Category: Lifestyle

5 Things Guarenteed to Cheer Me Up

After a particularly trying day we all have those things that we turn to that will help cheer us up.

Food or alcohol? Your favourite pjs? Whatever it may be, I’m sure we all have things that help.

Today, I give you my favourite 5 cheer me up’ers (totally a real word yes?):

A blanket or jumper – the best thing about the cooler weather is finally being able to cuddle up with a sofa throw without sweating to death. 
Blankets and hoodies or sweaters provide the perfect hug of an evening. 
Even better if you have a “mama merch” jumper that has a kick ass inspirational slogan emblazoned on it, an extra little confidence boost.

Comfort food – there is a very simple explanation as to why I’m not (nor ever likely to be) a size 12. I love food. I guess you could say I’m an emotional eater, and never more than during the colder months. Who can say a bowl of cheesy mash doesn’t cheer them up? (Possibly vegan carb avoiders, but you know, I’m generalising).

Binge watching TV – it depends on the mood I’m in as to what it is, but the urge to binge will always be there. I am a self confessed tv addict so I can find something always. 

If I’m emotional and in need of a cathartic release Grey’s Anatomy is a great one. If I need a reminder that things could be worse it’s Criminal Minds. If it’s something that doesn’t need too much concentration or effort it’s Teen Mom (OG, 2 or UK – love them all). 

Music hopping – I don’t know how else to explain this. But it’s basically searching through the Apple Store and playing the samples of songs. It’s a favourite “game” of mine and my husbands. 

“Remember this?!” “Oh! This is a good one!!” Exclaimed as we play 90’s childhood favourites, songs from our early dating years, and throwbacks that our parents played us. 

It’s wasteful of time, completely indulgent but always leaves me feeling really good.



Candles or wax melts – again, the autumn scents are so much better this time of the year, but a cinnamon scent wafting through the house as I sit snuggled in my blanket makes everything even cosier. 

A lit candle adds wonderfully to the atmosphere, flames gently flickering (just make sure you remember to put them out before bed!!) but a warmer with a few wax melts can be just as lovely. 

What are your go to things to cheer yourself up after a long day?

Mrs H xxx

#Blogtober17

Prezzo La Famiglia Challenge and Review

Does this some up a family meal or what?!
We’re a family of food lovers. He’s not exactly been eating long, Baby B is yet to find something he doesn’t like. And whilst not as experimental as he used to be, G still loves his food and plenty of it to fuel all of his energy. 

I’m not sure any of us could pick just one favourite food, but Italian is certainly up there in the top 5, which is why we were so excited when Britmums & Prezzo invited us to go along to our local restaurant to try Prezzo’s new La Famiglia sharing pasta dish. 

This post is an entry for the BritMums #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, sponsored by Prezzo, as well as a review of our meal at the Penarth Prezzo branch. 

It’s well documented that families don’t get to sit around the table together like they used to, and with Mr H’s crazy work schedule this is certainly true for us. Sometimes eating out is the only chance we’ll get to sit and eat together. But it’s not always easy, especially when taking the kids, trying to decide what to order and choosing quickly so that the kids aren’t waiting ages for it to arrive! 

The La Famiglia challenge eliminates this. Having just four delicious pasta dishes to choose from ( Penne Arrabiata, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara or Penne Alla Rusticana) you can order one big dish for everyone to share, and you can also be more in control of portion sizes. No more puny meals for the older children and no more oversized portions for the littles that inevitably go to waste! 

“Wow! Mum, that is MASSIVE!”
And when I say “one big pasta dish for everyone to share”, I mean a bloody HUGE bowl of pasta!! It recommends it serves up to four people, but I really didn’t expect it to be just that big. It fed us all easily, and I hadn’t eaten all day and was super hungry!

We chose a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese, always a guaranteed favourite with us and the kids. The staff asked whether to serve it with the sauce sat on top or all mixed together, knowing that sometimes kids (and grown ups!) can be fussy with the way food is served. Ours came all mixed together, the “proper” Italian way, and a generous helping of Parmesan was sprinkled over once we’d dished up. 

The bolognese was really fresh tasting, and not too heavily seasoned, perfect for delicate palates. The option to add our own salt and pepper to our grown up bowls was there, but it didn’t need it that much. It was a real hit with us all. 

Dishing up our portions
The pasta dish alone would be enough to make a meal for a family, and at £18.90 it’s exceptional value. But if you were needing to make the meal stretch further, La Famiglia challenge allows you to order a pasta dish, two large garlic breads, four soft drinks AND four ice creams for just £30! For a family meal that is just amazing! 

“I sharing with Dad” Just what it’s all about
I believe it would comfortably feed the hungriest family, and having the bowl sat in the middle of the table encourages a more relaxed experience. Or at least I imagine it would if you weren’t trying to wrestle the worlds grumpiest, wriggliest and noisiest baby! B was just a nightmare, but the staff were brilliant, really helpful, and didn’t even flinch when G had the biggest accident he’s had since potty training (he’s been accident free for nearly two weeks so I didn’t even see it coming!) seriously the kid must have been saving up all of his wee for the day. Cue flustered mummy sprinting back to the car for a change of clothes. The staff just cleaned it up like it happened daily. It really is as family friendly as it claims to be! Phew! 

The other really great thing about the giant bowl is that it keeps the rest of the pasta nice and hot. I thought it would go cold as we waited for second portions, but even after the break to change G, the remaining bolognese was nice and hot when I dished myself up another bowl. 

Mister and the grubby child!!
The garlic bread was delicious, and even managed to keep B quiet for a few precious seconds, but not as quiet as the ice cream made him! I fed him way too much vanilla ice cream, but he LOVED it. And it meant G got to enjoy his strawberry, I enjoyed a scoop of strawberry and chocolate and Mr H enjoyed the intense chocolate and sea salt ice cream. I stole a spoonful and it was delicious! I’d have chosen the same but I was worried about kids stealing it…food is never my own anyomore! I guess that’s why the La Famiglia is even more perfect to share with your family. 

Our delicious ice creams

Yum yum!
I’ve not visited Prezzo before, but we’d  certainly like to visit again in the future. If they’d have us of course. I wouldn’t be surprised if they let out a sigh of relief when the family with the noisy baby left. 
One quiet child….

Two quiet children! Phew

The staff at the Penarth branch were really friendly and attentive, clearly relaxed and used to families visiting. A relief for parents taking kids out. 
The food was delicious. Nothing was super complicated or fancy, but family favourites done really well, that you can rely on for a great family meal out. 

Crazy kid! Loved colouring in whilst we waited
We have a lot of family in and around the Penarth area that we don’t get to see as often as we like, and this would be a really lovely and affordable way to do it. Grown ups and kids alike will enjoy sitting down and tucking in to a delicious feast, and being able to chat and enjoy being together. 

Do you eat your meals at the table together? Or is it more for special occasions?

Mrs H xxx

Disclaimer – Prezzo, via Britmums, gave us a voucher to cover the cost of La Famiglia Challenge, any extras were paid for by ourselves. The review of the branch and food, is honest and my own. 

Easter Traditions and Must Dos

We’re never massively prepared for Easter. I always have lovely visions of spring decorations, pastel coloured wreaths, a tastefully adorned Easter tree. But every year it seems to arrive without any decorations, a big panic about who and how many chocolate eggs we need to buy. And I’ve still not got an Easter tree!

But there are a few things that we try and do every year, apart from scoffing far too much chocolate.

Easter egg hunt – 2017 seems to be the year of the hunt, as theres one on Good Friday, Easter Sunday (morning), Easter Sunday (tea time) and Easter Monday! All in different venues. Easter Sunday morning is just going to be a little thing for G in our house. We did it for the first time last year and it was so lovely to watch him tear around finding them that we wanted to do it again this year. All the other events will be joined by friends and cousins which will be really nice to see.

Easter breakfasts – is it even easter if you don’t eat more than your fair share of hot cross buns for breakfast!?

Making treats – even before having children I’ve enjoyed making chocolate egg nests so having children to make them with is just a better excuse. Although if I’m honest, ends up being a few days after when we realise just how much chocolate we have!

The big question of course?? Cornflake or Shredded Wheat nests!? Always mini eggs on top though.

Roast Dinner – we love a good roast dinner, and easter is no different. Just another excuse for me to make sure lamb is the star of a Sunday roast. It’s my absolute favourite Sunday dinner.

I asked my fellow bloggers what they’re up to this Easter and what their usual traditions are.

“We really focus on an Easter Egg Hunt around the house. We set up clues and little poems to get the kids hunting high and low for treats! This is the main focus for us at Easter 😘”

http://www.kellyallenwriter.com
 

“We always have a roast dinner with family on Easter Sunday”

http://www.allaboutamininorris.com

 
“We always go to my parents for dinner. We don’t over do it as it’ll be too much for Z. This year my sister an niece are down to visit too, so will be a nice family day!”

http://www.firsttimevalleymam.com

 
“We always make Easter nest cakes on Easter weekend. I have photos of my kids doing them every year and it’s lovely to see them growing over the years… and their faces covered in chocolate where they sneakily try to scoff loads of the ingredients and I pretend not to notice!
We also have an egg hunt in the house and our dining table decorated in all sorts of Easter tat.”

http://www.cardiffmummysays.com

 
“With our children grown up we have a visit to a garden centre before Easter and spend the time in the garden. If the sun comes out we have a BBQ and admire our work”

http://www.teddybearsandcardigans.com

 
“Easter Sunday we always have a big roast dinner 😊 and the easter bunny leaves lily some treats too of course! This weekend we will be decorating our living room and just chilling out! Xx”

http://www.bettertogetherhome.com
 

“Each year we have family and friends round, we always do a giant Easter egg hunt in the our garden. We get an annual photograph of the 5 children so we can see how our group has gown over the years, we do this before the egg hunt starts. It’s lovely to be all together for the day.”

http://www.chamoagneandpetals.com

 
“Every year, we spend the entire Easter weekend with family. On Good Friday we do Easter crafts at home and take our son out for the day to do something fun. On the Saturday we have a family get together with a roast dinner and a little Easter Egg Hunt for the children. Then on the Sunday and Monday we see more family for fun activities etc. In our family, Easter lasts from Friday to Monday and we usually get gifted with an egg for each day, per person. That’s how it’s always been since I was little and now we’re carrying it on for my son.”

http://www.kaidenlaverty.com

 
“We always have a day out over the weekend to an Easter egg hunt at an attraction or stately home. We don’t always manage days out on normal weekends so make the most of the bank holidays!”

http://www.themamastory.com
 

“Egg hunt and little Easter basket for the girls! Then starting a new tradition of a yummy roast dinner, just the 4 of us and quality family time :-)”

http://www.runjumpscrap.com

 
“We tend to go out on Good Friday with family to a National Trust place. Then we do an Easter Egg Hunt on the Sunday followed by a roast dinner with the other side of the family for a catch up! :) x”

http://www.sophiesnursery.com

 
“On good Friday we spend the day making Easter bonnets, decorating Easter cakes and making Easter cards for family.”

http://www.fivelittledoves.com
 

“My sister has an amazing enormous garden and every year she hosts an Easter egg hunt for all our little ones. My mam crocheted the kids little Easter baskets that they can use every year. It’s very cute and has become our little tradition.”

http://www.nomipalony.com

 
“On Good Friday our village school hosts a run, so we wander down to that and watch my husband and others run it! It’s lovely to see lots of people we know and have a hot cross bun whilst sat waiting… plus I feel sporty by association!! The rest of the weekend is spent with lots of food and family time!”

http://www.devonmama.com
 

“We do an egg hunt for my daughters and neice / nephew / cousins. Currently packing treats into plastic eggs!!”

http://www.realmumreview.com

 

 

 

What do you like to do for Easter?

 

Mrs H xxx

Body Positivity – My Postpartum Truth

 

Near the end of my pregnancy I wrote about body positivity and rocking my bump. About how great pregnancy made me feel, and that I wanted to hang on to that post pregnancy, remember that my body had grown two beautiful humans and that was awesome no matter how my shape had changed.

 

Well I’m here to tell you I’ve failed. Miserably.

 

I do not feel like the awesome warrior I did. I do not feel remotely empowered or like I’m owning my body.

 

I feel tired. I feel lumpy. I feel achy. I feel drab.

 

I was “lucky” that not long after I’d given birth I was back to my pre pregnancy weight and back in my usual Jeggings. I was already over weight and hadn’t actually gained a huge amount so this wasn’t like the “spring back” you see from celebrities, but it was gone.

 

But then life happened.

 

Weight Gain –     I make bad food choices, I didn’t make good on my original plans to have delicious and healthy meals prepped and ready in the freezer. I snack on convenience food, fast food, chocolate bars. And when Christmas hit, well that was just another excuse (not that I needed one) to eat every single pig in blanket within sight! It was ok, I’d grown a person. And looking after two small humans gave me the need to consume so much sugar. Or carbs. Or preferably both. And my weight ballooned to being the heaviest I’ve been. Ever. Including during pregnancy.

I know that this diet is neither healthy or helpful. I’m getting the energy boost from a sugar hit, but I’m also getting the lows of the comedown. And then the tiredness hits harder and the cycle continues. I say it often but I really wish I drank coffee, at least a caffeine hit would be a bit better than an early morning sugar dose. I know this can’t continue.

 

 

Breastfeeding –     Occasionally I feel totally badass for breastfeeding. I’m fascinated by what I can produce to nourish my baby. And when I feel like it might not be enough, I take a look at my chunky little baby and am reassured, most of the time. However, there’s an aspect that I wasn’t really prepared for. Fashion.

I need to be accessible at all times. Accessible without flashing too much flesh. Vest tops layered with a bigger t shirt or jumper has become my new uniform. Which is great, it’s comfy and can take what this job throws at it. Or throws up on it. But I am constantly thinking about my tummy. Is the vest covering it? Is it riding up as the baby wriggles? Is anyone looking at my flabby belly!?

It’s like a constant reminder of the weight I’ve put on. Sat on the sofa, being held hostage by this adorable and hungry bundle, and avoiding eating a decent hot meal so I don’t risk spilling anything over him.

 

 

Hair Loss –     During pregnancy your hair pretty much stops falling out. Your hormones have got better things to do than to keep up with a normal cycle or hair loss and regrowth that is normal. So it kind of ‘stocks up’. Your hair seems thicker, healthier and you fell fab. I felt fab.

Then a few months after you’ve given birth, those pesky hormones panic. They’re trying to get back to normal. Essentially they panic, and it seems all the extra hair they’ve been clinging onto need to go. That instant. Next thing you know you’ve got enough hair to make a wig just from one brush.

For some unknown reason, this is happening more in the areas above my temples. I know that this is a common thing, for the hair to thin and regrow around the temples and hair line. But mine seems excessive. And there is nothing that makes me feel less confident than the bald patch on the left side of my head. It’s not a “thinning patch”. It is bald.

 

 

I am a mess. I couldn’t feel further from the glowing, curvy woman I was just a few months ago. And it’s down to me to fix it. If all it took was for someone to tell me I was still beautiful, I wouldn’t have a problem. Mr H has told me daily, at the very least once a day, how beautiful I am to him. But unfortunately I don’t feel it.

 

 

So I know I need to take control. No one is going to deliver healthy meals to me, I need to organise them. No one cares what I look like when I’m feeding, if they see anything it’s the super cute baby and not my flabby tum. And if they do? Sod it! Hair grows. I’ve had to adjust my style to distract from The Patch, but at some point that hair will grow back (and no doubt I’ll be back to have a small whinge at the fluffy, sticky out regrowth, but I’ll forget about that for now).
I want that feeling loving my body and myself back.

 

 

Did you struggle with postpartum body issues? what is your best tip to overcome them?

 

 

Mrs H xxx

Be In The Picture – January 17 

 

 

The lovely ladies from All About A Mini Norris and Baby Holiday have started a fab linky, encouraging us parents to Be In The Picture more. And boy do I need it!

This post includes every photo taken during January that includes me. Two are with the children, one is with Mr H when we went out for my birthday. All of them are selfies. 

To be fair, Mr H has been saying the same thing for years. Stop stressing about how I look, or how I think I look (I wish I was as fat as when I first thought I was fat!!) and just be included. 

 

I’m always taking pictures of the boys. In fact I recently joined in with the Sibling linky to make sure that I document their relationship. And I’m often posing the boys with Mr H to get photos of the three of them. But I rarely include myself. Even during date nights or trips with family or friends. I’m always taking pictures of everyone else, but never including myself. There’s the odd selfie here and there, but rarely a proper photo with me in it. Searching through the pictures I’ve taken in January just proves this. I’ve really struggled to find photos with myself in them, and the few found were selfies!

 

There’s always some excuse. My hair is a mess, I’ve got something down my top, I need to lose more weight, and it goes on. But looking through old photos of my own mum I never look for these things (ok I laugh at the styles, but in fun!) I just like looking back at photos of us together, trips that she took before me and fun times that she has had. If I don’t start being in front of the camera more, my own children will never be able to look back on these memories.

 

So from now on I’m going to try harder to get more photos that include me. Especially more family photos.

 

Do you make sure you’re included in photos? Or are you missing from photo history too?

 

Mrs H xxx

Be in the Picture