09 10

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Lockdown Lessons

Here are a few of the things that lockdown taught me

Having fun doesn’t have to cost a penny

If you follow me on Instagram, have read previous posts or seen my YouTube videos then you will know that we love to get out and about and have fun but lockdown made us realise that the fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Once restrictions were lifted a little we were able to get out we had so much fun on literally a few pound which proves that you can have fun for next to nothing. 

We really don’t need to eat out as often

I have to admit, we probably eat out more than we should but with the restaurants shut and not being a fan of delivered food we really got back to basics in the kitchen and had so much fun trying new and old recipes and I can honestly say it didn’t feel like a chore...it was enjoyable.

There is more time in the day than we realise for me time or self care

We often say we don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the things we need to do but with the combination of homeschooling, working from home and just having to spend so much time at home you are forced to manage your time and schedule better and better time management meant being able to find time in the day for

me. Whether it’s a face pack, 30 minutes to sit alone and read or a walk, lockdown taught me there was more time for me than I’d realised.

We can get on as a family

When lockdown was announced I panicked. All of us at home together, 24/7!! Surprisingly enough, the time at home together was actually fantastic. We really got to learn more about each other, what makes us tick and had a giggle. Yes there were days that we wanted to kill each other but on the whole it was a great experience and I’m grateful to have had that opportunity.

Shopping is not so necessary 

Ok so yes we need grocery shopping but this one is short and sweet. I really don’t need to buy half of the crap that I do or shop as much. During lockdown I saved a small fortune!

We are really resourceful

Between homework projects, diy, shops being closed and all the other mayhem of this year I’ve come to realise that we are super resourceful. Things were repurposed, we made use of things that had been lying around in cupboards and drawers for ages and generally were *resourceful*

Travel doesn’t have to be too far from your doorstep 

We had several trips cancelled due to the coronavirus this year and at first I was so upset but we used it as an opportunity to explore closer to home and discovered some amazing places within the UK. There really are some beautiful places to be found on our shores.

Needless to say lockdown and the virus reminded us of the importance of looking after one another, being kind and looking after our planet but what else did lockdown and the coronavirus teach you?

Emma xoxo

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Am I Enough?

The last 6 months have been interesting to say the least. The impact of what we have been through has not just physically taken it’s toll on so many of us, it has also left a vast majority of us mentally scarred too.

After months of homeschooling, trying to keep on top of my own work, housework and everything else I have had to juggle, the whole experience left me questioning or rather doubting my abilities. Am I a good enough parent? Am I being a supportive enough wife? Have I been there for my friends? The list went on.

Recently I started reading a book called How To Stop Feeling Like Sh*t. Every chapter involves a challenge where you are asked to look at different areas of your life and really take stock of how you feel about and treat yourself and I realised that I wouldn’t treat others how I treat myself. It’s only really the last couple of weeks that I’ve actually stepped back, taken stock of everything and wholeheartedly challenged the self doubt and my reasons behind it and do you know what, I’ve come to realise that I AM ENOUGH. I give my all, I love with all my heart and I learn from my mistakes.

A perfect example of doubting myself or feeling inadequate is this week on Instagram I made a reel and very nearly didn’t post it. Here’s why, I am rarely in a picture as I will duck and dive to avoid them where possible but when I do take a picture I won’t usually upload them anywhere because I am constantly picking at everything wrong with me in the picture. I’ll criticise my photography skills and video editing skills and deem things just not good enough but on Monday I posted the video because despite me not being 100% happy with it I was happy enough with ME and that is a huge amount of progress.

It’s so easy to get caught up with life and forget about ourselves particularly with everything that we’ve had going on in the world lately but when was the last time you stopped and thought about what you need, how you’re feeling and how you’re doing?

We are always making time for everything and anything else so with things settling into a ‘new normal’, maybe now is the time to look at your mental health and well-being, set some time aside for you and just make sure that you are ok.

Emma xoxo

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Life After Lockdown

So yesterday Boris announced further plans to ease the lockdown and many people up and down the country will be excited by the things they will now be able to do and the people they will be able to see.
As long as you adhere to whatever guidelines are in places there is no wrong or right way to start doing things, just what is comfortable for you and your family.

A common question we’ve been asked when catching up with friends, family and colleagues during lockdown is how on earth are you guys coping?
People that know us, know how much we like to explore, seek adventure and just generally always be out and about so being confined to the our home was always going to be a bit of a challenge. From exploring a little village that we’ve stumbled across on a drive out to a fun and adventure packed day out we live for the great outdoors.

Between home schooling, walks in the park, board games and family quizzes we’ve muddled through but the one thing that it has made us think about are the things we would like to do with life after lockdown so every family member contributed to our ‘Life After Lockdown’ jar by simply writing on a slip of paper something they’d like to do once life settles down and gets back to ‘normal’

For the kids it mainly consists of visiting places we’ve haven’t been able to get to so far this year and for me it’s adopting some of the ways of our new found lifestyle long term.

Such a simple activity but also gives you something to look forward to.

However you plan to start changing up your lifestyle and routine after yesterday’s news is nobody’s business but your own. Whether you want to stay in your bubble for a little longer on want to get back to being a social butterfly as soon as. Remember do what feels right for you and your family and stay safe doing it!

What are some of the things you’re looking forward to doing with life after lockdown?

Emma xoxo

Monday, June 15, 2020

Saving with Plum

I’m a list maker, FACT!
From as far back as I can remember I’ve liked a list and usually I write them to keep me on track and to help me reach targets and goals. As well as daily to do lists, at the start of every month alongside my monthly budget I make a list of the things I’d like to achieve that month. Some goals are as simple as finally fixing the cupboard door and other household things, some are financial and other goals are bigger.

In January when I set out my intentions for the year, one of those things was a target of saving £1200 by December in a ‘just because’ pot. I save monthly for different things but each pot has a purpose so I wanted to try and save this amount for no particular purpose other than ’just because.’ This month marks the half way mark of my savings challenge where I should have £600 saved so far but secretly I wanted to be a little ahead of the halfway mark by saving £700 and I managed to smash that target less than 2 weeks into the month.
Nope, we’ve not come into money and no we don’t have the money just laying around but it was super easy thanks to the Plum saving app. I used to manually skim my current account daily but it became tedious and there were days I forgot so when an ad for this app popped up it seemed like the perfect alternative. It skins my account every time that I use my card linked to it or a direct debit or standing order is paid out of my account. Within the app you are given the opportunity to decide just how much or how little the app rounds down or skims for you to help manage you budget. I know everyone’s ability to save is different and based on individual circumstances but Plum has genuinely helped me.

The app boasts other features like investment opportunities and money saving tips on your energy bills which if I’m honest I don’t use but the basic function of the app is great for helping you to save. Every 3 months you have to authorise the app to be linked to your chosen account which takes seconds and the app is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority which means your money is just as protected as any money you have in a regular bank account.

Whether you want to start saving for Christmas,book a holiday or just are rubbish at saving, I’d definitely recommend giving plum a try.

What methods do you use to help you save?

Emma xoxo

*This post contains an affiliate link.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Lockdown Achievements

For the last few weeks I’ve been seeing a meme, quote, picture or whatever you want to call it doing the rounds.
It states something along the lines of “If you don’t come out of lockdown with either a new skill, starting what you’ve been putting off like a business or more knowledge then you lack discipline” and if I’m perfectly honest it p’d me off.

There are thousands of people up and down the country who are not only trying to work from home but also play home educator to their little darling/s, provide 3 meals a day, keep the house tidy, stay on top of the laundry not to mention queuing up for hours to get the weekly shop.

There are also people who are struggling with their mental health and quite frankly, if they get through the day is an achievement.

Then you’ve got the people that are volunteering their spare time to help those that can’t get out and about.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were talking about ‘in a world where you can be anything be kind’ and ‘it’s me vs me and you vs you and not me vs you’ yet all of a sudden there is this requirement to be bossing it at life whilst also trying to just stay healthy and safe.

Yes I’ve signed up to an online course but I know I won’t be able to complete it in the time I would like to. Yes, I have bought myself some new books but I’ll read them when I can so I’m personally sticking 2 fingers up to those that suggest you lack discipline if you don’t come out of this time as an entrepreneur,  speaking another language fluently or some kind of guru.

Here is my list of more reasonable and achievable lockdown achievements -
1. I’ve kept 4 children alive, fed and happy all whilst being cooped up indoors
2. We have managed to complete most of the school work set without drama
3. I have rediscovered my love of cooking and cooking from scratch 
4. I have NOT drunk all the alcohol in the house
5. I’ve got back into bullet journaling 
6. We are spending guilt free time with the kids
7. We have saved a shed load of money(because we can’t go out to spend it)
8. We have realised that we can survive without takeaway or delivery
9. Long awaited jobs around the house are finally getting done
10. Me and Him can be together 24/7 without wanting to kill each other

All in all I think those are pretty damn good achievements all things considered, so whatever you do or don’t manage to accomplish during this time just know that if you make it through the other side that’s the biggest achievement.

Take care, stay safe and stay home!

Emma xoxo

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