Category Archives: food

Returning to healthy eating.


While on holiday we pigged out. It is part of being on holiday isn’t it?

Getting in and out of the swimming pool every day made me realise I have let my good deeds of last year slide so much they were out of sight. Hubby agreed when I said we needed to get back to healthy eating. I also need to get back to exercising – Hubby cycles 15 miles a day so that’s not a problem for him.

Coming home to the Easter weekend, meant there was a lot of chocolate in the house – even though I didn’t get an egg, when I gave Hubby his, he asked if I had bought one for him to give to me!!!! It wouldn’t be fair for the boys to have these delights in front of them and tell them they were unable to eat them, so instead, we have told them they can have a little each day. My theory being once they are gone they are gone, and I wont be buying sweets for in the house, so if they aren’t there they can’t have them!!!

Yesterday I got on the wii-fit for the first time in months and to say it was hard work would be an understatement! At the same time though it felt good too, and I must try to find half an hour a day to do it. I have checked the times of open sessions at the local swimming pool and they have morning sessions most days, so I intend to try to get there at least once a week. I used to swim every morning before work and found it a really invigorating way to start the day.

I have knocked the dust off the app, as I found it really helpful to track what I was eating last year. It is a great app where you can see exactly what food you are taking and the calories from it. It really makes you think about if you need the snack in the evening!!!

Today Hubby is working from home, and so I have gone for a healthy lunch for us. I have made Pea and Herb soup with oat cakes. Now, anyone that knows me, is well aware I don’t do soup, unless in is comes in a tin and is bright orange. I was therefore making the soup for Hubby and Old person, but when I tasted it to check the seasoning I was amazed how lovely it is, and have decided to give it a go – I must be getting brave in my old age!

Pea and Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 clove garlic – crushed
480g Frozen peas
1 tbsp. cornflour
500ml vegetable stock
30 g fresh coriander
15 g fresh mint – I didn’t have fresh so used a teaspoon of dried
salt and pepper

Heat the oil and add the garlic and peas. Stir until the peas have defrosted.
Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp. of cold water and add to the pan.
Slowly add the stock, stirring well.
Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Put into a liquidiser with the herbs and seasoning.
Warm through.

115g oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of bicarbonate of soda.
1 tbsp. oil
3 tbsp. hot water

Mix dry ingredients.
Add the oil, and half the water. Mix well.
Add more water to form a soft but crumble dough.
Kneed until smooth.
Cut dough into 2 pieces and roll each into a round.
Cut each circle into quarters.
Put into a dry frying pan over a medium low heat. cook for a couple of minutes on each side.

You piece of education for the day is that the quarters are called FARLS. You probably knew this but I didn’t and so thought it was interesting!!!

I will update you in a few weeks about if I keep I the healthy eating, and defiantly if I get back into he exercise but I feel I need to!

Now to go and eat this soup!!!


Lunch Playdate.


M is growing in confidence. There is no denying he is at last beginning to feel more confident with some people. Now, I’m not saying he’s able to hold a conversation with somebody he doesn’t know, but he can now make occasional eye contact with people he sees me with on a regular basis – I am talking about the Mums, and Grandmas we see at the school. There are a chosen few, that I talk to regularly that he is at last coming out of his shell with, and it is beautiful to see. One in particular, he has been happy enough to walk home with, and even stop into her house. It is a major leap forward in his development. One that being honest we were wondering if would ever happen!

A few weeks ago, the Mum of one of D’s friends suggested her son and his chums had a boys night at her house – tea and playing. D was very excited at the prospect. M looked put out, and as usual we explained to him that when D gets an invitation, it doesn’t always include him – he sometimes gets quite upset when not being included on party invitations, which is why for D’s impending party I have made sure siblings have been invited. He wasn’t having that, he knew the boy to speak to and his Mum was in his circle of adults he was learning to trust, but it still came as an amazing shock when he out right asked her if he could go too!!! I was horrified that he could be so forward as to invite himself, but my over-riding feeling was one of great pride that he had wanted something that he knew was attainable and just went for it. He had spoken to an adult unsupervised, and it was wonderful to see. The Mum said he could go, and hadn’t invited him as she wasn’t sure he would cope – they only live at the other end of our street, so I said if he was finding it difficult, just send him home! They both had a lovely time, and came home well fed!

My boys then asked if they could have some friends over during the holidays. Of course they could. To be honest, I would rather people came here to play as it give M the freedom to have a familiar safe spot if it gets too much for him, and therefore we pretty much have always had an open door policy for kids popping in – I do however have to know their Mums before I let them in as I don’t want any trouble!

The boys though didn’t just want a playdate, they wanted a play day! They invited four – 3 boys and 1 girl,  of D’s chums – M is more comfortable with them than his own peers, and their Mums/Grandmas – I thought if they are going to wreck the house I at least want a gossip and a coffee!! The boys then went ahead with planning the day! Everyone was to come over midmorning so they could play before having lunch – lunch was going to be pizza, and then they could play again afterwards! It sounded a perfect plan. I suggested that if we made dough then everyone could make their own pizzas. The boys like the idea.

I then threw a spanner in the works, and said they had to tidy their bedroom and the toy shelves if they wanted visitors!!! After much grumbling, they did it, and did a brilliant job of it on Monday.

Yesterday morning, I was in the kitchen making the dough – I had to make different sorts as D’s best friend has wheat and milk allergies, so I am learning how to adapt recipes, and I heard the cleaner going. I thought Old Person was putting it round – I know hard to believe, but no, M had decided he should clean before his guests arrived, and D had the polish and was cleaning the table! I should definitely invite people over more often if it gets this response from them!

The day was great fun, and all the kids were so well-behaved.   The pizzas all looked lovely, and were consumed with gusto.      Luckily the weather was good, so they were in and out to the trampoline as well as the little play area just out of our back garden.    Much time was also spent playing The Lego Movie Video game, and they all agreed it was awesome!

The house was a bomb site after they left, but no more than it is usually with my two, and it was just toys that needed putting away, and nothing more disastrous!

The boys were good hosts, and played nicely letting others play with their stuff – M has sometimes in the past had to be told to let others use his toys, but not today.       I think the only time I had to raise my voice during the day was when they were all at the dining table eating, you’d have thought they were each a mile apart that they had to scream a conversation!!!

My boys of course want to do it again, and will definitely during the next holidays.       I am very proud of how well they behaved, not just with the children, but with the adults, as M was very gracious when complimented on the flapjacks he had made!

It is lovely to see the hard work of teaching social skills does sometimes pay off.     D was overwhelmed by everything from the day, and I do think it was possibly sensory overload for him, as he spent an hour sobbing his heart out in the evening, for no apparent reason.   I think he just needed to release all the controlled emotion from the day, and crying is a lot safer than his usual thrashing and screaming.       He was asleep within minutes when he settled down, and hopefully had sweet dreams about his successful day.

Almost Easter.


Now Mothers Day has passed, it is a rapid downhill to Easter.     With the kids breaking up on Friday – for some reason they go back to school on Easter Monday but don’t get me started on that one, I am busily making preparations for the holidays.

We will be away the second week of the break, but home for the first so I have been preparing things to keep the occupied during that time.

I have also turned my thoughts to Easter proper, being away for the immediate run up, means I need to have sorted it sooner rather than later.

If you are anything like me, you will have been moaning for the last three months that the shops have had Easter eggs on display since boxing day, but now it’s almost Easter and time to get organised for it, there is increasingly less choice in the shops.

I was lucky enough to be asked to take a look at the Easter range on offer from Hotel Chocolat.     Now, anyone who has read anything I have written before knows how much I love chocolate, proper chocolate, and not the stuff that comes in the purple wrapper – although that has its place if you like it overly sweet, I don’t!         I was lucky enough to try a product from their Christmas range –, and I loved it.   So, when the chance came to review an item from their Easter range, I was more than happy to do so.

For those of you that haven’t been blessed with trying the chocolate, it is a touch of luxury.     It is rich and creamy, not too sweet and yet not bitter either.    Trying to describe the magic feeling you get when eating chocolate is impossible, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself, and I strongly recommend that you do!

The Easter range from Hotel Chocolat has something for everyone, and if you aren’t lucky enough to have a shop near you, their website could have you spending hours just deciding what you want as the choice is amazing!    I know I could easily spend a small fortune on there!

I must admit to being a bit of a traditionalist where Easter gifts are concerned as I like the symbolism of what the egg represents, but when I was asked to choose something from the range to try, I decided to move out of my comfort zone a little.       I asked the boys to look at the products on the site with me, and choose what they thought looked the most interesting.      There was a lot of “I wanting” as every product we looked at had something going for it, but every one agreed with me on my final choice, of Egg and chips –

Egg & Chips

It just looked brilliant, and who doesn’t love egg and chips?!!!

The box arrived, the packaging is beautiful making it into a special gift,  and there was total excitement in the house as we sat down to share the chocolate.     The fried egg is white chocolate – proper white chocolate with vanilla bean, and not set condensed milk, with a soft caramel yolk, under a crispy shell.      The chips are pure indulgence with smooth milk chocolate filled with amazing runny caramel and decorated with yellow coloured white chocolate – I think it would have looked better decorated in red to look like ketchup but then I am a ketchup fiend!        It was really rich, but that was a good thing, because it meant the flavour was savoured and not just rammed in.    It also meant that although there were 4 of us trying in, we only devoured half of it and saved the rest for the next day!

D was so enamoured by it, he said I was to get his Easter egg from them as the chocolate was so much nicer than “normal” Easter eggs.    That is praise from a hard to please wee man, but I believe I must be raising my children properly if they prefer real chocolate!

I would say something like this is for that special someone as are all the products from Hotel Chocolat as they aren’t your cheapy chocolate you buy in every other shop.      This is a high quality product and you are therefore paying for such.   The Egg and chips is £14, so not cheap, but definitely value for money, because it is chocolate that adds the touch of luxury to your day.     There are products in their range that are specifically for the kids – I love the egg on toast on a stick which is just £2, but there are also eggs of all sizes and designs that would make a lovely gift for anyone.     I know I would never complain about receiving something from their range – yes that is a major hint if Hubby is reading this!!!!

I think in future I make sure I hide my Hotel Chocolat stash from everyone else as they say its good to share, I say, that’s a lovely thought but chocolate is MINE!