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Meal Plan Monday: Week Three - Jan 20th

It's time for meal plan Monday! Our first week of meal planning on the blog went really well and we are back for another week. It was such a busy and draining week for this household, but we somehow managed to stick to our meal plan until face planting into pizza on Saturday (it was our cheat day of the month). Last weeks menu was really good and went down pretty well with my husband and daughter. Our favourite dish was the Cheese and Onion Crispbakes and I think next time perhaps we will make them with an extra kick. 

So now that you know how our meal plan went last week, let me tell you all about our plans for this week. In addition to all these tasty recipe we will be trying to eat more fruit and veg during the day to make sure we hit our fruit and veggie targets. But let's get back to the meal plan. 

Monday:: Honey and Mustard Pork Loins, Herby Quinoa and Salad. 

Oh these honey and mustard pork loins are soooo blooming tasty and are so quick to make. Literally a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and 100ml of stock. The sweet and spicy loins are great with salads, but this week we decided to pair our loins with herby quinoa too. As my daughter has signed up to Rainbows on a Monday night we need to create a calorie controlled quick and easy meal. 

Tuesday:: Bacon + Mushroom Crustless Quiche with Mini Potatoes and Salad. 

Ever need to use up eggs, then a crustless quiche is the way to go. When we first started our slimming world journey we would love to make and create a number of combinations with a crustless quiche. They actually have waaay more flavour than a shop bought version and it’s so quick and easy to make. It makes a great light meal when served on it’s own or served with your choice of carbs for a more substantial meal. A classic, mushroom and bacon is always the way to go, but you could really add any of your favourite vegetables. Why not try tomatoes, peppers or spinach?

Wednesday:: Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken & Tomato with Boiled Rice and Asparagus. 

Every week I like to include a slow cooker recipe in our meal plan, as sometimes you just want to bung a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker and leave it all day. A comforting home cooked casserole perfect any night of the week and a family favourite. This recipe comes packed with lots of healthy vegetables like onions, carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms, so I just like to serve this alongside some cooked long-grain rice, perfect for soaking up that amazing creamy sauce and sauteed some asparagus. Perfect mid week dinner. 

Thursday:: Chicken Chow Mein 

This chicken chow mein recipe combines soft noodles, chicken and stir-fry vegetables to create a tasty Chinese classic. This Chicken Chow Mein recipe is a slimming friendly treat for anyone counting calories or following plans. The Chicken Chow Mein is a quick and simple dish. Perfect after a busy day or just when you don’t fancy making anything too complicated. You’ll need a few basics for this recipe, like dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, oyster sauce and Chinese five spice. But it's super quick and easy recipe if you're pressed for time. 

Friday:: Pork Mince Hotpot with Broccoli and Peas. 

Nothing says comfort food more than a hotpot. Traditionally this dish is made with beef or lamb but to try and save on some calories we like to use 5% pork mince. This recipe is perfect if you’re following a calorie controlled diet, and fits well with any one of the major diet plans like slimming world. What I like this about this dish is that it is super filling and tastes so good. 


Once a month, we like to indulged in a little takeaway and this month we decided to cheat one probably one of the worst things you can use for cheat day. PIZZA! I felt no guilt whatsoever.

What do you think of our meal plan this week? Have we inspired you to try out some of these recipes? I would recommend that you get the Pinch of Nom recipes books, especially the Everyday Light. It has been so great cooking up some of their recipes.

An Absolute MUST HAVE for a Better Night's Sleep

Being able to sleep well at night is essential. We all know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep when you have young children. The evening rest allows the body to regenerate and heal itself at a much faster rate. This is why you get that refreshed feeling when you wake up from a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately for me, the quality of my sleep is something that can always be improved. There are small tweaks and simple tips you can implement that can make all the difference. 

The Sleep Master Mimi

As someone who has anxiety getting to sleep and staying asleep isn't something that comes naturally. I have the best intentions when trying to get to sleep, avoiding caffeine, and staying off social media. However, as soon as my head hits the pillow it can be a struggle to drift into a deep sleep. I will lay there staring at the ceiling listening to my husband and daughter sleep, and my mind goes into overdrive with worry. I know that it's my anxiety that affecting my sleep however I have been trying a new relaxing routine in a bid to get a better night sleep. 

Cue the relaxation mode. The best way to kick start off an evening to get a better sleep is to draw a bath and drop a bath bomb into your tub. Enjoy a peaceful soak infused with soothing scents, you could even have a rose petal bath to make yourself feel extra special. After a bubble bath, wrap yourself in a comfortable robe, cleanse your face, moisturise and perhaps apply a face mask. There is nothing more appealing than going full on relaxation than with some fresh comfy pyjamas after a hot bath and a little beauty routine. Now that you smell and feel gorgeous it time to hit the sheets. Don't get distracted by the never ending scrolling through twitter or Facebook, make an effort to put your phone on charge out of reach, turn off those notifications and catch some zzzzs. 

This new relaxing routine wouldn't be complete without this MUST HAVE for a better night's sleep! Say hello to the Sleep Master® Sleep Mask. Now before we get into all the important details about the mask I feel that I need to be honest and tell you that a sleep mask isn't something that I use, if anything it's probably been years since I have used one. Most people see sleep masks as something that is a normally associated with as being really feminine and a kind of gimmick, or used on flights. However, in reality they are pretty useful as a sleep aid and something that we all should be using more. 

The Look and Feel.

Sleep Master® Sleep Mask arrived in minimal packaging and included some foam earplugs to give you the best sleep possible. It was quite lovely to see that there seemed to be more focus on the quality of the product than on the packaging that would normally go to waste anyway. The Sleep Master® Sleep Mask is a blue soft satin padded mask with a velcro fastening. It comes as one piece that is wide and wraps completely around your head, unlike most masks that have an elastic strap that is attached to the mask. A bonus for me was the velcro fastening as it wasn't something I had seen in a mask before, but when my unruly hair got stuck in the velcro is would really pull, so it wasn't ideal for relaxation mode. 

My Experience.

The Sleep Master® Sleep Mask made a difference to my sleeping pattern and I managed to get some sleep and managed to stay asleep. The mask blocked out all light and the sound was indeed muffled as the thick mask covered my ears too, but I did find it really odd to have something over my ears as I slept. It does need to be noted that even though the sound was muffled it wouldn't completely block out noises. 

When I tried to position the mask on my eyes it just felt as if it was a little loose and my hair would always get caught in the velcro. I found it so much easier to put the mask on my forehead, adjust the strap and then pull down to my eyes, it was so much better as the velcro wouldn't pull at my arm and the mask felt secure. It does a great job of blocking out light, and the adjustable strap has a reliable fastener to keep it in place on your face. I think there’s just enough on the strap to suit head sizes at both ends of the spectrum, though you might have that velcro strip on the end if you have a smaller head. Once on, the mask was surprising comfortable and I loved feeling the padded satin on my eyes, the v shaped opening for the nose also added to the comfort. The material was so soft and lightweight, I could barely feel it on my skin.

Sleep Master Mask Fastenings

As a contact lens wearer, the winter can be really harsh for my eyes. With the heating on full whack most of the time during the colder months can sometimes leave my eyes feeling sore and dry. But since wearing Sleep Master® Sleep Mask to bed, there has been a slight difference with my dry eyes. It's like the mask has helped create a barrier to help protect my eyes a little more.

The Sleep Master® Sleep Mask has really made a difference to my sleep and it was great for blocking out the light, the mask ensured that I went to sleep and stayed asleep. The only thing that I would say about the mask was that it didn't really deliver on muffling the sound, unless I put in the ear plugs too. Despite this, the mask is super soft very comfortable and has a fully adjustable fastening to suit all sizes. A great addition to my relaxation routine.

**We was kindly gifted our Sleep Master Mask, but as always my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright **

Meal Plan Monday: Week Two - Jan 13th

Last year we decided to make some big changes to our lifestyle and some of these including shedding some pounds and making a conscious effort to eat healthier. A year down the line and I have managed to lose three stones and so we want to continue with our new lifestyle and shed two more stone this year. So far, it has been really great and we all have been enjoying the nutritious meals that are jam packed full of fruit, veggies and lots of goodness. 

I’m always sharing my meals over on my Instagram and because so many of you have been asking about those recipes I thought that it was time I shared my meal plan with you. Before last year, I had never planned a meal in my life (unless choosing a wedding breakfast counts) but I would always choose to free ball it than stick to any kind of plan! But it was then that I would get stuck in the day to day repeating of several recipes, over and over and I can find it really tedious and boring which is why I would always reach for the sweet treats.

Meal planning saves me so much time and we have also been saving between £10-£20 a week. Everyone should give meal planning a go just for that reason. But not only will you save yourself a few quid meal planning can really help change the way you eat and change your food buying habits. So I want to share our meals from Monday 13th Jan on wards. 

Monday:: Chipotle Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Steamed Broccoli

Every week we love to buy a new herb or spice and last week it was Chipotle flakes and so we have been developing lots of tasty recipes that have a kick. These meatballs are a complete game changer for those who like a bit of spice and they are a simple meal to start your week, with a kick. The rich, flavourful sauce will make you think you have been cooking it for hours and hours. You will need to make your meatballs but that is probably the only work that you need to do, as the sauce is cooking away cook spaghetti and stream your broccoli. A rich meal cooked in less than 20 minutes and under 400 calories, what's not to love?

Tuesday :: Cheese & Onion Crispbakes, with sauteed vegetables and salad from Pinch of Nom Everyday Light

As a child along with both my brother and sister we loved those pancake crispbakes you could get. Can anyone remember those really cheesy ones? However, they were hardly great for those watching their calorie consumption and so we thought that we would add some slimming world friendly ones to our meal plan and they really didn't disappoint. These cheese and onion crispbakes are a great combination, paired with some creamy mash and crispy coating really makes the best comfort food. We decided to add some extra speed with sauteed veggies and salad, it was a very flavoursome and a filling meal. 

Wednesday :: Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa and Halloumi from Pinch of Nom Everyday Light

When we hear that word Halloumi, we get so happy. We love our cheese in this house, but being on slimming world you have to try and limit your intake. So saving our HEA for our evening meal was a must for you this delicious dish, and under 400 calories it's a must make dish. My husband isn't really keen on quinoa and as much as a I try to convince him that it's so good for you, he would never budge. That was until we dished it with Halloumi and veggies. This dish has really changed my husbands opinion on quinoa and it seems as if we shall be enjoyed the power food more in our healthy meals. 

Thursday :: Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

It has been so cold and what better way to warm you up than with a delicious slow cooked stew? That's why I love this time of year as it's so simple and easy to bung lots of veggies into a slow cooker and wait several hours. Zero effort meals are my kind of meals. This Beef and Sweet Potato Stew is so simple and easy to prepare and can be cooked in a slow cooker, on the hob or in the oven. It has been the best midweek meal.

Friday :: Southern Fried Burger in a Bowl, Paprika Chips and Salad. 

Who says a burger has to have bread? We are making an effort to try and limit our break intake during the week and swapping the bread out for something else as our HEB choice. This Southern Fried Burger in a bowl has juicy lean pork mince, with the southern fried sweet smokey taste and lots of fresh salad. If you’re starting out on a Slimming World plan or just want a lighter option one evening, then I recommend this being one of your first dishes. 

Saturday :: Ramen Bowls from Pinch of Nom Everyday Light. 

We have never ever tried a Ramen bowl before, I'm not entirely sure why it's taken us so long but we are full of regret. Noodles and soup are a match made in heaven and this delicious syn free chicken version is so good. This ramen noodle bowl is packed with loads of delicious fresh veg – bringing loads of different flavours and textures into the mix. For a vegetarian version, swap the chicken stock for vegetable, and if you want to go vegan simply use egg-free noodles and remove the boiled eggs.

What do you think of our meal plan this week? Have we inspired you to try out some of these recipes? I would recommend that you get the Pinch of Nom recipes books, especially the Everyday Light. It has been so great cooking up some of their recipes. 

Getting Organised: How To Be More Productive at Home

Throughout my life I have always been someone who loves to be organised, if anything being organised is one of my biggest qualities. To me, being organised comes so naturally. I have always believed that everything has its place and that there is a place for everything. Whether these are my clothes, the airing cupboard, fridge or books - everything has a certain place to live.

However, being organised isn't just about have a neat wardrobe or making sure that your veggies are put in a certain place, it's also about how we organise our life and work. Whether you're planning time to write blog posts, booking doctor appointments, or taking your children to after school clubs - being organised is incredibly important and can help increase productivity and efficiency. I cannot even begin to tell you about the importance of being organised when trying to accomplish your goals or intentions. 

Planning your week gives you time and space to figure out how you’re going to fit everything in. If you’re trying to make progress at work and in your personal life, planning your week will help you get there. But also you won’t feel like a headless chicken trying to do everything at the last minute.

Every blogger or content creator knows that you need to plan ahead when it comes to blog content, whether these are seasonal upcoming holidays, events you have coming up or just a way to keep productive. Planning is essential. Some people love plan their entire days, and some even by the hour, however I prefer planning this on a week by week basis. I find it's a better way to compare stats, page views and expenses. But here are so of my favourite ways to get organised and become productive.

Create a List... 

Every morning I begin with a new task list for the day ahead, and this gorgeous Sweet Sherbert Dreams Luxury List Pad is a great way to create those lists. The perforated cover has a trendy and elegant pattern of pink marble swirls. Who doesn't love swirls? It can be easily torn off or folded back to reveal the decorated paper, which is also perforated for quick and neat removal. Ruled lines help you to write in your plans, notes, and schedules. Throughout my day I will consistently tick off tasks completed and add new task as the day goes by, with the hopes that they will be ticked off too, if not added to the next day. By adding my tasks into a list means that I will never lose track of a task that hasn't been completed.

Use a Calendar to Keep Track...

Calendars are a simple and effective tool to help keep us productive and maximise our day. I love using Google Calendars, however it doesn't really matter what way you use whether you use a paper calendar or one online. The important part is practising the habit of using a calendar, and following through with your activities according to the time blocks you assign yourself. Your time and attention are your most valuable resources, don’t let them go to waste.

A Desk Planner Can Make Things Simple...

Even with hundreds of available apps to help organise your life, a paper desk calendar may be just what you need to stay on top of your work schedule. Whether you know it or not, having a desk planner can not only simplify your life, it can help you alleviate stress and anxiety that often comes with trying to track your appointments. It’s been said the more times you see or write something the more likely you will be to remember it. Paper calendars can help with that. When you have to write down meetings and other important appointments you’ll be more likely to remember them. This Sweet Sherbert Dreams Desk Planner is a pretty cute way to make sure that I keep on top of my life. The pad features plenty of pages, so you'll have room to keep track of your schedule no matter how busy things get! A pastel blue marble border complements the blush pink details, providing soft colour that lights up your workplace. Isn't it pretty?

Create a Place to Capture Big Ideas

Many might think that having many notepads may go against your organisation process, but it’s the opposite for me. At this moment, I currently have three notepads sitting on my desk filled with pitch ideas, to-dos for the day, and random ideas that pop into my head. These Sweet Sherbert Dreams A5 Exercise Books are really brilliant for capturing my big idea for a blog where I can just pop into my handbag for inspiration on the go. I just cannot go anyway without a notebook and pen. Pastel pink and sky blue flourishes add trendy elegance to the set, making them ideal for the creative thinker who wants a notebook as special as the ideas and notes inside. I need something that focuses more on recording stats, planning blog content and keeping notes of brand work which is why I have decided to start a bullet journal. When it came to starting a bullet journal, for me finding the perfect journal was essential. It just didn't seem right to begin a bullet journal in just any notebook, I was looking for something a little more luxurious. Keeping with the marbled theme this A5 Chunky Notebook is a great book for creating a bullet journal. Do you want to start your own bullet journal?

If you try and implement a couple of way to try and get organised, you are more likely to be productive and reach those goals. What ways do you like to keep organised? I'd love to hear. 

Meal Plan Monday: What We’re Eating This Week

At the start of last year we decided to make some big changes to our lifestyle and some of these including shedding some pounds and making a conscious effort to eat healthier. So far, it has been really great and we all have been enjoying the nutritious meals that are jam packed full of fruit, veggies and lots of goodness. 

We are now a year into our healthier lifestyle and I have lost more than two stones and we are still kicking it with the healthier meals and lifestyle. I’m always sharing my meals over on my Instagram and because so many of you have been asking about those recipes I thought that it was time I shared my meal plan with you. Before this year, I had never planned a meal in my life (unless choosing a wedding breakfast counts) but pretty much I would always choose to free ball it than stick to any kind of plan! But it was then that I would get stuck in the day to day repeating of several recipes, over and over and I can find it really tedious and boring which is why I would always reach for the sweet treats. 

So you could say that I am fairly new to the meal planning game, but I seem to have a way to meal plan like a queen and stick to it. Honestly, it saves me so much time and with our meal planning we have also been saving between £10-£20 a week. Everyone should give meal planning a go just for that reason. But not only will you save yourself a few quid meal planning can really help change the way you eat and change your food buying habits.

Our meal choices are of course slimming world friendly, so far I have lost two stones and 7 pounds by making a few swaps and focus on the slimming world plan. There have been meals that taste bloody amazing but there have been some that are so awful that even the husband wouldn’t eat out of love! So with meal planning it’s all about trial and error and figuring out what you love and what you hate. So here we are, week one of the meal plan.

Monday :: Honey Pork Burgers Tray Bake from Slimming Eats

Sounds amazing right? Who doesn't like a tray bake? Chopping and chucking a list of ingredients into a tray to cook for a little while and bam one delicious meal for the family. I love the simplicity of tray bakes and the fact I can add everything on to one tray and cook with minimal effort and less cleaning up afterwards too, just the one tray. This was one recipe that my husband wasn't too fond off due to the butternut squash, but it actually tasted amazing. Even though the original recipe uses chicken mince we decided to use pork mince, so I would imagine it alters the taste slightly, but as long as you use 5% pork mince to ensure you stay on plan, you're winning. This dish is full of speed food which will help you keep you fuller for longer, you could also pop the burgers into a wholemeal bun for a special treat and add a side salad too. 

Tuesday :: Fajita Fish, Mixed Herby Potatoes, Salad and Sweetcorn. 

I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate seafood into my family’s diet and this fajita fish has become a dinner time favorite! The fajita seasoned fish fillets have a crunchy top really which really takes this dish to the next level. It’s the perfect quick meal for those busy weeknights where you need to get dinner on the table quickly. This fajita fish is baked to crispy perfection and topped with a colorful and refreshing green leaf salad. Even though we are trying to not eat bread in our diet for the next few weeks but you could serve the fish fillets in a wholemeal wrap or over rice for a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will love!

Wednesday :: Lentil and Sausage Casserole, Oven Baked Asparagus and Cauliflower with Herby Potatoes from Slimming Eats

This Sausage and Lentil Casserole is such a great recipe and it's something that everyone could enjoy, even my fussy four year liked this dish. Not a lot of preparation is required for this recipe. You can simply chuck all ingredients in the slow cooker wait for a for a few hours and enjoy. It's that simple. For us this is the perfect dish for a midweek meal or for those colder days. This dish is jam packed with flavour, cooked in a slow cooker and you only use simple ingredients, no fuss with this dish. When it comes to using the sausages choose ones that are low syn to make sure you keep within your syn allowance, however you could also keep this dish meat free and add more veggies to it. Try and tweak and change the recipe to your taste and experiment with flavours. 

Thursday :: Chicken Marmite Pasta with Cauliflower, Minted Garden Peas and Baked Carrots from Pinch of Nom

I know the combination of pasta and Marmite sounds odd and it us a dish that you will love it or hate. But for the lovers of Marmite you need to try this quick and simple dish. Basically for this dish cooked chicken and spaghetti is tossed into stock, along with some onions, veggies and chopped rosemary and a little of the pasta cooking water to make a flavoursome sauce for spaghetti. This meal was so quick and simple to rustle up, my favourite type of meal. We added some minted garden peas and baked carrots as a speed food and it was a great combinations. Like I said this dish is a one of twp camps; you will love it or hate it. I really enjoyed the flavoursome pasta, my husband who normally loves Marmite, but didn't like it in the slightest. 

Friday :: Grilled Sausages and Bacon with Chopped Tomatoes, Beans, Sauteed Mushrooms and Dry Fried Eggs

With slimming world, you really can have what you want in moderation and seeing as we have ditched bread for two weeks there was only one thing for it a on a Friday - a grill up. We had some low syn sausages, bacon with the fat cut off, sauteed mushrooms and dry fried eggs with some beans and chopped tomatoes. It was the best way to end a week of many downs. We then followed this up with a lovely cup of tea and curly wurly because sometimes it is neccessary.

So there is our meal plan for our weekday meals, what do you think? Will you consider any of the recipes that I included?

The MyBuBelly Plan Five Months On

I know that we have been so lucky to be able to have a little girl of our own, but that still doesn't make our hearts hurt any less with every negative test. We always hoped that we would get pregnant soon after we decided to add to our family, however two years down the line and it still hasn't happened. 

Over the last year in a bid to finally be able to conceive another baby, my husband and I have been making some big lifestyle changes to help improve our chances of conceiving naturally. We would love more than anything to give our daughter a sibling that she so desperately asks for all the time. We started to look into practical ways to could help boost our fertility such changing our diets, eliminating stress, take up meditating and search for boosting supplements. We even started a fertility boosting program with MyBuBelly

For those who are not familiar with MyBuBelly, it's a fertility boosting program that is a natural and ethical way to choose the gender of your baby. It's a simple and straightforward program to help nature in the right direction. By making simple changes to your diet, taking supplements and boost your overall well-being can help determine the gender of your baby. I have been with MyBuBelly just over five months now and it seems to have slotted into my daily routine very well. 

Phase 1 is supposed to last at least three months and the transition to Phase 2 happens during box 4 and after all pH measurements have been completed and I have stayed within an optimal range. I wasn't entirely sure why we have been on Phase 1 for longer than three months, but it is necessary to get the right pH measurements and keep them within the optimal range of 5.5. and 6. So far, we are on box five and still in the first phase as there are still some tweaks that need to be made in my diet and cycle monitoring. I was hoping to move onto the next stage by now, but it's a much longer process than I initially thought. 

Phase 1: Preparation. 

Phase 1 focuses on preparing your mind and body for a baby. It is during this phase that I changed my diet, added supplements to help stablise my pH level. The goal is to try and get an optimal pH level and ensure that it stablises and not fluctuate but stays between 5.5 and 6. It is was also during this stage that I began to monitor my cycle and target my ovulation to help conceive a little girl when we head into Phase 2. For now we still need to use a contraception in order to avoid a fluctuating pH level, which at first didn't make much sense. I remember thinking to myself how on earth am I going to get pregnant if we use protection, but the main focus was getting an optimal pH level and ovulation targeting. 

However in order for me to proceed to Phase 2, the dietary review during box three needed to be approved by Eve which wasn't something I was all too familiar with until last month. But thankfully I was already writing a diet diary to ensure that I kept my meals calorie controlled for weight loss and getting all the vitamins and nutrients from the food I was allowed. Every month I would send over a few meal plans for a few days and share with Eve so that she could review my diet. The food search bar has been great, especially this time of year where temptation is around every corner with the festive season. I did enjoy a little indulgence for a couple of days over Christmas and New Year but I was conscious of my meal choice in between and back on the strict plan soon after. 

I was very eager to go onto Phase 2 and felt that my pH level stablised so I decided to send an email to Eve and she needed to do a dietary review before giving me an answer. Eve said that I had a good balanced diet and that my diary consumption is good. It was great to see that I added some sesame seeds to my diet plan but I needed to look into more nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. 

Phase 2: Conception. 

During the first stage the dietary programme has allowed me to stabilise your urinary pH, more precisely the pH of the cervical mucus. Now that my cycle monitoring and ovulation has been more than established we are hopefully going to calculate the right dates for conceiving for a little girl with any luck. For Phase 2 my milk consumption needs to increase to one litre today and to consume 1 dairy product with each meal (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner). These can be plain or flavoured such as 1 yogurt, 1 cottage cheese or 2 small Swiss. For one of my meals during a day I need to include a serving of cheese without salt per day. Lastly, Eve mentioned that I needed to be careful with my water intake and make sure that it's no more than 1.5 litre per day. 

So for the rest of the month I will try and focus on adding more seeds, nuts and herbs into my diet to ensure that it is varied, eat more dairy and figure out way to drink a litre of milk each day. But so far it seems promising and hopefully we get to move on to Phase 2 with the February box. 

Don't forget to read our other posts with the MyBuBelly plan

~ This is a partnership post with MyBuBelly ~

Healthy Snacks On The Go From Munchy Seeds

Growing little ones often get hungry between meals. A well-timed snack can help with hunger between meal times and provide a much-needed energy boost between meals. However, many snacks for children are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients meaning that many snacks are pretty unhealthy. I know that as a mum how daunting it can be to go to the supermarket and get healthy snacks for my daughter. There are so many different options and often the ingredient labels can make it really difficult to understand what is in each snack, making the choice for healthy snacks harder. 

The best snacks are nutritious whole foods that are low in sugar, fat and salt providing little ones with energy and the best nutrition. Fresh fruit and vegetables and foods that contain whole grains and protein are also good choices. By having little jars of seeds, dried fruits and nuts available is an easy way to start changing the way the family snack, with prepared snack packets for adventures on the go.

We have been trying different ways to get extra nutrients into out diets and seeds have been a great and fun way to do this. Seeds are great sources of protein, minerals, and life enhancing nutrients. Seeds are superfoods with so many great health benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. Our favourite way to snack on the go are without a doubt a packet of these delicious Munchy Seeds. We were kindly send over a lovely selection of seeds to try and add into our diet, and it's been really fun finding ways to add seeds to our meals and snacks. We were send over four snack packs in the flavours Mega Omega, Salted Caramel, Honey Roasted and Sweet Chilli, as well as two sharing packs of Mega Omega and Warm Cinnamon. 

The Mega Omega are roasted tamari seven seed mix that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids so these are perfect to add to a chunky vegetable soup or on a salad. The contain Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Rapeseeds and Linseeds meaning they are filled with lots of nutrients to help change up our mealtimes. We also have another savoury choice to add to our soups and sprinkle over salad with the Sweet Chilli which are roasted Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds that are free from artificial colourings, flavourings preservatives. 

The Salted Caramel are our favourite ones to take whilst we are exploring adventures, the snack pack is so convenient to just drop into your bag. These crunchy little bites of sweetness and sunshine great for sprinkling over yogurt, ice cream or simply on their own. Full of Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sugar, Coconut and Sea Salt making these seeds the perfect addition to any indulgent treat. The Honey Roasted Seeds are just as good. With Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sugar and Honey and these are AMAZING to add to our overnight porridge, yoghurt and fruit in the mornings. 

The Munchy Seeds range have really been a big hit with all of us, and as parents to a little one who loves to snack on crisps, chocolate or cake we are really impressed with the range. We love the fact that these products are organic, healthy option and help get extra portions of goodness into our daughter. All the seed snacks have no artificial colours, flavourings and preservatives. The are natural product that are free from gluten and a great snack option for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs. What makes these little snacks even better is that they are perfect for parents and children on the go, as we know how easily it is to make the wrong choices when it comes to convenience. Have you tried anything from Munchy Seeds range? If so, what were your favourites.

Sweetcorn and Leek Soup

Nothing beats a homemade hearty soup that is jam packed full of good food. We are always looking for ways to try and get more veggies into our diet and soup is such a great way to do this, even for fussy little eaters who hate veggies. These flavours are a match made in heaven as the combinations are blended together to make a super rich and healthy bowl of soup. What makes this even better is the fact that it's low calorie and completely syn free, great news for those on slimming world. This is going to become my go to soup for the winter months and the fact that it only takes 25 minutes to cook makes it even better. 

To make this delicious sweetcorn and leek soup you'll need:

2 leeks, sliced and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
300g of cooked sweetcorn
4 spring onions, chopped
900ml of chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spray a saucepan with some low calorie spray. Add the onion, leeks and fry until soft not forgetting to season with some salt and pepper too. 

2. Stir in the sweetcorn and the stock made from two vegetable or chicken cubes. With the sweetcorn you can choose to use fresh, frozen or tinned as I wanted to make a quick soup for lunch I just used a tin of sweetcorn. 

3. Bring the soup to a boil. Then cover and simmer for around 10-15 minutes. 

4. If you wanted a thicker soup then scoop out half of the soup and blitz in a blender. Once smooth add this to the remaining soup and cook for a further 5 minutes so the soup can fully thicken. If you don't have a blender or want to save time you could add a thickening agent but you would need to syn accordingly. 

5. Add some chopped spring onions on the top. With this soup you can add whatever toppings you like such as chopped chicken, sausage, sauteed mushrooms or even some grated cheese (a complete game changer). This is a great soup to make if you're pushed for time but can also be changed to your liking. 

BIRCHBOX - January 2020: Just The Way You Are

What a way to kick off the new year with this beautiful box full of gorgeous treats to see us through those January blues. Towards the end of last year it seemed as if Birchbox lost their way, but I am happy to report that they seemed to have their mojo back with this first box of 2020. Birchbox had a wonderful theme perfect for January with their 'Just The Way You Are' box which is all for celebrating individuality and things that make you, you! Birchbox have collaborated with with lovely Rochelle Humes who hand picked the products that featured in the box. There is a good mixture of products where all subscribers received a Highlighter from The Beauty Crop in either the shades Just Dew It, Pear Pressure or Blind Date. But also this month there is a Mélusine Jade Roller which definitely adds some strengths to the contents this month

If you're new to Birchbox they are one of the main leaders in the beauty box subscription game. Each month you will receive five deluxe samples and travel sized samples and these will be with makeup, skin care, body care or hair care. It's a great way to discover new products that you wouldn't normally come across if it wasn't for this little beauty subscription. So without further ado let's take a closer look. 

The Beauty Crop. Glow Milk in Peer Pressure. RRP | £15

This is a liquid pearl hued liquid highlighter. It is enriched with coconut and argan oils and can be used on the cheekbones, brow bones, cupids bow and collarbones. I have to say that I really adore the packaging with this highlighter, it's a tiny milk carton. It's a very cute little gimmick. The highlight is easy to apply and goes on even over powder makeup which can be hard to find with liquid highlighters. There were three colour to choose for this months choice and I decided on Peer Pressure it had a beautiful gold sheen once applied, it really suited my skin tone and I can apply for a subtle highlight or add more for night time. 

Mélusine. Jade Roller. £15

I was so happy to get the jade roller as I was already considering getting one, as they are supposed to help boost circulation and help drain the lymphatic system to reveal plump, bright skin. I could definitely use this for my tired mama skin. Simply roll your tool across your forehead and under your cheekbones and jaw to ease stress at the end of a long day or reduce puffiness in the morning. It is something that I do every time I apply my makeup and just before I go to bed - it fast becoming a part of my natural skincare routine. 

Greenfrog Botanic. Natural Body Lotion, Sweet Argan. RRP | £9.95

During winter my skin needs a little extra moisture to prevent an eczema flare up or dry patches so I'm always looking for products that can keep my skin hydrated and moisturised. The Greenfrog Botanic Body Lotion does just that and have fast become a favourite. Greenfrog Botanic source botanical soap all the way from the Himalayas to make 100% natural, chemical free products. There are no parabens or SLS and no other nasty ingredients. They are vegetarian society approved, vegan and also palm oil free. The ingredients are not only good for your skin, but also the environment. This lotion is packed with argan oil and smells really food, what I like the most about this lotion is the fact that it never leaves my skin feeling moisturised or greasy, it sinks so well into the skin.

Phillip Kingsley. Moisture Balancing Combination Conditioner. RRP | £15

This conditioner is a must for medium textured or wavy hair, or even fine hair that has been chemically treated. I'm always changing my hair care routine, because if I don't then my hair can get too used to a product and then my hair needs washing more frequently. So I never use the same shampoo. You will not believe the difference that this conditioner can make to your hair. It has left my hair feeling soft lustrous and tangle free.

Vasanti. Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. RRP | £26

This deep-cleansing exfoliator uses a cocktail of papaya enzymes, aloe vera and micro-crystals to gently slough away dirt, even skin tone and reduce fine lines in one glow-boosting step. The best micro exfoliator I've found yet. The physical granules and the enzymes work together to give me pretty, glowing, and more clear skin. I use this about 3 times a week and would recommend this one to other if it wasn't for the price. It's pretty costly for a facial scrub especially as the tube isn't a big size either. 

What do you think about this month's box? Are there any products that you'd like to try?

Intentions for 2020

A new year, a fresh start and infinite possibilities. Every year, January brings renewed optimism for change, for a better life, for a better you. It really is a wonderful thing as the fresh start gives us a chance to reinvent our lives and ourselves. For most of us, resolutions for the new year are pretty much the same. Eat healthier, lose weight, start a fitness regime or get a new job. Even though setting personal goals is a great way to strive to learn and grow I'm not about to share a list of generic resolutions that many of us choose this time of year, I'm doing away with resolutions. While we do our best to practice balance and live life to the fullest each day, seeing the start of a new decade calls for a great deal of reflection and setting some intentions for the new year.

By reflecting on the past year is the perfect place to start. So much happened in 2019 and some things for have been really difficult for us, but reflecting on those times has made us realise all the wonderful things that did happen, to be grateful and appreciate all the the little things. Reflection allows us to look back and see where we have come from, you can see exactly how taking the time to reflect on the past can really help you become a better you. By making simple changes can help set ourselves up for more happiness and fulfilment in life. It's all about changing your mindset, altering your focus and prioritising movement forward. We can never underestimate the potential of intentions. So let's reset, reflect and refresh for the new year and set some intentions. 

1. Reflect on Your Accomplishments

Take some time to reflect on what you have accomplished in the past year and what you are proud of.  The best way to try and do this is by beginning a journal or simply having a small notebook by my bedside take so I can write down all the big moments and remember all the little things that happen in 2020. 

2. Set Three Monthly Intentions

Instead of resolutions which aren’t exactly a recipe for success, try setting yourself three goals at the beginning of each month . Personally, setting smaller more achievable goals are far more easier that setting goals that are out there. These can be personal intentions like reading 20 pages a day, a walk after lunch, or developing a meal plan. You can shift your focus to work by setting intentions to help productivity like a no social media day or trying to declutter your inbox. Simple goals can do wonders for productivity. 

3. Begin a Fitness Regime.

It's time to embrace a little health & fitness. I'm an overthinker and I need to find ways to help me get out of my own head so I'm able to deal with stress and take action. So an intention for 2020 is to try and instil a little fitness into my daily life, and to do that I need to set realistic goals and find my motivation. Well, it's clear that my motivation is to become stronger, fitter and ultimately healthier. So that motivation combined with small regular set goals to working out three times a week will ensure that I will achieve those goals because they are realistic.

4. Set Aside Time for You.

To help make your big goals a reality, you need to make time to relax in the midst of the craziness. As a working from home mama this can be pretty difficult but I am determined to make sure that each week I set aside time for me. Prioritising time to do the things will not only make me happy and keep me sane, but it will probably also make me more efficient when tackling the less fun aspects of my schedule and to-do lists. Take a step back, stop rushing, and give yourself time to breathe.

5. Simplify Your Life.

Life can become pretty complicated. Things like meeting work deadlines, keeping in to the loop with friends and family, paying a mortgage on time and making sure my home is hinched is not always so easy. You may want to go head first into every aspect of your life and perfect them all, but spreading yourself too thin can actually make you less productive and change your mindset. In 2020 I'm going to be a believer in self-development and set smaller goals instead of big goals. To give myself the opportunity to challenge myself, create new habits, and try new things. So this year is all about simplifying my life where I hope develop ways to help me save time, money and so much energy in order to become healthier and more productive.

So why not try to reset, reflect and refresh for the new year and set some intentions for 2020.

New Year Fresh Start

Happy New Year! Well, what a year 2019 was for our little trio. It was full of family fun, adventures and we created so many wonderful memories together that we will forever cherish. We celebrated another year as husband and wife, my little girl turned five and I proudly stood by my sister as she married her best friend. 

But with all those great family memories there have been a were a few sad moments that we really want to leave in 2019 and more forward. A new decade is upon us and it's time to embrace the new year and a fresh start. While we do our best to practice balance and live life to the fullest each day, seeing the start of a new decade calls for a great deal of reflection and setting some goals for the next year.

For most of us, resolutions for the new year are pretty much the same. Eat healthier, lose weight, start a fitness regime or get a new job. Even though setting personal goals is a great way to strive to learn and grow, I do wonder if setting these types of resolutions is a set up for failure. Perhaps it's time to change the way we look at the start of a new year. This year will focus less on my usual personal goals and concentrate on two pretty important things; reflection and intention.

By reflecting on the past year is the perfect place to start. So much happened in 2019 and some things for us have been really difficult for us, but reflecting on those times has made us realise all the wonderful things that did happen, to be grateful and appreciate all the the little things. Reflection allows us to look back and see where we have come from. By doing this can help us recognise all the things we were so worried about before and are perhaps not so significant now.

As you know the past two years we have seen a lot of heartache with conceiving another baby. We knew that trying for a second baby would be just as tough as the first time around, but that logic didn't do anything to lessen the blow with each pregnancy test. But despite our best efforts trying to conceive a second baby there is no sign of a baby. After more than a year of heartbreak we finally had a positive pregnancy test. Our joy and happiness wasn't meant to be which made the heartbreak for us to be that much harder. So it was incredibly difficult for us, but it has made us really appreciate what we already have. We know how lucky we are to have our beautiful baby girl in our life and nothing will be as great as her. 

Often, when we are in the midst of a struggle, such as infertility, our perspective becomes skewed. It seems over the last year that everyone was getting pregnant apart from us. This is simply not the case, because we were both so fixed on achieving a pregnancy, that was where our focus was going. The start of a new decade is always exciting and so with this fresh start we shall be focusing on perspective and it's going to take a lot of courage, practice and a whole lot of patience to change the way we look at our journey.

By making simple changes can help set ourselves up for more happiness and fulfilment in life. It's all about changing your mindset, altering your focus and prioritising movement forward. We can never underestimate the potential of intentions. If we are what we think and believe, than our attitude and the purpose behind what we do and how we live matters more than anything. It can be one thing to say that you want to do such as starting a health kick or fitness regime, but without honest intention behind it all can become easily unfulfilled. Thinking about our true intentions going forward in the new decade is something that will be a focus to create a life we want, and not to be completely consumed by the one thing alone. We are already lucky, we need to be grateful for what we have and not sad about something that we have no control over. So 2020 let's do this.  

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