Health and weight loss update - month 2

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It has been 2 months since I started this latest campaign to be more healthy and lose weight. I've seen lots of changes this month and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.




Last month (October)


Weight: 13st 6.6lbs
Fitness: 10 1 minute sessions of running within 30 minutes exercise on the treadmill.

Last month was difficult, I'd just started the campaign and it was about training my body to get used to not only getting up earlier but also to eating a lot less than I was used to. Admittedly I had been over eating a lot and it was time to make a change. But that's just what I did and I made quite a difference in that first month.

The exercise was helping and I was feeling better, I had started to notice a difference in my clothes and was hoping that by now I would've lost a stone.





  • To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise. 

Gene Tunney





This month (November)


Weight: 13st 1.4lbs
Fitness: 10 minutes running within 30 minutes on treadmill.

So the loss hasn't been as big as it was last month but I'm not complaining (okay, I am but not much), I've made bigger differences elsewhere. My weight seems to have fluctuated a lot this month, around that time of the month I was stuck at 13st 4lbs for ages and it took extra effort to kick-start the loss again. I tend to get that sometimes, my periods impact my weight loss a lot and it can get quite frustrating at times. At the same time though I'm almost at a new milestone - being less than 13stones. That's really close now and I hope I get there soon.

Obviously losing weight has made a difference to the clothes I'm wearing and just last week I had to pull out my size 16 jeans. I have to say that felt really good! I can now fit into size 16 jeans - go me! Add to that the fact that my sports bra isn't quite as snug as it was and I can feel I'm losing weight. Still lots of work to do but moving down a size shows my efforts are paying off.






The exercise has been the biggest difference I've noticed. Half way through this month my treadmill broke, it kept slipping when I was using it and it got so bad that it was unusable. I was distraught because treadmills aren't cheap and I didn't want to have to buy a new one. While the treadmill was out of commission I turned to our elliptical - I hadn't used it much before but I needed to get my 30 minutes exercise in. The elliptical didn't really get much use before I started using it and actually it's really good. I thought it would kill me trying to do that for 30 minutes but I found it easier than the treadmill and it burns more calories too!

Once my treadmill was fixed (thanks Hubby!) I went back to the treadmill for my exercise and found that even with just a few days of elliptical I could run for longer. So now I tend to alternate which machine I'm using, although just lately the elliptical is getting a bit squeaky and needs oiling. I believe (I don't know if it's true) that pushing myself on the elliptical is making my legs stronger so I am able to run for longer on the treadmill. And it feels SO good to see the improvement.

Don't get me wrong, I still have days when I don't want to do it but they're much more rare these days.




Food


Food has been very similar to last month, we're finding more and more meals that we can have and it's not as bad as we thought it would be. Some days I do really well, others not so much. But the fact that we can still have chocolate is a bonus!






Our favourite meal at the moment... hmm I think there's two of them. The first is my biryani, the boys love it, the Hubby loves it, I love it, and it's healthy (or healthier than some meals!) - what more can you ask for? The second has been a surprise actually, last month I mentioned the Chicken Lo Mein from the Tasty website/app? Well it turns out we all love that one, even the boys! They eat the vegetables and like the chicken and noodles (LP's favourite bit). It's been on our list every week so far and the fact that it's a quick-to-cook meal means we can have it on a Sunday evening after returning home from visiting family.




What next?


To be honest it's much of the same, continuing with the exercise, continuing with the healthy eating. I'm not sure how possible that will be around Christmas but I'm hoping I have the willpower for it.





  • Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings. 

Publilius Syrus





My hope is that the weight loss continues and Christmas won't have too much impact. Although realistically it will, mince pies are my downfall!

If you're trying to lose weight how do you intend to stay on track over Christmas?

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This Mum's Life

Post Comment Love 17th - 19th November

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Friday keeps rolling around doesn't it? Are you ready for the weekend? Friday can mean only one thing, it's Post Comment Love time. Join Stephanie and I for our weekly linky where we welcome all bloggers, all topics, as long as it was written this week.

This week has been one of the very few weeks during the year where I get to work on the blog continuously every day without interruption. The only interruption I've had this week was having the shopping delivered on Monday, other than that it's been great and I've got lots done. It makes a change and I wish all weeks were like this, unfortunately that rarely happens - there's always something going on.

BP is back home from his trip (yay!) and spending a lot of his time being a teenager, lots of strops, lots of shouting, lots of sulking. When I asked him about his trip he said it was good, they spent a lot of time in cemeteries and walking around, some of it was boring apparently. I know he's growing up and wants to be his own person but I do wish he would talk to me more.





  • Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time. 

Rabindranath Tagore





LP on the other hand is full of energy every day, he wakes at about 6:30am and goes to bed at 8pm and every hour between is spent doing some sort of activity. I think I've mentioned that he goes on bike rides with the Hubby every day now too. They both love it and it's helping the Hubby lose weight. LP is the sunshine in the house most days, apart from when he's having a tween strop, and I'm not looking forward to him entering the same stage BP is at now.

It's all a part of parenting isn't it? The different stages are a chance to learn more about ourselves and more about our children. They do have to grow up, they do have to become their own person, it's just hard for us to watch. It's now that I appreciate what my parents went through.

I'm currently working on my email subscribers list, putting together new, relevant, content and creating freebies. If you'd like to stay up to date and get yourself some organisation freebies put your email in the box below!

Here's my meal planner - an essential for any stay-at-home mum!





So how has your week been? Was it a quiet one where you got lots done or has it been busy? Let me know.




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Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two.

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Too much tech in your home? Here's how to deal with it

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If you live with a family of impressionable children, then it’s fairly standard to have piles and piles of old electronic devices that we simply don’t know what to do with. Some people love hoarding old tech and they’ll keep entire cupboards or boxes full of things like cables, batteries, old games consoles and phones. Even if they don’t work, they’ll still keep them around for nostalgia purposes, and some kids even insist on keeping their old phones despite upgrading “just in case” their new phone breaks.

Keeping around so much tech can be bothersome, so it’s important to find ways in which you can deal with it. If you leave this unchecked, then sooner or later you’re going to find old phones, games and even electronic toys just laying around the home. Sadly, you can’t just throw these out—that would be irresponsible. It’s important to dispose of old tech in a proper manner because the components and batteries can actually cause harm to the environment if disposed of incorrectly. In fact, the toxic materials inside electronics can cause several different health complications, which is why we can’t just simply throw them away with the rest of our trash.

The proper way to dispose of old electronics would be to use a recycling service. Even if your tech and electronics don’t work anymore, the parts inside could be reused. In the event you have something so old that nobody can work with, it will be disposed of in an efficient and eco-friendly manner that won’t harm the environment. For more info, take a look at these fascinating statistics below.





Infographic Source: My Trendy Phone

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4 simple ways to keep the kids out of your hair on moving day

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The day of your home move has been rapidly approaching. All you can think about is conveyancing, stress, deeds, stress, boxes, more stress, brown tape and how Fido the dog will cope with the home move. Another niggle of a thought that’s been bothering you is the kids. Although you obviously love them to bits and they are a well-behaved bunch, you have a feeling that their frustrations on moving day could emerge as squabbles, misbehaviour and general low-level annoyances that could add to your already high anxiety levels. All is not lost. Take a look at these ideas to help keep your little darlings busy come the big day.








Encourage them to join in


If you’re busy wrapping and packing as the kids look on wondering what all the rustling is, the chances are that they’ll get bored. The TV is already packed so you can’t use that to distract them and they are starting to fidget. Get them in on the action. Don’t give them responsibility to wrap the delicate antique candelabra that’s been in your family since 1788, but allow them the opportunity to pack some books, CDs and DVDs. If you’re tempted to call in the pros to help you pack as well, take a look at https://www.mybekins.com/location/sarasota-fl-movers/ to discover the advantages and disadvantages to relinquishing the packing duties.









Pets

If you have some family pets, consider asking the kids to be responsible for them. This gives them a real sense of purpose for moving day. Their main focus will be the wellbeing of the animal that they’ve been allocated. If little Jimmy is looking after Fido, he’ll be more concerned about the mutt getting fed and watered than himself.








Games


Like with any long journey, the ubiquitous ‘Are we there yet?’ whine from the back seat can get under your skin and cause your stress levels to bubble away until they reach boiling point. Stock the back seat up with games and quizzes like the ones suggested at http://www.minitime.com/trip-tips/10-Best-Car-Games-for-Kids-article. Rent or buy a couple of portable DVD players for the journey and have a stash of age-appropriate movies in the back. With their earplugs in, they can while away a good few hours as you get a little bit of peace and quiet en route to your new humble abode.









Unpacking


When you finally arrive at your new pad, you might be aching for a cuppa whereas your little cherubs may be eager to launch themselves into your new property and race around every room at breakneck speed. To try and mitigate this youthful adrenaline rush, allow your kids to select their rooms and unpack their belongings. Giving them some responsibility to set up their little piece of the home will calm them down and channel their excitement into a much more worthwhile task.

Moving home can be a stressful experience. However, you can use some good old sneaky tactics to keep the kids busy and alleviate some of the anxieties of the big day.

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What do you LOVE about YOURSELF?

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As a busy mum you always put others first, you punish yourself when things go wrong and blame yourself if something is forgotten. You don't spend enough time taking care of yourself and there aren't many things about yourself that you actually like. But I can bet there is at least one thing you love about yourself, you just need to remember what that is.

It's important to have at least one thing you love about yourself. It may be that you just 'like' it, but there's got to be one thing that you don't hate. 




Learn to love yourself


I have to admit that in the beginning, before you've been told something about you is awesome, it can be difficult to think of anything you love about yourself. You might be working on losing weight (like me) and you're thinking "when I get to my target weight I'll love myself", or you're about to have a hair cut and think it will all be better once your hair is done. 

The thing is these things are in the future, they require changes to make you happy.

Take a minute right now (yes, right now!) and think about yourself. There is one thing about yourself that you don't want to change, there really is one thing that you're happy with - even if you have to be pushed to think of it.





  • Love yourself. It is important to stay positive because beauty comes from the inside out. 

Jenn Proske





It takes time to realise what the one thing is sometimes and once you do realise what it is it might surprise you.




What I love


My hair. 

I used to hate my hair, it was thick and unruly, a mousy-brown colour that I hated and it never looked good. When I was a teenager I lived my days with a ponytail and often cut my hair short because when it was long it was far too uncontrollable. 



Me, aged 6 or 7 - check out that hair!


Over the last few years though I have come to truly love my hair. It is not sleek and shiny, it does not have wonderful curls every day, but it is my hair. I have a wonderful hairdresser who knows how to cut my hair so I am able to have long hair, something I dreamed of having when I was teenager. I can style my hair however I like, be it a mum-bun*, wavy and unruly, or straight, and no matter what I do with it, it behaves. I also have my hair dyed and found a colour that suits me far more than my natural colour. 

More than all the changes though I know that my hair is part of who I am. It is more "me" now than it has ever been. I don't know what I would do if I was to lose my hair, it would be like losing a part of myself. 

Plastic surgery is something I've never even thought about, the idea of changing my body by having someone cut something out just makes me shudder. It's not something I would consider, especially not for vanity. However when it comes to my hair I would consider a hair transplant. It's amazing what doctors can achieve these days and things like the FUE hair transplant procedure at Harley Street Hair Clinic make it possible to get your hair back after hair loss.

There are other parts of myself that I love but my hair is my favourite. 



Rocking the mum bun!




What do you love?


Liking yourself is not easy, especially when you spend most days taking care of everyone else. How can you like yourself, never mind love yourself, when you're rushing around for others? You don't get the time for a shower most of the time so how could you like anything? 

But it is SO important to have something you can see and say "actually, yes, I love that!". Even if it's something you just "kinda" like about yourself you need to find it. 

You need to have that thing you can look at on your darkest days and smile. There has to be at least one thing you love/like about yourself.




  • Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that's when you're most beautiful. 

Zoe Kravitz





Do one thing for me?


If you've read this post and thought there isn't anything about yourself that you love, reach out. It can be to me (I would love to hear from you), or to someone you see everyday. Another person's perspective can shed light where there doesn't seem to be any and hearing what someone else likes about you might help you see what you love about yourself. 

It can be anything and I would love to hear what you come up with.

If you'd like to connect with me you can find me over on my Facebook Page, chatting on Twitter, and check out my photos on Instagram. Ooh and don't forget to check out my YouTube Channel. If you'd like to stay up to date, and receive exclusive content and free downloads, pop your email below!
4 images featuring women at different stages. The title says What do you LOVE about yourself?





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Not just stocking fillers from Sports Direct

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This time of year all (or most) purchases are about Christmas right? The next few weeks we spend money, collect gifts and store them in the best hiding place we can find. The gifts range from huge things that we struggle to even get into the house to small stocking fillers. I've always struggled with stocking fillers, I mean, how much do you spend on a stocking filler? Do your kids even have stockings?




Stockings


Stockings have changed so much since I was young, I remember my stocking being one of my own long white socks and it was stuck to the end of my bed using a drawing pin. I distinctly remember the pin coming out of the bed one year and me standing on it. OUCH! 

My stocking would be filled with things to keep me occupied in the early hours of the morning so that I didn't wake my parents too early. I know this now because I'm a parent and have considered using similar tactics! At the time though I thought it was an amazing feat of Santa's to creep into my bedroom and fill my stocking with wonderful goodies.






  • Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.

Pindar




The goodies I received back then were satsumas, raisins, and possibly a cheap toy to keep me occupied. There were no actual presents, just enough to make me happy but not quite enough to make me get my parents out of bed.

These days stockings are huge things, like Santa's suit they're red with white fluffy bits around the top, or you can buy personalised ones. They're much bigger than my one long white sock and can fit all kinds of things in them. 




Stocking fillers


Like I said, in the 80's (when I was a young girl) stocking fillers consisted of fruit, some sweets and maybe a few cheap toys if your parents could swing it. If I'm honest I'm not sure when the change happened but these days stocking fillers seem to be more about something special - much like the regular presents.






I've heard of people receiving a 3DS in their stocking or even a mobile phone which is crazy! To me a stocking filler will always be about the quick satisfaction of knowing that Santa has visited.

If a stocking filler costs more than a fiver then you've spent too much as far as I'm concerned. The stocking should be filled with small things, treats that don't cost much but show that Santa has sprinkled his magic.

Of course there are some things that cost less than £5 but are too big to fit in a stocking (unless you have a huge stocking!) and that's fine, it can still be a "stocking filler"

In my efforts to get a few bits and pieces for the boys' stockings this year I headed to the Sports Direct website where they have a fantastic range of toys and gifts for less than £5. I picked out a few things, some just a few pounds and some £5 but none more than £5. The selection of toys for less than £5 surprised me actually and I found it really easy to choose several toys for not only my boys but for my nieces and nephews too. 




Gifts


To be honest it wasn't until I was browsing the Sports Direct website that I realised how useful they are for Christmas gifts. I managed to add a one or two things to the list to buy at a future time and I even made a purchase I wasn't expecting to make.






The Hubby's favourite men's perfume of the moment is Jean Paul Gautier "Le Male" and I planned on buying it from either Amazon or The Perfume Shop. While I was browsing this perfume happened to come up in one of my searches and I was surprised at the price - £54.99. I was sure it was more than that when I'd checked.

Over the next few minutes I checked the other sites to make sure I wasn't imagining it and sure enough the gift set from Sports Direct was much cheaper than anywhere else I'd seen it. I made the purchase immediately!






I never expected to find any other gifts on the Sports Direct website but it turns out that they're quite useful. With a teenaged son who is rather awkward to buy for Sports Direct have lots of things I'll be purchasing, including trainers, and I'll be stopping by their website again when it comes to birthdays too. 




Cheap vs cheap


Okay, so the other thing I'd always presumed about Sports Direct is that their products were cheap but not cheap. Does that make sense?

I don't know what gave me the impression but I thought that the products bought from Sports Direct would cost as much as if you bought them from, say, Nike, but that the quality would be worse. I really don't know why I thought this and after my recent purchases I'm happy to say that I was wrong. 





  • Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. 

Charles M. Schulz





The quality of the products is as you would expect from any retailer. The perfume gift set I bought  has a full bottle of the perfume as well as the shower gel and cream and I have no doubt it's the real deal - I could smell it when I opened the box! 

Sports Direct is cheaper than other retailers for some products, like the men's perfume set, but the products are not cheap. 




A changed opinion


Products I have bought from Sports Direct recently have shown me that they're a great place to search for Christmas gifts, including stocking fillers. Their range of products for less than £5 is brilliant, there's something there for everyone, and their other gifts are great too.






I have no doubt I'll be going to the Sports Direct website again before Christmas!


This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportsdirect.com.

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Why your meal didn't turn out like the recipe

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In the past I have thought of myself as a bad cook, I can't bake cakes - well actually that's not true, if I try I can. But my point is that I thought of myself as a bad cook, it didn't matter what I was doing it never seemed to turn out right. I have been a stay-at-home mum for more than 13 years now and in that time I've learned a lot about cooking. Not just that but I've learned a lot about good cooking and good recipes. The good recipes are the easy-to-follow recipes, the ones that almost go the way you expect. But there's always something that doesn't go the way the recipe says.




My experience


At 36 years old I've had a fair few years cooking experience. My cooking has almost always been for the Hubby and the boys but I have, on occasion, cooked for the rest of the family too. I have tried out various recipes, some have failed miserably, some have turned out well. The ones that turned out well are the ones where I used my own judgement, I decided when the meal was finished not the recipe.

You see cooking isn't just about following a recipe blindly, anyone can do that. Cooking well is about being able to follow a recipe but knowing when the recipe isn't right for what you are doing. Now I'm not saying that I can do this all the time but I've got pretty good at judging what my oven* (and me) is capable of.





  • Cooking and baking is both physical and mental therapy. 

Mary Berry





The recipe


I have recipe books* coming out of my ears, some have simple recipes in them - ones I can do in no time and are easy - some have complicated recipes that I would never dream of attempting. I love simple recipes, the ones where there are just a few ingredients and you just throw them in a pan and leave it. But even with those recipes you need good judgement (or common sense).

Okay, let's use a Chicken Biryani recipe as an example.

chicken thighs frying in a frying pan. Diced onion and curry powder are in the pan too turning the mixture an orangey colour.


In my recipe book the ingredients are as follows:


  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 large chicken thighs, skin on - I use the skinless ones
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced - I dice my onion and sometimes use a red onion
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 350g / 12oz easy-cook long-grain rice
  • 700ml chicken or vegetable stock -  I always use chicken stock
  • 250g frozen peas - I use 100g peas


The method is fairly simple.


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas 6/ fan oven 180. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and fry the chicken thighs, skin side down, for 8-10 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy. Tip in the onion and continue to cook for 5 minutes until the onion softens. Sprinkle in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the rice and pour over the stock. Bring the stock to the boil.

Cover the pan and bake for 30 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir in the peas and leave the rice to stand for a few minutes before serving.


This is exactly how it is written in the book (I can't remember which book because I have a photo of the recipe on my phone). But let me tell you the first time I tried out that recipe I had to keep checking every line because I was afraid I'd forget something.

When reading the recipe it sounds really simple, there shouldn't be anything that goes wrong - right? But the thing is, when there are timings I always wonder if they're exactly right - I mean how do they know which pan I'm going to use? How do they know my hob is the same as theirs?




What I change


Frying the chicken thighs is a prime example of when the recipe changes dependent on what kind of equipment you're using. When I cook the chicken thighs, using my heavy-base frying pan*, at home on my gas hob the 8-10 minutes is about right, but I don't tend to leave them skin-side down for the whole 10 minutes. I use my judgement and flip them over so they're crispy on both sides. When I cook this recipe at my mother-in-law's house I have to use her electric hob and the chicken takes a lot longer than 10 minutes to get crispy.

Another change I make to this recipe is the onion, it is meant to be sliced but if I did that I guarantee my boys would pick out all the onion they could find. This is more of a personal choice but I dice my onion so that the boys don't notice it, that way they're eating vegetables without being aware of it!

The baking in the oven is another judgement I've had to make. You see 30 minutes in my oven would burn the Biryani. Whenever I cook this recipe I have to take the pan out of the oven at 25 minutes, if left any longer the rice would burn to the bottom of the pan. 

If you decided to do this recipe I'd suggest keeping an eye on the rice, that way if it starts to look dry you can take it out and check if the liquid is all gone.

The peas are more of a preference, we've tried this recipe with 250g peas and that's quite a lot of peas for the amount of rice so I reduced it until I felt it was right for us. At 100g peas the boys will eat the peas and nothing gets left behind. Win.





  • Usually, one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. 

Julia Child





There you are - a simple recipe broken down into the bits I've changed to work for me.

Following a recipe is easy but knowing if, and when, to change a recipe is much harder. Having the confidence to change a recipe is something you learn, especially if you cook every day.

I no longer think of myself as a bad cook, I can cook and I'm pretty good sometimes too. The point is if you learn what your equipment is capable of you'll know how it all works together and what the timings will be.

Don't be afraid to alter a recipe if you need to - they are not set in stone, they're just there for guidance.






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Make Christmas even more special with a luxury hamper

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With Christmas just around the corner we're all thinking of new ways to make it even more special. New decorations usually feature, I know they do in our house. Maybe a new alcoholic beverage makes its way into your kitchen. Or perhaps you'll try out a luxury hamper?




Luxury hampers


When a company says "luxury" I often wonder who has defined the word for them, they're not usually what I would consider luxury. But then I suppose a luxury is different to everyone isn't it?

When the Hubby worked in an office I remember us getting a huge luxury hamper at Christmas. It was filled with all sorts of treats and alcohol and it really made an impression. It's one of those things that I will always remember - opening up the huge wooden basket/box and pulling out every item and almost squealing when I saw what it was.

Somehow a hamper seems to hold a magic all of its own, especially if there's nothing in it you don't like.




Where do you get a luxury hamper from?


There are lots of companies out there that sell hampers, they can range from £10 to £1,000 - sometimes even more. But if you're looking for a reasonably price hamper look no further than Prestige Hampers.



A hamper from prestige hampers - containing a bottle of red wine, shortbread biscuits, Highland oatcakes, white chocolate, cookies, olives, a chocolate bar, 20 English Tea bags, and chocolate covered marshmallows.



Prestige Hampers hope to bring joy and magic at Christmas by using only locally sourced British products including award winning cheeses and delicious savoury treats.

Check out their selection at https://www.prestigehampers.co.uk/christmas-hampers.




What do you get in a luxury hamper?


That really depends on which hamper you choose. As an example the Christmas Tradition hamper from Prestige Hampers contains:

Walkers Highland Oatcakes 
Louis Filipe Cabernet Sauvignon 
Shortbread House Dark Chocolate and Orange 
Mr Filberts Marinated Olives with Chilli and Black Pepper 
Eton Mess by Valley Chocolates 100g 
Santa Sack filled with Choc Chip and Orange Biscuits 
New English Tea Selection 20 Tea Bags
Yumcious Bar of Awesomeness 
Little Box of Happy Mini Chocolate Marshmallows 

And they're all presented in a Vintage Prestige Hampers wooden case.



Vintage wooden box from Prestige Hampers decorated with golden Christmas decorations. A  small red sack reading "merry Christmas" sits in front of the box, alongside a bar of white chocolate.



You can buy this hamper for £49.99.

I have to say I really enjoyed opening up this gorgeous hamper. Pulling out the items I smiled, it's full of luxury biscuits, shortbread biscuits (my favourite!), and chocolate. Not to mention wine. The Christmas biscuits (chocolate chip cookies) were so yummy, with a hint of orange. They were crunchy and would be perfect with a cup of tea - good job I got those English Tea tea bags. 




The selection of hampers at Prestige Hampers


The hamper I received for review was not the cheapest, nor was it the most expensive. On the Prestige Hampers website you can find hampers in the "Luxury Hampers" section ranging from £29.99 to £750.

It really depends what kind of hamper you are looking for. If you want your hamper to be super-special and make you go "OMG! This is awesome!" then the one that costs £750 is the one you want. At the same time though sending someone that extra special something there's always the £29.99 option - which isn't the "cheap" version at all. In the Christmas Star hamper you receive a selection of biscuits, cake, wine, and even mince pies!

Prestige Hampers have a wonderful selection and I'm sure I'll be taking a look for Christmas presents to send to my family.






Have you ever had a luxury hamper at Christmas time?

I was sent the Christmas Tradition luxury hamper for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 



This Mum's Life

Post Comment Love 10th - 12th November

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It's Post Comment Love time again which can only mean one thing - it is Friday! Yay! The weekends, while still busy, are always a slower pace which is lovely when you have school runs to do every weekday. Join Stephanie and I in our weekly linky and link up your best/favourite post of the week.




A quiet week


I know I've just said how busy most weeks are but this week has been quite different. Monday was a regular day, but Tuesday I spent the evening getting BP ready for his France trip. He was due to leave early on Wednesday morning so Tuesday I gathered all of his things together and packed his suitcase*. We took him to school at 5:50am on Wednesday and he's been away since then.



I feel like he's up on that log again! I can't do anything to help him if he needs it.



As I write this post he is still there, he gets back tomorrow. I have had a hard time getting used to the fact that BP is out of the country, I don't like it. Not one bit. Even though he is 13 years old he is still my baby and the thought of him in another country, not knowing the language*, not knowing the area, it absolutely terrifies me.

Of course I suppose I ought to mention that it's a school trip - so it's not like he's on his own. He has friends with him to talk to, he has teachers looking out for his safety. But it doesn't make me worry any less.

So really there hasn't been the usual daily arguments between the boys, there hasn't been any shouting in a morning because LP likes to get up early rather than staying in bed until the very last minute. It's been quiet... but stressful.

I am definitely looking forward to it being a "normal" (whatever that is!) week next week.




Blogger Showcase Vicky at Vicky Elizabeth





Who are you?


Hi everyone! My name is Vicky and I’m a native Miamian with a love for Disney, coffee and yoga. I studied English Lit in undergrad and loved it cause it meant I was reading Jane Austen, Mark Twain and Shakespeare for homework and presenting on them in class. It was a blast but I realized I probably wouldn’t be able to do much with it, so I’m in my second year of law school now. I’m first and foremost a writer and use it in order to keep mental sanity. Secondly, I’m a movie lover and combine the two to keep my blog alive and kicking during the summer-time. I’m excited to be on this blogging journey and am loving the amazing community and support I’ve found along the way!




How did you discover blogs/blogging?


I’ve written about this subject before but essentially, I've been writing since I was in middle school. Back when Myspace was a thing I scrolled through and found this resource called “Blogging”. I found out that I could write opinion pieces and publish them! From then, I was hooked! Blogging made me realize that I didn’t need to have a cute tagline or caption to a picture. I treated that Myspace feature almost like a public diary.




Why did you start blogging?


I blog in order to get it all out there. I blog because I have ideas and it’s no fun to just write them down and not have people comment or view them. I love the writing community on Tumblr because of the support I’ve found and all the great comments and messages keep me going. I’ve expanded to blogging about other things besides creative writing and now I mostly blog about movies but essentially, I blog because I love it!




What do you find most challenging?


Writer’s block is the worst! By far, the most challenging thing is when you want to regularly post something but you just can’t get the ideas out. Whenever writers block happens I just take a breather and get back whenever I have more ideas, but that will sometimes run a good few weeks or, if I’m in the middle of school, months! 




What is your favourite topic to write about?


My favorite topic to write about is movies. I’ve always been into the entertainment business and besides creative writing, I love award shows, even live tweeting them yearly! When you truly love a subject, you could just talk about them for hours and that’s exactly what I love to be able to do on my blog. If I don’t necessarily like a movie I was watching, I’m able to love cinema so much that I can write an honest review and explain even why I didn’t care for it. Movies are so much fun and if you don’t love what you are writing about, then why do it?




Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?


I blog for fun because the moment I feel that I am stuck to a schedule or I have some commitment, I start to stress out. However, I do hope that someday I can be able to post enough that I have a good number of followers or retweeters. I just want people to know who I am 




What is your favourite thing about blogging?


My favorite thing about blogging is actually getting to post something! Often, I get such bad bouts of writers block that I spend a while without posting. When I finally get to it, I love seeing the reactions of the followers who “like” or “retweet”. It makes me happy to see that the breaks while I get ideas and the time I spent mulling over heartbreak in order to write the latest poem did not go un-noticed.




Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think?


I've never attended a blogging conference but I’d love to see if, someday, I’m able to go to something. To tell you the truth, I’ve done such little research on conferences, it would be interesting to see what that is like! 




What are your 3 best posts?


My three best posts would be: 

My incredibly long article on the Hollywood Hay's Code
My Directors spotlight on Hay's Code rebel, Otto Perringer
My review on Hitchcock's Psycho




Describe yourself in three words!


In three words I am: Smart, Cute, Motivated




Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?


Being raised by Cubans in Miami, I am 100% a coffee (with milk) and cake kinda girl. Though that cake is more of a panetela (basically pound cake).




What's your idea of a perfect night out?


My idea of a perfect night out involves getting ready to go out while jamming to my favorite “Party Playlist” (Which definitely includes “Cheap Thrills” by Sia). Once I get picked up by my boyfriend, we head to our favorite bar in Coral Gables called Tap 42 and 9 times out of 10, the night will involve running into our best friends and going across the street to the nearby bar (literally called The Bar) to dance the night away. The night will end with a stroll down Miracle Mile and boyfriend will drive me home around 2am.




Your perfect night in?


My perfect night in involves the complete opposite. I’m completely home alone with either Back to the Future, Princess Bride or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I am also probably reading a good book while the movie is playing in the background. Finally, I probably ordered Papa John’s pizza and have a spoon dug in a Nutella jar.




What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality?


My best friend would say that my best quality is my great listening skills. It’s not even that I’m a great listener, just that my best friend talks to much and tells so many stories that I can’t help but listen to everything and give advice later. So she’ll say I’m a great friend because I’m a great listener.


I hope you enjoyed my answers to the questions! Thanks for reading!

- Vicky Elizabeth, or Fragolita.


Thank you so much for answering our questions Vicky, it's so nice to meet another movie lover! Feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display it ever-so-proudly on your blog. 

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Pocolo


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