Thursday, May 11, 2017

7 Tips For Meal Planning

Hi, Do you ever get home from a long day at work and you have no idea what to cook or find the fridge is empty. Well today I'm talking about how much easier my life has been since taking a little time each week to plan meals. I plan my lunch/Tea for Monday-Friday, leaving the weekend open to spontaneity/takeaways.


Tips For Meal Planning


Bonuses of meal planning
  • Meal structure can lead to a healthy rate of weight loss.
  • Having a list will make shopping quicker.
  • A weekly menu takes the stress out of cooking.
  • Sticking to your list will stop spontaneous purchases, saving money and calories.
  • Helps you use up left over foods or things coming close to there use by date.

How to plan a weeks worth of meals

Tip 1. For breakfast and lunch try to keep it simple. Buy ingredients that will work for a few meals, a 500ml carton of yogurt, to have with frozen berries, will last you the week.

Tip 2. To plan your weekly meals start by looking at what you already have. Meal planning makes it easier to use up meat from the freezer or veggies left over from the previous week. Using up ingredients you already have lowers your weekly food bill and reduces food waste.

Tip 3. Using any ingredient you have found, work out the meals you want to eat for the next five days. You don't have to have anything fancy just stick to the foods you know you'll look forward to eating, this will stop temptation to change your meal plans later in the week.

Tip 4. When buying fresh plan meals that will use ingredients that are usable over a few recipes. A good example would be eggs, you have to buy a minimum of 6 so plan to use them before their use by date.

Tip 5. Write all your ideas down in no order and then work out what sides you would have with your choices, to keep meals interesting try to have a mixture of rice, noodles, pasta, vegetables or bread as a side. Now work on your final meal order.

Tip 6. Once you have your meal ideas write a shopping list of all the ingredients you need. Sticking to the list will help to stop spontaneous purchases which will save you money and stop the temptation to buy that bar of chocolate.

Tip 7. Make your meal plan visible, write in out in a place you will see it, I have a black board for this very reason. Seeing your daily meal will remind you of any preparation required (like getting the meat out of the freezer).

When meal planning remember it's only five days and then you get to start again next week. Keeping a record of your weekly meal plans and rotating them makes the selection of meals even quicker.

Do you think you would meal plan?
Sam

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Lush Review | Big Blue Bath Bomb

Hi, Today I'm reviewing Lush's Big Blue bath bomb. I don't know how but after repurchasing this bath bomb so many times I haven't reviewed it, I'm putting that right today. From my experience of claiming this bath bomb to be one of my favourites it seems to be a love it or hate it affair.


Big Blue Bath Bomb

Big blue is vibrant blue on the bottom and white on the top, detailed with an embossed Lush logo. A classic style bath bomb with a really fresh scent, there are normally visible hints of the seaweed hiding within. A very fast fizzer that doesn't last long, it's not got the best bath art but it's got so much more to offer. It's available all year round and is one of the Lush product I pick up if I want something familiar.

The bath bomb contains a mixture of Arame Seaweed, Fine Sea Salt, Lemon oil and Lavender oil. The seaweed softens in the water and releases iodine which helps to regulate the metabolism. The sea salt softens the skin while the oils add calming scents and antiseptic properties. This is a bath bomb I always reach for when I need a real therapeutic bath rather than one for the visual pleasure but I think it looks pretty dam cool.


The water is incredibly soft and after a long soak my skin always feels so much softer and refreshed. The colour of the water is this lovely turquoise blue/green depending on the lighting. As well as the change in water colour you get a really interesting effect in the water from the seaweed, which is what from my experience puts people off, I like it. My bath required a bit of a wash down after use but that's a norm with Lush bath bombs. If you're after a refresh then this is your bath bomb.
  
Have you tried the Lush Big Blue bath bomb?
Sam

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | April

Hi, I read two very different genres this month one about zombies the other was whimsical. According to Goodreads I'm a book ahead of my goal at the moment which makes me very happy. I've no idea what I want to read next (I've got a few books waiting for me, I just can't pick). 



Reading Challenge 12/35


Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy 1)

Author -
Page Count - 599
First Published - 2010
 
I wanted to read a book about Zombies and with the end of the walking dead looming I decided to pick up the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. I don't think I'd done too much research into this story line as I didn't want spoilers but it's not the kind of Zombie book I was really after but it was interesting in it's own way.

The book features a brother sister duo (who are both adopted and not related) living in the aftermath of a zombie uprising 20 years after the event. Society has found a way to continue by living along side zombies and things like the internet are still going strong. Georgia and Shaun alongside friend Buffy run a successful blog documenting and keeping the public knowledgeable about the zombies. They get an invite to be the personal team to document a presidential candidates campaign and that's where the story begins.

This was a lengthy book and I think that's why I'm not rushing to finish the series as the other books are just as big. The story looks at a zombie outbreak in some interesting way that I'm not sure I've seen so far (like the fact that everyone basically becomes vegetarian). If you're after a the dead are rising type book then this isn't for you, but if you're interested to see a world after then it was pretty interesting.


The Potion Diaries

Author - Amy Alward
Page Count - 356
First Published - 2015
 
Would it be weird if I said I wanted to read this book because the lead character is called Samantha? I wanted to read something lighthearted and that I knew I could finish relatively quickly after previously reading such a long book.

Samantha Kemi comes from a family of previously famous alchemists, who have a little potions store in Kingstown. The story is centered around the fact that the Princess of Nova accidentally administers a love potion to herself and this puts the whole kingdom in danger. A hunt is then called to all alchemist to find the cure before it's too late. There's an interesting mix of modern and magical which brings this book right up to date.

This book was kinda cheesy but I honestly loved how easy it was to get drawn into the story which had everything from young love, danger, trails of friendship and Unicorns. If you fancy a quick read that's not all that serious I'd really recommend, I think this would be a great book for younger readers as it's so innocent.

The Potion Diaries - Royal Tour

Author - Amy Alward
Page Count - 372
First Published - 2016
 
Obviously I had to read the follow up book as it was sat on my shelf. I always find writing about sequels hard as I'm scared of giving anything away from the previous story.

It contains a lot of the same elements as the first book but this time Samantha Kemi is searching for her great-grandmothers lost journal. It's believed that she created the most powerful potion for healing and now there's a rush on to find it first before anyone with sinister intentions finds it.

I think you could quite easily read this book as a stand alone as anything you might have missed is referenced again to fill in missed information or refresh your mind to the previous plot. I worried that this book might be a little repetitive but it's fast pace and descriptive scene setting makes it a really pleasant read.

What have you been reading? Are you working on a Goodreads goal?
Sam

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | May

Hi, Another month, another set of goals. With today being a bank holiday I'm trying my hardest to get ahead with blogging this month (emphasis on trying). I feel this month is going to be a busy one for meeting up with people and celebrating, also an expensive one. The weather is definitely on the warmer side and I want to make the most of it, I'd love to have my first BBQ of the season.


Goals for May
  • Survive a hen party
  • See Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Post five times this month
  • Cut down on my fizzy pop intake
  • Get to 200 Pokemon on PokemonGo
  • Start a DIY project
  • Book a trip away
  • Review my cruelty free progress
  • Try something new
  • Work on my Pinterest boards

At the end of the month I'm going to my cousins hen party weekend, we're off to Newcastle. I'm both looking forward to it and a bit scared (it's been a long time since I've been on a night out). I've never been on a hen do and I've got those classic images of willy straws and too much alcohol. I'm sure the experience will be full of new things but I want to set out and consciously do something new this month.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and need to hurry up and get my butt to the cinemas. Are you still playing PokemonGo? I'm currently at 199 Pokemon in the Pokedex, I'm so close to 200. I'd also like to cut down on how much fizzy pop I drink, it's become a really bad habit.

From the perspective of blog goals I'd like to post at least five times (more would be nice). I'd also like to work on my Pinterest boards more (for DIY and home interior ideas) and somehow work it into an interesting blog post. I also really need to look at what I still need to change in my daily routine to be more cruelty free (would you like to see how I'm doing?).

Have you got any plans for the month ahead or tips for hen party's?
Sam

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

April in Review

Hi, I started this month so well with posts and then life got in the way and it's been a bit quiet on the blog since. April has flown by and I don't feel like I've really achieved anything astounding this month but these posts are such a motivation boost.

Goals for April 7/10
  • Buy some flowers/Plants
  • Start decorating our living room
  • Finish Pok√©mon Sun
  • Have a day trip
  • Go to the cinemas
  • Start selling unwanted clothes
  • Try a new hair style
  • Finish three books to stay on target
  • Drive somewhere new
  • Try a new recipe

My love of playing PokemonGo (yes I'm still playing) inspired me to take my car on a little road trip to go stock up on Onix candies at a local nest point (I use The Silph Road to locate nests). It was the first time I've used a SatNav in my 7 years of driving and it was equal parts helpful and annoying, but an experience. Talking of Pokemon I finally sat down and finished the elite four on Pokemon Sun, now I'm back to working on my Pokedex.

I didn't do any decorating of the inside of the house but we did have a weekend of gardening which included cutting the grass and trimming the hedges (which we plan to remove asap). We also purchased some slate to cover some unsightly flower beds we don't want to maintain. I've bought some big planters and planted some low maintenance plants which I love.

For my day trip I jumped on a train and went to Manchester to see my friend from London. We had a fun day of shopping and cocktails which went by way too quickly. I used this day as a reason to try and do something new with my hair and decided to go for a half up half down look which I think looked really pretty.

I'm yet to start selling my clothing because I can't seem to find the time to take photos (must get this done!). I went to the cinemas and watched Beauty and the Beast for the second time and it was just as good as the first. I've not quite finished my third book of the month but I'm too close to not include it.

 How was your month, did you do anything new?
Sam

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lush Review | Ups-A-Daisy Bath Bomb

Hi, Today I've got a review of the Ups-A-Daisy bath bomb which was part of the Mother's day collection. It's still available online (at the time of me writing this post) so I'm sure it's still in store to pick up. This is a really pretty bath bomb and the shape makes a nice change from the more traditional style.


Ups-A-Daisy Bath Bomb




The bath bomb contains a mixture of Rosewood oil, Orange oil and Rose absolute, it has a lovely citrus and floral scent. As you can see from the photos Ups-A-Daisy has different colours on either side, these mix together to create the deepest orange. Due to it's shape and the fact that it was a very slow fizzer the bath bomb bubbled away and created a sun burst in the bath water. I instantly noticed how soft the water felt using this bath bomb and my skin was really moisturised after my bath.


Another thing I found interesting about this bath bomb was the amount of bubbles it created, I find bath bombs leave the water a little flat but this one created lots of bubbles. Ups-A-Daisy also contains the tiniest amount of glitter luster which gave the water a little sparkle but not enough to transfer to skin once you get out of the tub. In contrast the scent stuck around which was a lovely little extra as it smelt so good. If I was gifted this bath bomb I'd be over the moon so Lush have done good with this one.

 Have you tried the Lush Ups-A-Daisy bath bomb?
Sam

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

10 Fun Things To Do Offline

Hi, This post is going to be the biggest contradiction because I’m technically suggesting you stop reading blog posts to go do something that doesn’t require the internet. I’ve got a selection of ideas for fun things that you could do that require neither the internet or a screen.


10 Fun Things To Do Offline


Go For A Walk
Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and scenery. Use it as a reason to try that new coffee place or find a hidden wonderland in the great outdoors.

Do Some Baking
Get creative in the kitchen and you'll have something yummy to enjoy. Maybe pick a themed bake or test a new recipe.

Look Back At Photographs
It's always fun to have a look back down memory lane. Looking at your younger self is always a blast from the past.

Make A Scrap Book
Any excuse to buy all the pretty paper and decorative things to create something to show off. Use photos you've found while looking through the family albums.

Call Someone
Make some time to talk with someone and catch up on each others lives. Why not meet up face to face and turn your phone to airplane mode. 

Have A Bath
Preferably with lots of bubbles and brightly coloured water. Light some candles and create a relaxing space.

Read A Book
Multitask and read a book while in the bath or chill in your favourite reading place. Travel to a new world or get caught up in a mystery.

Colouring
There are so many colouring books that you're bound to find one you love. Reverting back to simple pleasures is one of the funnest things to do. 

Learn A New Skill
Learn an instrument or start a new hobby. Crafts are a great way to spend time offline and you can even end up with gifts or home ware when your projects are complete. 

Play A Board Game
Everyone has a favourite board game, dust it off and spend an afternoon pretending you're having a power cut.

What's your favourite thing to do offline?
Sam

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