Sunflowers

30 July 2012

Look at these little beauties that I planted at the weekend! 



Our garden is not great but I try to brighten it up with some flowers over the summer. For some reason {maybe the abundance of rain!} I hadn't planted anything yet this year. But we went to our local farm shop on Saturday afternoon and I saw these. There were three sunflowers in each pot and they cost £3.50 for two pots... a bargain in my opinion! 



Last year we planted some sunflower seeds that we got from a play session at our local children's centre. One of the activities was planting some seeds in soil in a little plastic cup. Oliver planted them and we brought them home and popped them outside on the windowsill. I didn't give them much thought for a couple of weeks but then I noticed they'd started sprouting so I transferred them to some proper pots. I gave them lots of TLC and they grew into the tallest, most gorgeous sunflowers! Our garden is south facing so we get the sun from 9am to 6pm and there's barely any shade so the sunflowers loved it. They just needed lots and lots of water. 

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have good growers again this year. As soon as I finished planing them, the heavens opened so they had a really good drink. I'll keep you updated!

Silent Sunday

Picnics and Paddling In The Park

27 July 2012

The Darlings aren't at school yet, but the school holidays still mean that there is no playgroup for Oliver and no toddler group for the next six weeks. So what shall we do on a Monday morning now? Well a few of the mums who usually go to toddler group {one of whom is my lovely sister with my gorgeous nieces!}  decided to meet up in the park and have a picnic this week.

After a swing and a slide in the playground, we set up our picnic blankets on the big field. All the children had a run around, chasing after footballs, playing on the scooter and even flying a kite! Then we had our picnic lunch. Typically, I didn't have much food in the house {my Adsa delivery was due that afternoon} but I managed to throw together a few sandwiches, breadsticks, yoghurts, fruit, crisps and drinks! Not exactly exciting but there's something about al fresco eating that makes everything taste good.


Then it was time for the real fun! Swimsuits were donned and the factor 50 was slapped on as it was absolutely boiling. The kids had a fantastic time paddling and splashing each other {and me!} The water was a bit chilly, but Oliver didn't seem to mind when was laying down in it trying to swim!


By now the Darlings were both shattered so it was home time. But we managed to squeeze in a ride on the teacups with their cousin Amelia. I was a bit worried that Lydia might not like it or might try to stand up as she's only 18 months old,  but she loved it! They all did.


Now we're looking forward to meeting everyone again on Monday. We're going to a different park this time but we'll all have our picnics and be ready for more fun.

Do you have a brilliant local park? How often do you visit?

Summer Adventure Wish List #R2BC

26 July 2012

This week's Reasons to be Cheerful is a bit different. This week it's all about our plans for the summer!

So the summer holidays are here and hopefully Summer is here to stay and the sun will keep shining. I've been thinking lately about all the things I want to do with the Darlings over the summer. Oliver is starting pre-school in September so I feel like we have to really make the most of the next 6 weeks. After that we'll be limited to school holidays to have our adventures, plus it will be the start of the countdown to winter - not to mention Christmas and both Darlings birthdays - boo!

So I've got loads of time booked off work over the summer and we're going to make the most of every single day. Here's my Summer Adventure Wish List:

Maize Maze  //  There are mazes like this all over the country but our nearest is at Cawthorne in South Yorkshire. It's a huge maze cut from a huge field of growing maize. You get a map of the maze and a quiz to fill in as you go along. There is a team of Maze Masters that watch over you from high galleries to give you a hand in you get lost! 
 
Maize Maze
Nostell Priory  //  Located in Wakefield in West Yorkshire, this is an 18th century stately home with 300 acres of parkland. For the kids there are play trails, an adventure playground and hunt the mouse in the 18th century dolls house.
 
Cannon Hall Farm  //  A beautiful farm at Cawthorne in South Yorkshire, with a massive new adventure playground. Lovely tearooms and a farm shop. We've been a couple of times before but we definitely want to visit again.
 

Seaside  //  I'm not sure exactly where we'll go. There are so many lovely seaside towns to visit. We're right in the middle of the country in West Yorkshire, so we can choose from somewhere on the Lancashire coast or the East Yorkshire coast!

The Great British Seaside
Hollingworth Lake  //  A beautiful setting near Rochdale in Lancashire with an easy and relaxing 1.5 mile walk around the lake. We might even hire a rowing boat if the weather is nice.
 

Sundown Adventureland  //  Like Alton Towers only for children! It's a theme park exclusively for under 10's. It's near Retford in Lincolnshire which is about 1.5 hours drive for us so this will be one of our big day's out.
 
Sundown Adventureland
Pugneys Country Park  //  There are two lakes, a watersport centre and a cafe. The biggest lake has a 1.6 mile footpath around it, so we can have a leisurely walk round and take the Darlings bikes.
 
Knowlsley Safari Park  //  I last went here when I was at school so I'm sure it's changed a bit since then. It's an hour's drive away from us in Merseyside. You can drive round the safari park then, watch the Sealion show, see the keepers giving talks and visit the fairground. The Darlings love animals and I'm sure they'll love this day out.
 
Knowsley Safari Park
So what have you got to smile about this week? If you want to see what other people are cheerful about, pop on over to Mummy from the Heart to read their stories or follow the linky below!

Ice Cream, Animals and Quad Pods

24 July 2012

This weekend, the sun finally decided to make a very welcome appearance and we certainly made the most of it. My sister told me about a lovely place not too far away that they'd been to a few weeks ago. Charlotte's Ice Cream Parlour is located on the edge of a little village called Whitley overlooking both Huddersfield and Wakefield, in West Yorkshire. Their ice cream is made from the milk produced by their Jersey Cows that graze in nearby meadows. 

As soon as we got there, we went straight into the ice cream parlour to choose our favourite flavour. Oliver and Hubby had mango {Oliver chose it because it was yellow!}, Lydia had raspberry ripple and I had rum & raisin. To be honest it wasn't the best ice cream I've ever tasted but it was still really yummy.


There are loads of things to keep the kids entertained too. Oliver loved the huge inflatable slide and we couldn't get him off it. Poor Lydia was not happy that she couldn't go on as she's too small... she wants to do everything that her brother does. Oliver also had a ride on the Charlotte's Express miniature train which was fab and went round for ages! Then he went on the Quad Pods. I've never seen them before but it's a quad bike pulling five pods which are made from big plastic tubs! It rides around the adjacent field and is a really bumpy ride. I could see Oliver bouncing up and down but he loved it!


The playground was brilliant too. There is a tractor and combine harvester climbing frame. They were quite big but even Lydia managed to climb up and go down the slide. The downside was that the playground was a bit muddy due to all the rain last week, so they were both filthy... but that's always a sign that they had a good time!

There is also a bit of a farm too. Along with the Jersey cows,  there are mountain goats, chickens, geese, a very friendly donkey, two huge black pigs, and a peacock. The Darlings absolutely love anything involving animals and Lydia is especially enthralled by them. She was so cute shouting 'hiya ki-ki' at the chickens!

After all the rain we've had recently, it was so nice to spend some time outdoors in the fresh air with the sun not quite blazing but peeping out from behind the clouds. It was a really lovely afternoon.

The Versatile Blogger Award

23 July 2012

One of the things I love about blogging is how supportive bloggers can be of one another. We comment on each other's blogs, we share posts we enjoy, and we get to know (at least virtually) the other bloggers who are sitting behind their computers during naptime, just like we are.

One example of this bloggy love is the Versatile Blogger Award which is not exactly an award in the big fancy way, but is more just a little acknowledgement from one blogger to another to say 'Your blog is great!'

Many many thanks to The Vintage Boomer for giving me this award, go and check out her lovely blog... well do it after you've read this post!

7 Random Facts About Me:
 
1 // When I was pregnant with Oliver I was convinced we were having a girl so I was a bit shocked when he was born! We found out what we were having when I was pregnant with Lydia.
 
2 // My first job was when I was 13 years old. I worked in a Green Grocers shop for an hour a day after school, weighing out and bagging organic foods. I got paid £5 a week.
 
3 // Me and my best friend once went on holiday to Ayia Napa in Cyprus... we got tipsy on the first night and ended up at a Foam Party! 
 
4 // I really want an iPad or tablet thingy.
 
5  // The first ever concert I went to was Jason Donovan. I think it must have been about 1989 as I was 14 years old and was a huge fan.
 
6 // My hubby is one of six children. All but one of them who has had children, has had a boy first. 
 
7 //  I love roller coasters!
 
Now I'm supposed to nominate 15 - yes 15- bloggers for the award but I thought that was a bit excessive!  
So my nominees are:

Louise at Team Lloyd
Vicky at A Cupcake Mum
 
And finally the RULES:
  1. Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award
  2. Add the Versatile Blogger Award logo
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and put a link back to their blogs.
  4. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award and inform each nominated blogger by posting a comment on each blog
  5. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself
  6. In the same post, include this set of rules

Silent Sunday

22 July 2012

Gooey Caramel Shortbread

20 July 2012

I'm a cup of coffee girl. But I think these caramel shortbread slices would go perfectly with a cup of tea. But that's just my choice. They're sweet, gooey and chocolatey and perfect for when you've got two minutes to sit down with a cuppa.

These are perfect for a weekend baking session. They're very easy to make and there's minimal baking involved.  I found the hardest part was cutting them as the chocolate cracked in all directions and looked like crazy paving!


Caramel Shortbread

Makes 16
Preparation time 30 minutes (plus cooling and setting time)
Cooking time 20 minutes


150g self raising flour
125g butter (softened)
50g soft brown sugar
397g tin of Carnation caramel
150g milk or dark chocolate
150g white chocolate


Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Grease a square baking tin (approx 7 x 11 inch) and line with greaseproof paper.

Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix with a hand held electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix well on a medium speed until fully incorporated. Put in the baking tin  and press down firmly so the bottom of the tin is covered. It should be about 1.5cm thick.

Pop in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes until golden in colour. Leave to cool completely.

When the base has cooled, spoon the caramel on top and spread with a pallet knife or the back of a spoon until it completely covers the base and is an even thickness. Put in the fridge for half an hour to set the caramel.

Break up the milk chocolate and place in a bowl. Break up the white chocolate and place in a separate bowl. Melt gently over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Pour both melted chocolates over the caramel and swirl together with the back of a spoon. Leave the chocolate to set.

Cut into squares. Sit down with a slice  and a pot of tea.

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC

19 July 2012


How fast has this week gone?! It feels like yesterday that I was writing last week's R2BC. Having said that though, I keep getting my days mixed up this week and yesterday I kept thinking it was Thursday. Oh well I suppose one reason to be cheerful is that its nearly the weekend.

Anyway, please pop over to visit Mich at Mummy From The Heart who hosts this fab linky by clicking on the pic on the left.

Here comes the cheerfulness...


1 //  It's Oliver's last day at playgroup tomorrow. I'm a bit sad that he's leaving as he's loved it there but he's starting nursery school in September which will be a fantastic step for him and I think he'll love it. I'm baking some thank you cupcakes for his playgroup helpers tonight.

2 //  I'm having loads of time off work over the summer! I'm using quite a lot of my annual holidays to spend more time with the Darlings and we're planning a few days out including some trips to the seaside. 


3 // Lydia is starting to talk more and more, she's saying new words every day. She's picking up words really quickly and sounds so cute. She's been able to say 'yes' for a while but has always said 'yeah'. Yesterday she started saying it like 'yessss' and it's so adorable! Sometimes she just babbles at me and I don't have a clue what she's saying so I pretend to have a conversation with her.

4 //  Hubby is on the early shift this week so my mum and dad are looking after the Darlings while I'm at work in the morning. They give the Darlings breakfast, drop Oliver off at playgroup and pick him up. This week they've also taken Lydia to a different playgym or toddler group every morning. I absolutely appreciate every single thing they do for us. They're the best!

So what have you got to smile about this week? If you want to see what other people are cheerful about, pop on over to Mummy from the Heart to read their stories or follow the linky below!

Carrot Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

18 July 2012

Last week I attended a coffee morning at my friends house. She'd made various kinds of cupcakes, one of which were Carrot cupcakes. They were very yummy but had raisins in which I'm not keen on. So in the interests of competition {not that she knows this!} I thought I'd make some and see if I could do a better decent job. I'd already seen a recipe in my new baking book so thought I'd try that one. And I bought the cute chocolate carrot toppers weeks ago {I had to check they were still in date, and yes they were!} which were perfect.

The recipe made so many cupcakes that I took some into work for my team to try. I got some lovely comments and one of my colleagues even said they were the best carrot cupcakes she had ever tasted!

 Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 18
Preparation time 20 minutes
Baking time 20-25 minutes

Cupcakes
175g (6oz) butter (softened)
175g (6oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
2 tsp mixed spice
2 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 orange and 1tbsp juice
2 medium carrots (peeled and coarsely grated)

Frosting
400g (14oz) icing sugar
50g  (2oz) butter, softened
150g (5oz) cream cheese, cold 
1 tbsp orange juice 

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas mark 4. Place 18 paper cases into two bun trays.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until they become pale an fluffy. Use an electric whisk if you one. If not use a hand whisk. 

Sift the flour and mixed spice into the bowl. Then add the eggs, orange juice and zest. Whisk together until all the ingredients are will combined. 

Stir the grated carrots into the mixture. Divide the mixture equally between the 15 paper cases using a desert spoon or ice cream scoop.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in the middle of the oven until risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter in a large bowl with a hand whisk until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is completely incorporated. Now use your electric hand held whisk on medium speed and beat for a couple of minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Don't overbeat as it can quickly become runny.

Spoon or pipe the frosting on top of your cupcakes and use sprinkles of your choice. I used these fab chocolates carrots from Sainsburys.

Ten Minutes Of Peace

17 July 2012



On Sunday the Darlings and I left Hubby in bed to have a lie in (it was his first day off in 13 days) so I made them breakfast, got them dressed, washed and teeth brushed. Put the dishes away, emptied the washing machine (cursing Oliver's recent obsession with carrying a tissue in his pocket and me for not checking his pockets!), hung the washing out to dry, hoovered downstairs, swept the hallway, (at this point I sent Oliver to wake up hubby!) and got all our swimming stuff ready. After swimming and lunch at McDonald's, I brought the washing in, hung our swimming stuff out to dry, put all the dry clothes away, played with Oliver,  swept the kitchen, made dinner for everyone, cleaned up the post dinner mess, changed Lydia's exploded poo nappy, shouted at hubby for playing on his phone for the last two hours, and told him to keep the Darlings downstairs while I went for a shower.

It was bliss. Ten whole minutes to myself under a gorgeous hot shower. Those ten minutes made the stresses of the day melt away....

Then I heard two sets of little feet coming up the stairs and it was time for the bedtime mayhem to begin!

How do you relax? How often does it happen?

This Week I....

16 July 2012

Bought this new mug from Sainsbury's. I couldn't resist it, it just sums up my motto in life! It's now sat on my desk at work.

Took the Darlings to Costa Coffee. They had a Strawberry Cooler and I had a Chocolate Cooler. We all had mini muffins.

Made my first Banoffee Pie. I made it for dessert when my Mum and Dad came for tea. It was the easiest and quickest thing ever to make. It's one of my favourite desserts and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Spent an afternoon chilling and playing with the Darlings at home. Lydia dressed up in Oliver's doctors outfit. She looked so adorable.

Made some Carrot Cupcakes. It's the first recipe I've tried from my new recipe book. I took some to work for my team, and one lady even said they were the best carrot cakes she had ever tasted! 

We went to the Caribbean Carnival in our town yesterday. There is a Parade through the town centre with all the groups dressed in flamboyant costumes, playing Caribbean music and stalls selling traditional food. We had a fab time and the Darlings especially liked their ice creams.

Went swimming. We haven't been for a few weeks so it was nice to go again. We all had a lovely time and were starving when we got out so ended up having dinner at McDonalds!

What have you been up to this week? What was your highlight of the past week?

Silent Sunday

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC

12 July 2012

It's that time of week again. And I was determined not to be late with my R2BC again this week!

Anyway, please pop over to visit Mich at Mummy From The Heart who hosts this fab linky by clicking on the pic on the left.

Here comes the cheerfulness...

1 //  On Tuesday, Oliver and I went to visit the pre-school that he's going to in September. He loved it! He played in their kitchen and had loads of fun playing in the sand pit. I was really happy to see some of his friends from playgroup there too so, he'll know some other children. He was very cool about it and I thought it was a far bigger deal than he did!

2 //  I found out today that I'm definitely being promoted at work. I'm going back to my old job that I did before I had the Darlings! When I changed to part time hours after I had Oliver, I changed jobs within my department but it was a lower role. I actually enjoyed it for the first couple of years {even though it is quite a boring job!} but when my old job role became available I went for it. It's taken a long time to get a firm decision but {with all the bureaucracy!} but I've definitely got it and will be starting soon.

3 //  I've got a really quiet week this week. My diary is almost empty which is very rare but makes a pleasant change. There's no pressure to remember things and get things organised. So I'm going to enjoy the time and tonight I'm baking some Carrot Cupcakes that I've been wanting to do for ages.

So what have you got to smile about this week? If you want to see what other people are cheerful about, pop on over to Mummy from the Heart to read their stories or follow the linky below!

Christening Cupcakes

11 July 2012

I thought it would be nice to make some cupcakes for my niece's christening. So when I offered my services to my sister, she asked me to make some pink and lilac cupcakes to match the cake that she had already ordered. I decided to make half with vanilla sponge with pink icing, pink glitter sprinkles and a pink rice paper butterfly and the other half with chocolate sponge, lilac icing, lilac glitter sprinkles and a lilac butterfly. The cupcake wrappers and stand came as a free gift in a baking magazine called Cupcakes and Sweet Treats, that I bought a couple of months ago.


I spent the whole day baking on Saturday and did a bit more on Sunday morning when I decided to make a few more and decorate them all. It's lucky that I made a few spares as shortly after the photos below were taken, two cupcakes fell of the top tier of the stand and splatted on the table! 



I was really pleased with how the cupcakes turned out, they looked so cute and girly. I didn't see the cake beforehand so just winged it with the colours, but they were a perfect match. I had lots of lovely comments about them at the Christening, some people thought they'd been made by a professional not little old me! Most of all I was really happy that they were all scoffed!


The Most Rubbish Olympic Torch Photos Ever!

10 July 2012

Spot the Olympic Torch! You have to look very carefully, but it's there somewhere.



In my defence, I had a 36lbs three and a half year old on my shoulders, an 18 month old child asleep in the buggy by my side and I was being jostled and pushed by a crowd of thousands! Not ideal photo taking conditions. I've got serious torch envy... there are blog posts almost every day with the most fantastic, clear photos of the Olympic torch *sobs*

Ok here they are again, now I've sharpened them up a bit and pointed out the torch! What do you think?
 They're still not great but at least I got two photos of it.




Here are a few better photos of our 'Once In A Lifetime Olympic Torch Experience'...

My dad and my niece Amelia with the torch that Oliver made at playgroup


Lydia was so overwhelmed with excitement that she slept through the whole thing
The 'entourage' that preceded the arrival of the torch




They were trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy







Have you seen the Olympic Torch on it's travels? Did you get any good photos?!
 

Another New Baking Recipe Book!

9 July 2012

.
I just couldn't resist another baking book. The Book People come to work once a month and bring a selection of books which you can order at a seriously low price. There's always something that catches my eye but I loved this one because it's actually aimed at children {aged 7+}. It has a really simple step by step guide for each recipe with clear pictures to follow so you know you're doing it right. And I'll let you into a little secret. I'm notorious for not reading recipes properly! I know it's the first rule of baking, but I'm guilty of breaking it all the time. So I hope this book with the fab pictures and step by step instructions will help me break my bad habit!

Anyway there are over 75 recipes in it... cakes, muffins, biscuits, cookies, breads, desserts and of course cupcakes. I haven't made anything yet but there are lots of recipes that I want to try out... Banana and Buttermilk Cake, Rocky Road Cookies, Flapjacks, Baked Raspberry Cheesecake, Lemon Meringue Pie, Banoffee Pie, Carrot Cupcakes. That's just to start with. And of course I'll post each recipe that I try out on here.





  
What is your favourite?  I'm always on the look out for more!

Silent Sunday

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC

7 July 2012

With one thing and another I've not done my Reasons to be Cheerful for the last two weeks. I've really missed it. It's my absolute favourite linky! Although I'm two days late with it this week because I've had a busy week.... more about that below.

Anyway, please pop over to visit Mich at Mummy From The Heart who hosts this fab linky by clicking on the pic on the left.

Here comes the cheerfulness....


1 //  In my last R2BC I talked about my battles with Oliver. He was being so defiant and everything was a battle of wills. Well he's now behaving better because we started a reward chart for him. He's got five targets on it which are: no hurting, use kind words, do as you're told, share and no dummy {he's never even had a dummy but Lydia does, so he's recently become obsessed with having one too!} Each day just before bedtime we put the stickers on his chart that he's earned that day. And when he gets them all he gets a treat which this time is a new toy lorry {a cheap one!} So now if he's misbehaving, I warn him that if he continues he won't have his sticker and he'll go on the naughty spot. That usually does the trick so hopefully we're on the right track now.

Oliver and his cousin Amelia
2  //  It was Oliver's Graduation Concert at his playgroup this morning. I absolutely love the little concert that they have at the end of each term. The playgroup is in the community rooms of a church so the concert is held in the actual church and all the children sing a few songs. It's nice and simple as they're aged from 2 to 4 but it is just the cutest thing ever. Oliver hardly ever sings at home and at his last concert he stood right at the front and sang every word and did all the song actions {which made me cry}. The concert today was extra special because it was his last concert there as in September he's starting pre-school.

 3 //  It was my work's Summer Party last night. I haven't been to a works party for a long time so I was really looking forward to it. I wore my new maxi dress and sparkly sandals! There was a hog roast which was yummy with the most delish crackling ever! There was also a bucking bronco {I did not partake!}, hook-a-duck, coconut shy and mini golf games. And best of all free drinks! There were quite a few sore heads at work this morning... including me even though I only had 3 drinks!

4 //  I've lost 3lbs in the first two weeks back on my diet. I've found it quite easy to get back into the swing of things. I've been basically eating what I normally do but watching my portion sizes, weighing out food and eating low fat versions. I just need to make sure that I fill in my food diary every day as this really helps to keep me on track. I'm not sure how I'll have done this week after that hog roast and drinks last night though!

So what have you got to smile about this week? If you want to see what other people are cheerful about, pop on over to Mummy from the Heart to read their stories or follow the linky below!

Easy Peasy Chocolate Chip Cookies

6 July 2012

I baked some cookies. Don't worry I'm not diversifying or anything, cupcakes are still my 'thing'. I think I just fancied a change as Hubby and the Darlings seem to be getting a bit bored of cupcakes {how dare they!}

So I had a rummage through my old recipe books and came across an Annabel Karmel baby weaning book that I used when Oliver was a baby. The recipe was for white chocolate chip cookies but we didn't have any white chocolate so used smashed up chocolate buttons instead... Oliver loved that job! The second time I made them with dark chocolate chips and they were even nicer. It's the easiest and quickest recipe ever. They only need 10 minutes in the oven which means they're still soft when you take them out, so when they've cooled they are lovely and moist.

And even better news is, I worked out how may calories are in them and it's only 89 calories each. So I can have one as a treat with my cuppa when the Darlings are in bed!


Easy Peasy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 24
Preparation time 10 minutes
Baking time 10 minutes

100g unsalted butter softened
100g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
175g chocolate chips or chocolate buttons

Preheat oven to 190C {375F} Gas Mark 5. Line several baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Put the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with a hand held electric whisk on a slow speed. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the mixture and beat until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on high speed for a couple of minutes until it is all well mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips {or smashed up buttons} with a wooden spoon.

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place on the greaseproof paper. Be careful not to put them too close together as they spread a lot. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes. When done, they should be a lovely golden colour.

Carefully take them off the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!


My Motivation Is Back

4 July 2012

Back in February when I started blogging I was a few weeks into my new diet. It was going well. Really well. I was losing on average 2lbs a week. By April I'd lost 16lbs and was getting nice comments from people who'd noticed that I'd lost some weight. I felt better, a bit more confident and had more energy.

Then Easter arrived and it all went a bit wrong. The Darlings had a ridiculous amount of Easter eggs and chocolate, seriously they'd still be eating them now if me and Hubby hadn't helped out! This kind of threw me off track and I just never got back into the healthy eating properly. I didn't go mad though, I was still eating low fat things. Anyway, I could tell I'd put a bit of weight back on. 6lbs to be precise.

So now we've booked our holiday for next year {we're going to Menorca next May} and I've got my motivation back. I do not want to be the fattest woman at the pool or beach. I want to feel 'ok' in my swimsuit {no bikinis for me!} I know I'll never be skinny and I don't want to be, as that's not me

So I'm aiming to lose 1lb per week which is a sensible and do-able amount. It's 44 weeks till our holidays so if I lost another 44lbs {just over 3 stones} that would be flipping amazing. And 2 weeks in, I've already lost 3lbs so it's a good start. I'm back to logging everything on my food diary on Nutracheck, eating smaller portions and doing a bit of exercise. I'll put updates on my blog as to how I'm doing and fingers crossed that they'll mostly be telling you how it's going in the right direction.

The diet won't stop me baking though. I'll just have to resist all the yummy cupcakes that I make and start giving more of them away! !

Are you on a healthy eating plan {diet!}? How's it going? Share your story with me and we can help to motivate each other.