Saturday, 23 August 2014

A pizza party with Domino's new Carnivale range

I always love a good email asking me if we would like to try out something that we already love. Chick, if she had her own way, would genuinely eat pizza for dinner every night so when I got an email asking if we would like to have a Domino's pizza party to celebrate their new Carnivale range I was all 'hell yeah'!

We decided to coincide the pizza party with a wedding party trying on session. Having duly tried on all of the dresses, which obviously look amazing, we had very long discussions about what we should order. With so many of us it took a while but in the end we went with......

Fiesta - Chicken breast strips, red onions, green & red peppers, seasoned with a fajita spice, with a drizzle of Mojito style dressing (although without the Mojito dressing as our local store had run out)

I have to say that this was amazing and by far my favourite of everything we ordered. It really did taste like chicken fajitas, it was lovely and spicy but not hot in anyway with fabulous juicy peppers!

Rio - Pulled Barbacoa beef, chipotle sauce, red onions, green & red peppers. We made this a double decadence:

The man preferred this one as he thought it was very tasty, the pulled beef was really nice and making any pizza a double decadence makes it really creamy and lovely.

Chick’s favourite is pepperoni so we went classic:

Always a good choice in my book J

This is us enjoying everything:

We also ordered some warm cookies but in our rush to eat them I may have inadvertently forgotten to take pictures! Whoops! In the party pack that Domino’s sent us there were also some very fetching moustache’s……….

What's your favourite topping??

Dominos sent us a £50 voucher to buy pizzas of our choice. We chose exactly what we wanted and all views are mine and the family’s J

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Being a Morrisons Mum.....

Since we moved to the house on the hill we had already started shopping at Morrisons. Firstly because we found that it was much cheaper than it's rivals and also we're now close to a HUGE Morrisons that sells everything. Morrisons have also recently launched a campaign to cut prices even further with their 'I'm Cheaper' products. It's a whole range of  over 1,000 products across the store that have had their prices permanently cut. Look for these signs across the store:

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Morrisons Mum thanks to BritMums who then sent me £80 in vouchers to go and spend on anything that I wanted to at Morrisons. For me this was a huge bonus as like I say I already do my shopping at Morrisons. My local store has several counters which include butchery, hot chicken, pizza and the bakery. I'm not sure if mine is unusual or not that in addition to a normal bakery they have the most fantastic cake counter:

They also have a range of Nutmeg clothing which I actually discovered last year. I bought a lot of Chick's school uniform from there and it has been fantastic. The clothes have worn really well and even the cardigans are still in shape and looking great when she only has 8 weeks of the school year left.

I spent over the £80 of vouchers and in the end my total was around £100 but looking through the cupboards today writing this weeks' shopping list I actually only need to buy bread and milk so I'm definitely happy with that!! As you can imagine after spending all of that money, we've had some amazing meals this week. I suppose I should say at this juncture that judging by my food pictures I'll never make it to being a food blogger ;-)

The first lovely meal that we had (that looks very beige on the picture) was rump steak with wedges and mushrooms:

Steak isn't something that I think we can afford to eat very often but actually this meal was only £2.48 each. I don't think that's bad for a treat of a meal.

Last weekend we had a fabulous bar-b-q with plenty of meat!! We had sausages, beef grillsteaks and burgers. The sausage and grill steaks I got on the 3 for £10 meat section. I like this selection at Morrisons as there is always a bit of variety and we got shish kebabs to go with these. The burgers were lovely and juicy and we also had enough food left over to make dinner for everyone the next day:

My favourite recipe is one of 'The Man's' called Summer Chicken which we normally have with rice. Again the pictures look beige and I'd eaten a few mouthfuls before I remembered to take a picture but yum!!!

I think that buying everything for the recipe from scratch is would work out at about £2 each but as we'd already got some of the store cupboard items it was around £1.44 each based on 6 people sharing. The recipe needs:

6 Chicken breasts, skin removed
1 Large onion, chopped
  2 Eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
½tsp Paprika
2tsp Mild curry powder
2tbsp Margarine
28g  Plain flour
225g Mushrooms, sliced
300ml Chicken stock
225ml Double cream
Salt & Pepper

It's a fairly simple recipe and takes about an hour to cook:

Oven                     180°c fan assisted / Gas 4

      ·       Melt margarine in saucepan or large frying pan and add the onion and apple.

·         Cook gently for 2 minutes and the add curry powder and paprika.

·         Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

·         Add stock and mushrooms.

·         When sauce has thickened remove from heat and stir in cream.

·         Grease a shallow oven proof dish and lay in the chicken in on one layer.

·         Season chicken and pour over the sauce.

·         Bake uncovered for 1 hour.

·         Serve with rice.

·         Serves 6.

Do let me know what you think if you manage to try it :-)

  Thanks to BritMums and Morrisons for the opportunity. As already stated I received vouchers worth £80 to buy the food used in this post. All choices were mine and all opinions are mine too!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter Fun

Sponsored Post

With it being the Easter holidays we've been out and about a lot this week. We've been paddling and fishing:

We've also been making Easter nests ready for our Easter party today:

Earlier in the week we went to Snibston Discovery Park and as you can see the kids are thrilled about being miners!!!:

On Monday we headed to Matlock Bath to eat fish 'n' chips alongside the river:

I love Matlock as it reminds me of being a kid at the seaside. We used to go on holiday with my Grandparents every year and spent a lot of time in the amusement arcades gambling away our pennies on the slot machines! Carrying on the fun with my new generation:

Not quite the same as being in Vegas and being on the but still fun nonetheless!! I also seem to have developed a fondness for playing on which I'm pretty sure is a sign that the man should have listened to me and whisked me away to Vegas to get married!!! 

For the next couple of days I'm going to try and relax with them instead of trying to cram every day full of activities but it would appear they have other things in mind such as waterfights and eating their own bodyweight in chocolate....... gotta love Easter!!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Wedding Preparation (with a little help from Clarins and John Lewis)

As I'm sure y'all know by now, the man and I are getting married in August. We have most things booked and sorted and now I'm getting down to the details of what I want to look like on the day. I have my most amazing and gorgeous dress and some accessories already stashed away. One of my biggest problems though is what my make up should look like.

I don't really have a skin care routine apart form water and Aldi moisturiser and I tend to only wear a sweep of black eyeliner which I've done for many a year. Prior to that I was goth girl and wore black lipstick so I guess I've never had much of an idea about make up!!

I was talking to the lovely Chaz who is the marketing manager for John Lewis in Leicester and she invited me in for a consultation with Clarins to see if they could help with some make up ideas but also to give me a decent skin care routine. On Sunday I popped over for a lovely relaxing visit. 

My consultant Helen was a complete Clarins expert having worked for them for a number of years and just by touching my skin could see that I was hugely dehydrated (erm.....yes that would be the vodka!!!)

So I started off looking this hot:

(who knew it was so hard to take a good selfie in the bathroom mirror??! This was about my 20th attempt!!)

The first thing that Helen did was use a very gentle cleanser called water comfort that smelled of delicious peach. It was actually really gentle on my skin and didn't at all feel like anything unnatural was being used, nor did it have that awful gritty texture that some exfoliators feel like.

Next up she used a hydra quench serum and cream that rehydrates, nourishes and rebalances the skin. This feels amazing and doesn't clog up your pores like some moisturisers do. We then had a splash of the flash balm which I'm told is great for Brides as it gives you a radiance and glow and holds your make up in place..... perfect for when I start crying, which is guaranteed to happen at some point during the day!!

The last of the skin care was the BB (beauty balm) cream. This gives you protection and cover and is very natural. I think it was at this point that my skin actually started to glow and look amazing! I discovered whilst I was there that John Lewis also have a Clarins Skin Spa. It looks soooo fab and relaxing that I might have to treat myself next time I'm there:

From there we moved on to the make up and to be honest this was the bit that I was dreading. I've only been to a make up counter once before to get a new look. I was in Vegas on holiday and I came away from that looking very orange and vaguely clown like so I wasn't a massive convert!!

Helen started off with an eye base which intensifies the colour of your eye shadow and keeps everything in place so again hopefully I shan't look like Alice Cooper when I start blubbing!! Some under eye concealer was definitely in order and then eye shadow, eye liner and Be Long mascara. I even had a sweep of the new cream blusher, finished off with a hydraquench lip balm. Soooooo after having my brows done the final effect looked like this:

I look so smooth and silky! I do have some better pictures with much more detail about the colours but I want to save the full effect for the wedding pictures!!! I may have treated myself to a few goodies:

It's like a 'taster' set which at the moment is on offer for £20 which I think is an absolute bargain. I've been using the products for the last couple of days and I have to say that my skin looks and feels so much clearer. I think I'll be treating myself to a full sized set pretty shortly!!

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Chaz for arranging this for me and Helen for spending a good hour talking me through all the lovely products and for giving me the exact look that I was after. My treatment normally costs £30 but this is redeemable from any products that you buy. I paid for the extra products myself and all opinions are mine :-)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Rock Choir at Wembley

So in my last post I said I had something completely awesome planned for the following weekend and I really did.......

I'm not sure that it's something I've talked about much here but I love to sing! It's not something that I'm good at and my daughter and the man tell me that I sound like a strangled cat but it's something that I love to do! Towards the end of last year there was a programme on the TV with Gareth Malone that was called something like 'the choir at work'. Now I love Gareth and made the man watch it with me. One night when we were watching it I was telling the man that I would love to join the choir. After much mirth and wiping of tears on his part, I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and do it.

My lovely friend Sandy over at Baby Baby is also a member so I got some info from her and the next day went along for my trial! The thing that attracted me to Rock Choir was the fun element and the fact that you don't have to audition unless you are after a solo part.

It is sooooooooo much fun. Each term we learn up to 3 different songs and hold various performances. I've did a couple of low key ones in the run up to Christmas and then when the new term started we were asked if we would like to sing at WEMBLEY during a rugby match!! I ummed and aahed about whether to go or not but as the man pointed out it's not every day you get to sing at Wembley. I took Chick with me and we met up with a friend when we were there.

This is me suddenly remembering just how big Wembley is and doing a quick jazz hands to pretend I'm not petrified:

This is pitch side as we were rehearsing:

I may also have 'met' Austin Healey! (He's very teeny!!):

I had some spectacular cheerleaders:

This is the BIG performance:

If you look very carefully I'm the person on the left hand side right at the back!! Eeeeeek super exciting and so AWESOME that I cannot even begin to tell you! I think I'd enjoy the rock star lifestyle :-)

Can't wait for our next big show which is at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in July with Toyah Wilcox!!! 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Catch Up

This is a sponsored post but still my words and pictures :-)

You know something? I really don't get to spend too much time around these parts any more and that makes me sad. However with a recent promotion that equals a lot more brain power, wedding planning, children growing up, poorly Grandma's and trying to relax occasionally, I just don't seem to find the time!!! I will try to make more of an effort though!!

Last weekend really felt like Spring and for the first time in what seems like forever I actually made it out of the house for a relaxing day. I took the kids to the park for a simple picnic and they absolutely loved it. We found time to play football and fly kites:

It's so nice to see the kids being able to enjoy the outside without it raining constantly!! At one point there was barely a cloud in the sky and the blossom seems to have suddenly appeared everywhere:

After the gorgeousness of yesterday today I mainly find that I'm in need of an admin day. I need to write some kind of schedule for the wedding day so that everyone knows where they need to be at what time. I think that I've now collected all of my favours but I need to get them all out of their hiding places and just make sure that I do have enough for each guest!!

The other thing that I need to do is look at my finances. Since I moved to the house on the hill my bills seems to be spiralling out of control and I think I've found a couple of easy options to reduce some of them. One of them is to go onto a water meter instead of getting a quarterly bill. My bill is so astronomical that I can't even bring myself to tell you how much it is. The other thing is to change my Internet provider as this is also really expensive to my mind.
I've found a brilliant new deal with MobiData which is looking like it will save me money on my current bill. MobiData is an ultra-low cost mobile broadband service from just 99p per month. There are no long term contracts or complicated pricing plans and they provide instant access to the largest, lowest cost, continuously speedy and truly mobile broadband network in the world.
The MobiData SIM also makes 3G enabled tablets an affordable option for the first time ever as users can stay connected wherever they are, on a low cost data plan, with no 24 month sign up commitment. With MobiData you simply pay one low cost fee on a month by month basis which is brilliant for my Chick.
All customers taking out a three month data plan before 31st March 2014 will have their data doubled, at no extra cost.

Twice the Data – Same Low Price
1GB gets you 2GB
5GB gets you 10GB
10GB gets you 20GB

…all for EXACTLY the same price as their 1 Month Plans*

* After initial 3 Month Contract Period, contract reverts to 1 Month Rolling Contract.
OK, my gorgeous people, I need to stop procrastinating and actually do some admin but watch this space as I have a super exciting weekend planned!!!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Wedding Dress Shopping in the East Midlands

You know it's funny, I knew this was going to be a difficult game as I hadn't seen many dresses that I liked and I'm not exactly an average size. What I was completely unprepared for though was just how rude the staff/owners of wedding dress shops are. I've been dress shopping a couple of times. Once with my Mum just to visit a couple of shops and get a general idea and once with my little brother when we did a real trawl of shops from Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Rugby and Coventry. He was genuinely astounded at how badly people treated us! (I'm so tempted to name the worst offender but for now I won't!!)

My top tips for shop owners would be as follows:

- Make sure that your staff are polite to Brides of all sizes
(My price range for a dress, without accessories, was somewhere around the £1,000 - £1,200 mark. Why the hell would I spend that amount of money in a shop where the staff are rude or just plain disinterested!!)

- If your website says that you don't need to make an appointment then this needs to be the case. No point your first snappy question being 'have you made an appointment?' or 'we can't see you without an appointment'
(I refer you to point one and er,.....your website says I can just rock up!!)

- Also if your website states that you a bride is offered champagne then this should be forthcoming......not a single shop offered this even if stated although some of the better ones did offer juice and biscuits!

- Spend time trying to understand what the bride wants even if you think I would look better in another style, you could at least be polite about it.

- I want to touch the dresses, wearing gloves or treating me like a chocolate covered 2 year old is really annoying

- Also annoying is saying you are a plus size stockist when actually you only have a single size 16 dress!!

On to the good news......there were some lovely people and shops out there that offered great customer service. They were:

Bradgate Brides, Anstey, Leicestershire

Pink Confetti, Broughton Astley, Leicestershire

Alison Evans Bridalwear, Church Greasley, Derbyshire

Amore Plus Bridal, Dunchurch, Warwickshire

Some really friendly, lovely service with helpful people that went out of their way to give a good experience. I now have an amazing dress and veil and am very much looking forward to W day :-)

p.s. this is not actually me or my dress.......

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Friday, 3 January 2014

Things I've learnt so far this year......

1) Not being at work is amazing but lack of routine is rather strange. I think that Chick is ready to go back to school even if I'm not yet ready for work to re-commence!!

2) I've really missed exercise. I've missed seeing the seasons as I plod along in my version of a run! My body may feel like it's falling apart after 3 days of exercise but weirdly I do feel better!

3) I find it really difficult to not spend money. I'm trying for at least this month to only buy essentials. For someone who absolutely adores sale shopping this is proving to be harder then not eating chocolate and not drinking vodka......both of which I haven't yet managed in 2014!

4) 2014 is going to be an awesome year and I'm very much looking forward to getting married and becoming one family with this gorgeous bunch:

Did you learn anything new yet???