Sunday, August 16, 2015

My top Cath Kidston Autumn/Winter 2015 picks

I don't know about you, but I much prefer Autumn to Summer and Spring. Perhaps it's because I am a teacher and Autumn always marks a new start, a new academic year, new classes, new timetable, new stationery, new boots etc. I love the first chill in the air and getting candles lit on a snuggly, cold Saturday afternoon whilst curled up on the sofa. I also prefer Autumn clothes; I don't like strappy tops and shorts, they just don't do anything for me at all. I much prefer chunky tights, knee high boots and dresses, so half way through the Summer holidays I have started thinking about Autumn and the new school year. 

As you know, I  LOVE Cath Kidston. My love and indeed, obsession, has definitely grown over the past few years. I now own 6 dresses! I never used to even bother looking at the fashion section, but now I have to steer myself away from it as I want it all. I put about 10 items in my basket tonight but I decided to not buy for the sake of it and in the end I ended up buying something that wasn't in my original basket.

There are hundred, literally hundreds of new items for A/W 2015; I couldn't actually believe the amount of pages there was - I don't remember that many for S/S. I've decided to highlight what my favourites are and what *may* end up in our house over the next couple of months.... I've found though that if you love it, buy it straight away as things go out of stock so quick - for example I really wanted the Cowboy dress, but it's already gone in most sizes!

Anyway, here are my absolute favourites....
Posy drop waist dress £45

Penguin Lace Knickers £7

Bramley Sprig Nightwear Leggings £28

Billie Goes To Town dress £65

Squirrels Travel Purse £12

Woodland Rose cake stand £36

Sausage dog cup and saucer £16

Dino kids long sleeve t-shirt £15
Dino kids hoodie £24

Sausage Dogs kids backpack £28
Knitted Dinosaur £16

Billie Goes To Town set of 4 notebooks £12

Since starting to write this post I may have purchased a few of these items!! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Week 5 on Weight Watchers

So I've been doing this for a month now and I am really into it. I can often guess the points correctly-ish in a food and I am no longer starving all the time. I am really enjoying and feel like I am making a really positive change. Nothing has been off limits, especially wine and I think that helps - if I felt deprived then I wouldn't stick to it. I even managed a weekend away and managed to keep within budget, expect for one portion of chips! So I really haven't done too badly. 

This weeks weigh in result was: 

Technically, this is week 5, but the meeting wasn't on last week due to it being TT week here, so it was my fourth weigh in. I am really pleased once again, especially as it was the holidays and I did have a bit more wine that I didn't point and one glass of cider that I didn't point, so overall I did really well. I definitely think the walking is helping, and on average I am earning 10 activity points a day from my Fitbit. The points for this I was saving, but I did go into them over the holidays. 

I have some great recipes to share next week and last weekend I made a Chinese fakeaway - so yummy, lower in calories and cheaper too! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Week 3 on Weight Watchers

So, I know I am very behind now and I've combined two weeks together, but....

So overall, in 3 weeks, I've lost 8.5lb. My goal for 4 weeks in was 8lb so I'm really pleased! 

However, last week there was no weigh in as it was half term here, so I *may* have had some treats, however, I have pointed everything except one bottle of wine and a Reese's peanut butter cup pack. So I am really hoping I have still managed to lose something, if I haven't then fine, I am back on it now after the holidays. 

I also bought myself a Fitbit, which is one of the best things I have ever bought! I can sync it with my Weight Watchers app and it calculates for me how many activity points I have earned, which I think is more reliable to go by then my own working out. 

So tonight is weigh in 4, but week 5. Fingers crossed for a loss! I have lots of new recipes to share as well, some really yummy but low calories ones too!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Week One on Weight Watchers

I am actually a week behind, as my first weigh in was last week and the second one is tonight, but anyway...

So, for my first ever proper week on Weight Watchers I lost:

I was actually pretty surprised. Especially, as the night I first joined I promptly went home and drank a bottle of wine! Haha. Although, to be fair to myself, I did work hard and perhaps I was a little stricter with portions etc, but I am super chuffed and it is certainly a good start. 

In terms of following the plan, it has actually been really easy so far. The first week I was a bit hungry, but I really do think that is down to smaller portion sizes. I could still eat what I want basically, but in much more moderation. I didn't realise before but our portion sizes were basically obscene. Also, having curry with rice, chips and naan bread is really just greedy! So I have made lots of small, positive changes which even when (if) I am not on Weight Watchers I would stick to. I am loving sweet potato wedges instead of chips or normal wedgies and they are really tasty. I still managed to have curry last week, but with a smaller portion of rice and half a naan. I have been doing so much walking too, I am averaging about 10 miles a week, which I know is no distance really, but again it's a good start and I am really enjoying it. 
The big thing for me is wine. I am missing it! It's definitely a lifestyle habit that I need to break and whilst I haven't cracked and had wine during the week, it's definitely been tempting, especially with bank holidays and indeed the half term holidays coming up. So, it's challenging at times, but I never dreamt it would be easy. 

I have had one set back which I am actually pretty gutted about. I was calculating a porridge pot for breakfast at 2 pro points. I kept thinking to myself this can't be right and last night I recalculated and it came out as 6 points! So that means for the past 7 days I have had 4 points more every day than I should. I put it all on the tracker on the app and it used all my activity points and took me down to minus 8. Thankfully Wednesday is the start of a new week so at least I can start all over today, but I am just really upset that I had been working so hard and feel like it's ruined without even knowing! Anyway, tonight is my second weigh in so I will see how I've done then! I really want to have lost something at least, as I am away this weekend and it would be nice to be able to have a guilt free treat! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Getting out of the bad habit cycle

I haven't written a blog post in quite some time, verging on three months. I wanted some time away from it to be honest, I needed to get a few things sorted personally, before I wanted to think about this blog and what I want to do with it. To be honest, and I'm sorry it's a bit of a cliche, but I felt a bit lost in the blogging world. I don't get involved with blogging type events and I don't have time for twitter! But I do want to blog and I do want to write things. I needed to stop feeling guilty about the topics I thought about writing; this blog isn't really for anyone but me. it's so incredibly lovely if people do take the time to read it, but primarily I write for me, somewhere to put what I want to record.

Anyway, I thought that this would be a good place to record my weight loss journey. About six weeks ago I decided that I had had enough of my skinny jeans being too tight to fasten and my belly being visible in anything I wear. Since I stopped breast feeding Charlie, the weight has just piled back on and I've gone from a comfortable 14 to an uncomfortable size 16+.  There's nothing wrong with being a size 16, but I just wasn't happy.

So, I bought some trainers. That was a start. And eventually I just said "right I'm doing this." And I put them on and walked two miles! I actually shocked myself. I was taking some dresses to a lady I know who takes them up for me and I thought, I could actually walk this rather than then get in the car. So I did. I then walked another two miles two nights later. Then I walked 3 miles and then last Sunday I did four miles. I'm slowly building my stamina and capability and I am really enjoying it. That's the thing. I ENJOY it, me walking, who knew?! To say my mother is shocked is probably and understatement, but I couldn't just continue to sit on the sofa every night, drinking wine and eating sour skittles. Whilst I don't eat much junk food and I always make fresh meals, I was still eating and drinking myself into an early grave. My energy was zero and all I wanted to do of an evening was slump in front of the telly. Plus I was fed up of my wobbly belly.

Last week, spurred on by how much better I was starting to feel I decided to join Weight Watchers. I need to be more careful with what I eat, particularly in terms of portion size and I needed the drive to do it. When I got on the scales I was actually shocked.  What I weigh has actually never  bothered me, as I know it's not just about that, but when the lady weighed me I could not actually believe what the scales said. I am now officially heavier than I have ever been, even when I was pregnant! So I was glad I had gone as it is just what I need to kick start a better way of eating.

I did contemplate Slimming World, but for me, Weight Watchers is more about a change in lifestyle and eating habits than it is a diet. For example, portion size is something that I will continue to look at, even if (or when!) I reach my goal weight.

Weight Watchers operate a system called Pro-Points, whereby every food and drink has a point value, starting at 0 upwards. Everyone is allowed a certain number of points depending on their weight and height. I am on the minimum (presumably as I am only just 5ft), which is 26 per day. You then also get an extra 49 points to use over the week. Remarkably, I was told that you have to use the 26. Which, if you think about, makes sense, as that's the minimum your body needs to get the nutrients it needs. The 49 can be split over 7 days, or you can save them (like I will!) for the weekend etc. Also, any exercise you do adds points too and you can either choose to spend those points on food and drink or bank them. If you bank them, then you should lose weight quicker. It's really flexible and there's also something called Filling and Healthy Days, which look good if you don't want to count points for a day or so. So I am really pleased, I'm feeling positive and motivated and I am really looking forward (with trepidation!) to my first weigh in on Tuesday. I am going to share my weight loss on here; I want to be able to look back and see what I have (hopefully) achieved. I also want to share meal ideas with people and hopefully find other people who are doing the same journey with me!

This is a new change of lifestyle and it is something that I have to stick to. I am realistic, there will be times when I don't follow the plan, like if I am on holiday. But I now realise, that it's ok to have treats, but then you get back on track. The one thing that will be hard, is wine. I am restricting myself, especially at the beginning, to wine nights only on Friday and Saturday. Hubby and I had got in the habit of drinking on a Thursday as it was the darts night, then obviously Friday and Saturday were wine nights, then I liked a drink with a roast dinner on a Sunday and then hubby would say it's football on Monday, so we'd have a few drinks and to be honest, it was getting ridiculous. Also, it was getting expensive! Once I start to see the weight come off a bit, I will perhaps have the odd glass on a Sunday and of course there will be treats and exceptions, but for the norm, I am giving up drinking through the week.

No food, technically, is off limits on WW, you just have to factor it in either to your daily points or your weekly points. To give you an idea of how this works, I have shared my last two days worth of meal plans with you below. My goal is 8lb in 4 weeks, so fingers crossed I have lost something at my first weigh in!

As you can see, it IS do-able and you can have treats! I am saving mine for wine, but think of all the extra food you could have if you weren't!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Birthday Wish List

With a birthday coming up, now's as good a time as any to put together a little wish list of what I am coveting.

1. Cath Kidston Farm Print Dress £75 2. Cath Kidston Little Birds plimsolls £24 3. Urban Decay Naked 3 pallette £38 4. Pandora March birthstone ring £40 5. Cath Kidston Cloud and Sunshine print lunch boxes £8 6. Pandora heart ring £35 7. Cath Kidston Cloud print biker bag £55 8. Cath Kidston Cloud print travel cup £8 9. Cath Kidston Paradise Bunch dress £75

In hindsight, this list should have been called the 'Cath Kidtson Wish List' since there are quite a few items on there from CK! I love CK at the moment; there are some beautiful new prints and I have a wish list the size of the shop! I was in Liverpool last week and nipped in to the shop - oh my word it was amazing. As I was with my mum she *may* have picked me a few bits up from my wish list ready for my birthday next week!

My actual birthday is a work day and to make it even better, it's also Year 11 parents' evening! So I won't really be celebrating on the actual day, besides, Charlie's birthday is the day after mine so we will focus on him and then hubby and I have a lovely lunch booked for the Saturday afternoon - just the two of us!
I'm so excited as my family are coming to visit tomorrow (boat permitting!) and we have Charlie's bouncy castle birthday party on Saturday - he is going to have so much fun! So it''s going to be a lovely couple of weeks, even if my actual birthday will be a bit rubbish!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recipe Time: Slow cooker Lasagne

So, before I show you the recipe, I should say, that yes, I too was a bit confused about slow cooker Lasagna - but I tried it and it worked and it was yummy! The reason for me having to seek this out, was that our oven broke just after Christmas and I had planned to make Lasagna and I still wanted it! So, after seeing it done on a face book page I am on, I adapted the recipe, to my normal Lasagna recipe and put it in the slow cooker. I was pretty impressed with how well it turned out and, indeed how nice and crispy it went on the top like normal. Lots of you asked me for the recipe, so here it is:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Day in The Life Of A Teacher

Some of you will know, if you've been here before, that I am a teacher. I teach English in a secondary school on the Isle of Man. I am always interested to read other teachers' blogs and find out how similar or how different their day is to mine. So, here is what an average day for me looks like.

I generally arrive at school about 8.15. This may seem late to some teachers, but I can't drop my son off with the childminder before that. School officially starts at 8.50 so I have about half an hour to check the school register and report system, which will tell me if I am cover for an absent teacher in my free lessons, check emails, photocopy what I need for the day and have a cup of tea! Two days a week we have a whole staff briefing at 8.40 too. 

The day begins with registration at 8.50; I have a Year 7 group, so I take the register, check everyone is ok, sort out planners, equipment, notes queries etc and then I send them on their way at 9.10.

Then lessons start, we have two lessons before break, a 15 minute break and then two more lessons before lunch finally at 12.45. I throw some food down me, before sitting either in my classroom or our office and making sure I am ready for the afternoon's lessons. I also do one lunch duty a week, where I supervise the queues in the cafeteria and one lunch time club for Year 7. After lunch, we then have a 10 minute registration period with our tutor groups and then it's two more lessons before the students go home at 3.40. Once a week, the staff then have a meeting. This could be a subject meeting, a tutor meeting or a whole staff meeting. Our school is on a split site, so once a week, the staff in our building have to trek to the other building for a briefing. This is lovely in Summer, not so much in Winter when it's snowing or icy. 

Throughout all of this,  I have five free lessons a week. I say'free' but free teachers often get taken for cover, to supervise classes of absent teachers  and, even though you don't have to teach that class, just supervise it, it still means you don't necessarily get done what you had planned. 

When I am actually free, I may plan lessons and resources, get photocopying done, reply to emails, telephone parents, mentor students, have mini meetings with the staff in our department, mark books or assessments, put displays up, plan for open evenings or parents' evenings, set targets for students, The list goes on and is seemingly never ending. There is never a day I sit down at my computer in my frees and wonder what I could do. I always have a to do list and whilst things are being ticked off, other tasks are being added to it. 

I love my job. I love what I do, I love that it fits in around having children, as I can spend the holidays with my son, but it's not really a family friendly career. I'm fortunate that I have been doing this for nearly 10 years, so I don't have to do things from scratch. But it's still time consuming and it can't all be done in the school day. Inevitably, I have to get my laptop out once Charlie is in bed. 

I've said before on here, it really winds me up when people say why do teachers moan as they get all those holidays. And yes, there's no denying it. However, we don't get paid to be off. And each half term is so intense, I don't know if teachers could actually function without a regular break. I'm not saying other jobs aren't like that; indeed, I believe that employees don't get enough holidays anyway. 

So, anyway, that's my average day as a teacher - is yours different? 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cath Kidston skirts, spotty satchels and gin #LittleLoves

Welcome to this week's little loves post.


I haven't read any books since well before Christmas when I finished Must Have Been the Mistletoe. However, I have read lots of lovely blogs this week and so I thought I would share the posts from these blogs that I have really enjoyed:

1. Write Like No One's Watching. Everyone loves Charlotte's blog and it's easy to see why. My favourite post from Charlotte this week was this one here which is her birthday wish list! I have a birthday coming up soon too, so it was interesting to see what was on her list.

2. Life As Our Little Family. My favourite post from this blog was this one here about focus. Sometimes we lose focus or track of what;s important, getting so caught up in bills or deadlines or homework etc. Kerri-Ann talks about how she is going to make this year more about 'Being More in 2015' It was a really interesting and enjoyable read and I have also made similar plans in my head.

3. To Become Mum. Kelly wrote a post this week, for her PIP theme, about 'me time.' I don't know about you, but as a mum we sometimes to forget to look after ourselves, especially without feeling guilty about it.


Oh my goodness, Broadchurch. I know it is getting mixed reviews for series 2 and, whilst I don't think it's as good as series 1, I am so enjoying it!


I was trawling through my old Ipod the other day, ready to sell it, and came across Amy Winehouse's album that I'd forgotten was on there. This is my favorite track from it and I am sure you will recognise the original was featured in the film Dirty Dancing.


In the run up to Christmas I saw the London Bridge fabric from Cath Kidston everywhere. Late to the party as usual, I only cottoned on to how much I actually love the design last week! Not one to miss anything special, I quickly googled the skirt in the fabric and managed to find one in the sale on ebay! Win! It is absolutely gorgeous! 


Well since our oven packed in, I have made a lot of fried things as only the hob on the top worked. UNTIL I came across a slow cooker recipe for Lasagne, yes you heard that right Lasagne. In fact, when you think about it, it's not that much different to putting it in the oven in a dish, just cooking it longer. So I gave it a go and it was epic! I even managed to cook up some chips and garlic bread in our convection oven microwave thing - didn't even know it had that facility until I was desperate for chips at the weekend! Honestly, it was amazing and I will definitely be cooking it in the slow cooker again. 

And lastly, I have been having a crappy couple of weeks, so I bought this bag for work to cheer me up. It's not leather and it's not designer, but it was £13.75 and even if it only lasts a year then I will be happy! It's Friday, so that means it's gin night and a good old fat take away! I've also had a play with my blog colours and text style etc, I think it looks a bit more 'fresh' and grown up. It's still not perfect, but it will do for now! 

Enjoy the weekend folks. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The January blues

I've not written much for a while now and to be honest, I can't quite pin point the exact reason. My new job has taken up a lot of my time, both physically and also mentally and then we've had more bad news in terms of family, plus getting grief off the step-daughter's mother (AGAIN), so I haven't really been feeling it.

January actually started off pretty well, unlike normally, as I had a new job so it was exciting times; something fresh and a new challenge and I do absolutely love this job. I am so much happier and the headteacher (who was the deputy head at my old school) even commented saying she was so pleased to see me looking so well and so happy. So in that respect, things are great.

But then there are always issues. As you may know, my Grandad died before Christmas and then just after Christmas we found out that my Grandma (his wife) is also potentially ill too. She's the last of my grandparents and coming to terms with the fact she may not be around long has been difficult. I am trying not to think about it and think positively as it could be something minor, but we are awaiting more news on that.

Then, on a less serious note, our oven went bang. This may seem trivial, but in a month where I had carefully budgeted for food etc, after the excess of December etc. this was not good timing, as I suddenly had to re-think meal plans and buy extra ingredients in that could be used on the hob or in the microwave.

Add to that, even more grief from the step-daughter's mother and the last two weeks has been pretty pants. I don't often talk about hubby's ex on here, I don't like to go into too much detail and I would never want what I say about her to get back to her. But quite frankly, she is behaving like a child. In fact, I teach kids at school who behave more maturely than her and I would say this to her face, so if it were to get back to her it would be no big issue.  It's things like causing issues because instead of the step-daughter texting her to say she was fine and going to school when she had been ill and with us, I text her - she said it was unnecessary and then  made it seem like I was desperate to text her! As if! She then said all communication should be done at the door when we pick the step-daughter up or drop her off - but then she doesn't come to the door. Err, how are we supposed to communicate with you if you can't be arsed to get up from the sofa?! And then there is of course, the fact she is getting married to a criminal. Apparently, hubby and I should be pleased for her! Yes, marrying a criminal, wow haven't you done well for yourself. The final thing was she said that she didn't need to justify to us why she was a stay at home mum. No, she is quite right there, she does not need to justify anything to us at all. Until, however, she then complains to us that she has no money because she is on FIS and doesn't work, therefore we must pay for this and that and various other things, then sorry but it becomes our business and yes you do need to justify it to us if you can't cope. As I've said in the past, Tom pays way more maintenance , based on his salary, than he should, and yet she still hounds us for money. I do realise that there are always going to be issues we don't agree on, but she cannot act maturely, she always resorts to insults or abuse and makes petty comments just to get our backs up.

Charlie has also started the terrible twos I think. One minute he is a delight; hugging us, playing nicely, asking for kisses and then the next he flings himself to the floor or throws himself across the (new) sofa and screams, literally proper screaming and then cries. No idea why. It can be because he dropped his car or it got in his way, or I looked at him the wrong way. He just has a complete melt down for no reason it appears. I know, however that this expression of feelings is his frustration at various things, but it's hard. I miss my snuggly, lovely, calm boy. That said, he has settled like a dream with his new childminder so that's something.

Anyway, I am trying to think happy things; it's soon mine and Charlie's birthday. Charlie is having a bit of a party with a bouncy castle and me, well it's Year 11 parents evening on my birthday so that will be fun. But never mind, it's a Wednesday anyway so I will celebrate it the following weekend. Another thing to look forward to is that it is half term in two weeks! Can you believe it?! This half term is only 5 weeks long, so a very short one. And then after that, my parents are coming over to see us. I've been really missing my Mum and Dad lately; I love living on this island, but it is hard sometimes when you don't have family around.

I've got a few things to look forward to anyway. I have treated myself to a Cath Kidston skirt in the sale and bought a new work bag, so I am looking forward to those arriving. Yes, I know, they are materialistic things, but we all need a treat now and again. I am looking forward to the 1st February. January will be behind us and hopefully things will start to look up. If my Grandma is ill, we will deal with it the best we can and if the step-daughter's mother continues to be a pain, then I will tell her straight. It's only words at the end of the day.

So anyway, I hope to get back to blogging a bit more frequently. I have some recipes I think I will share and of course, I will be back joining in with #littleloves on Friday's.

How's your January so far?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The first #LittleLoves of January 2015

First of all, happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas. Ours was just what we needed: plenty of food; family time and of course a few wines! It was lovely to see Charlie actually open his presents and, whilst he didn't understand the whole Christmas thing, he certainly enjoyed all the cars he got!

So #LittleLoves is back and as usual I am linking up with Morgana from


I managed to sneak in an early Christmas present for myself in the shape of Jamie Oliver's comfort food. I've heard people rave about the insanity burger so definitely going to give that a go, but there are just some gorgeous looking dishes in there, I can't wait to get started.


Charlie discovered Cars over Christmas, so with some of his Christmas money I got him Cars 1 and 2 on DVDS, a choice I'm beginning to regret now! We also managed Still Open All Hours, Downton Abbey and lots of films that I can't even remember now!


I haven't managed to photograph anything I've worn this Christmas, besides this beautiful scarf that my Aunty and Uncle got me as a present. I love it, it's huge and snuggly and when we were on the ferry I actually used it as a blanket over my knees! Other than that, I've been getting comfy in Christmas PJs and fluffy socks.


As we spent all of Christmas at my parents' house, I made very little. However this weekend, when we got back, I did make Paella (recipe here). It's the step-daughter's favourite and made a nice change to turkey and roast dinners. 

And lastly, these two weeks have absolutely flown by, but in a good way. We have spent lots of time with the family, which was what I wanted and managed to chill a bit. It has been busy, but we've had a few days to laze around, and we even went out and bought a new sofa, which arrives on Tuesday! I have been waiting two years for a new sofa, so you can imagine how I excited I am. I will share pictures next week! The run up to Christmas was really special this year as Charlie, whilst not understanding what it was all about, was able to join in the fun more and Christmas morning with my parents was wonderful as they got to see him open his presents. I start a new job on Monday, so today is going to be about preparing for that, with a roast dinner and a walk to the park thrown in somewhere.