Monday, 8 February 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 8th February

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? The definition of madness isn't it? With that being said, even though we have not been sticking to meal plans much recently I feel better for having one. My main issue at the moment is either getting home from work and feeling too tired to set foot in the kitchen, or spending all day out and about with Zoe on adventures and then not having time to prepare something more than fish fingers and waffles.

I know, I know, excuses excuses. So this week I am thinking if I put a bit more thought into what we are doing and taking the time to plan and prep... We may actually stick to it! That being said we have a fairly busy week this week so convenience is the key this week.

Monday: Salmon Egg Fried Rice - An oldies but a quick goodie, I'll make enough for lunch leftovers.

Tuesday: Fish finger sandwiches - I am often home late on a Tuesday, so something quick but yummy is needed. Zoe eats at Nursery so its just me and Paul.

Wednesday: Bangers and Mash with green Veggies - I only work Wednesday mornings so will have time to peel potatoes and get my act together.

Thursday: I am off to the cinema to see Pride Prejudice and Zombies with my sister, but we are eating at home first so I am going to get some bolognese in the slow cooker in the morning and make a lasagne with salad and garlic bread.

Friday: I am off out for my work leaving do, so hopefully their will be lasagne leftover for Paul and I will knock up some pesto pasta or man n cheese for me and Zoe.

I have a good feeling about this week. We spent Sunday having a good old spring clean so I feel like we are starting with a clean slate. Wish me luck!

Oh and as always, check out everyone else's Meal Planning Monday posts over at Mrs M's Linky.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday Moment - 7th February.

1. Zoe has this fantastic new camera face, which she pulls whenever you try to take a picture. I hope it last forever. She is also rocking her Fisherman Mac Raincoat from Marks and Spencer. The new summer collections are coming in and I for one am very excited by what I am seeing, as someone who isn't wild on girly pink and frills I am loving the bold colours and unusual prints.

2. I went through a phase when I became a Mum where I thought I needed to grow up and smarten up my style. I am slowly realising that I can be a kick ass Mum and keep my childish taste in clothes and jewellery. This Narhwal pin from Natale Draws Stuff is my latest addition and I love it!

3. We wore Red on Friday in support of British Heart Foundation. Dress like a mum (a fab blog btw) and amyrosewatts on Instagram declared it red lipstick day and asked everyone to post a red lipstick selfie to raise awareness, and encourage people to donate. I donated what I could, and feel that BHF is a cause close to my heart after we lost Mum to Cardio Myopathy. Head on over to the BHF website to donate if you can.

4. I am setting myself a little challenge, to start running again. The nights are getting lighter and I am feeling the urge to get out there and work on my fitness. I don't consider myself unfit as I do walk everywhere carrying a 24lb toddler but I used to love running so want to do something for me a few nights a week.

Hope you liked my little photo round-up of the week, I have been toying with the idea of a link/photo/round up post for a while, see you next Sunday. Have a good week!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Slow Cooked Bolognese

I have had a slow cooker for at least 7 years now and aside from the odd beef stew I rarely use it. I love the idea of being super organised and preparing a meal the night before, and coming home to the smell of home cooked food but in reality I never actually get around to prepping anything and the stews I've made have always been a little hit and miss in terms of flavour.

My reasoning behind trying a slow cooked bolognese was Zoe, she loves spag bol and lasagne but when I cook it quickly in a pan the meat is still in fairly big chunks which she struggles to chew, so tends to just pick around it, which is such a waste. So, I decided to give the slow cooked a try to see if it would break down the meat a little more. Not only did it break down the meat, it intensified the flavours and made for something really tasty!

Also, I have a very fussy vegetable-avoiding man in the house, so I liked that I could sneak extra veggies and flavour in. He has issues around texture so the slow cooking process meant that everything was well incorporated and there were no pesky textures to content with.

500g beef mince (I use 5% lean)
500g carton of passata (you could also used tinned tomatoes if you prefer)
2 small onions, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
handful of mushrooms, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
glug of red wine

I blitzed my veggies using a stick blender, due to aforementioned texture issues but a fine dice will do if you don't mind a bit of texture.
I basically chucked all of the above into the slow cooker, I filled the pasatta carton half way with water and added that too, then popped it on low for 6 hours. For the final 30 minutes I turned the heat up to high and took the lid off to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.

I used my bolognese in a lasagne, which was hands down the best lasagne I have ever made! I will definitely be using this method again and I even have a few cartons in the freezer for last minute dinner emergencies.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 1st February

I feel like January was a trial month, and would very much like to start 2016 again. A month of illness and tiredness and just general moaning has got me begging for some much needed perspective and I just really want a do-over. I want to feel in control, I want to not be constantly staring at a pile of dishes and or laundry every day. I used to use weekends to catch up and do a big clean, leaving me feeling ready to start afresh on a Monday, but now I am furiously treading water trying to stay afloat.

I am possible being slightly over dramatic and need to chill out, but at this point I just feel like setting fire to the house and moving rather than catch up on some much needed spring cleaning.

Anyway, with that being said, lets try to claw back some of that control by planning some yummy meals;

Monday: Fish finger sandwiches - Monday is my busiest day of the week, and with Zoe eating at nursery we tend to stick to something simple and easy. I do have a roast chicken that needs cooking but I may do that as well, and use the meat tomorrow.

Tuesday: Roast chicken and tomato risotto - a family favourite and easy meal - which will have leftovers I can give to Zoe tomorrow.

Wednesday: Leftover risotto, or cheese toasties. There should be plenty of leftovers, but if we don't have enough or Paul takes his for his lunch we will have toasties.

Thursday: Bangers and mash with veggies - We get these really yummy caramelised onion sausages from Aldi which the whole family loves. Perfect winter warmer meal for when me and Zoe get back from Swimming lessons.

Friday: Slow cooked Spag Bol - I slow cooked some bolognese for the first time last week and it was a real game changer! Zoe wolfed it down, rather than just picking out the pasta and I shoved a load of hidden veggies in too. I might have to blog this recipe soon.

Lets see if we can stick to this one, its pretty low maintenance so heres hoping.

If you want to check out some more meal plans head to Mrs M's Linky.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Work Life Balance - The Struggle is Real.

Life right now feels a little bit like a game of buckaroo, I feel like everything is very delicately balanced right now, but the slightest thing could trigger an almighty crash, resulting in me basically dropping the ball big style. I am probably over dramatizing things a smidge, but at times like this I enter full on ostrich mode and bury my head and hope no one notices all of the things that I am not doing.

I had some great news last week and scored myself a promotion at work, a brand new job, in a brand new department; which I am VERY excited about. It is just what we needed to start the new year, and I can't wait to get going in this new role. However, my final four weeks in my current job just happen to be some of the busiest and most stressful, which is not ideal. Don't get me wrong, I do love my job but working your notice period is always a little tough, as mentally your focused on the fact you're leaving soon.

We have also all been really poorly for the last 3 weeks, I am not the kind of person to use the word flu lightly, but I strongly think we may have had it. Aches, pains, temperatures, ear infections, conjunctivitis, coughs, sinus pain ... It all landed at once, which has meant we have been in survival mode, so no meal planning, minimal house work, just getting by the best we could. Zoe got off lightly in terms of symptoms but the poor girl had to put up with a couple of poorly parents.

Thankfully, we are on the mend, but of course all of those things that we didn't do when we were struggling are now sat waiting to be done. We just got through a mountain of laundry, but its just never ending isn't it? I feel the need to make a list coming on.

I am lucky enough to work part time, so get two days a week with Zoe. When I was on maternity leave we went to lots of groups, met up with other Mums and Babies, frequented sling meets and our schedule was pretty jam packed. Since the excitement of Christmas has faded I am starting to realise that our schedule is pretty much empty now. All of the beloved baby groups are over now (she is too old) and all of our Mum and Baby friends are back to work too, most of a different schedule, making long week day soft play dates impossible. I still go to the odd sling meet thankfully, but only 1 or 2 a month fit into my work schedule.

This is quickly turning into a bit fat moan, and I don't mean it to, I just feel like I need to find a new schedule for us, some new groups more suited to a toddler. Although, all that anxiety about going to baby groups is creeping back, we went through all that 'meeting new people' stress already, I don't want to do it again! I would love to hear what you guys do with your little ones, ideas for planning our time a bit better.

Once thing I have discovered this month is the importance of having some me-time. On Sunday I spent 3 hours on my own in town, I went for a coffee, did some shopping and really enjoyed not having to worry about anything or anyone else for a few hours. When I got back from my little me-date I felt so much more appreciative of everything. I got in and made dinner, played with Zoe and really enjoyed it, rather than feeling resentful or like it was a chore. It was sort of like hitting the reset button and it felt great.

I will definitely have to schedule more me-dates soon, and I even hope to get back into running again as the nights lighten up a bit.

So thank you for listening to my little ramble, I wanted to give you a little insight into what life is like at the moments, so when I don't blog for a week, just assume I am an ostrich and I'm hoping you don't notice.

Oh and talk to me about blog planners, I see them on instagram sometimes and I feel like I need one in my life...

Friday, 22 January 2016

Wrap Challenge - Week 2

Semi-FWCC - Front Wrap Cross Carry - a size 2 or 3 would work here, but you can use a larger wrap but be warned there will be a long tail to contend with. I used a size 6 so had tails dragging on the floor!

At first I found the slip knot really difficult to replicate, but the below video was really helpful.

Much much better once you get the hang of the slip knot.

Personally I am not a huge fan of this carry, it feels more supportive than the FWCC (TAS) from last week and its a good front carry for a shorter wrap but I find slip knots quite tricky to tighten and with a heavier child I found it did slip the longer you wear. I will be trying it again with a shorter wrap this week and I'll post how I get on.

Don't forget he hashtag on instagram and twitter is #30weekwrapchallenge, feel free to play along!

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