This girl’s on a spending ban – stat!

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Sometimes in life we all get a bit spendy, which is fine as long has you have the money to do so. Trouble is sometimes we spend a bit too  much and fail to save anything for those longer term financial goals. I promised myself at the start of the year that I would be more sensible with my money as I wanted to have a little nest egg set aside. Unfortunately that nest is still empty, whoops!

This is why I have decided to stick myself on a self-imposed spending ban. I need to bump start my savings pot. This may sound like a funny time to start, especially with the summer holidays coming up, but I know I can find ways to still have fun on my family holidays without spending out on unnecessary extras. You know the ones I mean, I don’t need to be buying new books or all those toiletry minis we tell our selves we need. No that usual pre holiday trip is not happening.

Instead I shall be doing my best to save my ‘pocket money’, yes I’m 33 and I called it that, but that is the type of ban I am imposing. The kids are not going to lose out on holiday treats, though I am challenging myself to do this with as little financial outlay as possible.

I’m not in any fear of running out of any items I consider necessary as part of my beauty regime. I have a big enough stash from my ‘Oh, l’m just buying this to review for the blog’. Don’t judge we’ve all used that excuse!

I’m actually quite excited about this and am using it as opportunity to challenge myself. Keep your eyes peeled for related blog posts including a project 10 pan, shop my stash posts e.t.c.

If you want to follow my progress then don’t forget you can  follow me on Bloglovin.

If you also are on a spending ban feel free to comment and leave your link below, we can always give each other some support.

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CAMRA Beer & Cider festival – An English Summer evening

Earlier this week my husband and I did the unthinkable and managed to get out on a school night. We popped along to the first evening of the CAMRA Chelmsford Summer Beer & Cider Festival. Combined with the opportunity to listen to some live music,  what better way is there to spend a summers evening than supping artisan beers in the sun?

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Running for 37 years this has to be one of my favourite beer festivals, there is  such a diverse range of beers and ciders available to try.  I challenge anyone not to find one that they enjoy. What is even more special about this event is that it is only made possible by the volunteers that give up their time to man the various bars or take on the other roles needed to make this event happen.

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Poser! Pretending I know what I’m doing when it comes to choosing a beer
Favourites beers for me included the Brentwood Blonde a golden bitter with full fruit flavours and a crisp finish, and Lindemans Kriek Cherry Beer which is a Belgian draught beer.

Lindenams Cherry Beer
Lindenams Cherry Beer
Alongside the beers there were various food stalls offering goodies ranging from vegetarian curries, to bratwursts and burgers. If you have sweet tooth then doughnuts and handmade chocolate is available to try. I may have eaten one to many cinnamon doughnuts, whoops!

photo 5 We had a very funny moment when I thought it would be a good idea to try Scorpion Death Chilli Chocolate. It was freeking ho!! I promptly guzzled my cherry beer very quickly to try to cool down the burn.

image (24)If you are in Essex then there is still time to be paying a visit to the Chelmsford Summer Beer & Cider festival,  it runs until  Saturday 11th July.

 

Wimbledon Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Hotel

Yesterday was a very good day, It was one of those day’s that is filled with fun, good food and great conversation.

I was very fortunate to be invited to The Landmark Hotel in Marylbone to join 11 other bloggers for a Wimbledon Themed afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is taken within the stunning Winter Gardens.

The space is truely awe inspiring and reminded me of the spectacular lobby’s found in Caribbean  hotels, with sweeping staircases, palms and a beautiful glass ceiling. For a while I completely forgot I was actually still in the busy centre of London.


The event was hosted by Ladbrokes Bingo, and was a brilliant opportunity to meet some other bloggers and the charming and very easy on the eye #BuffBallBoys. If your heading to Wimbledon this year do keep your eye out for them.

 

Photo Call for the #BuffBallBoys

We were treated to a champagne afternoon tea that consisted of delicate finger sandwiches, traditional scones with jam and cream and miniature deserts.
 The sandwiches though traditional had a special twist as they were made using artisan flavoured breads. My favourite had to be chicken and tarragon on a walnut bread.

Sweet favourites for me had to be the Pimms Jelly, infused with Mint and a pistachio sponge with Ros’e Champagne cream.

Once again thank you to Ladbrokes and to Lucy for making this experience possible. This was a lovely way to spend a Monday Afternoon and to meet some people with similar interests.

The special Wimbledon Tea is available  until 12th July, so if you want to experience it then don’t hang around.

Are you a fan of afternoon tea? Do you have any recommendations of other places I need to visit for afternoon tea?

Slendershake Progress Update

Hi, Guys! 

Last week I told you that I was going to be starting the Slendershake program, from slendertoxtea as a kick start to my pre holiday tone up.  

 I’ve decided to update you today, after 5 days with my progress as my experience so far has been very varied. 

Let’s just say I started out ok, but once my food reserves had been exhausted, I’m really hungry. No not just hungry, yesterday I was HANGRY! This is where I’m struggling with only having the meal replacement. My body is used to being fed regularly, skipping a meal is just making me cranky. 

Replacing my lunchtime meal is a big no no, It’s definately better for me if I replace my breakfast instead. 

Just the shake with water is not enough to leave me feeling full, but mixing it with a smoothing is working well. I still feel I’m getting some sustenance.   

 

It looks a bit weird on top of your smoothie but after a good stir you can’t actually tell it’s there. 

  

So far I feel I have have lost the bloated feeling that I previously had, but I can’t say I have seen any real visual results yet though. Still it is very early days. 

I will continue with this program as now I hope to have addressed my hunger issue it will be easier. 

I will check back in next week with a further update. 

Has anyone else tried the slendertoxtea slender shakes? How did you get on?

  

  

Getting back into the Gym, and beginning to rebuild my fitness.

Hi guys, 

Today is another one of those more personal posts. If you have been a reader of my blog for a little while then you may be aware that I have had some issues with my personal health and mobility. 

At the start of the year I couldn’t walk without a crutch, and was constantly in pain. This had gone on since I had collapsed and was taken to hospital in April last year. At the time I was discharged with a bag of pills and pair of crutches. Immediate thoughts from the doctors were that I had sciatica, and that it would go away in a couple of weeks.  

    Unfortunately it didn’t, and by christmas I was still unable to walk without a crutch. I even had to use them when I was a bridesmaid for my big sister. Sorry Michelle, they are so in many a wedding picture! 

  Basically I was experiencing some major upheaval  in my life. As I was no longer able to do my job I had to resign. My job involved me being on my feet all day, and allthough my employers were good about the amount of sick leave I had taken they couldn’t hold my job open indefinately. 

I was also getting used to not having the level of fitness and loss of independence I was used to having. I’ve always walked everywhere when possible, and not being able to do this was frustrating. As I couldn’t operate the clutch in my car either I couldn’t even drive myself to the places I needed to be. By this point I was beginning to fear the worst, what the hell was actually wrong with me? 

Thankfully several investigations later they did find out what actually was wrong. Though it was going to take me a while to get better, it was not as bad as my imagination had been running wild with. I had scholiosis, stemming from a twisted pelvis. This was trapping the nerve in the front of my left leg, causing constant pain and stopping my leg functioning properly. 

Thanks to  the support of my physiotherapist, and the patience of my husband as well I must add, those crutches are long gone and we are working on rebuilding my strength, and getting my fitness back.

  

The scholiosis has been corrected through physio, though it still pops out of place sometimes, trapping the nerve again. I have been taught to correct this through exercise myself now though. 

I’m pleased to say that I have moved into the rehabilitation stage of my recovery. The lack of mobility has meant I had a fair bit of muscle wastage so I’m working on rebuilding muscular strength. Two weeks ago I actually joined the gym again. Though it’s slow going and seems like I’m barely doing anything sometimes before I’m knackered, there is definately progress being made. For one thing, I’m less reliant on pain relief now I have leant some adjustment techniques. I’m beginning to feel like a normal human being again. 

So that is wher I’m at right now! If you have stuck with me on this fairly self indulgent ramble thank you. Sometimes it feels good to just get your thoughts out there. I’m thinking about doing progress updates, what do you think? 

Bye for now, Katy 🙂

OOTD – Flamingo Marvlous

Today I went to the gym for a bit of a gentle workout, swimming  and then for some lunch. Your probably thinking, why bother with the gym if your going to undo that hard work with lunch out? Yes I know it seems a bit backwards. Hmmm I had skinny milk if that helps? No? 

To late now anyway, lol!

 I have been working on putting  the weight back on that I lost when I was unwell last year, so I don’t feel too guilty. I have actually achieved my target weight so now am concerntrating on turning that extra weight into toned muscle. Trickier than it sounds as I am restricted with exercise. We have found a few though that will work for me, fingers crossed.

I thought I would share with you the outfit I wore for lunch as Im 100% in love with this T-Shirt. The flamingo print is just so much fun. 

  Teamed with some pink chinos and my flatform sandals this makes a fun outfit that is still practical. Yes, that P word, it becomes important when your kids seem to be getting better and better at running rings round you. Please tell me it’s not just me! 

Please ignore the not do great lighting and make-up. It has peed it down all day so no chance of out and about photography stops. This was in the evening when I had given up all hope of a dry sky and was about to have a bubble bath and face mask. 

  Any way, i do actually feel really good when I wear this outfit, regardless of it’s practicalities, or the lack of makeup. 

T- Shirt – Primark 

Chinos – Next (last year)

Sandals – JustFab 

Thanks for stopping by, Katy 🙂

Are you a list maker? -Organisation and me

Hi guys!  

 Happy Monday! I hope you had a fab weekend. Mine was super busy as we had lots of social events all weekend. As a result I’m sitting here wondering if I can pretend it’s Sunday and hide under the duvet. Yup could do with a three day weekend again! 

Alas it’s a week that is going to involve catching up on uni work, finishing a bathroom makeover, hopefully some regular blogging and general running round after the kids. 

Does anyone else have young ones sitting their SATS this week? My son, bless him, looked a wee bit petrified heading into school this morning. I tried to make home feel better by wishing him luck. My advice being to just try his best, and that the exams are testing the school more than him. He’s sitting the higher level 6 papers so is I think is feeling the added pressure. 

Any way, slight digression there. Are you like me? When I  having lots of work to be getting on with it can often be a bit daunting. Sometimes I just don’t know where to start. I’ll be too busy worry about it, or burying my head in the sand procrastinating with the likes of Twitter and Pinterest, that nothing gets done. 

My husband is the complete opposite of me, he is naturally focused and just seems to be able to get the nesscesitys done, with minimal fuss I might add. He is also very good at giving me a kick up the bum when I’m slacking. This being in a very non preaching nagging way, it must be his natural charm. Ssh! Don’t tell him that or it will go to his head. 

It has become a bit of a joke between the two of us that in order for me to get anything done I need a list of jobs. There will often be a note left on the calendar of the things I must get done that day. I must confess to putting off the less enticing ones though, such as phoning the bank etc. Yep that one still needs doing.

This has got me thinking though about how I approach motivation. I’m definitely a list maker. There is something satisfying about visibly seeing jobs being ticked of a list as they are completed. I actually get an internal rush of satisfaction and happiness, spurring  me on. Is this just me, or do you experience a similar feeling?

  What I have learnt to do though is not get upset with myself if I haven’t achieved everything on the list. There was a time when I would push myself completely to the point of burning out. Let’s just say my list is a guide and I have learnt to pace myself accordingly. This is something I have learnt recently, I burnt out quite spectacurlary about a year ago. 

With my health improved, and a more balanced work ethos I’m definately back on track. Onwards and upwards so to speak. 

If your still with me, thanks for sticking with me to the end of my pondering. Why not share some of you tips for getting motivated and organised in the comments section below. 

Bye for now, Katy 🙂

Giraffe brunch date 

Hi guys, so today I thought I would share with you a little bit of what I’ve been up to. It involves that thing I seem to do far too much of lately, indulge in coffee and eat. Whoops! No wonder I couldn’t get my jeans done up this morning. Not kidding! 

Any way slight over share done with, earlier in the week hubby and I had a little brunch date. He suggested a little trip to our local Giraffe restaurant. 

  
As you can see it was really quite quiet when we visited. This was handy for me as I could take some pictures without bothering anyone. Giraffe has a pretty cool loft type interior, I’m loving the grey brickwork. The outside seating area is pretty neat aswell, we had forgotten our sunnies  though so opted to sit inside.  

 

This is a lovely place to sit as it actually over looks the river that runs through the centre of our town. As there are lots of other bars, restaurants  and coffee shops surrounding the river this gives for a very bustling atmosphere. 

  The food available is of the healthier variety with a bit of a Mexican twist. Expect dishes with ingredients such as chipotle sauce, avocado and chorizo.

My husband opted for the breakfast burrito, whilst I had bacon and scrambles eggs, with sourdough toast.  

   

Both of these dishes are part of the £5 breakfast selection, which includes a hot drink of choice. We both opted for flat whites. We were very surprised when these arrived in chunky glasses. Though a bit tricky to start with as the side of the glass is hot, this really displayed the quality craftsmanship of the barista.  


I used to be a barista myself so am a nightmare when it comes to coffee, I have high standards.  

 This didn’t disappoint and I even ordered a second. I really was feeling naughty that day. 

The service we recieved was lovely, the waitresses were really friendly and welcoming.  With great food and service this is somewhere I shall visit again very soon. 

Have you been to a giraffe restaurant before? Where do you like to go for brunch? 

Bye for now, Katy 🙂

A consistently good chocolate cake 

Hi guys! 

Today I thought I would share with you  the receipe I use to create a super rich and moist chocolate cake. This is not one for everyday as it’s really very naughty, but is perfect for birthdays and other celebrations. As it was my sons birthday yesterday this was the perfect excuse to make one.  

 

I came across this recipie when searching for a moist chocolate cake recipie, the original can be found here on foodess.com. This is an American recipie so I had to do a bit of research to check certain ingredients and temperature settings, I don’t know about you but if you start talking celcius to me I haven’t got a clue. 

I thought it would be a good idea to share the adapted version for my British readers if like me you get a bit confused with Amercan terminology. I’ve stuck to the cup method though as it’s a huge time saver not having to worry about weighing ingredients. 

I have tried this recipie with both buttermilk and the milk and white wine vinegar substitute, I can confirm it works both ways equally well. 

Ingredients – 

1 3/4 cups plain flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

3/4 teaspoons table salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk or (1 cup milk and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, allowed to stand for 5 minutes)

1/2 cup melted butter. 

1 cup hot coffee. 

Method – 

1. preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla esscence, melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs to bowl. Mix well for approximately 3 minutes. 

3. Add the hot coffee and stir in, don’t be alarmed if you think it looks too runny, it’s supposed to be.

4. Pour mixture into  2 greased and lined cake tins. Bake in oven for approx 35 minutes. When done poke with a skewer, if it comes away clean your cake is ready, otherwise pop it back in the oven for a couple more minutes. If you feel top of cake is getting a bit brown cover with a sheet of tin foil for rest of cooking. 

5. Allow to cool in tin for ten minutes, then turn out into wired rack to finish cooling. Once completely cool decorate as you wish.  Jed wanted a Minecraft cake, and this is how it turned out. 

 

Let me know if you give this recipie ago. Feel free to share any baking tips in comments.

Bye for now, Katy 🙂 

A refreshing spring walk, inspiring pictures.

Hi guys, I have just returned from a walk with my husband chris, and our dog Izzie. It was rather chilly I have to admit but the fresh air felt great.

We had a slow walk through local woodland trying to spot a woodpecker we could hear. Alas it wasn’t to be, as it clearly didn’t want to be spotted today. We did see lots of other wildlife though, and there was plenty of evidence that spring is on it’s way. 

I took a few pictures whilst we were out, some where a bit meh, but there were some that I was pleased with. I thought it would be nice to share my favourites with you. 



The last one is probably my favourite, we spent ages trying to get a picture of a robin, it kept bobbing about though ha ha. I love the detailing of all the branches in this picture. 

Bye for now, Katy 🙂