Thursday, 27 February 2014

50 books 2014 - February

Ups and downs

I have read quite a lot this month but as I've been working my way through quite a few different books I've only finished 3 in total, I'm pleased with that and confident about my target to read 50 in a year. I have taken back up my other hobby of cross stitching so was worried that this would impact on the amount of time I actually get to read but if I just do less cleaning in the house then I should have time to fit everything in!

I managed to finish part 2 of The hunger games and I am half way through book 3 as we speak. I do love this series of books and cant believe I didn't read them sooner! 
Catching fire follows the journey of Katniss Everdean who survived The first Hunger games however her victory has caused a rebellion to break out and the capitol have decided that someone must pay. I was quite surprised that another actual hunger games was featured in this book as it took a while to get to it, but to find out who must enter, you better get reading!

I saw this book in poundland and as a fan of  biographies and a fan of Amy Winehouse I thought it was a bargain and picked it up. 
Amy My Daughter is an intimate account of the tragic singers life from a young age and her dads relentless journey to save his daughter from the addictions that took over it. The story did get a bit repetitive but was very moving and the saddest part is that, as we all know there was never going to be a happy ending.

My daughter has had this book for quite a few years and I never thought to read it before but I'm glad I did.
It is the story of Shell, a teenager who is left to care for her younger siblings when her mother dies and her father descends into alcoholic mourning. Shell falls for the charms of her childhood friend Declan but when he leaves Ireland for the bright lights of America she is left to face the scandal that rocks her whole community.
This is a sad tale and if your of the emotional kind you may just shed a tear as I was pretty close but I only do happy tears!

So thats 7 books I've read in total this year, how about you?
I have joined up with Sarah at Ups & downs, smiles & frowns for the #50book2014 challenge

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Beauty product of the month - February

Ive never been one to buy lots of beauty products. I would only ever go into superdrug or boots to buy baby things and essentials. There were just so many cosmetics, I wouldn't know where to look first so I would just pass by them to get to the items I needed.

Just recently, what with Christmas, selling body shop products, subscribing to Glossybox and basically having a teen daughter that has just started obsessing over her looks, I find myself surrounded with make up, skincare, perfumes and all sorts of other fabulously smelling stuffs... I think I just made that word up!

I still don't overdo it with make up or anything but I do have certain products that I favour and tend to get into a routine of using, so I've decided each month I will share with you my favourite beauty product, be it haircare, make up or toiletries.

I do love The body shop products (lookout for giveaway coming soon) and have been using their seaweed skincare range. The item that stood out for me is their pore-cleansing facial exfoliator.

It is for combination/oily skin and is described as an 'oil balancing polish to deep cleanse pores and reveal smooth skin.'
I only use it weekly as it does feel like a deep cleanse. The texture is kind of runny like honey but with grains of sand to exfoliate and it has quite a pleasant, subtle scent. The thing I liked most was that when I used it at night my face still felt fresh and smooth the next morning.

Within the coming week I will be celebrating my one year blogiversary, so to celebrate that I've kept at it that long and because, well, I'm just nice like that, as I mentioned above I will be doing a Body shop giveaway!! I don't have any of the above item but I may have something from one of their other fab skincare ranges to add to the box, so keep your eyes peeled.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Mealplan Monday 24/02/14

Meal Planning Monday
Last week we were pretty good at sticking to the mealplan but we did have leftovers on one day so didn't end up eating the casserole. I've put the meat in the freezer so I can make it this week instead.

Its been a month since my little man decided to become a vegetarian... well he has said he's actually a pescatarian because he eats fish! and we've adjusted quite well to providing him with substitutes while were eating meat (as opposed to starving him) and talking of starving...

I'm thinking about doing the 5:2 diet where I eat normally for 5 days and then just juice for 2 days as a way of losing a few pounds and getting some much needed fruit and veg vitamins into my body, but at the moment it is just a thought so in the meantime this is what I'll be eating...

Monday - Jacket potato with cheesy beans

Tuesday - Pie, chips and veg

Wednesday - Fish pie

Thursday - Lasagne with onion rings

Friday - Chicken curry, rice and naan bread

Saturday - Macaroni cheese

Sunday - Beef casserole

This mealplan is part of #mealplanningmonday with Mrs M

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Half term sputterings

I do love half terms but after the noise, being eaten out of house and home, having the house in a complete mess and spending most of my time with these....

I am quite looking forward to going back to my routine. Although it has been nice to have some time to blog!

The beginning of the week I got to spend some time with 2 gorgeous 7 month old babies; my niece..

and my granddaughter (yes I know, I'm too young to even have children let alone grandchildren!)...

We got to spend a bit of time outside and I took little man to watch The Lego Movie but by Wednesday I was down with the cold and grateful to have the Xbox, board games and playing cards to occupy the children.

It's nice having teenagers because they already have their social lives planned when they're off school so I don't have to worry about entertaining them.

Anyway, off to make sure the school uniforms have actually been washed and homework done (as you do on a Sunday evening) Hope you have all had a great half term x

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Salt Of The Earth - Giveaway

As you may of seen yesterday I did a review on the Salt Of The Earth deodorant from the award winning company Crystal Springs. They sell all sorts of natural products from haircare to candles, to have a browse of their luxurious and organic products visit their website here.

I have a set of deodorants including the Rock chick stick described as "A natural antibacterial crystal that fights underarm odours. Prepare to be amazed!" This is suitable for children ages 6 and over and can be used on adults too. Also included is a travel sized unscented spray.

To enter to win this deodorant set just follow instructions on the rafflecopter widget below, don't forget to follow terms and conditions...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 21 February 2014

Salt Of The Earth - review

When I was asked by Crystal Spring if I wanted to review a new deodorant aimed at young girls the first thing I thought about was the smell of sweat that wafts through my house of an evening (way too many hormones in my house) and I emailed straight back to accept. 

Not only did I receive a 'rock chick' deodorant for my daughter but also the classic stick and spray version, as well as a set to giveaway on the blog... oh you lucky readers!

The first thing I did when opening the package was to take the top off the deodorant and have a sniff (well that's what you do with toiletries isn't it) after reading the label and realising there was nothing wrong with my sense of smell I thought I would look at the ingredients and see what was actually used in the product. Basically there is only 1 ingredient; Potassium Alum - a natural mineral salt.
The product actually reminded me of a block of ice, it is dry and needs to be run under water to use or used on damp skin when you get out of the shower or bath.

Ive never really looked into products and what makes them smell nice, I know I always buy things because of the nice scents they have but does this have an effect on our health?. Here is some information provided by the Women's Environmental Network

"The amount of fragrance chemicals used each year is enormous – nearly 1 million kilograms of benzyl acetate, a synthetic ‘floral’ fragrance ingredient, are used in the US each year. Ingredients in fragrances are the most frequent cause of allergies from cosmetics, and have been found to cause one third of all cosmetic allergies. Children in particular tend to be more sensitive to fragrances, and can develop allergic reactions easily. Data from Sweden shows that perfume is the most common contact allergen in men, possibly caused by shaving, and damaging the skin, increasing the chances of absorbing the fragrance chemicals and thus developing an allergy. Might a similar response occur for women shaving their legs or underarms and then applying cosmetics such as lotions or antiperspirants/deodorants?"

 "Current legislation does not restrict the quantities or combinations of fragrance chemicals that may be used in cosmetics. This is due to change; the European scientific committee (SCCNFP) has recently introduced restrictions concerning certain fragrance chemicals, many of which are known allergens, either restricting or banning their use completely, or insisting on their labelling in the ingredients list. Currently the law requires only that the label includes the word ‘parfum’ in the EU or ‘fragrance’ in the USA. According to the cosmetics industry this is because a typical cosmetic often contains between 50 and 100 fragrances, which is too many to be easily labelled. This creates a problem for people who are sensitive or allergic to a particular fragrance chemical as they cannot determine what compounds are present in the fragrance."

I like the idea of using natural products but I'm not so sure that many people worry about what chemicals are used in everyday toiletries, I mean we see everyone buying them in their local supermarkets and drugstores so we assume that they are safe, unless we know that we suffer from a certain allergy ourselves we don't look out for ingredients that may have an adverse reaction.

When it comes to our children on the other hand I'm sure the majority of people tend to buy things that are seen as 'environmentally friendly' or 'gentle on the skin' because we wouldn't want to cause any unnecessary harm to them.

The Rock chick deodorant is described as suitable for children ages 6 years or over, is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and is not tested on animals.

My daughter was very happy with the deodorant and didn't mind that it was unscented as she uses it straight out of the bath and tends to use her own scented products ( body spray, perfume) on top of her clothes afterwards anyway.  She did say that the fact that you have to use when you are already damp or you have to run it under the tap meant she couldn't use it on the go, however there are the spray versions that contain aloe vera and are unisex. A travel size version of this will be included in the giveaway.

I think this product is perfect for girls (or even boys) that are just hitting puberty and want to start using toiletries that are natural and safe for their young skin.

To have a look at all the products that are on offer from Crystal Spring including their Salt of the earth range visit their Website 

Word of the week - Fragile

Ive chosen the word fragile as my word of the week because that is just how I have felt for the last couple of days and still feeling now!

There are times when I feel ill and I just want to snuggle on the sofa and watch movies or read a book but when I feel fragile I cant even do that because the sound of the TV irritates me and my head hurts too much to read!... OK enough of me feeling sorry for myself, at least I got ill during the holidays so I don't have to take time off work or face a class of 8 year olds feeling like this! Although my daughter is not best pleased as we were supposed to visit family and now shes stuck indoors and bored!

When I look at the word fragile I just think of Fraggle rock (yes that's showing my age) I don't know why, maybe because there's not many words with 'frag' at the beginning! 

I do find words really interesting and like to know where they originate from so for your information the word fragile is from the 1500s and comes from the Latin fragilis meaning 'liable to sin, morally weak'... OK yeah that sounds just like me!

For this word of the week #wotw I have linked up with The reading residence on the link below

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The LEGO Movie

I didn't know what to expect when my son and I went to see The Lego movie yesterday. I knew it would be a story with Lego pieces as the characters but I must say I was pleasantly surprised at just how cleverly written and inventive the movie actually was.

In his 3d glasses waiting for the movie to start

The story is about all the Lego worlds being taken over by an evil tyrant and an ordinary guy named Emmet who is identified as 'the special one'. Emmet, who is joined by a long list of other well known characters including Abraham Lincoln, Wonder woman, and Shakespeare to name a few, goes on an adventure through the worlds trying to avoid the bad cop/good cop. I wont give too much of the story away as I hate knowing what's going to happen in movies before I watch them and I'm sure you do too!

The film was highly amusing and there was quite a lot of adult humour but my 9 year old seemed to get it and was laughing along.

The animation was amazing, colourful and cleverly constructed and I would definitely recommend paying a bit extra to watch in 3d as it just brings the film to life.

I suspect the sales of Lego pieces will soar because of the movie as even I am eager to become a master builder and build something amazing and I have never really been a great fan of playing with Lego (OK, I'm not very imaginative and can only manage a tower!)

The only negative thing about the movie was the way everyone poked fun at Batman...he is my favourite superhero!! Apart from that... Everything was awesome! 

*The images were originally from google, apart from little man in his 3d glasses.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mealplan Monday 17/02/14

I did do a mealplan last week only I didn't get to post it as my son took over the computer for his school work... the cheek of it!

This week I put in an order with Ocado for the first time as I had a code to save £25 on an order of £100 or more. As its the half term I knew I would need more food as the kids would be home raiding the fridge and cupboards all week!

Here's what i'll be making this week...

Monday - Homemade french bread pizzas with coleslaw

Tuesday - Beef stir fry

Wednesday - Macaroni cheese and

Thursday - Jerk chicken with rice and peas

Friday - Burgers with chips and salad

Saturday - Poussin chicken with potatoes and veg

Sunday - Casserole with dumplings

This mealplan is linked up to #mealplanningmonday with Mrs M.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

February Glossybox

Yesterday I got the latest glossybox in the post, but only just! I didn't hear the door knock but the man noticed a card being dropped through the letterbox and opened the door to find a ranting delivery woman moaning about how customers never open their door, and how they have rude neighbours who refuse to take in parcels... and there's me thinking I had nice neighbours!!

 Anyway back to the parcel in question. Myself and teen daughter were very pleased with this months box especially as it contained chocolate and one of my favourites, Lindt... yum! Shame I had to share it :(

 Here's what else was on offer..

The Nougat London sparkling body shimmer is a light moisturising lotion that sparkles in the light and has a lovely scent, Ive never heard of this brand before but will be looking out for other products from the same company.
NV chunky eye crayon is a pink shade and looks very natural on the eye, not to heavy or over powering. I love that it has a twist at the end so it doesn't need sharpening like some of the other pencils I have.

I already have a couple of Ciate paint pots and I love this shade called Pocket money. I would probably be wearing it right now except I cant find my nail varnish remover... grrr
The Giovanni Eco chic range is the number 1 selling natural haircare brand in the United States. I haven't as yet used this product but with the Moroccan argan oils, avocado and papaya to nourish the hair I'm hoping to look like Kim Kardashian by this time tomorrow...hmmm wishful thinking!

The teen got really excited when she saw the Maybelline New York big eyes mascara in the box. She has seen the advert and was desperate to get it for the small brush used on the lower lashes, it is a nice product but I have so many mascaras now I think the teen will steal this one!

I'm not liking the idea of sharing my box (yes I'm selfish, I know!) so was thinking of getting a different beauty box as well as the glossybox. I'm not sure which others are out there, any suggestions or links to other box reviews would be welcome...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cake glorious cake

I love cake I do, I could eat it everyday! In fact the first thing I ate when I got up this morning was a piece of chocolate cake (just a small piece)

Lately I've been seeing cake everywhere, lots of fab designs, homemade, cupcakes, tiered, cakes with fruit or covered in chocolate (my favourite) and it's made me feel quite inspired to make my own.
I've made cakes before, like the basic kind with a bit of butter cream but I'm thinking I want to take the next step and start decorating and designing, particularly for birthdays.

In May it's my daughters 12th birthday and she wants an Alice in wonderland themed tea party so I have been looking at cakes like the one below via pinterest. It definitely isn't for a beginner like myself so I think I will make a simpler version with 1, or maybe 2 layers!
The other cake, also via pinterest, I thought would be nice for Valentine's and as the man is trying to lose weight I suppose it will have to be a Valentine gift to myself :)

My 15yr old is studying food technology for her GCSE's as she wants to be a baker when she's older but she's really having a hard time at the moment. The cooking part of the course is fine but there is a lot of written work and she has to make a 26, A3 page portfolio within a few weeks. Falling being with this work has really started to put her off the course and I'm hoping that if I spend time baking and get her involved it will encourage her to carry on with her dream.

As they say 'there is no time like the present' so today I am going to bake a lemon drizzle cake just to get me in the mood!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Mealplan Monday 03/02/14

I missed my mealplan last week as I didn't know whether I was coming or going. The main reason for this is because 2 weeks ago my 9yr old son decided he was going to be a vegetarian : /
I've dealt with this situation before and it turned out to be a phase but I've also dealt with 1 child deciding she wasn't going to eat pork and that has now lasted 12 years so I thought I would give him a chance to see how long he could hold out (well his favourite food is hot dogs)

As the phase hasn't seemed to pass I've decided I will cook at least 1 vegetarian meal a week that we haven't tried before (don't worry, I will still feed him the rest of the week) and if we do have a meat dish I will adapt it to suit him.

Monday - Fish and chips

Tuesday - Fry up

Wednesday - Cheese and broccoli pasta bake

Thursday - Jacket potatoes with various toppings

Friday - Pizza and homemade potato salad

Saturday - Fajitas

Sunday - Lamb, roast potatoes and veg

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