July 2013 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 26 July 2013

Beautiful Post-Baby Bodies

I've wanted to write this blog post for AGES. Three years in fact. And no doubt it will take me days/weeks/months to get the words right and, by the time I eventually publish it, it will be old news and no one will give two hoots. But I hope not.

There have been two stories in the media in the past week - one of which has horrified me beyond words, and the other which has impressed and inspired me so, so much. However, together, both have finally given me the kick up the backside to talk about something I've always wanted to talk about - post-partum body image.

From this post's title (and so long as I hit 'publish' within before the story is old news) I'm fairly certain you'll all know the negative tale I'm talking about. Oh yes. THAT one. The hideous headline on the front of OK! Magazine earlier this week in relation to Kate Middleton's supposed 'Post Baby Weight-Loss Regime' - which hit the shelves only hours after she gave birth to Prince George. There are literally no words to describe the sheer horror I felt when I saw the front cover doing the rounds on Twitter and thought about the influence it might have on some of the magazine's readers. This, to me, is proof that the media's obsession with skinniness, diets and celebrity post-baby weight loss is getting seriously out of control. 

As if publishing pictures of size 0 models that make girls as young as 9 or 10 want to diet wasn't bad enough, magazines have now hit an all time low by pressurising brand new mums to shed their baby weight immediately giving birth. There is nothing more precious than bonding with your newborn in the first few weeks after his or her arrival - and I can think of nothing worse than spending that time starving yourself in an attempt to shrink back into your size 12 jeans before your visitors start arriving.

I think it's horrific that celebrity mothers feel as if they have to hide away once they've given birth and that they can only emerge and face the media after they've dieted and exercised back to their original pre-baby shape. Why would anyone want to devote all their time and energy into doing that, rather than spending it having scrumptious newborn cuddles with their baby? Celebrity trainer, Tracy Anderson, actually described many post baby bodies as 'disasters'. I beg your pardon!? How dare she!

One positive thing to come out of 'Kate-Gate' was all the amazing women within social media - Katy Hill in particular - that fought back against OK! Magazine with their #dontbuyok campaign and in doing so, told the world that this really isn't acceptable and things need to change.

This particular Twitter campaign forced OK! bosses to issue an apology (if you can call it that) which was something, however the issue is still available to buy when, in my opinion, it should have been pulled from circulation altogether. Unless something super drastic happens which, lets face it, will have to involve money - so either a huge loss of sales or a big fat fuck off fine courtesy of the Courts - I have a feeling that things aren't going to change just yet. That is unless us mamas really do make some noise.

But before I slip back into angry/dispairing mode, let me share with you the amazing, empowering and gorgeous women I have discovered this week, thanks to photographer Jade Beall and her A Beautiful Body Project.



Jade's collection of photographs of real mothers and their beautiful post-partum bodies was also in the press this week (before news of the Royal birth broke, I hasten to add). She has made a statement, a really brilliant statement, to the whole world and said LOOK! These women have made babies and they may have gained a few pounds and a few stretchmarks in the process but they CREATED LIFE! And they are BLOODY BEAUTIFUL. {These pictures actually made me weep a little bit. Us women are awesome}

Am I the only person that thinks that this miracle is worth changing appearance over? I know that some lucky people do spring back into shape pretty easily and naturally but I am definitely not one of them. And it may have taken two babies for me to change my perception of my own post-partum body to a positive one but, hell, I LIKE my tiger stripes - they remind me of what amazing things my body is capable of - and if I want my silhouette to look a little slimmer (which I confess, some days I do) then I'll stick on a pair of Spanx, thank you, and then go and eat cake with my little ones, if that's what they fancy doing. 

So here's my contribution to the Mama Body Photo Club (ooh have I just invented something there?) Photos of me pregnant with my girls - I had polyhydramnios both times which meant I was huge due to excess fluid levels - and a photo taken of me three months after having Evie.  I'm totally updating this post with a nudie belly shot tomorrow when Himself's awake to take it for me.


My boobs may be a little saggier, and my waist a little thicker, but I've got my little people - and that's what I was put on this earth to do. I wouldn't have it any other way xoxox


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Modern Mummy Loves.... A Royal Special

He's here! Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born just four days ago, and already the world has gone crazy for Royal Baby paraphernalia!

Ever since the Royal birth, my inbox has been inundated with information on new products on the market that have a Royal twist, so today I'm going to dedicate my Modern Mummy Loves post to my favourites out of all I've seen. Why not treat yourself, or your little Prince or Princess to something?

Tommee Tippee Royal Baby Range
 

We are very loyal Tommee Tippee users in our house and this week saw their new royal baby Closer to Nature range launch exclusively in Mothercare!

The range consists of 2 gift sets containing 2 bottles and 2 soothers in pink or blue- making it the perfect gift for any little prince or princess. There is also a 260ml individual bottle available in both colours. Each bottle has a unique celebration design with bunting and either the royal guard for boys or a royal carriage for girls, and comes in a gorgeous presentation / gift box.

The limited edition range is suitable from birth and is priced at £5.99 for the bottle and £14.99 for the gift set. For more information on the entire ranges, check out the Tommee Tippee website here.


Scamp Baby Gifts - as seen on ITV News!


I love Stacey and Jen from Scamp Baby Gifts and was SO excited to see one of their bibs on the news after the birth of Prince George! It forms part of a beautiful unisex gift set, comprising baby gro and matching bib, which is perfect for a little Prince or Princess (it's a very regal shade of purple!)

Made from 100% responsibly sourced and high quality cotton, and screen printed in the UK using water based inks, this set come packaged in a luxury Scamp pillow box and costs just £26.00. It is available here.


Little Acorns Mug from Doris & Co

I'm a pottery addict. You all know that. So one thing I had to purchase to celebrate the birth of the Royal baby was this gorgeous half pint mug from Doris & Co. This is the official Royal Mug  and it bears the motto 'From small acorns' and has side banners bearing the year 2013. The oak is the emblem of the Middleton family and this small acorn bears a crown in honour of little Prince George! A limited edition of these hand made English clay mugs are being made and they are currently on backorder - make sure you get yourself on the list!
 
Aden + Anais Jungle Jam Swaddle

The world has gone crazy for Aden + Anais after Prince George left St Mary's Hospital swaddled in a bird print muslin swaddle wrap, which forms part of this Jungle Jam set of four. It goes without saying that Aden + Anais have sold out of them, although they are available on back order.

HOWEVER! One of my favourite online stores, Archie's Boutique, has the Sweetheart design swaddle wrap in their sale for a bargain £9.60! You can buy one {or more!} of those here!

I love how Britain comes together over a happy royal story Have a brilliant weekend, everyone!xoxox


 
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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Petite Star NJOY Bubble Stroller: A Review

Choosing a new buggy is hard work. There are so many factors to take into consideration - and being a self confessed pram-aholic, I'm a pretty tough customer.

We have quite a few prams at Modern Mummy HQ - I have a different pram for different occasions (told you I'm an addict) - but one thing we didn't have, and something I desperately needed, was a lightweight umbrella fold stroller that we could easily take away with us.



When the people at Petite Star offered us the NJOY Bubble for review, all my prayers were answered! I had been contemplating buying a MacLaren or similar but, with Evie still quite little, was a bit sad at the thought of her facing outwards all the time. Not only do I like being able to see what the little monkey's up to, I quite like chatting to her when we're out and about too. The Petite Star NJOY Bubble solved my mama dilema as it's the very first umbrella fold stroller that can be parent or forward facing! How awesome is that?! And even better, you can flip between the two positions in a second and one handed! Want proof? Check out this video....


 

We chose the black and purple design to review, although there is also a black and silver version, and from the word go, I knew it was a winner.

It took just minutes to put together (the wheels just click into place and the hood slides into position - and then stays put whether you opt for the forward or parent facing seat option) and the first feature that made me happy (yes I'm easily pleased) was the folding lock WHICH ACTUALLY WORKS! I've reviewed so many strollers where the folding lock unclicks, and lifting a buggy that is beginning to unfold out of the car boot really is one of my pet hates.


The stroller is suitable from birth and comes with a head hugger, buckle cover and chest pads, which would make the stroller extra cosy for teeny tiny ones. However, with Evie being 8 months old, I decided that the first two weren't necessary and we're using the stroller without them (the buckle cover made doing the seat belt up a bit fiddly too, if I'm honest).

The seat is wide and padded and has three recline positions, including one which is entirely horizontal - great for naps! As you'll have seen in the video, switching the seat from forward facing to parent facing (or vice versa) only involves moving the hood inside out (so that the peak - another great feature - is facing the right way) and pressing a hand-sized button down to move the seat. This button is also how you recline the seat and I must comment on how easy and smooth the recline action is - there's no scrabbling around loosening buckles, or pressing two buttons and waking your little one up in the process.



You can fold it no matter what position the seat is in - and the rain cover works well in all positions too - plus there's no denying this is an attractive looking buggy. It's lightweight and compact and very easy to push and steer. It's also very solid and doesn't tip up when the handles are laden with shopping bags (although Evie does weigh a healthy 24lbs which probably helps!) 



The only slightly negative comment I have, and the same can be said for all umbrella strollers, is that it has a teeny tiny shopping basket. HOWEVER, the Petite Star basket has zips which make accessing the basket much easier. You might not be able to sling your shopping in there super easily but, with a bit of organization, you can actually fit a fair bit under there.


All in all we are super impressed with this stroller and it has become our day-to-day favourite; it's perfect for trips on public transport as it's slimline and so fits down the aisles on trains and buses without any problems - and can be folded up really easily if necessary - but at the same time it's also the perfect stroller to tuck into the car boot or to fly with, as it takes up very little space.

It retails at around £179.99 and is available from all good retailers.xoxox


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Monday, 22 July 2013

It's a Boy! The Royal Baby is here!



Congratulations to Kate & Wills on the birth of their beautiful baby BOY! 

He was born today, at 4.24pm, and weighed in at 8lbs 6oz according to The Guardian newspaper. His name will be announced at a later date.

I can't wait to find out what they're going to call him and to see the first official pictures!

Fingers crossed the press give them some privacy now, and they get to enjoy those amazing first few moments as new parents together.

Wishing them lots of love as they begin their parenting journey xoxox
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A Day at Legoland, Windsor with Superbreak

Last week Superbreak sent us to Legoland, Windsor for the day.

Superbreak have been helping families, couples and single travellers book sightseeing holidays within the UK and Europe for over thirty years ---- so they are pretty darn good at it!

We are lucky enough to live fairly close to Legoland so we didn't need to stay overnight in a hotel, but if you have a fair distance to travel in order to reach the attraction of your choice, then Superbreak are definitely the people to speak to when booking travel, accommodation and sightseeing packages, as their prices are super competitive and the customer service is just fab.

Legoland needs no introduction - everyone with kids will have heard of it and lots of you are likely to have visited it already. It's in the most beautiful setting, with views overlooking Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park - and on a clear day you can even see the London skyline including Canary Wharf!

Here are a few photos from our day - thank you so much, Superbreak, for a fabulous trip xoxox





 














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Friday, 19 July 2013

Four Great Beach Holiday Looks


This month, I was asked to take part in the Matalan Style Project along with three other bloggers.

The challenge was to put together a complete Beach Holiday look from Matalan with a budget of £50.

I opted for a pair of denim shorts (summer essentials!) and teamed them with a beautiful crochet vest top and suede fringed sandals. I chose a statement necklace to dress my outfit up, and a straw trilby (from the men's department) to protect myself from the sun. 

The best bit is that each of these items can be worn with other pieces, making it a perfect basis for a Summer holiday capsule wardrobe - plus, of course, the whole shebang only cost fifty English pounds! 

The whole idea of the Style Project is that readers choose their favourite of the four outfits - you can check them all out here. If you think I've styled the best beach look, please take a minute to vote for me in the comments section. I'd be super stoked to win xoxox

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LolliBop Family Pass Giveaway - The Winner!


After a fantastic response to my LolliBop giveaway, the time has come to announce the winner!

Rafflecopter has worked its magic and I am delighted to confirm that one family pass to the event next month will be winging its way to....... {drumroll please} .........

Paul G!

Well done, Paul!  I have sent you an email - please confirm we have the right address so that I can arrange for LolliBop to send you your eTicket.

For those of you that didn't win this time, all is not lost! Tickets are still available from TicketMaster here xoxox
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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Daily Outfit ♥ Paisley Princess


Dress, Ossie Clark at Debenhams, £99
Taupe court shoes, Debenhams, £35
Not so much a Daily Outfit today, but definitely one fit for a night out! (This mama LOVES getting glammed up every once in a while!) This whole ensemble comes from Debenhams - they have a fantastic range of both casual and formal dresses and accessories - something for every occasion. xoxox
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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

My Ultimate Summer Essential: The JJ Cole Picnic Blanket

If, like me, you enjoy nothing better than to be outside (especially in glorious weather like this!) then YOU NEED ONE OF THESE!

Last month we were sent the JJ Cole picnic blanket to review - and we have pretty much used it every day since it arrived.

It's big selling point, like a lot of picnic blankets out there, is that it folds up into a compact bag (which also has a detachable strap). However UNLIKE most other picnic blankets, this one has a sturdy sewn-in insert, and contrasting piping, which makes folding super easy. It used to take a few attempts to roll my old one up - in fact it was almost a two man job! - but that is now a problem of the past and it might not sound like a big deal, but being able to fold it up quickly and easily when it's hot and you're knackered and the kids are running off in opposite directions really does make a huge difference....

The JJ Cole blanket is much larger than any others I've seen - 5ft square in fact - which makes it big enough for the whole family - plus it's made from a durable and waterproof outer fabric (great for damp grass in slightly cooler weather), with a wipe clean inner lining which is perfect when little people make picnicky messes on it. Which happens a lot when you have children that are obsessed with houmous. It's also brilliant now that Evie has started to crawl, as it's slightly padded and so is super soft for her hands and knees. 

We opted for the multicoloured stripey lining, which has a grey and red exterior, and I'm totally in love with it.

It's small enough to fit in our stroller basket (or it can be hung from the handles) and it is so lightweight that you genuinely don't notice that it's there, even when you're carrying it on your shoulders. This is probably why it has been on so many outings with us! We just keep it in the basket so it's with us whenever we're away from home - and it really has proved to be super handy!  






It's been out for picnics in our local park, to Daisy's sports day, to Richmond Green to watch the cricket, to Legoland and to the beach - and we've been using it in our back garden too.

These blankets are also available in grey and green and retail at around £29.99. A summer must have for sure xoxox


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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Super Refreshing Red Juice Recipe

This juice recipe is just perfect for long hot Summer days. It's the ultimate thirst quencher - and an energy booster too! It's sweet and delicious and I've been drinking it by the gallon whilst working on the garden. Why don't you give it a try! xoxox



Ingredients.
2x apples | 2x broccoli stalks | 1x stick of celery | 1x beetroot | 1/2x cucumber
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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Win a Family Pass to LolliBop 2013!



Next month we're off to LolliBop as official LolliBop bloggers - and I am SO EXCITED!

LolliBop is the UK's biggest kids festival and this year it takes place from the 16th to the 18th of August at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.  It's an ideal first time festival for the littlies as no camping is required and EVERYTHING is aimed at under 10s and their families.

The line-up is blinking brilliant and includes Cbeebies superstar Justin Fletcher, Dick and Dom, Skylanders SWAP Force, Shaun The Sheep Championsheeps, Peppa Pig, Science Museum Live, Postman Pat, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Transformers, Poppy Cat, Rastamouse and Cloudbabies.

As well as the live acts and shows, the event is a place to learn and have fun through lots of interactive play and Daisy is most looking forward to paying one of the many Imagination Stations a visit. These are areas where kids can get super crafty, plus there's a 3ft and under zone for pre-schoolers that she's keen to check out too. There's even stuff for Evie to enjoy - activities for babies include soft play, baby massage, and mini discos! (I'm TOTALLY taking her for a boogie!)


And the best bit? We're going in fancy dress. Oh yes! 

Sounds awesome doesn't it? The girls are going to ♥ love ♥ it!

Want to go? Well you can! Tickets are still available here... however I have a family pass up for grabs for one lucky reader! As per my usual giveaway terms and conditions, I'm using the Rafflecopter widget below. Everyone is entitled to a whopping eight entries each - you can follow me and LolliBop on Twitter, like us both on Facebook and tweet about the competition too. For a bonus three entries, you should follow this blog on BlogLovin (here) and confirm in the comments below that you have done so. I'd also love to hear which act or activity you'd most like to see or do at LolliBop!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
The competition closes on the 19th July 2013
We have one family pass to giveaway. The pass admits 4 people, one person in the group must be aged over 18 (NB children under the age of 12 months do not require a ticket)
The winning family can attend on the day of their choice, either August 16, or August 17 or August 18. The date must be specified at time of confirming the prize
Travel and accommodation are not included
The prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative will be offered
♥ The prize is non transferable and ID will be required at time of collecting the tickets
♥ The prize includes all events and activities at LolliBop but not food and drink from any stalls or bar


The winner will be announced on here, Twitter and Facebook on 21st July 2013. Good luck, and I hope to see lots of you there! xoxox 
 
ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
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The Trunki BoostApak: A Review

Everybody loves Trunki; and not just because they make the most awesome products EVER that just happen to help make travelling with kids super easy. As a company, they also have fantastic values.... They are firm believers in my mantra, Reduce Reuse Recycle, and take all three points into account whenever they create any new products. In their own words:

"Re-Use: The first eco-step is re-using stuff, so we make our products extra durable so they can be handed down and used by the next generation.
Re-duce: We love the world to live in, and we want future generattions to enjoy it just as much as we've cut down our emissions by expanding our product facilities. We currently have factories in the UK, US and China.
Re-Cycle: Trunki ride-ons were specifically designed for disassembly, meaning that that any returns we receive can be fixed or recycled. The fixed ones are donated to a local Children's Hospice and the others are give to the Children's Scrapstore."

On top of this, all their products are lovingly made in Great Britain too - and you all know that I am a very keen supporter of Buying British! Hurray!

After writing my A-Z of Holidaying with Children post, I was approached by Trunki and asked if I'd like to review one of their BoostApaks. With a holiday lined up in the not too distant future, and regular trips in other peoples' cars (I'm without one during the week as Himself uses his for work) I jumped at the chance.

It's a legal requirement for all children under 12 (or 135cm) to use a booster seat when travelling in cars, so it's a great idea to have one to hand at all times in case you go on an unexpected trip in a friends car (like we do a lot) or in a taxi. The BoostApak is EXTRA handy though as it is also a spacious, hand luggage approved backpack!




Daisy received the pink one and loved it straight away! It's a bright bold pink, and the back flap has little horns on it which makes it look like a monster. We didn't actually have any car journeys planned for a few days, but that didn't stop her packing it with bits and pieces and wearing it around the house.


It's deceptively spacious and not as heavy as you'd imagine (although it is heavier than a regular back pack as the seat is made from a hard plastic shell). If we were off on a long journey, I think I would have to carry it on Daisy's behalf, but then she is only three.

When the time came for us to use it in the car, despite it having diagrams on how to fit it on the seat itself, I did have to look up further instructions on YouTube. Once I'd watched this video, though, it was super easy to put in place, and felt very safe and secure too.


Daisy enjoyed travelling on it and felt very grown up. She said it was very comfortable to sit on - although her favourite feature is the space inside for her colouring books and toys! My favourite feature is that the material of the bag is wipe clean AND removable and machine washable, so if it gets a little (or a lot!) grubby I can clean it no problem.

In my eyes, the BoostApak really is the ultimate holiday essential - you can pack it full of snacks and games to keep your youngster entertained on the journey, they can carry it on their back themselves, it is aeroplane approved hand luggage - and you can use it in taxis or hire cars too.

But of course it's not limited to international travel! If, like me, you car pool regularly, this is a really handy bit of kit to keep at home. Its also great for taking on public transport as it means little ones can see out of the windows easier, plus it's a great purchase if you often have extra travellers with you in your car!

They are available in either pink or green direct from the Trunki shop here for £44.99. xoxox
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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Cosyplay Luxury Play Mat Giveaway - The Winner!


My Cosyplay luxury play mat giveaway has now closed and was super popular, with a massive 1445 entries! You all obviously know a fabulous product when you see one!

I'm delighted to announce that the winner, as chosen by Rafflecopter, is Michelle W, who won by liking the Modern Mummy facebook page. Michelle, I have sent you an email regarding claiming your prize!

Thanks to everyone for taking part, and keep your eyes peeled for another fabulous giveaway coming soon xoxox
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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

An Indian Feast for £10! #cbias #shop



I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.


Last night, I went shopping in ASDA for the very first time. There's a very good reason for me never having been to an ASDA before and that is because getting to the closest one to us involves a 45 mile round trip! I'd been looking for an excuse to borrow Himself's car so that I could go and check it out when this Collective Bias Shoppertunity came up and I was challenged to cook a delicious family meal for £10! 

Always up for a challenge when it comes to eating well on a budget, I gladly accepted and headed off on a road trip with Daisy Moo. We took sweets for the journey and everything!


We both really enjoyed our shopping trip - the store was HUGE but everything was easy to find and the amount of tills at the exit was immense so we didn't have to queue! I loved how at the end of the checkouts ASDA were collecting for their local food bank. I thought this was awesome - donating an item from your weekly shop is a super easy way to do something charitable for your local community.




But back to our budget meal. Not only does this feast cost just £10 to make, it also takes less than an hour to prepare and cook and will easily feed a family of four. Today I'm going to share my shopping list, and the recipes with you. Hands up who's hungry?! Its time for......

♥ {Diet} Chicken Jalfrezi

♥ Slightly spicy minted Peas & Cucumber

♥ Red Lentil Daal

♥ Garlic & Coriander Naan

Nothing screams Great Britain like a good old curry! So first up, let's take a look at what I bought.

Now I am a keen cook and have a pretty well stocked larder so when it comes to store cupboard essentials I tend to have most of them already. This, of course, helped massively when it came to sticking to my £10 budget!





I bought green chillis, fat free natural yoghurt, red lentils, ready made naan bread, a pot of fresh coriander, a green pepper, dried mint (the fresh had sold out), vine tomatoes, chicken fillets and garam masala.

At home I already had cumin, turmeric, red chilli powder, mustard seeds, onions, olive oil, fresh ginger, cucumber and frozen peas.

First up I got cracking with the daal, as this required the longest cooking time. I bought a packet of split red lentils that didn't require pre-soaking - make sure you check the label before you start this recipe as some need to be soaked for hours!

Red Lentil Daal - Ingredients.
100g dried red lentils
A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1x tomato, roughly chopped
2x green chillies, de-seeded, and finely chopped
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
1x teaspoon of cumin

What to do.
This recipe couldn't be simpler. You simply put all the ingredients together in a saucepan, cover with water, stir, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir regularly during the cooking time (as lentils have a tenancy to stick to saucepans!) and add an extra splash of boiled water if it begins to thicken too much!




Whilst my daal was simmering, I moved onto the jalfrezi. Now I {very} loosely followed the Hairy Dieter's recipe here - this is one of my favourite cook books at the moment whilst I'm on a bit of a pre-wedding health kick. This recipe is absolutely divine and tastes so much better than the heavy curries you get from the takeaway. It's perfect for summer too.

Diet Chicken Jalfrezi - Ingredients.
220g chicken fillets chopped into bite sized pieces
1x teaspoon olive oil
2x gloves of garlic, finely chopped
4x green chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
3x tomatoes, roughly chopped
1x teaspoon cumin
1x heaped teaspoon garam masala
1x heaped teaspoon turmeric
200ml cold water
2x tablespoons fat free natural yoghurt
2x red onions, chopped into large chunks
1x green pepper, chopped into large chunks
Fresh coriander to garnish.

What to do.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and add the chillies, garlic and dried spices. DO NOT LET THEM BURN - keep stirring and add a tablespoon of water if necessary, to stop them sticking to the pan.
Add the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes, still stirring, and then add the tomatoes, onions and pepper. Pour over the water and let it simmer for about ten minutes.
Stir in the yoghurt and cook for another couple of minutes - add some cornflour to thicken the sauce if necessary.
Remove from the heat and just before serving add the fresh coriander. Voila - a super healthy, diet chicken jalfrezi that cooks in just fifteen minutes!

Last up is my cooked and slightly spicy version of cucumber raita! Start on this once the jalfrezi is cooked and decanted into a serving bowl. Whack the ready made naans in the oven at this point - they take around six minutes to heat up which is the same amount of time needed to prepare and cook the Peas and Cucumber.

Slightly spicy minted Peas and Cucumber - Ingredients.
A couple of handfuls of pre-cooked frozen peas (this is a great way to use up leftovers!)
About a third of a cucumber, peeled and chopped into half moons.
1x teaspoon of cumin
Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds
Half a teaspoon of red chilli powder 
2x tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Mint - fresh is best but I used a teaspoon of dried

What to do.
Dry fry the spices (not the mint) in a sauce pan for about thirty seconds. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the peas and cucumber. Coat them evenly in the spice mix before removing from the heat. All in all they should only be on the hob for about a minute - then pour them into a serving bowl and allow to cool for another minute or two. Stir in the natural yoghurt and the mint.




The last thing to do is to get your naan bread from the oven, pour yourself a large glass of sauv blanc, and feed your family!

There are lots of other ways to make these recipes go even further on a budget - whip up a bowl of rice (add cardamom pods and cloves to the water for extra flavour), or add potatoes to the chicken curry. I always deviate from the recipe books to include any fresh produce I have in my fridge that needs eating up so you could bulk out the curry with extra peppers, or make it a vegetarian version by substituting the chicken for carrots and cauliflower!

Happy cooking, you lot! xoxox


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BOB Revolution SE: A Review



With our upcoming nuptials LESS THAN TWELVE WEEKS AWAY (eeeeekk!) I found myself thinking recently that I really ought to up the exercise ante and tone up a bit if I want to fit into my dress (which I deliberately bought a size too small!). I've found it so hard to exercise since having Evie - I very rarely get any time to myself at all - and, when I do, I tend to just head out for a quick barefoot run around the block for half an hour before heading home to resume bath and bedtime duties or heading out for the day.



Then it suddenly dawned on me that I could actually take Evie with me on runs while Daisy was at nursery if I got myself a jogger - and completely by chance an opportunity arose for me to review the BOB Revolution SE. IT WAS A SIGN!

The BOB is a jogger and an off roader so really is the ultimate stroller for active and outdoorsy types. It is super lightweight, but very sturdy at the same time and has been very cleverly designed with comfort, for both parent and child, at the top of its list of priorities. 

The front wheel is lockable, which makes it perfect for when out jogging or on rough terrain, but can be used in swivel mode when out walking on the pavements. This means that it steers very easily and takes corners well too; that combined with its unique adjustable suspension and pneumatic tyres means it really is a super smooth ride.

Everything about this stroller seems large – large wheels, large seat, large hood, large shopping basket – however it is deceptively compact and easily fits through my slimline front door with no one-wheel-in-one-wheel-out manoeuvres and expletives required! The extra big sunshade is one of my favourite features - it comes right down and is made of really thick material that keeps the air beneath it cool on an extra hot day - plus it has a window so you can easily check up on your passenger without having to break your stride to peer around the front. 


The large seat is another favourite (and it has internal pockets on either side too which are perfect to tuck toys and snacks into!) and I have no doubt that this stroller actually would last a child up to the age of four. Even Daisy (a particularly tall pre-schooler) can sit in it comfortably. 


 


It has a soft padded handle, complete with wrist strap for added security, and a solid, foot activated bar brake that runs the whole width of the back of the stroller which is very easy to activate - very responsive - and holds perfectly.

It is SO easy to collapse (and unfold again) and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t necessary to remove the wheels when put in the boot of the other half's Citroen Picasso.   


It is suitable for babies aged 6 months plus – although it is not recommended that it’s used off road or for jogging until they are 9 months plus – and it retails at a very reasonable £405.

SO! What do you get for £405? The basic package just includes the seat and chassis – however there are plenty of (very affordable) extra accessories available and I am looking to buy the full weather shield, cosy toes for winter, handlebar console (for that all important coffee, and a place to stash keys and phone etc for easy access) and a snack tray.

The only negative comment I have is that the seat’s most upright position is still quite reclined compared to other strollers I’ve tested. It also doesn’t recline completely horizontally. But that minor point aside, this really is a dream of a pram, perfect for active parents that enjoy spending time outdoors - although don't let that put you off considering this as a pavement pounder too! I've found this to be the smoothest ride on tarmac out of every pram I've ever tried/reviewed.xoxox


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