Thursday, 31 December 2015

Me and Mine (December) So Long 2015...

And that was 2015...

This year has been quite possibly the worst of my life. From January, we've had one thing or another to deal with and it's been an incredibly difficult year for me. However, I've had my wonderful husband right beside me every step of the way. Without him, I do not know how I would have survived this year.

As we head into 2016, I am determined to leave all the negative stuff behind. I've become stronger this year and I'm a better person for it. I will be glad to leave this year behind and start a fresh tomorrow. 

There's a lot I want to do in 2016. The most important being to get pregnant. Both Michael and I are so ready for another baby but for one reason or another, we've just not been able to put all our effort into TTC. Hopefully that'll all change soon. Michael starts a new job on the 4th January and I really do think it's going to be the making of him. Whilst he was only at his previous job for 11.5 months, it's been by far his most stressful job and it was really hard seeing him come home every night so stressed by it, so I am so relieved that he's got a fresh start at a new company come the new year. 

I also want to learn more about photography. Michael bought me a canon g7x for Christmas and from what I've used of it so far, it's an amazing camera and I'm totally blown away with it. I even took my very 1st bokeh shot the other day (totally by chance but I still love it). 

Blogging is another thing I'm going to be taking more seriously. There's always so many times I want to blog, but for one reason or another, I just never seem to get round to it. I started this blog so I could have somewhere to record our memories and whilst we live a very ordinary life, it is one that I want to be able to look back on and remember how full of love Alfie's childhood was. We may not have a lot of money, or our own house, we may struggle to get by month after month, but we have always got each other and a home filled with so much love. 

I also plan to lose a lot of weight. Ideally, I need to lose 2 stone to get back to pre Alfie weight, but how much I lose will all depend on how soon I get pregnant...but I'll be following the Slimming World plan and I intend to stick to it if and when I get pregnant. 

For all the bad there's been in 2015, we've had some good times. We started the year off by moving house in January. Michael turned 30 in March and we spent a lovely weekend away in Bridlington to celebrate. Me, Alfie, my Mum and in-laws went to cheer Michael on in his second Manchester 10K and I went watching Take That for the 4th time. We celebrated our 1st Wedding anniversary in August, quickly followed by Alfie's 3rd birthday in September and just we've celebrated our 6th Chrismas together and our 4th with Alfie. 

2016 - I am ready for you! 







Monday, 19 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday #18 {19 October}

Does anyone else feel like these weeks are whizzing by? It only seems like yesterday that I did my meal plan for last week and here I am again doing it again! 

Overall, last week I had a good start to the week but it did go downhill towards the end of the week. I stuck to the meal plan except for Thursday evening. Alfie had an accident at nursery and ended up with a very fat lip. He'd opened a toy kitchen door into his face and split his lip, so he had a very swollen face, bless him. So as a treat, we let him have a McDonald's with a strawberry milkshake for his tea. As Michael was going for Alfie, he got himself something and I ended up with some chips myself, meaning I didn't need to cook tea that evening. 

Friday's I'm off work and whilst I had every intention of staying 'on plan' it didn't go to plan at all. I started off with crumpets for breakfast. For lunch I had some home made speedy broccoli and leek soup with 2 warburtons thins then for our tea we had the standard  Friday night tea of nacho's. However, we had 2 chicken breasts left in the fridge, so ended up having enchilda's after nacho's too. It was a lovely naughty treat and I've decided to not beat myself up about it because Michael and I don't have a lot of time together, so I'm going to enjoy it. I ended up not making a curry on Saturday because we were out and about all day and only got back quite late. Michael had bought a curry from Tesco, so I ended up with my fail safe 'treat' tea of a smash pizza.

This week I am determined to stick to plan all week, so we are having:

Monday; Steak and slimming world chips with veg
Tuesday: SW lasagne with a side of veg / salad
Wednesday: Chicken, wrapped in bacon with mash and veg
Thursday: SW spaghetti bolognaise
Friday: Probably Nacho's.
Saturday: Curry (mine will be sw home made, but Michael may have a supermarket one)

For lunches, I'm planning to have home made soup on Monday and Thursday when I'm at work and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday,when I'm home for lunches, it will either be soup or bacon and eggs with spinach. I had this last week and it was so good. I would never have thought to put spinach with bacon and eggs before but it actually really works! 

My aim for this week is to drink more water. I am absolutely TERRIBLE at drinking anything other than tea and diet coke (bar the odd sugar free caramel skinny latte from Costa at weekend). So this week, I really want to drink more water! 

Here's to another good week. 

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linking up to at home with Mrs M

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday #17 {12 October}

It's been just short of 2 months since I last did a meal planning post and I've realised how much I've really missed it. There's something satisfying about having a meal plan for all week so I know what I'm cooking every day and I'm not rushing round trying to get something together last minute when I get in from work. I have tried to plan as much as I could over the summer, but I've not been posting meal plans as I've barely been on the laptop. My hubby and I started watching Sons of Anarchy and it totally took over our evening's and we watched all 7 seasons in a few weeks! As such, I'm not getting withdrawals haha! 

So, I'm back with my head in the game and focussed and I'm really hoping to lose a few pounds before Christmas, so the majority of my meals will be slimming world friendly! 

This week we are having:

Monday: Salmon, veg and new potatoes
Tuesday: sw spaghetti bolognaise or sw lasagne 
Wednesday: Slow cooked diet coke chicken with sw chips and veg 
Thursday: Sausage casserole with mash and veg
Friday: Is usually nacho night, but depending how I feel, I will possibly have pizza and chips (both sw friendly)
Sunday: Chicken, mash and veg

I'm really hoping for a good week on plan. I've recently invested in the morphy richards soup maker after seeing quite a few posts from people on instagram shouting about it from the roof tops and I've already made a lovely leek and potato soup and two batches of broccoli and leak soup. Now, I hate broccoli (and all veg except carrots for that matter) so I was very apprehensive about a broccoli soup, however, I absolutely love it, so I'll be having a few homemade soups for lunch this week. I'm also planning to make some mini crustless quiches to go along side them packed with ham, spinach and peppers.

I've also discovered weetabix muffins, which if you are following the slimming world plan, it's a lovely treat as a great healthy B option - it's literally 2 weetabix crumbled up with 1 teaspoon of sweetener, 1 teaspoon of nutella, 1 teaspoon of sweet freedom syrup, 2 eggs and half a toffee mullerlight yoghurt. Whisk it all together and divide between muffin cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. The recipe I followed made 5 which work out at 1 syn each or your healthy B for all 5... However, I made them quite small so I got 6 out of the mixture.  Below is a picture of the end result. 

I've seen them used along side fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, or topped with chocolate spread and banana as an evening treat. However you choose to have them, I guarantee you won't be disappointed! 

If you would like the recipe for the weetabix muffins , just follow the link!

Here's hoping for a good week 'on plan' !

Linking up with at home with Mrs M and you can join in on twitter using the hashtag #mealplanningmonday

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Me and Mine (September)

And just like that, September is over and we have a three year old! 

As with every month this year, September seems to have flown by and I'm sad that the summer is well and truly over. However, since having Alfie, I've definitely realised how much more I appreciate the seasons and I do love Autumn (unless it rains)! With Alfie's birthday being  at the beginning of the month, I feel like once that's over, I am truly on countdown to Christmas, despite the fact that in the first two weeks of October we have my mum's birthday, my father in law's birthday, my niece's birthday and my grandad's birthday. Not to mention my sister and brother in law's anniversary. Phew! (October is a very expensive month)!!

For Alfie's 3rd birthday, we had a little family party at our house for our close family and it was just such a lovely day. I really do love it when we are all together. I still haven't shared any pictures from it, which I need to get round to doing! 

To be honest, the rest of this month has been pretty quiet and I've nothing much to write about. Weekends, as always are spent doing the food shop and trying to catch up on jobs, and Sunday's are Alfie and Daddy days as I'm at work. Michael will usually go to his parent's in the morning and they'll all take him somewhere for a few hours. I love that he gets that one on one time with Michael, but I really hate how much I miss out on by only having one day a week with them! 

I tried and tried to get a nice family picture of us this month and failed! I thought Alfie's party or his birthday would have been the perfect opportunity, but he's a stubborn little thing and if Alfie doesn't want a picture taking, then Alfie's not having a picture taken, so I'm cheating a bit this month and including a picture which was actually taken on our anniversary last month. We got the pictures back this week and I can't wait to share them! So I shall leave you with a little preview and some photo's from Alfie's party. 

I adore this photo of us. Taken at our Wedding Venue, Haigh Hall, taken exactly one year after we were married, taken by our wedding Photographer Christopher Lewis
Happy Birthday beautiful boy!

crammed on to Alfie's bouncy castle we bought him for his birthday! 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


And just like that you are three!

You have turned into a beautiful, headstrong, independent, intelligent little boy. You drive Daddy and I nuts on a daily basis as you must ask us 100's of questions every single day, which can be exhausting. You do things over and over which we ask you not to do, you have temper tantrums like you wouldn't believe. However, I don't think I would change any of it. I love how you are so inquisitive and how you want to know everything and learn everything. This age is really, really great. You have been talking since you were about 18 months old, but your speech has just exploded over the last year especially and it really is fantastic having proper conversations with you! 

You seem to be growing and changing daily and I sometimes forget how little you are and how young you are because there are times when you seem wise beyond your years. Your Nan especially thinks you are really clever and thinks you should be going to prep school. Which is lovely to hear. 

Daddy and I have found this last year the most challenging I would say. As you get older you become more sure of yourself and you have really learnt how to push our buttons. I said this to you in the car yesterday and you rather innocently said 'what buttons Mummy, what button's do I press' I could do nothing but laugh! Whilst we both love you to the ends of the Earth, I don't think I'd realised how hard this parenting lark can be. It is so hard telling you no and having to discipline you if you are naughty. We have gone through quite a few tough stages over the past 6 months especially where you have become quite naughty and lashing out. Thankfully, you do seem to have stopped the naughty behaviour, for now at least. On the flip side, you have become really loving. The other day, out of nowhere, you said, I love you Mummy, very, very much. It made my heart melt. I have you to myself on a Friday and very often, after breakfast, you will say 'can I sit on your knee and have a cuddle Mummy'. It's without a doubt my favourite time of the day! 

Daddy is still your absolute best friend in the world and if he is there, I don't get a look in. On the afternoon's that I am home with you, as soon as you see Daddy walk through the gate, you will run to him and throw your arms around his leg and say 'it's nice to have you back Daddy'.  I know how much Daddy loves this and I love  to watch your relationship with him, but sometimes, I do wish I wasn't on the sidelines all the time and I wish you wanted me as much as you do him sometimes. I know Daddy wouldn't change it, but he does get exhausted constantly being in demand. 

We have been doing some work on letters and numbers with you and you can recognise your name and almost spell it (you miss the L out) and you can regonise the letter W and you are starting to associate letters with words, like A for Alfie and J for jungle. In nursery a few weeks ago, you were sat doing circle time and pointed out some words on the wall - who, what, when, where, why, how and told your key worker, Gina, that they all begin with W, but it has a W in it. She was so proud and couldn't wait to tell us :) 

Your favourite thing to watch is currently Blaze and the monster machines, which is about monster trucks. You still like paw patrol and wallkazam, but Blaze is your current favourite. I really wanted to get you some blaze toys for your birthday but we could't find any as it's an American TV show, which isn't very popular over here, so we got you a paw patrol cake instead (which you loved)! 

For your birthday, we had a family  party at our house on the Saturday before your birthday. The weather was so lovely and the sun shone. It wasn't really warm, but it was nice enough to have the doors open and for you and the kids to play out. We had such a lovely day and it was great to have all the family together again. (I'm going to do a separate post about your birthday, so won't go into too much here). 

At your party, your dummy got lost, and as you are fussy, you wouldn't have any others that we had. This meant that we were given no option but to go cold turkey with your dummy at bedtime. You asked for it quite a while and it took you a long time to settle, but you did eventually go to sleep without it. We are now over week without it and on Friday and Saturday you didn't nap, Sunday you did, but then yesterday, despite being up at 6.30 and at nursery in the afternoon, you didn't have a sleep and it was 9pm before you crashed. I do not know where you get your energy. I am hoping it's not the end of nap time just yet, because I do think you still need it as you get really ratty around tea time when you've not had that sleep. Especially as we've had a tough week sleep wise as on Thursday night, you didn't fall asleep until 11.15pm. You constantly shouted down asking was it time to get up yet. Since having no dummy, it's been much harder to settle you at night and for your naps (when you have them) as you just will not stop talking ;) I'm hoping that if you do drop your naps, that you will start going to bed a little earlier and sleeping better as you currently go to bed about 8.30 but shout down until gone 9 some nights. Mummy and Daddy would like a bit more of their evening please :) 

You are the best thing in my life, the best thing I've ever done and my greatest achievement. I will be forever thankful that I get to be your Mummy and be there for you to watch you grow as  are just the most incredible little boy and my life is so much better for you being here. 

You make me so proud each and every day and I sometimes sit there watching you in complete awe that you are mine. I've had a very tough year this year, but having you has really got me through it. You bring so much laughter to our lives and you are our best little friend. 

I love you to the ends of the Earth my beautiful big boy.



Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Me and Mine {August}

August has been a strange month.

I've unintentionally stepped back from what little blogging I did, for no other reason that there is a huge thing going on in my life, which I can't talk about - at least not on the world wide web and I just don't know how I would find it in me to blog and give the impression that everything is rosy when it's really not that great for me right now. I can't talk about it as it's not my place and it's not directly anything to do with me...But it's hard and it's been a struggle. I enjoy blogging (when I actually do it) and wish I could be better at it. But I struggle to find the time. I work 30 hours a week, have an almost 3 year old and a husband, who I only get one full day with a week and I can never find it in me to neglect time with him to sit blogging. Our time together is so precious and we've recently started watching Sons of Anarchy, so every evening once Alfie is down, we will sit and watch an episode (unless it's the weekend and we will binge watch them). Finding a series that we both enjoy and sitting down to watch it after the end of a long day, is one of our favourite things to do.

Anyway, I digress. We started off the month having a date night to our friends wedding reception. Michael and I used to work at the same place and one of the girls he used to work with invited her along to her wedding reception. It was great for him to catch up with all his old team and for me to catch up with colleagues outside of work. We had a great time and it was lovely to see Michael enjoying himself catching up with them all after 8 months.

The following day, we went to visit my grandparents. The weather was on our side, meaning Alfie could play in their garden which he absolutely loves. I don't see my grandparent often, but whenever I do, I always manage to get a picture of us all together (or I at least try too).

The next couple of weeks passed without much of anything happening. Although, Alfie did get a superstar balloon from nursery. It was the cutest thing. Gina, his key worker, told us that they'd all been sat on the carpet reading and they have some words up on the wall 'who, what, when, where, why and how' From nowhere, Alfie pointed to them and said to Gina, 'Gina, they all start with the letter W, except that one (how) but it's got a W in it'. Gina was so proud of him and couldn't believe that he'd pointed it out. Things like that I take for granted, because he's our 1st we've nobody to compare him too, so we're not sure if he's advanced, behind or just where he needs to be, so it's always lovely to get feedback from nursery. 

In the middle of the month, we had a much deserved and needed 10 days off work. We were very lucky with the weather as the days which we had planned to go places are the days which we got the best of the weather. On Monday, we kicked off the week by taking Alfie to Smithells farm, which is a local farm near to where we live. We've never been before, but I've heard great things about it. It was lovely to see him with all the animals, as he loves animals. As we were getting ready for going, I noticed that they were just about to do pets corner, so we decided to go along. I'm so glad we did because as soon as we sat down, Alfie was given a baby chick to hold. He also got to feed a lamb (when they said they were going to release the lamb's I was expecting these cute fluffy little lambs - I was very wrong. About a dozen sheep came charging out of the pens)! Pet's corner was really great and Alfie loved getting the change to see all the animals up close an he even had his first donkey ride!

The following day, we went to Chester Zoo. I have wanted to go for so long, but wanted to wait until Alfie was at the right age, so he would appreciate it. Honestly, it was probably the best day out we have had. The rain held off all day and it was actually really warm. We had such a great day and Alfie was in his element seeing all the animals. When we saw the buffalo, he rather sweetly thought it was a Gruffalo :) A few times during the day, Alfie asked for his face painted. He's never had it done before and I was convinced that he wouldn't sit still. Never the less, we took him along to the face painting station and he decided he wanted to be a lion. When I showed him his face after it was done, he absolutely loved it and then proceeded to 'Roar' rather loudly at everyone who walked past it - so funny ;) 

We stayed until they were due to close and managed to get all round the animals. The only things we didn't get to do are see the new part which they've opened called 'The Islands' and we didn't go on the mono-rail. It's Alfie's birthday on Monday so we have said we'll take him back and do the things we didn't get to do last time. 

The rest of the week was quite chilled. We took him on the train to Manchester and he absolutely loved it. He's got a thing about trains and just loves being on them :) 

The weekend came and we had a family bbq for our 1st wedding anniversary. The weather could not have been any better. It was glorious sunshine for the whole afternoon. It was the best party we've had in a long time. I love it when all the family come together and the kids played really nice all day. Just as people were getting ready to leave, the black clouds came and the heavens opened. We couldn't have been luckier with the weather had we tried. 

With my fab bridesmaids (minus 1) a year later 

The Boys

The Girls 
I love this of Me with My Mum

On the 24th August, it was our one year wedding anniversary. I can't believe we have been married a whole year already! Crazy. The year has been the fastest of my life. It still feels like it was only yesterday that I was getting ready with my Mum in my sisters bedroom and being in the wedding car with my Dad and Alfie and literally crying all the way to the Church. I feel incredibly lucky to have my Husband and I don't know what I would do without him. He is my absolute rock! On our anniversary, we went back to Haigh Hall, which was our wedding venue, and had a photoshoot with our photographer, Chris Lewis who can be found on facebook (Christopher Lewis Photography). 

I've not received the photo's back from the shoot yet, but Chris very kindly edited and released one for me, for the purpose of this post. I'm so excited to get the rest of the photo's back because, the pictures I saw on the back of the camera, are just stunning. I'd even go as far to say that they're the best photo's of us as a family. Alfie has met Chris and his girlfriend Vicky quite a few times now, so he is comfortable with them and was an absolute star on the day - he really played up to the camera and did what we asked of him. He was a little gem!

The last weekend, we were also at another wedding reception of one of Michael's friends, which was such a great night. Unfortunately, I only managed a couple of (very, very bad) iphone selfies of us! 

So here we are for this months' me and mine photo and exactly a whole year after our wonderful wedding day. This is my favourite me and mine photo of the year! 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Meal Planning Monday #16 {27 July}

Last week was my first 'proper' week back on slimming world. I have got to a point where I am utterly fed up with my weight and being this size, so I decided to take action. 

I found last week hard. I think it is going to take time to settle back into it properly. For the first time, in a very long time, I felt 'in the zone'. I was aware of what I was eating at at my usual 3pm slum rather that reaching for the endless amounts of free crisp, chocolate and fizzy drinks that my work supply to us, I was opting for fruit instead and water. Which was HARD!

Overall, I had a good week. I stuck more or less exactly to the plan which I was pleased with. 

This is what my week looked like...

I lost 3 pounds, which I'm amazed with! 

This weekend, we decided to get the majority of our meat and fruit and veg from the market. I can't believe how much we got for how little we paid! Amazing. We will definitely being getting our fruit, veg and meat from the market from now on. 

We said that we would bulk buy lots to save doing a big shop in the supermarket, but when we got it home and unpacked it, there's not actually as much as I initially thought, so I will still have to go shopping again at weekend. Whoops. 

This is what I've planned for this week:

Breakfast - weetabix and banana
Lunch - ham, chicken and spinach salad with a jacket potato
Tea - pasta with pasata, bacon medallions chopped up and a generous handful of spinach

Breakfast - 35g of crunch bran and banana
Lunch: one slice of bread with poached egg and beans 
Tea: I'm at a family gathering for my friends 21st, so Michael will be sorting his own tea

Breakfast - 2 x special K chewy delight, banana and possibly and apple
Lunch - smash base pizza
Tea - Slimming world lasagne with slimming world  chips / wedges and salad

Breakfast - 2 x weetabix and banana
Lunch - ham and egg salad with mug shot
Tea - chicken breast in nando's rub with rice and salad 

Brunch - scrambled egg, bacon medallions and beans
Tea - slimming world chicken tikka masala curry 

Hopefully, I'll have another good week and manage to stay on plan once again. I've also been making a big effort to drink more water. Fingers crossed I keep it up :)

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I'm linking up with at home with Mrs M come and follow the hashtag #mealplanningMonday for more fab meal planning inspiration!