November Favourites

I haven’t done a favourites post in a while and thought #blogmas was the perfect time to bring it back.  Here is what I have been loving this month.

Netflix – Salem

I have been watching this while Ste has been in hospital as it isn’t really his cup of tea.  I have really been enjoying it though and have enjoyed looking more into the history of the Salem witch trials as a result (I am a bit of a history geek).  I am about half way through the second season now and there are three online, will hopefully be finished the whole lot by Christmas.

I also finally got round to watching Bridget Jones’s Baby and really enjioyed it!  Perfect for a cosy, girlie night in!

Aldi Cheddar and Cracked Black Pepper Thins

I picked these up in Aldi and they are super delicious.  Perfect for a snack with some homemade salsa or with a little cheese spread on – I hope I will be able to find them in there again.  That is one of the only problems with Aldi – they don’t have everything in there everytime you go in!

Starbucks Eggnog Latte

So so pleased to see these back in Starbucks!  I have never tried proper Eggnog before and think I need to give it a go this Christmas, but these taste amazing!

Asda Red Pepper and Wensleydale Soup

Nothing says Winter to me like a bowl of soup!  I often pick up two or three of the fresh soup cartons from Asda when I do the shopping, which do me two meals each.  This month I saw this one for the first time and it is really tasty!  I took out the pieces of pepper skin as my ostomy would definitely object if I ate those, but they are quite big and easy enough to remove.  I also love the Broccoli and Stilton one they do too.

MakeUp Revolution Advent Calendar


Ste got me the Yankee Candle Advent Calendar and this year he has got me this one – I love it!  Really cant wait to open the doors and see what is inside.  Be sure to be following mwe on Instagram as I will be sharing what I get over on my stories!

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Christmas Tree Scent Sticks

I picked these up in B & M and they smell amazing!  Can’t wait to pop them in my tree so the whole living room smells of them!

Geeky Melts Wax Melts

Everyone who knows me, knows I love my candles and wax melts.  I was really pleased to be sent some wax melts from Geeky Melts to try.  They worked really well for two burns and the scents were amazing and different from any I had had from other places.  I love the different designs they do (including fab Christmas ones at the moment) and think  they would make perfect gifts.

Check out Geeky Melts on

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Etsy Shop

I do hope you have enjoyed my little round up this month.  I am sure there will be LOTS for me to share in the December round up – it is one of my favourite months of the year after all!  What have you been enjoying this month?  Let me know in the comments below so I can try them out,

Meal Planning & Saving Money

As it’s January and this year I really want to try and save money and pay off my debts, I’ve got back on the meal planning train. I used to always shop like this but the last few months have been a bit up and down as the boys aren’t here to cook for all the time and I have been back and forwards to Ste’s quite a bit. Hopefully everything will settle down a bit this year as we are in a good routine and I am getting back to something I love to do – cook!

Using a meal plan is a great way to try new foods and recipes, as well as save money. I thought I would go through the way I plan my meals and then shop, as if you are looking to do either of these things this year you might find a bit of motivation.

First, I get some inspiration for meals to try. I like looking online, Pinterest is amazing! I also check recipes from my friends (Stephie at Colitis To Ostomy does a great Meatless Monday post every week and Louise at Crohns Fighting has some fab Thai recipes on her blog). I love picking up the freebie supermarket magazines too as they often have some great recipes in. I then sit and ‘ostomy proof’ them, as well as perhaps changing up some of the ingredients or the method. I like to take a recipe and make it my own! You can also plan breakfast and lunches but I don’t always go this far. I make sure I have bread, toast and sandwich fillers, crackers, eggs, cereal, soup etc so I can all sorts of things for these meals depending on what I feel like.

From that I can then make a shopping list of what I need. Often my cupboards have a good supply of herbs, spices, stock etc so I make sure I’ve got all those types of things in already so I don’t repurchase unnecessarily. Then add in all the other necessities like toilet roll and washing up liquid.

A great tip from here for people like me who can’t always manage a supermarket shop, is to shop online. So easy to set up and most supermarkets cover most areas now so you can choose your favourite. Have your list by your side and only buy what you need. Not browsing the aisles cuts down alot on buying too many ‘goodies’ that you see on the shelves and just like the look of.

If I want to go out and shop I will make my first stop Aldi. Definitely the best and cheapest I’ve found and I really like it in there. It’s five minutes in the car from me, so local too. There are some things that you just won’t find there and some things (for example their crisps) which I just don’t like, so then I head to Asda.

I was very pleased with myself for heading around Asda and only buying what I needed from there yesterday. I had my list with the two things I couldn’t get in Aldi (tarragon and coconut milk) and I wanted crisps, cereal, Actimel and the dog’s food. I also checked out the whoops section, and managed to get some meat which had been reduced.

When I got home I added these bargains to my meal planning list so I now have a full list of meals. I don’t plan to have certain things certain nights (unless the boys are here or someone is round for tea) so just mark them off when I’ve made them. I always make a family sized meal and freeze the leftovers. This is great for when I’m not feeling too good and don’t want to be cooking. There’s plenty of meals in the freezer to defrost and heat up when I’m hungry.

Just for the nosey ones among you who want to see the list, here it is!

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My Meal List (January)

I hope to be able to share some of the recipes with you over the coming weeks too. I have no great photography skills and my food doesn’t always look great in the photos, but it’s always tasty and not too difficult to recreate.

So to round up my top five best money saving and meal planning tips are

1) Create a meal plan, then a shopping list from this so you only buy the food you need

2) Try Aldi! I am super impressed with their prices, the fresh fruit and veg and the meat is amazing

3) Shopping online isn’t the time saver it can be made out to be but it does save you money by helping you stick to your list and if you are disabled, it’s an invaluable service

4) Check out recipes from the internet. As I said above, Pinterest is brilliant and you can check out my recipes by clicking here. If there’s something in there you don’t like, swap it for something you do! Play around with different foods and techniques and make a recipe your own.

5) Freeze leftovers. Don’t throw away perfectly good food. Pop it in a freezer tub and it will be perfect for those days you are in a rush or not up to cooking

Do you have any other fab tips? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Lucy At Home

BlogMas Day 23 – December Favourites

So with it being BlogMas I haven’t done a Five Friday Favourites post in a while, so I thought I would round them up in a monthly favourites post instead. There is a whole range of different things to share so I hope you enjoy reading through and maybe get some inspiration to give some of them a try yourself!

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First up is the current book I’m reading, Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher. I am only just over half way but it’s a real can’t put downer and I’m sure I will have it finished very soon. I will be sure to post a review once I have completely finished to let you all know what I think, but if you are looking for an easy, enjoyable, girlie read, this one is for you!

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Next up is the six part series of Alias Grace I’ve just finished watching on Netflix. Set in 19th century Canada, it’s the story of Grace, who was found guilty of murder in her teens. She is visited by a doctor, employed to see if she can be released on grounds of insanity and she tells him her story. I really enjoyed the series and was completely sucked in from the first episode. There was a slightly unexpected twist near the end for me but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable and although left with questions, I’m happy it ended the way it did. So did she or didn’t she?!

 

 

Next up are these two, my wonderful parents. They have been there for me through another difficult month with having Ste in hospital as well as the boys not being here every day to keep me going. They are currently going through a lot themselves, which I will go into at another time, yet they still make time for us and make sure we are all ok. I don’t tell them enough I’m sure, how lucky and grateful I am to them so here I am, telling everyone – my parents are amazing! Love you both!

 

 

I received this amazing artwork as a gift and it is truly beautiful. It’s going to go up in our bedroom which we are currently getting sorted and decorated as I want to use touches of pink and purple in there to go with the cream and light grey for a pop of colour. It is the first piece of ‘proper’ artwork I have owned and it is all marked up as only so many of each one is reproduced so it has an exclusivity about it. It comes from a website called Stag & Raven (which you can visit here) who specialise in tattoo art. Me and Ste both have tattoos and they are pretty popular in the IBD community. Many of my friends have some beautiful pieces, covering up scars and around their bags etc. The prices are super reasonable for what you get and they come well packaged and are very high quality. Definitely a good one to check out if you want some amazing pieces for your house at great prices, or are looking for a special gift.

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I was super pleased to receive my cards through the post this month. I’m planning on attending some events next year and want to be able to make the blog bigger, well known and trusted amongst mum’s, ostomates and spoonie’s alike. I’m looking forward to some exciting opportunities and these will help me be able to connect with more people, more easily. I also got a matching pen for when I’m out and about so everyone knows who I am!

 

 

We have all been really impressed with the Wilkos Blox Advent Calendar. So much cheaper than the Lego version at only £8 but some great little models which the boys have really enjoyed putting together. They have now had a few sets of these (and Santa may be bringing some more). The price is so much more reasonable than Lego but they do connect with the Lego bricks so the boys can put it all together and play as one toy. The castle is pretty epic (and only £20), Leo enjoyed putting the bus together for last year’s Advent and the dragon family was another favourite. Definitely worth checking out if you have a Lego fan!

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I had to include my new mug in my favourites! Those of you who follow me on Instagram (check out http://www.instagram.com/thespooniemummy) will have seen it already but I couldn’t resist. It came from B&M and was only £1.50. It is a good size and covered in my favourites – flamingoes!

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I got one of my Christmas presents from Ste early as it was my advent calendar. I was so pleased he got me this one, as although he sometimes moans about the amount of candles I buy, he knew I would love it. The scents are gorgeous and Christmassy and Yankee really are one of the best at making your whole house smell amazing. Did you have an Advent this year? Let me know which one in the comments below.

 

 

I am so pleased my local Asda has started to stock the ‘wonky veg’ boxes. They are just £3.50 each and you get plenty of veg for the whole week in there! It’s supposed to be the stuff that is less aesthetically pleasing but for the most part I see nothing wrong with it and the taste is certainly no different! The only extras I’ve needed to buy are more potatoes and some garlic and I’ve had two now. Brilliant bargain for families so make sure you keep an eye out in your local Asda.

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And last but not least, me and Riley made our front cover debut on the Winter edition of Respond’s magazine, Connect. This was a gorgeous photo taken by my mum last Winter. We had such a great day, seeing a Christmas show and then going ice skating. The boys hadn’t done it before (and neither had I since being a teen) but we all had an amazing time. Check out the online magazine here and you will be able to find details on the website about how you can receive your copy through the post. The magazine is full of great content and also features my lovely co-host of The IBD & Ostomy Support Show, Louise and her story.

So there’s a round up of some of my favourites this month. From January I will be doing a monthly, rather than weekly round up of my favourite things as I am planning to change around my schedule a bit. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite things this month have been and I look forward to reading them.

BlogMas Day Four – Gingerbread Star Cookies

Nothing smells as Christmassy as some mulled wine warming and some gingerbread cooking.  Yesterday we had my mum, dad and brother over for Sunday lunch so thought we would get them in the festive spirit.  Leo loves cooking and baking so he took the helm to make some Gingerbread biscuits while I focused on the roast. I told Leo what he needed to do but he was able to measure out ingredients and prepare the dough pretty much by himself.  He did an awesome job and they were amazingly yummy so we thought we would share our recipe with you so you could give it a go!

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Gingerbread Star Cookies

What You Need

  • 3.5 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 75g The Groovy Food Company organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

What You Do

Add the golden syrup, sugar and coconut oil to a saucepan.  Heat on a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved

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Place flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a mixing bowl.  Stir together then make a well in the middle and pour in the sugar mixture

Stir together to form a dough

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Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes to firm up

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Place the dough between two sheets of baking parchment.  Roll out to around the thickness of a £1 coin

Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the cookies, we used a star shape

Bake at fan 170 (190/gas mark 5) for around 10-12 minutes until golden

Remove from oven and transfer to cool and harden

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Mix icing sugar with a little water to make paste and top cooled biscuits

Decorate!  We used silver balls and shimmer spray for some festive sparkle

As I said, these were really excellent and extremely tasty!  Everybody enjoyed them and Leo got a big thumbs up for a fantastic batch of gingerbread!

We received this jar of organic extra virgin coconut oil from The Groovy Food Company to try out and it was fantastic and easy to use in this recipe. Coconut oil has many different uses including for your face and hair as well as in cooking.  I am really impressed with this first time using it so can’t wait to try it again.  I also saw the same jar available on rollback in Asda last week for £3.99 instead of £4.99 so now is a great time for you to give it a go too!

I would love to hear what you have used coconut oil for – I have seen so many uses online but it is always nice to hear personal reviews!  Please let me know in the comments below

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About The Groovy Food Company

The Groovy Food Company is an award-winning British brand committed to sourcing and producing natural foods that taste delicious and nourish the body’s overall health and wellbeing. To view the full collection of The Groovy Food Company’s recipes please visit http://www.groovyfood.co.uk/recipes

The Groovy Food Company on Social Media

Website: http://www.groovfood.co.uk

Twitter: @thegroovyfoodco

Facebook: thegroovyfoodcompany

Instagram: thegroovyfoodcompany

 

Disclaimer – I am sometimes gifted things to try out but all reviews are honest and my own opinion

My Desk Tour

As some of you will know, I recently started my Open University degree again.  I am studying part time and so far have completed 120 credits, just 240 to go till I am finished!  My module this year (for another 60 credits) is ‘Working With Children, Young People and Their Families and so far I am really enjoying it,  My first assignment is due in next week so I am hitting the books hard at the moment.

I have recently purchased some new things for my desk area and thought I would show you the bits I have got to make my work space somewhere I want to be spending time!  I hope you like them and maybe find a bit of inspiration if you are looking at revamping your desk space with some great and very affordable pieces.

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So this is where I spend alot of my time – doing my uni work and writing my blog posts!  I also co-host The IBD & Ostomy Support Show from this desk and you can catch me live every Thursday at 8pm, aswell as check out the previous shows on our YouTube page here.

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I picked up these bits from Asda a couple of weeks ago.  The lamp was great value and was only £6 or £8.  It is slightly too tall to fit under the shelves but I am planning to move those up higher once Ste is out of hospital and then it will fit much better!  It has a touch base and three levels of light, I have it on the brightest setting generally as I work.  The white pineapple is actually a wax candle burner too and I thought it might be handy to add something smelly that will keep me alert and working on late night study sessions!  It was only £4 and I didn’t really buy it as a wax burner, just because I liked it alongside the smaller, silver pineapple ornament which was £3.

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These are two candles which I love and just add some more ‘pretty’ to the area.  The pineapple one smells amazing and is from HomeSense, one of my favourite shops.  It was £6.99 and I love that even once the candle is used up I can keep the pineapple glass jar and put another candle in there.  The pink flamingos tealight holder was a bargain £1 sale purchase from Primark at the end of Summer.  I really like the homeware section in Primark, they have lots of brilliantly priced and lovely bits and often have a lot of the stuff that is currently in fashion in their stores.  This has been perfect for me as I love the tropical and flamingo stuff that has been so popular this Summer!

 

I keep printer paper, punched pockets and notepads in the drawer section of the desk.  I am a sucker for a cute notepad and Ste is always telling me I don’t need anymore but these two were too nice to pass up!  They were both from The Works and one says ‘If You Like Pina Coladas’ and the other ‘This Is Where I Keep My Imagination’.  They are both lined and fit in with my pineapple, flamingo and unicorn themed pieces on the desk.  You can never have too many notebooks though right?

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I absolutely love these wooden boxes and they were just £1 each from Poundland.  I have this one in grey with some stationary bits in and a white one on the top of my shelves where I keep mail that needs filing away.    The glitter, glass pen pot is one of my most recent favourite purchases and was £2 from a great new shop I have discovered in Intu Derby.  I can’t remember the name of it but if you really want to know it, please pop me a message and I will find out and get back to you!  I also have some unicorn themed stationary and post it notes which have come from The Works and Poundland, super pretty but super affordable too!

The grey pull out, plastic drawers you can see in the first photo are also fab for keeping bits like my stapler, paperclips and pencils all together and tidy too.  I bought them from Asda for £5 ages ago and there is a fourth drawer which I have taken off so it fits in the space.  Keeping the area looking nice and also being clutter free is definitely important for me.  The more cluttered my desk looks, the harder it is to write.

I hope you liked this little run through of my work space.  Now you know where I am sitting when I am writing all my posts for you and I hope I have inspired you if you are looking at updating your own desk.  There are some fantastic and really affordable pieces out there and it doesn’t cost a lot to makeover a small area like this at all.  HomeSense, The Works, Primark, Asda and Poundland are definitely great places to check out and I recommend them all at the moment!  I am really pleased with how it has all come together and it is definitely somewhere I feel like sitting and working.

Please share photos of your desk spaces below in the comments  and let me know your favourite ways to decorate them that inspire and motivate you!