Less than 10 weeks till Christmas….

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So when you read the title of this post you are now doing one of two things. Either feeling a moment of excitement and happiness and feeling fairly organised OR thinking I really must start preparing. Of course some people are just fly by the seat of you pants kinda guys and leave everything till Christmas eve and it doesn’t stress them out. Which are you?

I am the kind that likes to be organised and I start planning months in advance. Now don’t for one minute thing that means I actually end up with everything sorted and organised way before Christmas because it doesn’t! By any stretch. Because i start organising months in advance it means that come December I’m feeling pretty good and think ok most of its done i can relax a bit now…Of course the things that are actually done are the easy things like presents for those easy to buy for, fun get together arranged etc. What isn’t done is the hard gifts where you have no idea what to buy someone.

This year I’m determined to be better. lets see how that one pans out shall we……………

In the meantime here is a few things I do to try to prepare for Christmas.

  1. I usually prepare a list with everyone’s names on and some idea’s of what to get them. There are loads of free ones that you can print off Pinterest.  This is the one I have used this year Christmas list printable from a lovely blogger named Chrissy. If you are on Pinterest don’t forget to follow my  Christmas Board and printables and wrapping board for hundreds of links to fab free printables and christmas Idea’s.
  2. Prepare a separate list that has the items you have bought and who they are for so you don’t end up over buying . I used to forget what i had bought and ended up with too much so started doing this a few years back.
  3. Once you start buying gifts put them in separate bags for each family. So I put all the gifts for my sister, her husband and there 3 girls into one large bag.  It means you can tackle wrapping them in family bundles and you have a bag to transport them in and keep them all together.
  4. Keep empty glass bottles throughout the year. there are so many fab projects you can make such a candle holders or Xmas themed decor and large ones are great for putting sweets or chocolates in a and giving as gifts.
  5. Write your christmas cards in bundles. do one batch each weekend through out Oct or Nov then you don’t get over aced. Even spending 15 minutes in batches will make it seem less monotonous and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel not having to spend hours one night writing them.
  6. Buy your Christmas wrapping paper in the january Sales if you can so you have it ready. I always buy some that is multi purpose as i can never gauge how much i will need in total. If the wrapping paper is plain or without Xmas decor you can use it whenever you like. You can always jazz it up with Christmas ribbon if you don’t think its festive enough 🙂
  7. Start collecting recipes in advance so you can plan what you are going to make. Again pinterest is fab for this and I have hundreds of recipes across my boards

Hope these help some of you and my next post will be on how to keep the costs down and still have a fab Christmas.

T x

 

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White Chocolate Oaty bars (low syns)

As I mentioned in my last post I recently joined Slimming World.  I’m still a newbie so I have been trying to come up with new recipes that are low syn but still taste nice and not resemble cardboard! Tonights attempt was modifying a white chocolate and oat bar recipe.  I can’t believe how yummy they turned out and took no time at all tonight – Double bonus.

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I subsituted eggs,sugar and butter with banana and they are delicious. Just  2.5 syns per 2 bars (and each bar is a large cereal bar size) if you count the oats as your HE. If not its 5syns per bar.

Want to make some. Well here’s how.

4 SERVINGS (2.5 Syns PER 2 Bars using oats as an HEor 5 syns per bar if not)

Ingredients:

160g of porridge oats

2 large over ripe banana’s

35g of white chocolate buttons cut into smaller pieces . I used half a pack of Aldi buttons

a splash of vanilla essence

Method:

Mash the banana in a bowl till its as smooth as you can get it. Add the vanilla and stir.

Add the chocolate buttons to the oats and mix. Then add the banana mixture to the oats and stir in. If you feel you need a litle more liquid add a touch of cold water.

Place the sticky mixture in a baking tray and smooth out flat. I made mine about 2-3cm deep.

Heat in the oven on 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until the edges start turning golden brown. Cool and then cut into 8 pieces.

Enjoy

T x

 

 

My Slimming World Journey…Watch this space!

So I decided a few weeks back that I need to lose around a stone and a half to get back to the slim figure I used to be. 12 years ago I lost 2 and half stone on weightwatchers and over the years (including having lili 10 years ago) i have, in the main managed to maintain the weight…….up until this year that is.  Now i like to blame it on the fact that I’m now in my forties but deep down i know its probably more to do with all the socialising, eating out, drinking too much at weekend than my age.

Earlier in the year I took the plunge and took my now slightly plumper bum back to weightwatchers. For some reason though i just couldn’t liken to it like I used to.  I found that I was still hungry by the end of the day and I was replacing healthy food for low calorie, not so good food. Needless to say my weight loss was unsuccesful.

Week last Monday after yet another over indulgent weekend I eat my last takeaway and took my now even plumper bum to my local Slimming World group.  Now I have heard of the concept of Slimming World like everyone has so i knew it would be easy to follow and it is. For anyone living under a rock who hasnt heard of it you can eat as much of the foods listed as “free” one food from the healthy A list and one from the healthy B list. In addition to this you can eat between 5-15 syns a day ( a glass of white wine is 7 syns eeek).

On Monday I did my first weigh in since starting the plan and I have lost 2lb. I was hoping for more in my first week but we were out at the weekend for a meal with family to celebrate my mum’s 70th Birthday so i suppose its not bad.

I’ll keep you posted on how I go on and I will be doing more posts this week on some of the fab recipes and tips I’ve picked up so far. If you are a slimming World fan make sure you follow my blog to get updates.

For now i’ll leave you with a photo of this scrummy syn free breakfast that I had this morning. Well hubby had one actually.  Anyone wanting to make it (you can make it the night before then leave it in the fridge) this is the link to the recipe. http://twochubbycubs.com/overnight-oats-a-collection/  This blog is also fantastic for lots of slimming world info and recipes and the posts are so funny you will be crying with laughter. Mark my words….

Anniversary Weekend

Last weekend was our 13th wedding anniversary. How time flies!  Every year we go away for the weekend to celebrate and this year was no exception. We had booked to stay at the Hilton hotel on Deansgate in Manchester.  For those who don’t know it its fairly famous for its Cloud23 bar which has amazing views across Manchester. We had organised to meet friends on the saturday at the Tesco Wine Fair at Manchester central exhibition hall which is right next door. Perfect. Or so we thought until……..

We turned up at 5pm on Friday afternoon to be told by the lady at the front desk that they had incurred an error on their booking system and as a result they had double booked the whole hotel. As a result they had made alternative arrangements for us to stay at a different hotel!! We were gutted and furious that they were only telling us on arrival.

We complained to the General manager who was sympathetic but it was to no avail. They did however arrange for us to be upgraded to a suite at the Palace hotel. On any other weekend we wouldn’t even have complained as we are fairly laid back guys but it completely changed our Wedding anniversary plans. I tweeted my frustration and Artisan (a Manchester  based restaurant) tweeted me back and offered us a free bottle of Prosecco so it wasnt all bad. On another plus note the Palace Hotel is beautiful and has lots of history in it.

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Overall we had a lovely time and now its back to the grindstone. Happy 13th Wedding Anniversary Mr G.

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Sunday Afternoon Out

Recently my mum and dad kindly offered to take loodles away in their motor home with her cousin for a couple of nights……This meant that we were child free yesterday afternoon. Now I had intended on writing a post about some handy tips I have found whilst researching for our trip to New York but hubby persuaded me to abandon that idea. Instead he suggested a visit to one of our favourite local restaurants for a quick drink and some nibbles. I was easily persuaded 🙂

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Our venue of choice was the Oyster and Otter and its literally 5 minutes down the road. It’s a seafood restaurant and they never fail to impress with their unusual and flavoursome variety of specials. I highly recommend their deep-fried brie with smokey chilli jam its delicious. If you do fancy visiting pop over to http://seafoodpubcompany.com/the-oyster-otter/ for details and location.

The staff are always very welcoming when we visit and the restaurant is set up with cosy area’s if you just want to relax and chill out instead of sitting formally round a dinner table.

Needless to say we had a lovely child free sunday afternoon out – sorry loodles though she is having a ball with grandma and grandad!

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New York New York

Howdy peeps. What a wet and miserable day it is in Lancashire today!! As much as this would normally depress me today I am too busy celebrating the fact that it is only 1 week till we fly off on our holiday :-).

2 years ago our lovely friends and neighbours emigrated to Orlando. We miss them a lot but are secretly pleased they chose America to live so we can visit them and America all at the same time. They live around 20 minutes from Disney so the location is perfect.  Since they moved we have been out twice to stay with them.

Now you may wonder what that has to do with New York? well this year we decided we would take a little detour on our way to Orlando and spend a couple of nights in New York. New York has been on our wish list for a while now. I’m so excited I could crush a grape .  Only those born in the 70’s who used to watch Crack a Jack on a Friday teatime will understand my last statement…..

In preparation for New York we ok I have been doing some research and planning (yes there is a spread sheet involved !) as we have quite a bit to cram in.  I’ll pop back tomorrow to talk about our plans and to share some hopefully useful tips for others visiting the big apple.

T x

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First blog post

Hello everyone. This is my very first post on my shiny new blog so I had better introduce myself…….

I’m Tina and I’m 41 years old. I live in sunny Lancashire with my hubby, our 10 year old daughter Loodles (thats not her real name obvs its just her nickname. she’s actually called Lili), and our 2 cats ziggy and stardust. I hope my blog provides you with useful tips and info and that you find the posts interesting.

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As a family we love days out and Mr G and myself love eating out and staying a nice hotels when we get the chance.  I have a serious obsession with pretty stationery (but what girl doesnt!) and I am very creative. I have been crafting for the last 15 years. 5 years ago the hobby became so popular I had to set it up as a business. I no longer run that after making a very tough life decision after the business became far too succesful.  These day i still dabble in crafting and will upload some posts of my craft projects over time.

I’m also a bit of a geek and love spreadsheets and writing lists (just wish i stuck to them!!).

For now its bye from me but i’ll back tomorrow to talk about our upcoming to holiday to New York – excited muchly!!