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Staycation Isolation

1 Apr

Hi folks,

I hope you’re all doing okay. So much has changed & happened since my last blog post!!! How crazy is everything at the moment?

We’re very lucky, as both me & the hubster & the kids are all home safely together. Oh & we can’t forget Coco too. The hubs is now working from, so we’ve been self isolating for quite a while now. Seth has no idea about the virus really, I mean, he’s only 4 yr old, so we decided it was better to keep it from him. We didn’t want him feeling scared or worried. Our families don’t live close by, so it isn’t like he see’s family everyday. So in that respect… he’s not noticed any difference. He did ask about nursery… but we just said we are having extended holidays from school for Easter. He hasn’t even questioned it. And Ted, well, he’s only 17 month old… so he’s none the wiser too.

I’ve been focussing on keeping the boys entertained. It was easier last week, as the weather was so lovely! So we could get out in to the garden.

 

We’ve chalked our walk, we’ve played in the mud kitchen, picnicked in the garden etc… while the weather has been nice… we’ve been out breathing as much fresh air as possible.

To make this time as fun as possible, we’ve decorated the house for Easter, early. I just wanted to inject some fun & some colour around he place. We’ve also added rainbow colours to our windows too.

We’ve had so much fun crafting & making decorations. With Seth only being in preschool for half a day each day, I’ve decided not to make a home schooling timetable. I’m still encouraging learning & I’m constantly asking little maths questions etc… while we play, but I wanted to focus this time on fun & making memories rather than it more about school. It’s such a scary & uncertain time, so our focus is being fun, carefree & present. I’m making a photobook for the boys of this time… so in years to come they can revisit this time & see that even though things were scary… we tried our best to make it fun. Like a colourful, cheerful, Staycation.

We’ve had PizzaParty picnics, we’ve camped in the front room, we’ve excavated dinosaur eggs, we’ve had wildlife in our front room, we’ve painted etc… Seth keeps telling me this is the most fun holiday he’s ever had. I think he loves that his Daddy is home all the time & working in our office at home & isn’t going out to work. I think he’s loving the novelty of it all. The weirdest part is that he hasn’t asked to go out at all. He’ll ask to go in the garden, but he’s not asked for days out. I really thought he would have. But it’s like he’s so happy & content at home. This whole thing has made me realise though, just how much I actually go out. I’ve always gone out a lot & joined groups etc… with the boys. But since passing my test in December & buying a 2nd car, I’m out even more.

I’ve been trying each day to find a positive in this whole saga. So far… I’ve come up with so many. It’s also opened up my eyes to how much stuff I take for granted too. I have a new found respect for food. I mean, I waste very little food anyway, but now, I’m literally making sure that each thing is used & nothing is wasted.  Today I got an amazing Fruit & Veg delivery from a local market stall… everything is so colourful & looks & smells amazing. I’ve never been so excited to eat a salad for tea!

I’ve had some amazing video calls with family  friends too. The amount of giggles I’ve had is fab – considering the circumstances. I do feel that it’s brought people together.

I’m planning each week on Sunday & making a menu for things to make for tea.

Keeping organised is really helping me to get through this bizarre saga. I love meal planning & prepping… I find it really therapeutic. I’m in the process of making some strawberry yogurt… I can’t wait. The boys love fruit yogurt – so I’m on to a winner!

I do hope you’re all keeping safe, well & positive. I cannot wait for the massive celebrations to be had once this is all over!

Love, huggles, & much love,

Hayley xxx

Feeling Spicy

4 Mar

Hi folks,

Can not believe we are into March already. It’s been such a quick year already. My days seem to just fly over so fast, life moves so fast. Sometimes it feels a struggle to fit in family life, work & not to mention trying to cook from scratch every day.

I love homemade healthy food & when it’s quick & simple… even better! I don’t like plan food either… I like something with a little spice!

This week I’ve been creating some lovely, quick & easy meals, using my new fave ingredient!

On Monday I made a gorgeous Chilli in the Slow Cooker. The crushed chillies add just enough spice. Its the perfect staple to keep in your spices cupboard.

To make, I threw the following into the crock pot:
250g Lean Beef Mince
Chopped Celery
Diced Garlic
Diced Onion
Sliced Mixed Peppers
Chopped Mini Corns
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Tin of Kidney Beans
A good helping of Schwartz Chilli Flakes.

I left it to cook all day. I thickened with a little tomato purée before serving.

This Chilli was super yummy. Plus, it’s totally healthy as i didn’t use any added salts or oils. Perfect!

On Tuesday I made a delicious Moroccan inspired Lamb Stew.

I’ve thrown the following into the crock pot:
300g Diced Lamb
Diced Celery
Diced Onion
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Handful of Dried Apricots
Fresh Coriander
Mixed Peppers Sliced
1 Tin Chick Peas
Crushed Garlic
A good Sprinkle of Schwartz Crushed Chillies

Both meals were utterly delicious, healthy & so simply to make. Making your won sauces tastes so much fresher than using a premed jar of sauce. This little jar of spices has gone so far & i still have loads left! Well worth the money!
Tonight I’ve used the chillies as a seasoning. I sprinkled on a pork loin & grilled, then served alongside a baked potato & salad.
This little jar of spices is so versatile & a total must have for any ingredients cupboard.
It’s amazing how eating healthy really lifts your mood & makes you feel so much more positive. I’ve loved how easy these meals were to make.
I can’t to try more recipes!
Thanks so much as aways for reading & I hope you’ve found my review useful.
Love & Huggles,
Hayley xxx
Schwartz have sent me Crushed Chillies for review, but all views are my own

Making Memories

20 May

Hi folks,

I love the month of May. Spring is everywhere & everything looks so beautiful… the weather is on the turn to sunnier times & it’s also mine & the hubsters Birthday month.

We always try to do something nice for our birthdays as they’re only 4 days apart. But when you have little ones in tow… plans have to change & adapt. This year we had the most amazing little break in the Yorkshire Dales in a stunning Georgian Cottage.

So… first of all… let me tell you about this simply beautiful cottage. Green Cottage is an elegant Georgian Cottage set on the green of one of Yorkshire’s most picturesque villages. It’s an ideal base to explore the Dales in any season. And… it’s 100% Family-friendly… that includes doggies too. A dog bed & bowl can be provided if needed. Our Coco is such a little diva though & likes her own little comforts – so we took her fave bed & mini food & water bowl… most dog bowls are big enough for her to bathe in lol.

The space itself:

The house is fully detached and set over three floors. Don’t worry thoughif you have little ones, then baby gates can be provided. Seth is 3 & Ted is 6 month so we very much need baby gates on the stairsso this was fab for us. They were already installed too!

Lower Ground Floor

  • Kitchen diner (featuring an extendable table to seat up to 6 guests and fully equipped with Rangemaster cooker, dishwasher, fridge with freezer shelf and microwave along with plenty of good quality cooking and baking equipment, glasses, crockery etc). Honestly…the kitchen has EVERYTHING you could possibly need. Even down to the colourful plastic kids crockery from IKEA that we all know & love & can’t live without! We ate in both nights… did ‘snacky food & we had sparkles… obvs

  • Utility room (with washer-dryer, iron and ironing board and a drying space for muddy boots and outdoor gear)There’s great tray there to stand your dirty shoes in there’s a radiator right underneath the coat rail too – so if you’ve gotten a little damp – everything will dry off.

  • Bathroom (with spa whirlpool bath, and toasty underfloor heating). The bath is utterly divine! I had visions of having an uninterrupted bubble bath with a glass of sparkles… but of course that lasted all of 5 minutes until Seth came bounding in lol. But that’s Mama Life for you!

Ground Floor

  • Living room (sofas to comfortably seat 5, log burner, digital Smart TV with Freeview, BBC iPlayer etc as well as lots of books, maps and games) we took our amazon fire stick with us & connected it to the WiFi. So we were able to watch Disney Life, Netflix & Prime. Please note that the play pen in the living room is ours & not part of the cottage.

  • Snug / third bedroom (large day bed which can be made up into full size single bed, second TV, desk)

  • Shower room (walk in monsoon shower with extra large enclosure, heated towel rail) There is also a toilet. It’s fab as there is literally a toilet on each floor. Essential for toilet training! Seth is totally dry now, but we’re still only in our first month of toilet training… so a toilet on hand is utterly essential lol.

First floor

  • Master bedroom (king size bed with deep, comfortable mattress, large wardrobe and antique dressing table) oodles of spaceLoads of room for a travel cot. A travel cot can be provided too if you don’t want to take one.

  • Twin bedroom (two full size single beds with pocket sprung mattresses, chest of drawers and clothes rail) a waterproof mattress cover can be provided too! Perfect!Please note that the bed guard rail is ours & not part of the cottage.

  • WC with basin (‘Jack and Jill’ style access from both upstairs bedrooms, ideal for families, or can be set up as en-suite for either bedroom)

Outside

  • Enclosed garden to rear and side, paved and gravel with outside seating, and a charcoal BBQ
  • Bike store (lockable for up to 5 bikes, can also be used as a pram store)
  • Direct access to the village green – a large expanse of grass free for all to stroll, sit or play
  • Play area visible from back gate – swings, slide, football posts etc. We spent quite a lot of time in the little play area. Seth loves a park. There’s also plenty wide open space to run around or to picnic. But, if you take your fur babies… please ensure you scoop that poop! There’s nothing worse than dog poop making the place dirty!

As you can see from above & from my photos… everything is catered for.

The bedding was so comfy!!! Egyptian cotton bed linen on all beds, 13.5 tog thick duvets (hypoallergenic and feather / down) and plenty of soft and fluffy Egyptian cotton towels. As you can see… Ted had to try out the king size bed lol.

There’s a welcome pack with all the basics for your first couple of days (loo rolls, hand soap, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, bin bags, tea towels and kitchen cleaning supplies) as well as tea, coffee, milk, bread and a few local treats. This was soooo nice!!! It just means that you don’t have to pack a lot of shopping. And it also means that it’s all ready for you to get the kettle straight on when you arrive… coz let’s face it… we all need that first brew when we arrive somewhere! Especially when you’ve had to sing Baby Shark & Old McDonald Farm all the way there lol.

 

Also… when we arrived there was a lovely big box of toys left out for Seth to explore, as well as plenty children’s books. There were even a few laid out on his bed for him. That was such a lovely touch & Seth was super excited!

So as well as a travel cot, baby gates & toys… the owners can provide a highchair – which Ted thought was VERY comfy & there is also a baby monitor. Oh & I did mention the plastic IKEA crockery, but there’s also a MAM Baby Cup too. Just so many little things that have been added to make your break so much easier! This cottage is really like a home from home.

For our furbabies, there is a lovely fluffy blanket provided & the use of a hose pipe outside to wash down those dirty paws.

 

Okay… so you’ve heard all about the gorgeous cottage… but what did we do while we were there? We investigated Settle. What a stunning little town. Seth particularly enjoyed The House That Jack Built. He got some lovely new Melissa & Doug toys. There are so many gorgeous shops, tea rooms & places to eat, to investigate. There’s also the Watershed Mill. It is absolutely stunning… the scenery is simply breathtaking. We popped there for a little bite to eat over lunch time.

We spent a lot of time playing on the green outside of the cottage & in the little park. We were only there for 2 nights… next time we’ll be booking for a week.

The cottage has a lovely organised folder of leaflets & places to visit etc… so helpful for when you’re planning days out.

This beautiful cottage is simply worth every penny. If you book before August & quote: “IxxyPoco” you will be given an exclusive discount. You can book a year in advance. So use that code before it runs out. Simply head to Green Cottage on AirBnB & send a message to the owners quoting my blog.

Thanks as always for reading & I hope you’ve been inspired to book yourself a lovely break away ❤️

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Any Excuse For a Party!

8 Aug

Hi folks,

You all know what family life is like here at Thorne Towers… hectic, busy, fun & full of giggles. You also know that we don’t need an excuse to celebrate & have a party.

Since Seth is becoming a big brother in October, we’ve been trying to get him to understand that we’re having a baby join our family. He’s only 2 year & 5 month old… sometimes I think he totally gets it & other times I think he’s still not quite sure.

So… what better way to get him excited? Have a little tea party! And what does every party need? Well, cake of course!

bakerdays are a fantastic company who make letterbox cakes… yes that’s right… a cake delivered through your letterbox! How fab is that!?

Yes you read that right… they can make you a stunning personalised cake to celebrate any occasion that comes in a lovely tin & fits through your letterbox. They also offer gluten free, wheat free & dairy free options!

Seth was sent a cake to celebrate the fact that he’s going to be a Big Brother. I can’t even begin to tell you just how stunning the photograph was. The detail & quality was so high. And Seth adored having a Ace with his face on… he’s such a poser.

Seth’s cake was a plain sponge – simply because that is his favourite. But you can choose other options. You also don’t have to choose a letterbox cake. They offer 4 different cakes sizes as well as cupcakes.

Now for the important bit… how did it taste?

As you can imagine… Seth takes his role as cake testing rather seriously. After snaffling his first piece… he hastily demanded another. I can therefore confirm that he did indeed think it was “Nommy Nommy” lol. That’s a direct quote right there. This 2 year old knows good cake when he tastes it.

Everyone agreed it was really lovely & super fresh. I have to admit that I was thinking “will it be fresh?”… but it really was! Plus it’s such a fantastic novelty having it delivered through your door. You could send this to any loved one for a special occasion & it would most certainly make them smile. You don’t even need an occasion really… just simply treat someone who needs a pick me up perhaps?

Thank you so much bakerdays for making a little boys day. What better way to become excited about being a big brother than with cake!

Thanks as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Resolutions, Health and Babies

8 Jan

Hi folks,

I just simply can’t believe that we’re already into 2018! Last year just went by so fast in a massive blur! I hope you’ve all had an amazing Christmas & New Year.

Our Christmas was simply amazing… lots of laughter, sparkles & food! Maybe a little too much food actually. I’ve gone back to basics today in a bid to lose 2 stone. I think coz my mind is the zone of healthy eating… I’m actually already feeling better. Mind over matter so they say. Healthy eating always makes me feel so much happier too.

In between Christmas & New Year, I had a few tests at Hospital. Luckily everything came back tip top 🙂 So I’ve literally skipped into 2018 with a clean bill of health. I’m hoping that maybe this could be the year that we add a new addition to our family. But I guess we’ll have to wait & see.

Until then though… we’ve added 2 new little darlings to our family… Tuna & Mayo 🙂 Seth’s new Goldfish.

Like most folk… I’ve started the new year with some new year resolutions. Now, I don’t like setting outrageous & unattainable resolutions… nor do I like the ‘New Year New Me’ saying… so here are my ‘realistic’ resolutions:

  1. Do more things for myself… what I mean by that is, that since Seth has been born I just don’t do anything as a treat just for me. I used to go out a lot & I used to have my nails done each month. All of that kinda faded away as I just put everything & everyone first. So, on Saturday I went to get my nails done all on my own. It was so lovely. I even made an appointment to have them done in 3wks time! Go me! I have to say that my separation anxiety has added to it too. Going out on my own just never feels right. But I think I’m slowly getting better with that.
  2. Be healthier. I’d love to lose 2 stone. I just really need to be the healthiest Mammy to Seth that I can be. I owe it to him to be the best version of myself that I possibly can.
  3. Be Positive. It’s no secret that I’m a positive thinker… and I plan on continuing that. Having a positive approach to life really does help to get you through the tough times.

I’m so excited to see what this year will bring. Last year we moved home & we didn’t anticipate that – but it was the best thing we ever did. I just love our home so much. Seth has more space to play. We’ve started to make plans for a little decorating. Nothing too in your face… just a nice freshen up with mostly neutral colours. I want to add a roller blind to the guest bedroom & new curtains. Then in the spare room, we want to re-paint & add a new curtain pole & curtains etc… Seth’s Room doesn’t need a spruce up since we did when we moved in. The same as our room… we did all the sprucing up & finishing touches as we moved in. We shall get there I’m sure.

My lovely frosty view this morning.

I’m hoping this year will also be the year that I pass my driving test. The first step will be to get my theory test booked in. I’ve started my manoeuvres… well… pulling up on the left & parallel parking. Eeeeck… I just can’t wait until I’ve actually passed.

I can’t believe that Seth turns two this year too. I just do not know where the time is going. Soon enough we’ll be putting the tree up for next Christmas lol.

Well I shall leave this post here as I’ve a mountain of laundry to do… fun times lol.

Thanks so much as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Foodie Fun with the Must-Have Highchair!

31 Jul

Hi folks,

So… you know what it’s like when you get too giddy & throw yourself into impulse buys without thinking first. Well… that’s what we did with our high chair purchase. Not long after Seth was born… so waaaaay before he was ready for weaning, we immediately went out to buy a highchair. I think we were just too giddy about being new parents & couldn’t help but have this need to buy then & there. The highchair we bought was the Cosatto Noodle Supa in the C Rex design. Now… this wasn’t a really bad highchair… but… we didn’t really do our research. We went for pretty & funky over function & usability. Once Seth was at weaning age… I did start to pick quite a few holes in the functionality of this highchair & there was lots I would’ve changed about it. Always always always do your research! I wish I’d had our new highchair from the beginning…


We’ve been having lots of fun with our new highchair from Joie. We have the new Multiply 6in1 Highchair. This highchair is the only thing you’ll need for weaning/meal times… here’s why…

  • 6 modes including baby mode highchair, traditional highchair, booster, portable booster, toddler chair and play table
  • 5 height adjustments
  • Seat and frame fold compactly and stand when folded
  • Extra large tray with one-hand release
  • 4 position adjustable tray with cupholder
  • Full coverage dishwasher safe tray insert doubles as a placemat
  • Clever tray storage on back legs
  • 3 position seat recline
  • Removable, washable, soft infant insert
  • Removable, wipeable seat pad
  • 3 position height adjustable footrest
  • Integrated wheels on front legs
  • SoftTouch, 5-point harness


The removable tray is a Godsend. Seth is 16 month & we’re trying very hard now with plates, bowls & cutlery… but sometimes the plates end up on the floor. So the removable tray is ideal for when they’re still not fully using a bowl or a plate. The fact it is dishwasher safe too is just fantastic.

The straps also remove really easy for cleaning & soaking. A high chair that is easy to clean is an absolute must. I’ve found this chair extremely user friendly. I use the chair in our dining room & our lounge, which means I am moving it around the house a lot – it’s really light & easy to move. Even with my back problem, I have found it super easy to lift & manouvre. The wheels on the front are fab!

Storage-wise this highchair is really good. The tray comes off with one hand release & clips straight on to the back via a cross bar on the legs. Then you can fold in the chair via two release buttons so it’s more slimline to either stand upright in a large cupboard, utility room or to either tuck to onesie in your dining room. It’s extremely easy to use. In fact… one thing that I did forget to mention is that I put the whole thing together when it first arrived. I literally took it out of the box… read the instructions… & popped it all together! I NEVER build anything. I’m just not good at it. But this is so user friendly – that even I could do it!

I’m going to be reviewing this item over & over again, as… it grows with Seth!!! So… when we start using it as a separate table & chair – expect another review! The amazing thing is that we’ll be able to use it for snacks, meals & activities too. It’s such a good investment! Especially when you take into consideration that you can take the seat part off the frame & use as a travel high chair. Amazing!!!

We can also safely say that the comfort aspect of this highchair is top notch… since Seth even likes to fall asleep in it.


Thank you so much for reading & I hope you’ve found this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

I Sea Bacon 

6 Jul


Hi folks

You may remember that a little while back I reviewed I Sea Pasta. I love to try new things & you also know I love to cook. I also love cooking healthy, low fat food. So it’s always right up my street to try new culinary things. 

First off… let’s give you some key points to I Sea Bacon: 

  • No saturated fats
  • Very little calories
  • Calcium, potassium & iodine
  • Good for vision & gut health
  • Helps the immune system

Something I didn’t know before trying the Seamore products is that Seaweed is considered the most sustainable food on the planet!!! It requires just sunshine. No fresh water, land, fertilizer nor pesticides. I mean… it makes sense… but I’d just never thought about it like that! 

There are 3 key ways you can prepare I Sea Bacon…

It’s super easy to prepare. I sometimes find that with health foods & super foods – there can be a lengthy process in preparing them. But not with I Sea Bacon. 
I decided to spruce up a spicy chicken salad with this product. 

I decided to prepare the seaweed in all 3 ways mention above… I soaked the leaves for 30 seconds & added to my salad in with some iceberg lettuce. It turns from crunchy to being a lot more soft so it blends into your salad perfectly. I also stirred some into my wok with red onions, peppers, chicken & spices. Then, I used some the way it is in the pack, as a garnish on my rice. 

So… how did it taste? Well… I don’t personally think it’s like bacon at all. But, it’s deffinitely got a smokey flavour that the I Sea Pasta does not have. I find it salty, but that means you don’t have to add salt. So my salad tasted more seasoned if that makes sense. The bits I added to the wok, I couldn’t really taste as the spices must’ve over powered it – however… there was a definite added texture. And let’s not forget the added health benefits. The garnish looked nice & was a little bit like a very thin jerky. 

I Sea Bacon is super low in fat, high in calcium & has high levels of vitamin A & C. It’s also vegan & gluten free.

Just like I Sea Pasta, this product is very salty. I think that’s why I like to add a little spice to it, to try & dull down the salty-ness. I do think this product is a bit of an acquired taste, so it my not be for everyone. 

For more information, YouTube videos, social media links & recipes… click here

Thank you so much for reading & I hope you’ve found this review interesting 🙂

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx