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Monday, March 30, 2020

Weekly Meal Plan 30/03/20

With the current situation we are making the most of what we have in to avoid having to head to the shops.

Meatballs and spaghetti in a tomato and basil sauce

Quiche, new potatoes and salad

Sausage, mash and onion gravy

Veggie or fish fingers, homemade wedges and baked beans

Chickpea, cauliflower and spinach korma with basmati rice

Fry up

Roast dinner

Have you got creative since we’ve been in lockdown or are you sticking to firm family favourites and comfort food?

Emma xoxo

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Weekly Meal Plan 03/03/20

Weekly Meal Plan

Gammon, egg and chips

Spaghetti Bolognese

Chilli chicken, rice and spring rolls

Toad in the hole

Jerk chicken pasta salad

Enchiladas, wedges and corn

Roast dinner

Monday, March 2, 2020

2020 Bucket List

Last year for the first time we came up with an annual family bucket list, this included things to achieve as a family, personal goals, couple goals and things we would like to do in our home.

Our 2019 Bucket List looked like this

I’ll be honest, I did doubt whether I would stick to it or if it would be completely successful. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions so wanted goals that we could take our time with and achieve throughout the year and that weren’t all personally focused and I have to say our annual bucket list was a complete success and whilst we didn’t manage to complete everything on it we did manage to make a huge dent in it.

In December last year I thought that it would be a good idea if we made another bucket list for 2020. Together, we made a list of goals again personal, family orientated, home related and couple goals. January was a very productive month and lots of progress was made but by February things had stalled. I couldn't put my finger on what it was but my get up and go and got up and gone and any motivation I had had in January had gone for a wander.

 March has come along, put a spring in my step, given me a new lease of life and I'm feeling so much brighter. 
We have actively started making plans towards crossing things off of our Bucket List and has given us all lots to look forward too.

Whilst I don't doubt there will be things that we may not get around to doing this year, having it all written down and making a plan to achieve it is definitely bringing us a step closer.

So with a clearer vision, a plan to succeed, a spring in my step and amazing support we are planning on smashing the heck out of all of our goals. 2020 we are coming for you....just 2 months later than planned!!

Some of our goals may seem simple to some, luxurious to others are just plain dumb to others but to us they are all things they we would like to achieve this year and by not including them on this list they may well just get brushed under the carpet.

2020 Bucket List

Beach picnic
More quality time
Lose 4 stone
New single wardrobe
Send a message in a bottle
Take more pics
Continue reading more
New dinner set
Travel more
Talk more openly
Continue to save more
New wine glasses
Go on a steam train
Encourage improved health
Update wardrobe and accessories
Paint/repair doors
Swim more
Don’t sleep on an argument
New York
New sofa
Play more games
Go on dates
Continue face routine
Redecorate hallway
Do more as 1 unit

Do you have any goals for 2020, I'd love to know what they are? Follow me over on Instagram to keep up with what we are managing to tick off our list.

Emma xoxo

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Weekly Meal Plan

Quite a few family favourites on this weeks menu

Chilli con carne

Smoky bbq ribs, spicy wedges, corn on the cob and onion rings

Sesame and soy glazed pork belly and noodles

Out for Baby Sam's birthday

Omelette with a choice of fillings and hash browns

Mediterranean chicken breasts, new potatoes and salad

Beef bourguignon, mash potatoes and green beans

What are some of your week night favourites?

Emma xoxo

Monday, January 6, 2020

Weekly Meal Plan 06/01/2020

My first post of 2020 is nothing overly exciting but I am excited to be getting back into a routine with the kids going back to school this week and march into the new year to make some amazing things happen.

So here is my first meal plan of 2020

Chicken tikka massala with cauliflower rice and salad

Shepherds Pie, veg and gravy

Homemade breaded chicken goujons, southern fried wedges and corn on the cob

Tuna pasta

Toad in the hole, brussels and roasted new potatoes

Pizza, onion rings, salad and garlic bread.

Roast pork with all of the trimmings

Are you getting back into a routine or are did you never get out of one?
What's on your menu this week?

Emma xoxo

Friday, November 8, 2019

Making the Most of you Merlin Pass During Winter

If you think just because some of the theme parks have closed down for the winter that you can't have fun with your Merlin Pass then boy are you wrong! With the four major theme parks closed it actually gives you a great opportunity to make the most of your pass by visiting other Merlin attractions.
If like me you live in London or close by then there are an abundance of attractions to visit during off-peak season and what’s more if you want to visit attractions that may require a stopover hotels and B&Bs are generally a bit cheaper this time of the year so it’s a win-win situation.

Along the Southbank there are 4 indoor attractions alone to visit. All within a few metres of each other. There is the SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure, The London Dungeons and London Eye and 4D experience.

Shrek's Adventure, SEA LIFE and the London Eye make for a great family day out in London and with Madame Tussaud’s just a short bus ride away you are sure to have a fun packed day. 
If you’re feeling brave or have older children then why not visit The London Dungeons and learn about some of London’s more chilling history.
For just a mere £1 per person all of these attractions can be pre-booked online and guaranteeing entry at your chosen time.

If you still want to spend the day out in the fresh air then why not visit Warwick castle? With the beautiful Castle itself to tour indoors and stunning grounds(with roaming peacocks) to explore this would make for a perfect day out. If you think it’s too chilly for a picnic then take advantage of one the restaurant’s onsite and fill up on a warm meal and don't forget that your Merlin Pass entitles you to up to 20% off food, drink and more!

If you're missing Legoland and want a Lego fix then while away a day at one of the two Legoland Discovery Centres. With one in Manchester and one in Birmingham there is definitely something for everyone and be sure to check out any special events or activities they may have running.

If a day out along Blackpool prom is what you're after then don't forget to pack your pass. The Blackpool Tower hosts a string of attractions where your pass will have you out of the cold but definitely not missing out on the action.

Alongside the 30+ attractions that you can use your pass at for 12 months there are also a whole hosts of benefits attached to your pass. With perks such as friends and family discounted tickets, money off short breaks, up to 50% off international entry, up to 20% off food, drink and merchandise and discounts from partner companies there is no reason for the fun to stop just because the coasters have!

To add to the already great value, Merlin have also made their passes even more affordable now by introducing a pay monthly pass. There are two types of pass; standard and premium so be sure to make sure if you are purchasing one that you choose the right ones for your family.

We are already planning on making the most of our Merlin Passes over winter with a planned trip to Warwick Castle for stories with Santa, a visit to the Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham and just try keeping us away from the Southbank attractions!

Emma xoxo

Monday, November 4, 2019

Weekly Meal Planner 04/11/19

Spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread

Cajun chicken thigh fillet burgers, sweet potato fries and corn on the cob

Special fried rice and vegetable spring rolls

Beef bourguignon

Lamb chops, cous cous and roasted veg

Out for dinner

Pork roast dinner

Once again I'm joining in with Katy Kickers meal planning linky so if you're stumped for ideas head on over for some more inspiration.

Emma xoxo

Friday, November 1, 2019

The 25 Days of Elfmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Every single year without fail between 1st and 25th December I get all comfy in bed and the BAM it hits me, I've forgotten to move the flipping elves!

This year I'm getting organised to avoid having the leave my warm comfy bed by planning 'Elfmas' day by day.
If you're stuck for ideas or want to get on top of it too then take a look at my '25 Days of Elfmas' calendar. 
Follow me over on Instagram for daily pictures, more ideas and inspiration.

The 25 Days of Elfmas

Dec 1st – Elves arrive through letterbox with advent calendars
Dec 2nd – Plant magic green seeds
Dec 3rd – Seeds grow into candy canes
Dec 4th – Red dots on noses on pictures
Dec 5th – Draws on all the eggs
Dec 6th – Bowling in the hallway
Dec 7th – Invite to see Santa
Dec 8th – Christmas crumpets decorate a cookie
Dec 9th – Knicker and bra hammocks on tree
Dec 10th – Elves zip lining
Dec 11th – Bad elf tapes good elf to the toilet lid
Dec 12th – Find the chocolate coins
Dec 13th – Tickets to see the lights
Dec 14th – Pyjamas from the elves
Dec 15th – Find all the candy canes
Dec 16th – Tried to make a cake
Dec 17th – Movie night
Dec 18th – Feeding the ducks in the bath
Dec 19th – Being a doctor
Dec 20th – In the cereal box
Dec 21st – Swinging in the hallway
Dec 22nd – Face paints while the kids sleep
Dec 23rd – Snowball fights
Dec 24th – Brings xmas eve boxes/bags

Dec 25th – Goodbye from the elves, wrapped the door, Santa footprints and glitter

I'd love to see and hear what your elves get up to.

Emma xoxo

Friday, October 11, 2019

A Quick Life Update

So it's October which means we are in our final quarter of not just this year but this DECADE!

I thought I'd take this opportunity to look back on the year so far and see what has been going well, what hasn't been and how much we have managed to tick off of our 2019 Bucket List.

2019 Bucket List

Family            Couple          Children        Personal       Home

Picnic on the beach Christmas Break City Break Spa Break
Theatre Pedicure Visit Boxhill New Forest Short Break
Replace mattresses New Dinner Set Go Fishing
Loose at Least 2 Stone Send a message in a bottle Save More
Visit a trampoline park Alton Towers Break Visit a Waterpark
Have a Water Balloon/Gun Fight Take More Pics Visit a New City
Visit Virginia Water Replace Wardrobes New Sofa Read More
Go on Holiday Go to Peppa Pig World Go for a Couples Massage
Go on a Steam Train Hot Air Balloon Ride Conquer 1 of My Fears
Replace Duvets and Pillows Fit Breakfast Bar

We realised that a breakfast bar wouldn't work in the kitchen so that's one thing off the list and as for a hot air balloon we had a look at a few but decided we would wait until next year when I had worked a little more on  my fear of heights.

My Youtube video has my top tips for money saving.
So far we've managed to do 16 things from our Bucket List but the one I'm most please about is saving more. This year I opened a separate account where I could create different 'pots' for all of the individual things that I wanted to save for and I'm really proud of myself for sticking at it and nearly reaching all of my targets.

The one goal that isn't looking likely and I'm really disappointed in myself in is weight loss. I started off so well at the beginning of the year but then slowly and surely I stopped putting the effort in and the weight crept back on. Last week I decided that I needed to get my butt back in gear and I'm pleased to say that in the first week I've seen a 5lb loss.

We're off on a mini break during the October half term where we're hoping to tick off at least another 3 things off this list so look out for my Instagram stories for updates on these.

Over the last few months my outlook on life has been changing and day by day I'm realising what the most important things are to me and they aren't the same as what I previously thought. Having lost my mother in law earlier this year and watching my Grandmother struggling with dementia it really drives home how precious every day is and that we should be making every second count.

Lymington in The New Forest

Small things that would've got my back up before, I'm slowly learning to let slide and teaching the kids to collect memories and not things are high up on my list.

I started this year off with high hopes and in good spirits and had a big wobble around May and June but thankfully I've managed to take some time out, clear my mind and hit the refresh button and have got back on the proverbial horse.

If you've got in to a bit of a funk just take a deep breath, hit the reset button, don't let life stress you too much and rest will fall into place.

How are you feeling entering the last quarter of this decade?

Emma xoxo

Monday, October 7, 2019

Weekly Meal Planner 07/10/19

Beef bourguignon with mashed potato and green beans

Chicken and 'rainbow' rice

Meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce, spaghetti and doughballs

Chicken kebabs, salad and cous cous

Cajun spiced chicken thigh burgers, hassle back new potatoes and corn on the cob

Breakfast dinner

Curried mutton, rice and peas, plantain and salad

What's on your menu this week?

Emma xoxo

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Dealing With Dementia

The last couple of years our life has been affected by dementia. We have had to watch members of our family become almost strangers all because of one of the most horrible diseases out there. It is absolutely heartbreaking watching those that you love the most become people that you barely recognise. The not remembering people and places and watching them confused and vulnerable has broken me more times that I care to remember but I refuse to let this horrid disease ruin whatever time I have left with them so I've armed myself with knowledge and am doing what I can to help myself, family and you understand life with dementia.

So what is dementia?
Dementia is actually an umbrella term used to describe a number of progressive neurological disorders that affect the brain. There are astonishingly over 200 subtypes of dementia with the 5 most common being Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.

What causes dementia?
The brain is made up of nerve cells that communicate with each other by sending messages. Dementia actually damages the nerve cells in the brain which means that messages cannot be sent effectively and that prevents the body from functioning as it normally would.

It doesn't matter which type of dementia a person is diagnosed with or which part of the part of the brain that it affects, every sufferer will experience dementia in their own way.

When can it be diagnosed?
Commonly dementia is diagnosed in people over the age of 65, however, it can affect a person at any age so it's worth seeing your GP if you are worried.

What symptoms should I look out for?
Memory problems - You may notice that people with dementia may get lost in places they were previously familiar in or struggle with names of people that they know. They may also have difficulty retaining new information and increasingly misplace things.

Communication - People that have dementia can have difficulty verbally expressing themselves or finding the right words and may often repeat themselves. You may also notice a difference in their personality where they can suffer from mood swings, depression and anxiety. You may find that they are no longer interested in social interactions, become withdrawn and their self confidence can also become affected.

Cognitive ability - Some people with dementia can suffer with timelines. For example you may find them getting ready for bed at 2 in the afternoon or waking up in the middle of the night to get ready for work, the school run, shopping etc. Their concentration may also be affected so things like making a list or watching a programme or film from start to finish can be tricky. 
In some cases the ability to make decisions, reason and manage their own affairs can be affected.

How do I get a diagnosis? 
If you feel that a loved one or yourself may be suffering from some of the symptoms and are concerned it is important to see your GP as soon as possible. Some conditions have similar symptoms to dementia(ie, infections, vitamin B12 deficiency, sleep apnoea etc) but if diagnosed quickly they can be treated without long term problems.
To decide if someone is suffering from dementia, the GP will find out any family and medical history, asking about behaviour and mood changes along with screening them for mental health and cognitive issues by asking questions, testing short term memory, concentration.
If, deemed necessary the GP will requests an MRI or CT scan and/or blood tests. In some cases a referral may also be made to a memory clinic or specialist for further investigation and/or assessment.
If after all of the above is completed and a diagnosis of dementia is given then the GP will ensure that the person with the diagnosis and family or carer is signposted to services in the local area that are able to help and support both the patient and the family. You should also be referred for further assessments and treatments that may be beneficial. 

How can I help and support my loved one?
You may feel that you don't have much to offer or don't know what to do but just by being there you are being a huge help. If your loved one starts talking about events that happened in the past as if they were yesterday, go with it. Try not to raise your voice or speak too quickly around them as it can confuse and agitate them. Have pictures to hand so that you can talk about people and gently remind them of names and relationships to them. Some of the websites below offer more information on what you can do to help

When going through the process of getting a dementia diagnosis there is so much information to take in and medical terms that are bounded about that it can seem like you are drowning but don't be scared to ask professionals to slow down or use language that you understand. Also, once you have a diagnosis don't be afraid to ask for help. It can all seem so overwhelming but there are organisations, charities and people out there who can offer you support and guidance.

Alzheimers Society

Dementia UK

Below are a a couple of organisations that will be able to offer you help and advice regarding dementia but remember to check out what facilities that you have locally as it varies from borough to borough.

If you or anyone you know is going through this, my heart goes out to you and I hope that you have found this post useful. Feel free to pop me a message if you want to chat, my inbox is always open!

Emma xoxo