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Having battled with my weight since having my first son (prior to that I was always a size 10 and loved it!) I have tried pretty much every diet out there. I went to Weight Watchers after my first child and lost most of my baby weight, only to put all four stone of it back on during my second pregnancy. After that baby I tried many different diets, mainly fad diets, and then of course during my third pregnancy I put all of the weight straight back on again!
Since having my daughter I have tried the Dukan diet and cutting down on food and the weight just didn't shift. So I decided to try Slimming World.
Well I must say it is a very easy regime to follow and it seems to be working! I won't call it a diet because as my leader says it's food optimising, not dieting.
The main idea is to eat all of the right foods, and have the "bad" foods in moderation. Common sense? Of course it is but when you actually see it written down I was susprised to see how many of the "bad" foods I thought were "good". So that's where I've been going wrong!
Each day you have free and superfree foods that you can fill up on. There's no point eating too much becuase you should only ever eat until you are full, but put simply these are the foods that won't make you put on weight. You have a healty a and a healthy b choice and these are your fibres and calcium foods. They are essential. Then there are the Syns. You're allowed 15 syns a day and these are to be used on the treats and fatty foods. I tend to try and get through my days having no syns so that at the weekend I can enjoy a few glasses of wine. Other people may want to eat chocolate every day, or crisps - that is what the syns are for and as long as you don't go over your weekly syn count then you should lose weight.
I have been doing the plan for 2 weeks now and have nearly lost half a stone already, and considering I only have two stone to lose that's great. I feel fit, healthy and like this is something that not only can I stick to but that will help me live a better life in the future without the weight piling back on.
The classes you go to each week give you the opportunity not only to get weighed but also to discuss how the plan is working for you with other likeminded people. They are there to help you and advise, and support you along your journey.
The classes do cost £4.95 per week and there is a joining fee of £5 (or free if you get the voucher in the newspaper) but it is worth it.
When somebody from one of my online friends' groups mentioned a new book she was reading I didn't think too much of it. Then slowly, one by one, all the ladies in the group started reading this book. It was called Fifty Shades of Grey.
I thought I'd see what all the hype was about, so downloaded it to my Kindle at the bargain price of £3.09.
I wasn't disappointed!
The story is set in America, about a 20 something Anastasia Steel, falling for her Fifty Shades, Christian Grey who is a very successful, very rich businessman.
He manages to (easily!) lure her into his world, which she discovers, entails her becoming his Submissive. He is very into BDSM and has a "red room of pain". Now when I discovered this about the book I was a bit shocked as it isn't my usual type of reading, but I must say it seemed to be handled in a very easy way.
The book isn't the best, it has parts that make you squirm for example when Anastasia mentions her Inner Goddess. And for somebody who doesn't usually read these types of books the parts written about sex and BDSM are enough to make you a bit hot under the collar, but on the whole it is an easy read, and makes me want to buy the next two books in the trilogy.
There is just enough of an undercurrent storyline to keep you wanting more, and not being able to put the book down.
I would definitely recommend this book and hope that the next two books are as good.
When I heard about the Kindle I thought it would be a great idea. No more crammed bookshelves, the ability to take plenty of books with you wherever you go to read at your leisure. And I must admit that once I ordered the kindle and went through the set up I was impressed! The set up process to link the Kindle to your wireless network is pretty easy and straightforward, and the one click method of buying books makes it too easy to start on your way to fill the device with words.
The screen is very clear and easy to read - it is well lit enough to read in dimmed light. The Kindle itself is very light and easy to hold. It easily fits into a bag without realising you have it with you, and with the cover I have for it I'm satisfied that it's safe.
The button and arrow keys are easy to use although a bit time consuming when trying to type in a title of a book etc, but it hasn't caused me any problems so far.
I love books, and never thought I would ever be happy with something to replace books. I like the feel of well thumbed pages and the rustling of the pages, but I must say I was impressed with the Kindle. It doesn't give you the feel a book does, there are no covers of books or yellowed pages to give you a sense of history as with a book, but it is convenient and modern.
Does it replace a good book? I'm not so sure, but would I recommend it? Definitely.
My five year old got a Nintendo DS last year and of course that meant my three year old wanted the same, so after many months of him borrowing mine and of course not treating it very well I decided to get him one for Christmas but a second hand one. so that's what I did.
I trawled ebay and found a great bargain of a well used DS lite for £50 including two games and it was the best money I have ever spent on him!!
The DS lite is smaller and more compact than the original DS, but bigger and chunkier than the later DSi that my son has. It doesn't have the camera feature that the i has but for a three year old it is perfect.
The screen is great - the pen works great on it and my son has no trouble controlling the characters on it. The colours are clear and even though this is second hand it has stood the test of time. The battery will need replacing at some point although there is still plenty of life left in it.
You can get accessories such as screen protectors and clear crystal cases for these consols which I would recommend if young children are playing them but I would say these are ideal for the younger children that you don't want to spend the kind of money for a DSi or DS 3D on.
Before Christmas I was strolling through Asda looking for stocking fillers for my children. I had bought them everything they needed and my daughter, who was only 14 months old, was getting clothes. Until I saw this dolls house!
Asda often do "special offers" and this was one of them - reduced fro £70 to £35 so I thought I'd take a look. Let's just say I loved it so much she did get one for Christmas and I haven't regretted spending the extra money.
The house is made up of very sturdy wood that looks like it will withstand a lot of play and already has not only from my daughter but also my two sons!!
The house is set up over two floors, and you gain access to these by opening the front doors, and the roof also lifts up to reveal a loft space. There are removable stairs and you can also buy furniture packs to go inside the house as it comes empty. (I bought both a house furniture pack and also a garden pack, and have since bought people to go in the house).
The inside of the house is perfect if, like me, you want something you can spend time decorating. It is plain and bare but just right for those odd scraps of carpet and wall paper you have when decorating your real house. My daughter, even though too young for this really, has spent hours playing with it and will hopefully love it for many years to come. I certainly think it was money well spent and would definitely recommend this to any little lady.
Being the biggest Fireman Sam fan alive my son was bought this great trike for his birthday by his Grandparents. I don't know how much they paid for it but think it is around £35 (although I can't be sure).
The trike is bright coloured with a huge picture of Fireman Sam on the front, and comes with a parent handle.
My son is three years old and not the smallest child and it is a great size for him, so I would say it may be a bit on the big side for a two year old as the age range suggests, but that is just my opinion.
The trike itself is very sturdy and looks like it will withstand a lot of rough and tumble (it already has since he was bought it and has plenty of life left). The wheels are very wide and chunky meaning it is stable when being rode around, and the pedals are easy to use.
I love these trikes with parent handles - I have had many different ones over the five years of having children and this one is quite easy to use - the only downside is the child still has control of the steering so in order for the parent to steer you have to push the trike up on the back wheels to take the front steering wheel off the ground. But all in all my son loves it and think it will last him until he's ready for a "big boys bike" which I don't think will be any time soon.
My son is probably the biggest Fireman Sam fan around so when he wrote his Christmas list it, of course, contained the entire Fireman Sam merchandise collection. Including this fantastic puzzle.
I purchased the puzzle from Amazon at what I believe to be an amazing price of £4.99 and wasn't disappointed.
The puzzle has two parts - the inner section is a great picture of Fireman Sam, Penny, Station Officer Steele and Elvis Cridlington standing in front of Jupiter. The outer rim of the puzzle shows all the different instruments and apparatus a fireman uses. The pieces are coated and so are wipe clean for any little sticky fingers that may pick them up.
The puzzle pieces are nice and chunky and not at all flimsy. They look like they will stand up to a lot of use, and so far have withstood the countless times my son has pulled the pieces out of the box to make the puzzle. The puzzle is quite easy to put together for little hands with no pieces that are confusing. They have given my son confidence in his ability to do puzzles and have made him want to try more which is fantastic becuase before now he woudln't even attempt them.
All in all I would definitely recommend this puzzle to any little boy (or girl!).
I have been going through a hard time moneywise lately and have gradually been working my way through the Sainbury's Basic's range as well as the Tesco Value, so along with the food items I have been putting in my trolley to try I thought I would give the Basics Refuse Sacks a go. At only 73p for 30 sacks they are a lot less than approximately £2.50 that you pay for other makes of sacks.
The sacks come in a roll which has the trademark Sainsbury's Basics wrapper - white with orange writing.
The first thing I noticed when I undid the roll was how thin these sacks appeared to be. They felt like they would tear very easily and i must say this is exactly what they did. Not where they were supposed to mind you - the perforated bit in between each of the sacks was useless and often ripped the actual sack rather than the perforation.
The sacks themselves seem to be smaller than the normal ones I buy and although they fitted my bin they hardly fitted over the rim so often fell into the bin when heavy items were put in the bin. This made it disgusting to change the sack, and often caused the sack to rip when taking it out of the bin. Also as the sacks don't have tie handles (which on more expensive makes isn't usually a problem) the sacks simply ripped and made it almost impossible to carry them out from the kitchen to the big bin outside.
All in all I would say these sacks are more trouble than they are worth and this is one item where you really do get what you pay for.
When I started using cloth nappies on my second child it seemed natural to use reusable wipes too. Now this thought seemed to make some of my friends look like they were going to be sick - the thought of washing a baby wipe that had wiped a child's bottom seemed to make them feel ill but what is the difference to washing the nappy that goes on the child's bottom?? So I bought a set of wipes from another retailer. Now they weren't great. They shrunk in the wash and faded very quickly so I was on the lookout for a better quality wipe.
I came across Cheeky Wipes when I started selling cloth nappies. There are two Cheeky Wipes kits on the market. One is the full kit and one is the mini kit. The full kit is for people not already using cloth nappies and the mini kit is exactly what it says - mini and only contains what is needed for somebody already using a wetbag for their nappies.
The full kit contains two tubs - one for clean wipes and one for dirty wipes or "mucky" wipes as Cheeky like to call them. The kit also contains two bags for when you are out and about - again one for clean wipes and one for dirty ones (if you use cloth nappies you will already have a wetbag for the nappies so the wipes can just go in there alongside them). The kit contains 2 bottles of essential oils - one for the clean and one for the dirty to keep the wipes smelling fresh and to stop foul odours leaking, and 25 wipes made from bamboo.
The wipes are lovely and soft and seem to keep their shape well when washed. They are very absorbent and do the job they are supposed to just brilliantly. The essential oils are not essential to the use of the wipes but I like to use them to give my tubs that lovely fresh scent. You can get more bottles of the oils very easily too from your nappy retailer.
The tubs are well made (they have recently released a new version of the tubs which have a click lid system which is very well made).
At approximately £37 the kits aren't cheap, but they will last and last if you look after them.
All in all I would say these are a fab addition to any cloth nappy user, and they make great dusters for when you are finished with nappies!!!!!
My son was bought the ELC Toddle Along Tortoise for his first birthday. The tortoise is made from bright coloured plastic with four coloured lights around the shell, and on top is a press button. There are two different settings and an off switch underneath which is great becuase it means you can save the batteries when it is not in use.
The idea of the tortoise is that the child (or baby) presses the button on the top and the tortoise plays a tune and moves along the floor. I think the idea is to encourage the child to learn to crawl by following it. However the toy is aimed at children who ware 12 months plus who I presume would already know how to crawl. Once my son was crawling he really had no interest in this toy because when it did move across the floor (which it didn't very often as we have carpets and the feet don't grip very well) it moved slowly and my son just lost interest.
The toy is very robust - my daughter now has it in her toy box so it is over two years old and has taken its fair share of knocks and bumps, not that you would know to look at it, so with a bit of care I think it would last for subseaquent children.
However with the variety of toys on the market this isn't one I would rush out to buy for other children or as a present and I wouldn't really recommend it. Sorry!
I have always insisted on giving my children yoghurts and milky products for puddings - it ensures they get what they need in the way of calcium and they are yummy too - I don't like milk and don't want my children to follow in my footsteps so I give them as many milk products as possible to ensure this doesn't happen.
Now my oldest son is school age I still want to provide him with healthy items in his lunchbox but yoghurts in their normal containers are too messy. So I was looking for something that was lunchbox friendly and came across Frubes. They are fab! They are yoghurt, but in a plastic tube with a tear off end - perfect for children to use when they are at school.
You can get Frubes in either a plain strawberry box or a mixed box with different flavours in. The boxes contain nine tubes of yoghurt.
They are quite expensive for what they are - around £2 a box depending on where you buy them from, but you can quite often get good deals - Tesco for example had buy one pack get two packs free - now who could argue with that as an offer?!
The best thing about Frubes is that you can put them in the freezer so they are frozen when they go into the lunch box in the morning and by lunchtime they are nice and cold to eat, having kept everything in the box cold in the meantime.
They are easy to eat too - my one year old can easily manage a Frube on her own whereas i would have to spoon feed her a yoghurt to save the mess!!
For my daughter's first birthday my mum decided to get her a giant Peppa Pig toy even though she isn't a Peppa Pig fan (my mum is a great one for bargains and managed to pick this up in the sales after Christmas for a fantastic price of about £6 I think - better than paying nearly £20 for it, that's for sure!).
Peppa Pig is a kids tv show with a pig family, the main character being Peppa who has a brother George. My son has been a huge fan since he was tiny so no doubt my daughter will follow suit!
Peppa is about 18" tall and comes dressed in her trademark dress. Her face is great becuase nothing is stuck on - it is all embroidered. This eliminates the worry of bits falling off when around small children such as my one year old!
Peppa is made of a felt like material which is lovely and soft, but is prone to attracting any bits that happen to be on the floor/carpet so she regularly needs a brush!
Her hands and feet are quite small in comparison to her body as they are in the tv show, but this means they are easily grabbable by small hands.
I haven't even covered the best bit yet - when you press Peppa's tummy she talks! She counts to ten which is fab for little ones, and says a couple of different phrases from the show.
She has now been pulled around for about a month and still looks brand new so I think she lasts well.
All in all I would say this talking Peppa Pig is a fantastic toy for any fan and will be in this house for many eyar!
I always dreamed of buying my daughter her first doll and pram for her first birthday, so when the date was approaching I looked around for a basic and simple doll that was just right for my princess.
I found dolls that did all sorts of things from need feeding, to soiling their nappy, cry...the list was endless. But all I wanted was a doll like I used to have - one that didn't do much, if anything at all.
Then I found Mia. She is made buy Dolls World and costs £14.99. She is perfect. A very pretty doll which comes dressed in her own pink and lilac babygro. She comes with a couple of accessories so that little girls can pretend to feed her (although Dolls World do sell a massive range of accessories from pushchairs to cots, high chairs to feeding and changing accessories).
The doll's eyes open and close depending on whether she is sitting up or laying down, and when you press her tummy she makes sounds which actually are quite ok to listen to - not like some dolls where you want to throw it out of the window within five minutes!!
Mia is the perfect size for little hands to hold and play with, and she fits perfectly in many of the pushchairs and prams on the market.
All in all she is the perfect little doll for any mini mum. The age on the box does say 3+ but to be honest my 1 year old plays with her perfectly well.
Tesco Iced Fairy Cakes are the best answer when you're having a children's party. They come in a pack of 12 for £1.15 (although you can get a non-iced version which is cheaper but why when all the work is done for you??). They come in a plastic segmented tray wrapped in plastic which is simple and cheap so it keeps the cost of the cakes down.
The cakes themselves are delicious. They are very crumbly and melt in the mouth, and the icing on top comes in three colours and flavours - white, yellow and pink (strawberry, obviously!). The icing is the best bit as always with cakes - my children in fact eat the icing and leave the cake!!!
The cakes are just the right size for little mouths, and not too sweet which can be a problem with some ready made cakes on the market.
One of the great things about these cakes is the use by date you get - the date is usually a couple of months in the future so they last!
All in all I would say these are great little cakes for parties or after school snacks.
I have a whole cupboard full of work out dvd's in my aim to become slim and trim and regain the body I had pre-children but that is where they stay - in the cupboard.
So when I told my husband I was buying Davina's Body Buff he laughed. I have no idea why!
At £9.99 I thought it was a good deal and I have always loved the way Davina keeps her body so lovely post children so thought if she can do it so can I.
The DVD is great - it is broken down into mini sections so you can either do the whole dvd (are you mad?!) or can do whichever section takes your fancy. The sections have great names like "buff warm up" and "buff cardio".
I have worked my way though every section and although hard, making me really work and think about what I am doing, I have managed to keep up, although sometimes I think I looked more like a funky chicken than a glamarous girl trying to keep fit.
Has it worked? I think it has certainly helped and if I can keep up with using it several times a week then I will lose weight.
The dvd isn't one of these cheesy ones where you cringe at the celeb who has a huge smile plastered on their face while wearing hideous clothes - Davina actually looks like it is hard work and really gives you enthusiasm throughout. She isn't patronising and the people she does the work outs with are the same.
I would definitely recommend this dvd to anybody trying to lose weight or tone up, and for any ability.