Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Becoming Vegan - 6 months in.

This year I decided to give Veganuary a go. It is something I have thought about before but with a meat eating husband and 4 year old it never seemed feasible. I slipped into a lot of convenience food habits in November/December and wanted to change things up a bit. I felt like a side-affect of going vegan would be to encourage me to think about food and plan a bit better.

My main reason for giving a vegan diet a go was environmental. Reading stories like this one really made me think about my impact on the world. As well as changing my diet I have also been looking at recycling more and being more mindful of my carbon footprint in general. It is a subject I am getting more and more interested in so if you have any resources or tips to share - hit up the comments section!

So, I thought I would approach this update addressing the questions I get asked the most...

Was I veggie before? No, I was a full blown meat eater. I haven't ever tried veganism or vegetarianism before. I was dairy free briefly in my first year of university when I had a housemate who had an allergy, although I wasn't super strict with it to be honest. I have always felt like dairy disagreed with me and the last 6 months has confirmed this for me - I won't go into the full gastro-intestinal details for you but I have felt better since cutting out dairy.

Are my family vegan too? The short answer to this is no and this has been the number one downside for me as planning and cooking separate meals can be challenging and expensive. I have been slowly slipping in more veggie and vegan meals into our meal plans but my husband is pretty fussy when it comes to food so we often end up cooking and eating separately. Substituting mince for quorn and homemade soups have been winners for all the family though.

Is eating out tricky? The greatest thing about being vegan in 2019 is that restaurants and supermarkets are really embracing the whole plant based thing. I haven't found eating out or shopping difficult at all! Although I do live in a city which makes it easier. I have had a couple of disappointing experiences when I haven't had control over the venue but all in all places are always open to tailoring things for you - its often just a bit lacking in choice.

Come on though, do you miss meat/cheese/cake etc... OK, so I am not going to lie and say its all sunshine and rainbows, vegan chocolate is mostly disappointing (or eye-wateringly expensive) and cheese on pizza has been a HUGE miss, but enough for me to stop? Not really. I have been able to find alternatives for things and to be honest eating less takeaway pizza was probably a good thing both health wise and wallet-wise. Although I will say that my choice to be vegan is just that - a choice, if I really wanted something non vegan I would have it. I am not about restricting myself or encouraging disordered eating.

Have you caved and eaten anything non vegan? Yes, a couple of times. As I said above I am making this choice, I am not here to punish myself or restrict. I had a really awful tummy bug last month which wiped me out, I really struggled to get back to eating after and found it impossible to buy bland vegan food - a lot of vegan convenience food is spicy or packed full of flavour which is the worst thing ever when you are recovering from a tummy bug - so I had a couple of tuna sandwiches that week. I also resorted to a cows milk coffee at softplay once as I was in need of caffeine - although my tummy regretted it the next day. I may have also indulged in a mr whippy ice cream at the funfair over the bank holiday weekend. I know a lot of vegans wouldn't but for me I find it healthier to be less rigid - there are no police - I am making the choices I want to make.

Are you going to keep going? Kind of mirroring what I said above, I am happy being vegan now, I feel good about my choices. If that ever changes I will review - maybe I will be vegan forever, maybe I will flex when it fits my life. I am not making sweeping statements or swearing to be vegan forever. I feel good about what I am doing now and long may that continue.

What do vegans eat though? If people are interested I'd like to share some recipes and meal plans on here? I've discovered a love of tofu and I am working on some recipes to post. Maybe I'll bring meal planning like a boss back? Watch this space.

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Zoe's Model Experience with Tommee Tippee

A few months ago I stumbled across a post on a local parenting facebook group looking for kids to feature in a Tommee Tippee online video campaign. I don't know what made me email them but it sounded quite fun and Zoe is such an insta-kid I thought she might enjoy it too. I honestly didn't expect they would pick us - it got quite a bit of interaction on facebook so I figured they would be swamped with applications. A couple of weeks after that initial email I heard back that they loved her unique look and gorgeous red curls and wanted us to come along for filming.

The premise of the shoot was for some under 5s to run riot in a fancy bridal boutique with juice in Tommee Tippee cups and beakers, to show how they don't leak "All Thrills, No Spills". I thought it was such a cute idea, and can confirm we had zero leaks!

Inconveniently my husband had been sent to London for work right before the filming day so I had a bit of a last minute childcare/work crisis, but thankfully my lovely Mother in law and Sister in law came with us and spent the afternoon with Zoe so I could rush back off to work straight after filming.

The day started really well. They staggered the kids arrival so it wasn't too overwhelming for them and Zoe went first. They had colouring books and stickers for them all to play with, and the staff were so great at speaking to the kids on their level and making them feel important.

The film crew were amazing with her too and within minutes she has shaken off the initial shyness and was laughing and joking with them all. She followed instruction really well and I was so proud watching her shine.

After they got those first shots of her on her own (the ones from the start of the video) we were sent off for an hour or so, we wandered around the Discovery Museum and grabbed some tea and cake. We were called back for a final group shot - the bit of the video where they were all running around - and this didn't go quite as well. You can see Zoe briefly on the right of the screen but then no sign of her again, this was mostly because she got stuck behind some dresses. She was wearing a tiara and she was suppose to hide in the dresses and when they shout GO she was to jump out and run in a circle. But her tiara got caught on a dress and she was stuck! It was such mayhem we didn't notice at first, then when they shouted 'STOP' we just heard a little voice say 'Mummy? I am stuck!'. She waited so nicely because she didn't want to hurt the dresses or spoil the video.

It was such a lovely experience, and I was almost tempted to go down the modelling route a bit further. I asked some friends about it and researched it (she was invited for a test shoot) but I think because we work full time and don't drive, we probably wouldn't be able to make the most out of it, or the return on the initial investment. It's a shame though as I mean I know I am hugely bias, but she is so bloody cute!

Here is the final video;

Little Wedding Crashers 60s from Tommee Tippee on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Eyebrow Threading with Superdrug.

This summer Punky Moms UK has been working with Superdrug on a range of activities from mystery shopping to a hair dye contest. As a member of the Punky Blog Squad I was asked to go along and try out an in-store beauty treatment.

My store was a bit busy to snap photos, so I got this from the superdrug website

In all honesty I had no idea Superdrug offered beauty treatments and I was a little bit apprehensive. My local store (Newcastle, Northumberland St) has a brow bar offering threading, tinting and a range of lash treatments.

I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to beauty treatments, the last time I got my eyebrows seen to by a professional was just before my wedding - a year ago. I tend to just either let them roam wild, or twease occasionally - it always seemed a faff or expense I didn't need.

I am here to say I have changed my tune based on this experience. Let me tell you why;

1. Pain -I've never had threading before and had heard it was really painful, which worried me. I found waxing painful and everyone I spoke to told me threading was worse. The threading itself was honestly fine, it stung a little towards the center but all in all compared to waxing it was a walk in the park and the redness went down much quicker (10-15 mins)

2. Time - I work full time and struggle to find the time between work and kid to fit in self care stuff like this. I walked into Superdrug at 3:15pm and was out by 3:28 - that included queuing to pay! It was super quick and easy, and I could easily see me fitting it into a lunch break.

3. Cost -You know how it can be for mums prioritising themselves financially. I am the kind of mum who wears primark while my kid struts around in Boden. I just feel all the guilt splurging on me knowing she needs new shoes or a term of gymnastics to pay for. The eyebrow threading at superdrug is really affordable at only £8.

4. Staff - The girls who work on the brow bar were so lovely, they spent time explaining how it worked and were really knowledgeable and professional. I felt completely confident and comfortable in their hands, which is definitely a huge plus for me as I often feel too polite to say anything if I am not happy.

My only slight gripe with the experience is the location, its a very cramped store and while you are getting your treatment people are walking by shopping which isn't ideal, although for how quick it is I didn't mind. I wouldn't want to be doing anything longer or more dramatic like tinting there. The store is pretty run down too, it hasn't changed much over the last 10 years, I wish it looked more like the picture at the top.

I actually really enjoyed writing this post, would beauty related stuff be of interest in future posts? I mean I am no beauty blogger but I could share my low maintenance mum make up looks, or skincare routine? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I received the treatment for free in exchange for an honest account of my experience, all thoughts are my own

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Monday, 17 September 2018

Meal Plan Like a Boss - 17/09/18

Last week went well money-wise, as I didn't need to do any top up shops and resisted buying lunch at work. I didn't stick to the plan though as I had a couple of days of leftovers and an unplanned meal out one night.

I made this delicious tofu noodle dish on Monday, I have never cooked with Tofu before but would definitely do it again. Might blog the recipe too;

This week is another odd one, but it is the last week with Paul working away, so hoping to be back to normal the week after.

Monday Leftover Roast Chicken Risotto.

Tuesday Just me tonight, so roast veggie pasta for one, with extras for lunches the next day.

Wednesday King Prawn Ramen Bowl - experimenting a bit here, will report back if its good.

Thursday Scrambled egg on toast with avocado.

Friday Pizza - going to get one from the supermarket, not takeaway.

Saturday Just me and Zoe for dinner tonight, going to make fajitas.

Sunday Roast chicken dinner

Adding a slightly new element to this weeks meal plan, and that's a shopping list;

1. King Prawns
2. Eggs
3. A pizza - I really like aldi's own margherita (from the fridge not freezer)
4. Wraps
5. Roast Chicken
6. Veggies for roasting (peppers, courgettes, onion)
7. Avocado
8. Spring Onion
9. Fruit for snacks
10. Brown Bread
11. Milk
12. Sandwich fillings for lunches
13. Wine - necessary when solo parenting.

I have everything else I need in the cupboard/freezer already, so should be a light week.

Whats on your menu this week?

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Saturday, 15 September 2018

Our First Wedding Anniversary.

It's our first wedding anniversary! How was this a year ago already?!

In true 'us' fashion we have nothing planned, I had thought Husband was working away in Lndon this weekend but I got my dates wrong and didn't organise a babysitter. But to be honest it is more our style to stay in and watch a movie or something. #old

Anyway, here are some of my favourite photos from the day, just because.

You can read all about our day here, and about how we did it on a budget here.

Huge thank you and all the love to Lifeline Photography for capturing our perfect day so beautifully.

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