip was. Stepping off the plane and heading off to our hotel, even just driving along the roads made me feel content, there's something about America that makes me feel at home! That first sight of the city itself was incredible, the child in me was jumping up and down in my seat, squealing with excitement! 

It was everything I could have imagined, 9 years of planning and expectations this City had to live up to, I knew damn well it wasn't going to let me down. Over the next 4 days, we visited so many places, the obvious ones, the Statue of Liberty at Sunset, The Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Centre, we even visited a British Pub to watch a game of footy on the tv! (necessity obviously!). We ventured to Madame Tussauds, The Nikon Camera shop, Ground Zero and even had a magical limousine ride through Times Square!

I've been yearning to go back ever since we came home almost 7 years ago! A part of me is still somewhere in the midst of New York and I think it would only be fair to head over there again in a few years. So in 2019, I am off again, however this time, I will be sharing the magic with Abbie, sharing with her my most favourite place in the whole world, experiencing some of the things I missed before and watching her soak up every little bit. And of course it'll have to all begin with snuggling up and watching Home Alone 2 together, at the same age I was, only 20 years later.

And to finish, a little video montage of our trip, I so wish i'd filmed more but this is what footage I had cut down into 3 short minutes!
Also, my vlogging skills are way better now ;)

What's your favourite holiday?

New Years Resolutions - 2016

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Say YES more
This applies to a lot of things, in life and in blogging. I'm so fed up of my anxiety stopping me from doing things, so this year my main priority is to combat that!  I want to do more things, with Abbie in general. Travel further afield, go away for a few days to stay with family, go to the beach, i've actually created a bucket list for us to do this year and i'm hoping to complete all 50 of them!

Pass my driving test
I've been wanting to drive for so long now, but it would really open up a new chapter for me, being able to take Abbie places, without having to rely on other people. It would mean we can both get out more which would benefit both Abbie and myself. I always pictured having Mother Daughter days with her, travelling out to the mall and having a cake and hot chocolate together before looking round some shops, now she's getting older it's definitely something she might start enjoying! I'm super motivated to get in the driving lessons and taking my test as soon as I can!

Go abroad
I want to take Abbie over to see some family in another country this year, which means my anxiety will really be pushed to the test, a busy airport, a super active 3 year old, a plane journey, waiting around, time changes, change in routine and different weather! But then I think about the whole positive side, Abbie exploring a different country, culture, people and the whole experience in general. I travelled a lot as a kid and really loved it all, playing on the beach, visiting new places and plane journeys! We will also create scrapbooks of things she finds on her way around, shells, stones, even little receipts and things during the holiday, I have so many memory boxes upstairs full of memories growing up, so hopefully Abbie will get into it too :)

Get Fit
My resolution in 2014 was to lose weight, I lost a whole 36lbs and have been maintaining that since, i've wavered around the 9 stone mark and have been super proud of keeping on top of it all! But for this year I am focusing on keeping fit, I will be starting the Kayla Itsines BBG, I'm not usually one to follow trends like those but the results i've seen on Instagram and online have been amazing. My figure isn't it's best, in fact it's far from it, i'm not insecure about it as such but I would love to be able to wear a bikini or at least look good in a swimsuit! I'm yet to see a transformation on someone with a body that looks like mine, so I can't wait to see exactly how it'll change. 

I'm not looking for a perfect body, because I know it's never going to happen for me, but I know I can look a hell of a lot better, as the saying goes "Strive for progress, not perfection", having spent my whole teenage life doing just the opposite, despite having a bloody good figure, and suffering from eating disorders. I'm now set on improving and increasing my confidence! 

Be a Better Person
I know this is a bit of a cliche, but it's something I really want to emphasise, i'm not a horrible person or anything, but there are things I need to change and things I need to work on. As a Mother I always want to be better, and sometimes I'm just not the best I should be, and whilst it's ok to have off days, I want to just practice having things like, more patience, more play time together and taking my first point above, doing more things with her! I also want to become 'Jess' again, just a little bit. I'm very much a Mother and it's my favourite thing in the world, but I have realised I have forgotten about myself in the process. My plan is to see friends more, and try and get some of my life before Abbie back. She is always my number 1 priority but after over 3 years, I'd like to find myself again! 

Happy New Year :)


50 Things to do this christmas!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My favourite time of the year is approaching super fast, so i'd be lying if I said I wasn't already super duper excited! Growing up I really had the best Christmases and was always kept busy in the run up to it too, I was always far too excited as soon as December hit that I needed things to keep me occupied! There's a little quote out here somewhere that says "I thought the best thing about Christmas was being a kid, but it's actually having children". No longer am I bothered about presents for myself, it's all about Abbie and making it a magical experience for her, and I believe the older she gets, the more magical it becomes! 

This year is probably the first year she can get excited about everything properly, she already sings "We wish you a merry Christmas" and knows who Santa is too, although she doesn't care for opening presents still, I think this year we will keep the bigger presents unwrapped and on show when she comes downstairs, and the smaller ones wrapped up! With that being said, before the big day, we have lots of things we can get done to really get into the Christmas spirit, i've conjured up a list of 50 things you can do before then to help!

1. Leave Santa's footprints
2. Make a gingerbread house
3. Make a christmas eve box
4. Buy advent calendars
5. Make your own christmas cards
6. Go ice skating
7. Visit light switch on event
8. Make christmas cookies
9. Make hot chocolates
10. Visit Santa's grotto

11. Watch Christmas movies
12. Have a chocolate coin hunt around the house
13. Have a karaoke night with Christmas songs
14. Read Christmas stories
15. Drive around and see all the Christmas lights
16. Make snow angels (if it snows, obviously)
17. Have an indoor picnic
18. Create a den indoors
19. Buy some new Christmas pyjamas
20. Make ornaments for the tree

21. Donate boxes of toys
22. Make a snow globe
23. Take family photos by the tree
24. Go for a winter walk
25. Watch The Nativity
26. Visit nursing homes and sing carols
27. Make paper snowflakes
28. Make puppets
29. Play board games
30. Make santa bubble beards in the bath

31. Dress up with the little ones
32. Make paper chains
33. Make mince pies
34. Take a photo every day from 1st December
35. Visit a Christmas market
36. Make New Year's resolutions
37. Take part in Secret Santa
38. Make Christmas Bunting
39. Make up a lucky dip game
40. Create Christmas flash cards

41. Make up a dance to a Christmas Song
42. Go and see a Christmas play at the theatre
43. Take bokeh photos of your Christmas tree lights
44. Make some Christmassy vlogs, putting up the tree, unwrapping presents etc
45. Visit Santa!
46. Meet some Reindeer
47. Make Christmas wish lists
48. Make your own fake snow
49. Play games together, Heads Up is one of our favourites!
50. Make a massive bed in the living room, snuggle up, watch Christmas movies and eat lots!

What are your family traditions?


12 No Bake Treats!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Although baking is one of my favourite things to do, sometimes I just don't have the time to wait for the oven to cook things, on those days when you have other things to do, you need recipes you can make quickly then leave to set in the fridge whilst you run your errands! With Christmas coming up, you might want to make some yummy things last minute for a party or family gathering, so these are perfect for that! Granted some of these aren't the healthiest but they are delicious and Christmas is a time to treat yourself after all ;)

Here are my favourite 12 from the web, enjoy! :)

Healthy Salted Caramel Slice
by The Big Man's World

Miniature Smores Pies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
by Yummy Healthy Easy

Honey Nut Cheerio Peanut Butter Bar

Rice Krispie Treats

Cheesecake Truffles

Peanut Butter Twix Pie

Chocolate Roulade

Oreo Cheesecake

Easy Homemade Toffee

Oreo Bark

15 Minute Thin Mints

Feeling Festive, Horrible Nurses & Finding Nemo!

Sunday, 22 November 2015
Hello all! 

On Friday we decided to pop over to Longleat for the day, considering the weather was good, the sun was out and everything looked so Christmassy from the Festive of Lights event! Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I couldn't wait to get some photos of Abbie around the tree! Obviously she was more interested in jumping in muddy puddles and running around than standing and smiling for photos, but she had so much fun none the less and it didn't put me in the festive spirit!

We put Abbie in her new Regatta rainsuit which looked so adorable on her, it's currently reduced from £30 down to just £9 in case any of you are interested, I've been eyeing them up for a while so couldn't believe my luck when they were on offer! 

It feels like every year I get excited about Christmas earlier and earlier, as soon as November hit this year, I wanted to put the tree up and decorate the house! But, I do have to rein it in..until December 1st anyway! 

We've had a super busy week this week, Ben was off work so we've been trying to fit in as much family time as possible! From soft play visits, to park trips, seeing family, Birthdays, craft time and watching Finding Nemo far too many times! But it's weeks like these that really make me happy!

There was one moment this week that actually really bothered me, I'm not usually the type of person to complain or write about it on here, but on Saturday I was left feeling anxious and like a crap parent after a dramatic doctors visit..

To cut a long story kinda short, Abbie was booked in for her flu spray vaccine, which I was already feeling anxious about! We were greeted by two nurses who were obviously in a rush, we were asked the usual questions but then asked us "Why didn't she have the vaccine last year?" in such a judgmental way, which straight away made me feel like an inadequate mother, I don't even think we had the letter through last year so that's why she didn't get it. The nurses both looked each other then looked back at me. 

We were then told Abbie needed her temperature taken first, and came at Abbie with the thermometer, Abbie straight away ran into the corner shouting "no no no, bye bye, mummy?!" whilst bursting into tears. Now I know "most" children will sit down patiently and just let them do whatever they need to do, but Abbie isn't like that, shockingly enough, my toddler isn't too keen on strangers trying to poke something in her ear who she's just met, by hovering over her telling her "it won't hurt, you just need to stay still". 

I told them she just doesn't like having her temperature taken or nasal sprays (how many toddlers do?), which then resulted in the nurse sitting down to say "Well how DO you take her temperature at home", followed by "Well, I have other things to do and a clinic to run so good luck with this one" to the other nurse, as she walked out laughing. Great way to make an anxious mother feel better, well done you. Very professional. She then proceeded to back Abbie into the corner to try again until I stopped her, Ben & I then both tried a few times but Abbie was so upset, I was getting upset and just told her we might have to rebook the appointment. There was no compassion, no sympathy, no patience and no reassurance either. When did Doctors & Nurses become like this? 

I couldn't believe it, my child is not being naughty, nor is she being difficult, no she hasn't had a traumatic experience like you politely asked, none of those. She was simply put into a room she's never seen before, with a very stern atmosphere, nothing to distract her or ease her into it, i'm sorry my daughter wasn't like the other children you had seen that morning, i'm sorry she was scared of you, i'm sorry you felt like it was ok to make me feel like a shitty mother because she wasn't doing what you wanted and i'm sorry you had made us wait for 20 minutes in the waiting room before as you are always running bloody late, and my daughter was already ready to go home. Apologies for the inconvenience any of this caused you and your "clinic".

So we didn't end up giving Abbie the flu spray, we are hoping to try it again by having a doctor come to us, where Abbie might feel safer. I've never seen her so stressed, she was literally hysterical and there's no way I was making her even more scared of the doctors. 

Aside from that, we had a great week packed full of fun, and although I can recite every single word from Finding Nemo, I'm just glad I can sit and snuggle with my little girl and watch movies now, i've been waiting forever for those moments!

To end this post on a high, I have some photos of our Longleat trip for you all to see, if you can get over there yourself I would really recommend it! :)

Obligatory tantrum 2 minutes into the trip

Hope you all had a great weekend :)


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