Spring Cleaning Week – April Challenge

Good morning, happy new week and happy new month! Today sees the start of my Spring Cleaning week – I will be posting blogs here and videos over on my YouTube channel all week about cleaning! Today I am starting with the return to my monthly challenge posts. Last month I didn’t do one as I spent a lot of it in hospital, so there isn’t one to review and I will plunge straight in to what I plan on doing this month.

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Recipe – Homemade Chilli

Today I didn’t have a traditional Sunday Roast, I really fancied a chilli. I cooked it from scratch and shared on Instagram and people asked for the recipe I had used so here goes!

Ingredients

Ingedients

Approx 300g minced beef

Five large mushrooms, diced (as an ostomate I have to cut these really small so they don’t affect my stoma but it’s also good for if you have picky kids – mine ‘dont like’ mushrooms but I put them in all sorts and they always eat it!)

Red pepper, diced

Large onion (I used two as they were small), diced

Two cloves of garlic, minced

Can of chopped tomatoes

Two tbsps tomato puree

1 tsp cumin

A cup of beef stock

Two tsp chilli powder (I used one hot and one mild, but do this to your taste depending on how spicy you like it)

You can also add a can of red kidney beans – I didn’t as my stoma doesn’t like them!

How To Make It

  1. Spray a large saucepan with spray oil and brown the mince
  2. After tipping off any excess fat, add the onion and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until softened
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock, tomato puree, pepper, mushrooms, chilli powder, cumin and red kidney beans (if using). Reduce to a simmer, stir and cook for 15-20 minutes
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir and serve
  5. I served with tortilla chips and a sour cream and chive dip but you could also serve with white rice or over baked potatoes
Delicious!

This has made two decent sized portions and I’ve saved the rest to have with a jacket potato tomorrow. You could easily increase the amount of mince to 500g without having to change the sauce ingredients to make this a family sized meal, you could also bulk it out with more veggies.

What did you have for Sunday dinner today? A traditional roast or something a bit different? Let me know in the comments below,

Book Review – First Rhyme Mum

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I was recently contacted by the author Leanne Stoneley on Twitter (@MomRhyme) and asked to review her new book, First Rhyme Mom. Poetry is not one of my favorite genres but I took a look at her profile and website and really liked the sound of it, so agreed!

First Rhyme Mom

The Blurb

HUMOROUS, HONEST, HEARTFELT: A poetic journey through pregnancy and the first six months of motherhood. Split into two sections – one for pregnancy and the other for the first six months of motherhood – this collection of 40 poems covers topics, such as: announcing a pregnancy, giving birth, the lack of sleep, the highest and lowest emotions felt, the mommy social world, weaning, the funny bits, having ‘me time’, as well as a whole host of other things pregnancy and early motherhood thrust upon us! Written in a thought-provoking, original and relatable way, this collection is the perfect companion and keepsake for every parent and those soon to be. This is the first book in the ‘First Rhyme Mom’ series.

What I Thought

Well, I am so glad I moved out of my reading comfort zone to give this one a try – I loved it!

Leanne’s poems were a fab mix of the relatable (‘Fine’), to the funny (OMG! (Ode To Having A Wee)), to the beautiful (Sunbeam) and pretty much everything in between. It was modern, with current parenting ‘trends’ addressed within it’s covers, as well as with some of the feelings that mother’s to be and new mum’s have been experiencing for years.

This would make an ideal baby shower, new mum or mother’s day gift and I highly recommend a read by all mummies!

Extract From ‘…For Doing Wrong’

“What do I do? I’m a first time mom,

and all these feelings have me in a daze.”

“You need to do what’s right for you both;

we all have our own little ways.

By all means take on board what you need,

but don’t be swayed because opinion is strong,

as then you’ll feel pulled in different directions

and that you can’t do right for doing wrong.”

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Leanne Stoneley ‘ …For Doing Wrong’

Buy now on Amazon UK – Paperback or Kindle

The Author – Leanne Stoneley

Leanne has worked as an English Language teacher for fifteen years and spent the majority of her twenties living in Japan and Spain, as well as in London, Birmingham and Leeds, UK. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Now in her mid-thirties, motherhood has taken her on a whole new adventure and is one she absolutely had to write about.
Leanne now lives back in her home region of the West Midlands, UK, with her husband and daughter.

Check out the First Rhyme Mom website

Giveaway

Leanne has kindly gifted me an extra copy of the book to giveaway. I have added some goodies as well, so to be in with a chance of winning a little Mummy care gift parcel please head over to my Instagram page to find the giveaway post going live today (Monday 18th March 2019).


Thank you for reading this review and I hope it has left you wanting to read more of this fab little book. What books have you read recently that have been a step out of your comfort zone? Let me know in the comments below, and how you found it! Don’t forget to head over to my Instagram page and enter the giveaway which will run till Friday – good luck!

I was gifted this book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. Clicking on an affiliate link will; not affect your purchase in any way but may earn me some extra pennies!

Blog Tour Book Review – From Mum With Love

AD | Gifted

When I got the chance to join the tour for this one, it couldn’t have been more perfect – a book about a new mummy blogger. Yes please!

From Mum With Love by Louise Emma Clarke

The Blurb

Full-time mum Jess has had enough, and her husband, Chris, has just the solution to vent her frustrations – a blog.

Jess loves her daughter more than anything, but sometimes she just wants a little bit of freedom – some time for herself. Queue a laptop, a glass of wine and the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Overnight Jess’s inbox is full of notifications and before long she is officially a ‘mummy blogger’ but this new life comes with its own set of rules and regulations. With Queen of the Bloggers, Tiggy, blanking her in public, people recognizing her on the street and her life decisions suddenly judged by strangers Jess’s idea of ‘me time’ is slowly becoming a full-time job.

Will Jess be able to find the right life/work balance? Or will she wish she’d never turned to a world online?

What I Thought

Well this book didn’t let me down, I really enjoyed the read. The author herself writes her own blog and has three young children, which inspired the story. I am now following her on Instagram and look forward to reading her blog posts.

I really loved the honest way she wrote about the first year of motherhood and the troubles Mums so often face. I felt like I could identify with so much of what she wrote – the nerves of attending the mummy and baby groups for the first few times, the loneliness, the feelings towards your partner after they have gone back to work and you get that dreaded text – I am going to be late home!She balances this nicely with the pure elation that being a Mum brings, which I really loved. I felt a part of her and her group of mummy friends – some lovely people who I couldn’t help feeling that I would be friends with as well.

I did feel the blogging part was a little bit rushed. I suppose to be able to fit in with the timeline of the book, it had to work out pretty quickly. I am sure there are some bloggers that experience this immediate and amazing success as soon as they begin blogging. However, in my experience, it starts slowly and takes a lot of work and patience to build a successful blog. I enjoyed reading about the experiences she had with the blogging community though, and feel this could be a definite reflection of the way thugs can be. I am lucky enough to have met some amazing people through my blogging work, but have heard of some people experiencing issues.

I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to book two. Definitely worth a read!

Where To Buy

Amazon

Google Play

Kobo

iBooks

The Author – Louise Emma Clarke

Louise’s blog, Mum of Boys and Mabel has over 100k followers. Having moved to Dubai with her family she’s now back in the UK and is enjoying writing. From Mum with Love is her debut novel.

Follow Louise

Facebook: @mumboysandmabel

Twitter: @mumofboysmabel

Follow Aria

Website

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Thankyou to Aria for including me on this blog tour. I was gifted the book in return for my honest review. Check out other reviews oat the blogs below

Autumn Activities For Kids

Thought I was all clever and organised getting this scheduled didn’t I?  Not realising that I would wake up poorly after a lay and realise it had already been sent out to my email subscribers unfinished!  Urgh!  Life with chronic illness is unpredictable to say the least!

Today I wanted to share some of our favourite Autumn activities with you.  Not being able to get out and about as much can be really difficult.  Children have so much energy they still need to use up, but the weather, particularly here in the UK, can be unpredictable to say the least.

Autumn Walk

This is definitely one of our favourite things to do in the Autumn and the kids love being able to get outside.  It really is one of the most beautiful seasons isn’t it?

We were lucky enough to be sent this amazing Nature Exploring Kit from the lovely people at Anthisan.  They had seen that we like to get out and about, especially with the dogs and after both Ste and Leo getting wasps stings within a week of one another this was a perfect collaboration for us!

 

They have been running a fun campaign celebrating the great outdoors and encouraging people to enjoy insects in the outside world and not be fearful of them.  Although Leo was a little cautious after his sting, the boys really enjoyed getting out and about looking for bugs.  I don ‘t know about where you live but we saw LOADS of ladybirds here, they seem to be everywhere at the moment!

anthisan

Anthisan can be used on insect bites, stings and also on nettle rash so is brilliant, especially for nature lovers and dog walkers like us!  It can be used on adults, the elderly and children over the age of two.

Find out more about Anthisan on their website including where to buy/buy online options
Nature Explorer Set available in Marks & Spencers

Leaf kicking and collecting, photographing, conker and acorn collecting are some of the other activities we love to do in the Autumn.  Autumn treasure hunts are also great fun and kids love them, especially if you tell them they can have a treat if they can spot everything on their list!

Crafting

After a walk why not turn the leaves you have collected into an amazing piece of artwork?  You could use them to collage with, do leaf rubbings of and lots more.  Pinterest is great for inspiration and you can follow me over there by clicking here.

We also had a fun afternoon painting some rocks that we had collected.  Spray them with yacht varnish to seal (you can buy this for £1 in Poundland and similar stores) and hide them while out and about for others to find.  I am a member of the Derbyshire Rocks Facebook group and there are ones for all different regions on there!

I recently did a Halloween craft post – 10 Halloween Paper Plate Craft Activities For Kids

Puddle Jump

Sometimes (especially in England) it just does not stop raining so just embrace it!  Get your coat and wellies on and go for a walk, letting your kids jump and splash to their hearts content!

Home, clothes in the washing machine, hot shower/bath and a hot chocolate for after!

Burning energy – Play Centres and Trampoline Parks

Yes I know, I know!  I hate them too BUT in the winter they can be a godsend.  When you have spent a couple of days stuck inside because of the weather and everyone is getting cabin fever these places can be brilliant.  And the joy of your kids being that little bit older means you can go sip on a nice cuppa while they play!  If you have younger ones, yeah you might be OK skipping the gym that day!

Cinema

We all love going to the cinema.  The last film we went to see with the boys was Smallfoot and we all loved it!  We can’t wait for The Crimes of Grindelwald (huge HP fans in our house) and also The Nutcracker film.  Think we will also go and see The Grinch in December – Riley is a massive Dr Seuss fan!

Board and Card Games / Jigsaws

We all love a board game and have got quite a few!  Firm favourites include Frustration (we have the Minion version), Game Of Life, any Top Trumps (Leo got a footballer version and Riley a Horrible Histories version for their birthdays) and Uno.

I am a bit rubbish at jigsaws but the boys are great and we do enjoy a challenge.  Our current one that we are doing is a 1500 piece London one.

We also have a JigRoll which means the jigsaw does not have to be left out on the side, they can be rolled up and put away and then taken out again when we want to carry on!

Toasting Marshmallows.

Marshmallows – tasty treat, great for ostomates for thickening their output and even better when toasted.  We love sitting by the fire outside, chatting, snuggling and enjoying a sweet treat.

Baking

Leo especially loves helping out in the kitchen – whether its helping with breakfast or the Sunday Roast or conjuring up something sweet for us to enjoy.  Again, Pinterest is great for ideas and to make it even simpler you can get the box kits from the supermarket (usually around £2 or £3) in loads of different varieties.

I hope you have enjoyed reading through my ideas and they have inspired you a bit!  Let me know in the comments what your favourite things to do in Autumn are!

nat