Saturday, 26 July 2014

Dairy free coconut, berry & banana smoothie-pops

Ava is a sucker for ice cream, as am I. But they're not the healthiest things in the world and with my wedding around the corner I'm trying my best to cut out the sweet treats and want a better alternative for Ava.



After making my own smoothies for so long, I thought why not turn one of my favourite smoothies into a smoothie-pop? Not only delicious but healthy & dairy free too! Oh, and the best part? You only need 4 ingredients. I was inspired to use yoghurt pots by Center Parc's Deb Rogerson and also liked the idea of making the lollies multilayer.


You will need:

4 empty yoghurt pots (we used Petit Filous Big Pots)
4 lolly pop sticks
1 banana
1 cup frozen mixed berries
200 fl oz Alpro coconut milk
1/2 cup blueberries
100fl oz Alpro coco


Method:

Put your banana, mixed berries & 200 fl oz coconut milk into a food processor and blend until smooth.




Fill your yoghurt pots 3/4 to the top and put in the freezer for around 30mins or until firm but still slightly wobbly.



Push in your lolly pop sticks and put back into the freezer until fully set.



Once your lollies are set blend your blueberries and the rest of your coconut milk (100 fl oz) and fill up the rest of your yoghurt pots.

Leave to set over night.

To remove the lollies from the yoghurt pots is easy, use scissors if you have to loosen the lolly from the pot but you should be able to rip the pot.



Enjoy!

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots100 July challenge. If I am chosen I would like to visit Sherwood Forest.




Saturday, 19 July 2014

Life lately and a wedding update

It's now less than 5 weeks until we get married. We're now counting down on one hand! Panic stations!

All the big things are sorted and we're left with all of the little fiddly bits. I thought I'd fill you in.

The bridal outfit: I have been for my first dress fitting and some alterations do need to be made. It mainly needs to be taken up quite a bit as I'm such a shortie (5ft4). I told you last time that I have my shoes and I now have my veil. The whole shebang. I have to admit I was a bit nervous before going for my first fitting. What if I didn't like the dress anymore? I'm sure that happens! But no, I can confirm that I still love it and can't wait to wear it on the day. I've also had my hair trial, my mum's friend Emma who is a fab hairdresser is doing mine & the bridesmaid's hair on the day. She did my hair exactly how I'd pictured it, I was so pleased! I'm still undecided with what I want for the girls. They've been sending me lots of pictures so it's just a case of deciding now.




The suits: The main issue has been the men's suits. The guys have their shirts and Nath has his shoes but at the moment they have nothing to wear on the day. In typical man fashion it's been left until the last minute which in truth, is the only thing stressing me out at the moment.

The bridesmaid dresses: My bridesmaids have their dresses as you know and they almost have shoes to match. Two of my bridesmaids are tall so wanted a sandal rather than a heel. We've compromised and I've bought them sandals with a small heel that they like and they go well with the dresses. Stupidly I bought the wrong sizes so I've had to send them back and have asked for them to be exchanged. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they have their sizes still in stock! They are from Kurt Geiger. My Maid of Honour preferred a closed shoe. I ordered hers last night from Aldo. Hopefully she'll be happy with them and they'll go with the dress. My 6 year old cousin who is our page boy now has his suit, from Ted Baker. He looks so grown up in it, we just need to get his shoes and I think I'm going to go for these ones from Next for him I still haven't found the ones I want for Ava but I imagine they'll also be from Next.

The Theme: The theme is still the same of course. Hessian & lace with a vintage theme throughout. I've got to start stocking up on bunting and cushions and throws (for the many benches and sofas dotted around the building). We also need to get some bunting and want to stock up on fairy lights and photo frames. The next things on my "To do" list are making the orders of service and sort the table plan which has been difficult!

I can't wait to show you all of the details and stop being so cryptic!

Life lately.

As you can imagine, life has been pretty busy around here. With me working part time and Nath working as much as he does it's been difficult trying to squeeze family time in. As a result I haven't been blogging as much as I want to which has been frustrating. I have so many ideas for this little space of mine but it's so hard to get some blogging time in.

Anyway, last week was my 27th birthday, it still pains me to think I'm 27, in my head I still only feel 18! We had a lovely meal in Chester at Hickory's which I've blogged about before, and we did a quick bit of shopping. Tonight my dad is having Ava and Nath has booked a surprise for me. I'm so excited, I can't remember the last time we went for a meal together. I'm expecting something great, last year he got me tickets to see Kings of Leon which was amazing!



Last Sunday we planned a family day together. We packed a picnic and made our way to Lake Vyrnwy which is about 45mins from us. We hired some bikes and had a picnic by the lake which was lovely. Unfortunately it was quite cloudy and cold (typical) so the bike ride didn't last as long as I'd hoped.



We've also been enjoying picnics in the garden, dvd nights and Ava had a successful nursery sports day.



I've also been enjoying far too many Starbucks Coconut Frappachinos, not good! I'm clearly still in Barcelona mode!



All pictures are taken from my instagram account which you can follow here



Monday, 7 July 2014

Goats cheese and tomato tartlettes

Since returning from my hen party in Barcelona I've been craving healthy, fresh food. If you saw my vlog you will have seen that we did an awful lot of eating and since then I haven't really stopped which isn't great with my wedding just around the corner.



Anyway, tonight I fancied something a little different and as it turned out well and I didn't burn it (success), I thought I'd share the recipe with you guys. This was honestly one of the quickest & easiest recipes I've made in a long time. Perfect for busy mums.

You will need:

Jus' Roll Puff Pastry
Tomato Purée
Soft Goats Cheese
Spinach
1 Tomato
Olive Oil

Method (serves 4):

Remove the puff pastry from the packaging, roll out and cut into 4 equal squares.

Spread with tomato purée and crumble the goats cheese on top.

Tear some of the spinach leaves and add to the tartlettes, add some diced tomato.

Season and drizzle with olive oil.



Pinch the corners of your tartlettes together and twist them. Fold the sides inwards once you've done this.

Brush with a beaten egg

Pop in the oven for 12-15mins on 200C



I served mine with sweet potato fries, made on the George Foreman and spinach leaves with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!

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Friday, 4 July 2014

My Fitness Journey results

If you have been reading my blog for a while you'll know that in January one of my resolution was to get fitter by my hen do in June and wedding in August.

I've always been petite but after having Ava I started to notice that the dreaded mum tum had decided to stick around and I'd also gone up a dress size. Fitness was completely alien to me as I'd only stepped into the gym a handful of times and was am a complete chocoholic.




I started doing some research as I wanted to use methods that actually worked rather than just wandering around the gym looking like a lost sheep. I bought the LDN Muscle bikini guide which I highly recommend, it has a nutrition guide at the back which I followed loosely to begin with then gave up and just followed a healthy diet, cutting out wheat as I'm wheat intolerant and I also limited my caffeine intake to 1 cup of tea a week and drank cranberry green tea instead. Sunday was cheat meal day where I'd allow myself a couple of biscuits with my sole cup of tea of the week. I'd also indulge in maybe a nice pudding or some chocolate. I also started drinking a lot of water, something that I've always been useless at.

I know that it's hard to get to the gym so if you're also a mum I found the 30 Day Shred good and also like videos by Carly Rowena, some of which can be done at home. She also offers nutrition advice as does Lydia Elise Millen (who also has a fab nutrition guide out).



I would try to go to the gym at least 3 times a week aswell as a Pilates class on a Tuesday. In the beginning it was super hard. I wanted to see results straight away and when I didn't I'd get upset and frustrated and felt like I was wasting my time. Once I started to see the results though I knew that I had all been worth it. I had a flat stomach probably for the first time ever as a result of regular core & cardio workouts, cutting out wheat and drinking plenty of water. I love cooking and clean eating started becoming a habit in our house. I even swapped my regular semi-skimmed milk for either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk.


L-R: Cauliflower base pizza with Tomato purée, chicken & spinach/ Salmon & sweet potato burgers with spinach & avocado/ Salmon baked in coconut oil, wholewheat noodles, steamed broccoli & asparagus/ Maggi So Juicy Mexican chicken, brown rice and broccoli.

I felt so much better in myself and for the first time in a long time finally felt confident in swimwear. I was back into my pre-pregnancy clothes once again.



I never thought that I would be the fittest I've ever been after having a baby, but if I can do it anyone can. It takes hard work and dedication but it's so worth it in the end.

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Thursday, 3 July 2014

What was in my Barcelona makeup bag?

If you read my previous post and have seen my latest vlog you'll know that I've just returned from my hen party in Barcelona. Myself and 12 of my lovely friends really had the most amazing time and I thought I would share with you the main staples in my makeup bag whilst we were there.



One thing that I knew I wanted whilst on holiday was a lovely Summery glow and the above products really helped me to achieve that look.

I'm a huge fan of both NARS and MAC cosmetics so it's no surprise that they feature heavily in this post!

During the day I wore my favourite No7 moisturiser which contains SPF and Benefit's Boiing concealer in shade No 2. If I know that I'm going to be wearing a lot of make up at night I'm one of those people who likes to have a blank canvas during the day so that I have a fresh face to work with, is that just me?

When getting ready for a night out, after moisturising I used my Estée Lauder Double Wear in Rattan. I find Double Wear too heavy during the day and prefer to wear my NARS Sheer Glow but it was the perfect holiday foundation. It matched my tanned holiday skin perfectly (whereas the shade is usually a touch too dark) and stayed put during our nights out in the humid Spanish climate.



I mixed it with a pea sized drop of the NARS illuminator in Hot Sands. This thing is my new obsession, you only need the tiniest amount mixed with your foundation (I also put a dab on my cheek bones) and it gives you a gorgeous golden glow.

Speaking of golden glows another of my staples is the NARS bronzer in Laguna. It had been on my wishlist for so long and I finally caved in and bought it. I doubt another bronzer will ever match up to this one, it gives you the perfect amount of bronze without being orange.



I then add a touch of my NARS blusher in Deep Throat just over my cheeks for a slightly flushed look. I use my MAC highlighter in Soft & Gentle, going over my cheeks bones once again to really finish off the glow.

To finish off my face I use NARS Blondie powder with an angled brush on my eyebrows. I used to be obsessed with the MAC pencil in Fling which is also great but I find that I can get a better arch using the powder and the brush. I did get my eyebrows done before going away so they only needed to be filled in slightly.



So those are my Summer makeup staples. Do you use any of these products? What do you think of them?

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

That time I fell in love with Barcelona

If you follow me on Instagram, or any other form of social media in fact, you'll know that myself and 12 of my girl friends have just returned from my hen party in Barcelona, 4 days and 3 nights.

Why Barcelona? Barcelona has always been a city that I've wanted to visit and I'm not a fan of the regular, tacky hen parties with pink cowboy hats and matching tshirts. It's really not my scene!

After some research I came across the hen party company Go Hen, we organised our itinerary and accommodation through them and I'm so glad we did. It was great value and they couldn't have been more helpful. We arrived in Barcelona on Friday morning raring to go and after some initial drama, a group of women hijacked our minibus pretending to be our group, we were shown to our apartments in the centre of Barcelona.






I hadn't realised how huge Barcelona is! We walked SO much on that first day, found a local market where they spoke barely any English so my basic GCSE Spanish came in very handy. We also found the gorgeous Ciutadella park with it's Roman inspired architecture and huge shady trees. Friday evening was spent wandering Gracia, according to one of the locals "the most expensive street in Spain" I'm not sure how true that is but with shops such as Burberry and Gucci I'm sure it's not far off. We were all beyond tired so after stumbling across the tapas restaurant, Moncho's, (that makes unbelievable mascarpone and cured ham pizzas) we went back to out apartments ready for another day of exploring.




We woke early on Saturday and after a quick breakfast set off to the beach where we had some more food at a beach side restaurant ready for the "booze cruise". I was honestly extremely apprehensive about this. I've never been on one before and really didn't know what to expect. In the end I was so happy that we went, it was a lovely chilled out cruise on a catamaran. The only "boozy" thing about it was the free beer and sangria which I didn't really indulge in. That evening we went for a meal in Gracia, a lovely tapas restaurant called Tapa Tapa, that I highly recommend. I had the biggest gin & tonic I've ever seen! We then moved on to the roof top bar Alaire where we'd booked their best table. We bought a magnum of Moet & Chandon (because if you can't on your hen do then when can you?!) and had a few cocktails. They were SO strong and some of them went untouched. They don't seem to have measurements over there and most of them tasted like there were no mixers in them at all! We then moved onto the beach front in Barceloneta where in the day you'll find gorgeous, beach front restaurants which transform at night into classy bars and clubs.
We found ourselves in Opium del Mar, which is HUGE. It wasn't really my cup of tea. it was too dark in there and the repetitive house music and flashing lights were a bit headache inducing. Also my friend almost had her bag snatched in there which wasn't the best.







On Sunday we went to an indoor go-karting track which was so much fun. I sucked at it but it really bought out the competitive streak in some of my friends who really got stuck in. We then trecked to Lefties, which is the Zara outlet. If you know me you'll know that I'm a huge Zara lover so it was a must! I picked up a top for myself and the most gorgeous skirt for Ava which will feature in an outfit post soon. That evening we went to El Borne which is part of the old town. It is so beautiful. Full of little alley ways, intimate restaurants and twinkling fairy lights. It's so romantic! It made us all want to come back with our partners in tow. As we were such a large group it was hard to get a table in the small restaurants but we grabbed a table in the colourful La Hacienda which is a Mexican restaurant. The pina coladas and nachos were amazing! We then took a taxi back to the beach front and ended up in Carpe Diem which is a club that has Funky Buddha vibes. The music in there was right up my street (R'n'B & Hip-Hop) and the décor was gorgeous. We stayed in there until 5am!






Monday began with a much needed lie in and a trip to La Rambla which is the main tourist part. To be honest it didn't really do much for me. Yes the architecture was nice but is wasn't as nice as some of the other, less touristy spots, we walked along the beach front and found ourselves in Carpe Diem once again. It has a whole different vibe during the day. Really chilled. We had daytime cocktails and sushi before it was time to leave.









I was so sad to leave Barcelona. It passed by in the blink of an eye but I'm so glad that we managed to cram so much in! It's definitely somewhere that I want to visit again.




So until next time Barca, you were a dream.

(all photos were pinched from my friends as I was too busy vlogging, see below, and were taken on iphones)



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Monday, 23 June 2014

Ava wears: Liberty prints by Magnificent Stanley

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely Becky from Magnificent Stanley who asked if Ava would like to review something from their range. Now I have to admit, I'm quite particular in terms of what I like Ava to wear, I like her to wear things that are cute and girly but still cool and trendy.

One look at the Magnificent Stanley website and I knew straight away that it was right up my street.



Ava was sent the "Yay" Cotton Toddler Tee with the  "Isabel" Liberty Print. I fell in love with this top straight away. The cotton is very soft and lightweight and the gorgeous Liberty Print gives it a touch of cool. Becky hand cuts and sews each letter onto the tshirts which gives it the personal touch that I love.




Top: C/o Magnificent Stanley/ Trousers: Next




This sweet little top is perfect for those cooler Summer evenings and would look gorgeous slipped over a dress or with a little skirt. Ava on the other hand decided that her top would look it's best paired with her Peppa Pig wellies, much to mummy's despair!

If you are looking for a something beautiful and a little more personal check on the Magnificent Stanley website.

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