Wednesday, 8 May 2019

5 Delicious Slimming World Breakfast Ideas

When I feel like I am losing my way a bit with Slimming World I focus on what I know works. You should always start the day on a good breakfast, it gets your metabolism going and done right can stave off hunger until lunch time! 

These are my favourite go to breakfasts that are easy and delicious. 


These super tasty waffles don't even feel like they are 'diet' food. They are really easy to make and my kids like them as well. I follow this Slimming Eats recipe as it has very few ingredients and usually items we have in the house. I am all about ease when it comes to recipes, the quicker I can throw something together on a busy morning the better. 

This recipe uses your Healthy B of porridge although I actually save time blending my oats by using ReadyBrek. A slimming 'Mum Hack' right there!

I add different Skinny Syrups depending on what I fancy that day and top them with fruit and fat free greek yogurt. The Aldi greek yogurt is really nice and is a lot cheaper than the Fage branded one I used to get. 

A few ideas for flavours for you: Sliced Banana and Choc Shot, Vanilla Skinny Syrup (in the batter), Mixed Berries and Vanilla Muller Light, Almond Extract (in batter) Cherries and Cherry Bakewell Muller Light. So many different combinations you can do! 

Sweet Omelette's

These might sound a bit strange but are actually really nice and don't require a HexB so you can save it for later. Great on a day when you know you will want a sandwich for lunch or a burger bun with dinner. 

I take 2/3 eggs depending on how hungry I am and a tablespoon of sweetener (this should be syned at 1/2 syn per tablespoon) whisk them together. I then treat this mix like I would a crepe and cook in a saucepan on a low heat in a thin layer until golden brown on both sides. It can take a while to get used to them not being 'pancakes' but with toppings these are actually quite nice. 

I top mine with lemon and sugar/sweetener, golden syrup or honey (syn accordingly) and my new favourite a teaspoon of lemon curd heated in the microwave and drizzled over - YUM! 

(I use Aldi Grandessa Lemon Curd for 0.5 syns per level tsp)

Yogurt and Granola

This one is easily the quickest breakfast but is so scrummy. I take a few dollops of fat free greek yogurt, top it with fruit and scatter over my HexB allowance of Lizi's Low Sugar Granola (30g). If I am feeling particularly luxurious I may drizzle over some honey or lemon curd as mentioned above. This breakfast really feels healthy and the granola is great for a low sugar alternative. 

Savoury Breakfast Muffins

These are a recipe I came up with recently and are lovely for a weekend brekkie. Take a slice of wholemeal bread (half hexB) and roll it flat with a rolling pin. Cut into 4 strips and place two crossed in a Frylight sprayed muffin tray hole (are they called holes?!).

Next I do the same with a slice of ham laying the slices into the tray to fill the gaps left by the bread. You want these to act as little cups for your egg. Finally crack in an egg into the cups and sprinkle on some black pepper. 

Bake in an oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes or until the egg is cooked and the bread is golden on the edges. I have mine with a bit of ketchup. The bread goes nice and crunchy and if timed right you can get a runny yolk in the egg...I am yet to master that though! 

Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs and Spinach

The final one is one of my all time favourites. I adore smoked salmon and eggs, they are such a great combination and the spinach is speedy for weight loss boosting and all that jazz. Simply poach the eggs, I won't teach you how to do that there are so many tutorials online if you don't know how. Add the spinach into the poaching water after the eggs are done and wilt it quickly before draining. Pop the spinach and eggs on a plate with a few slices of smoked salmon, I like the peppered salmon from Aldi but any brand will do. This can also be served with toast for a more filling breakfast but is really nice on its own. 

There you have it, my 5 fave breakfasts on Slimming World. I wrote a post a while ago with more recipes you might want to check out. Let me know if you are following the plan and what your favourite breakfasts are in the comments and you can also follow me on Instagram where I share all of my meal ideas on the daily. 

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Happy and Stuff

Those of you that have followed me for a long time will know Late For Reality was a parenting and lifestyle blog. Over the last almost 10 years I have written a lot about the ups and downs of parenting which were true and honest but sometimes hard and heartbreaking. We have had a roller coaster ride of emotions in the last 5 years and I felt like personally I lost my way a little.
After taking a few months out and practising some self care I decided I needed a fresh start with the blog as well as my life in general. I rediscovered things that make my heart happy, I realised I am so much more than just a mother and I have interests and passions I want to share with the world. I wanted the blog to match the person I want to be moving forwards.
I want to be Creative, Positive, Uplifting, Happy and Stuff...and so the new name was born!

Happy and Stuff is my tiny corner of the internet where I can share all the things that "Spark Joy". There will be bits about the family because they are the biggest part of my life but there will also be posts about food, travel, fashion, beauty and my biggest passion of doing up our beautiful new build home!
I hope you will join in this new venture and feel free to invite some friends along for the ride!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Decorating our new bedroom with Valspar Paint - AD

"You can't decorate a new build for 2 years"

How many times have I heard that? I was certain that was the case too but we were actually told when we bought the house that you can decorate straight away as long as it is fully breathable paint. The reason is mainly if there are cracks during the settling period and repairs are needed the tradesman may need to touch up the paint. We are keeping some of the colour in the garage for this reason. That said we were so busy trying to furnish the house that painting hadn't crossed my mind until I was approached by Valspar to try out some of their paint and let you all know what we thought of it. 

We eventually want to paint the whole house but it was an easy decision that our bedroom would be the first room to get the special treatment. It is our sanctuary and having always had rental properties I was desperate to have a bedroom we could have how we wanted. 

I had been storing up ideas for months and knew we wanted grey, pink and copper in our room with wooden furniture. The room looked beautiful as it was but needed warming up a little. This was where the paint came in. Valspar has some gorgeous shades of pink and it really was hard to choose a shade that would work for the room. I didn't want it to be too 'girlie' or bright. I have always loved the more dusky pinks but most of them were quite pale and wouldn't make for the best feature wall. However after picking up some samples I fell in love with Rose Sugar.

We also picked up some paint to do Callie's room which will feature in a different post and a few sample pots for our downstairs toilet and Ted's bedroom for future projects. The staff in B&Q were so lovely. The paint is mixed in store and they tested some of the colour on the swatches so that we could see how it would look when it dried. The Valspar V700 is the highest quality wall and ceiling paint they offer and at £28 per 2.5L it isn't cheap but it really is worth the extra cost for the standard of finish. 

As it was my first time painting I went in prepared, I picked up a Harris brush for cutting in which I have heard good things about and Valspar had sent a roller and tray for us to use. I did also get some disposable dust sheets, mini rollers and Frog Tape. I have heard bog standard masking tape can take the paint off with it but Frog Tape was recommended by a friend so I thought I would give it a go.

Once we had moved all of the furniture away from the wall and laid out the dust sheets I got to work taping the edges of the wall. This was a single feature wall so I needed to tape off the ceiling, sides, socket covers and skirting board. This takes a bit of time but the prep work is worth it for a sleeker finish. 

I then mixed the paint with a chopstick (all the pro's do this!) to ensure the colour was fully blended and poured a small amount into the tray. Using my paint brush I started cutting in, this is done by painting the edges of the room slowly and carefully (this is where the Frog Tape helps) before finishing the rest with the roller. I am so clumsy and despite having the tape I still knocked the ceiling a couple of times which now need tidying up. Our builders have promised a small tub of the white paint used originally so this will have to wait unfortunately. I removed the Frog Tape about 20 minutes after painting as recommended but it did take a small patch of the original white paint off with it which was frustrating but I think is just down to cheap paint being used by the builders. 

The bedroom was absolute carnage midway through but I reassured myself that things always look worse before they get better! I only did 1 coat and the finish looked great at first but on closer inspection it definitely could do with a second coat. My parent's decorator said if you think a wall needs 2 coats then do 3 so actually 2 coats of this paint is better than most other trade paints. 

The V700 paint is fully wipeable even with a scourer (or so we are told, we haven't tested that yet!) and stain resistant making it perfect for use in busy areas of the house like kids rooms and hallways. We have only been in 6 months and the hallway has so many scuffs and hand prints. 

I am totally in love with the colour and Joe really likes it too. He was really apprehensive about having a pink bedroom but he said he should have trusted me as it looks really nice. Not at all 'Barbie' like and adds a luxurious finish to the room. We still have a shelf to put up and a few extra accessories to add but I am so happy with it and it feels like the grown up room we've always wanted. 

I thought I would show you a few of the colours we have been looking at for the rest of the house too. Callie's bedroom is next on the list and we picked up a really fun shade called Luminous Coral. I didn't want to go for pink in her room and as most of her accessories are pastel shades I thought a peachy tone would work really nicely. 

Ted's explorer themed bedroom will be decorated soon too with a green feature wall. There are so many greens to choose from but Brussel Sprouts stood out for us and we picked up a sample pot to try out. 

Overall we are really impressed with the Valspar paint and will definitely be using it for the rest of the house. Now to get Callie's room finished so that I can share it with you!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Christmas at Courteenhall

On Sunday we popped along to a local Christmas event that had been in my diary for months. Ted's friend from school's family own the Courteenhall Estate one of the most beautiful manor houses and grounds in South Northamptonshire which has been around since 1572! 

We attended their summer fair this year and Ted and I enjoyed a tractor ride where we learnt about the Wake family farming and how they grow the wheat for popular breakfast cereals. When we heard they were hosting a Christmas weekend we were so excited. The estate is so lovely and the family and staff always make everyone feel so welcome. 

Entrance to Christmas at Courteenhall was £3 per adult in advance and the Santa Experience was £12 which included a Reindeer Ranger hunt, Christmas Decoration craft, reindeer dusk making and meeting the big man himself in his carriage. There were also stalls selling unique gifts and Lemon Zest catering had a cafe selling delicious treats. 

They also had real Christmas trees to purchase, we already have ours but they looked great and would have been a lot closer to bring it back home than the farm we got ours from last week (40 minutes with pine needles poking everyone in the sides). 

We loved the Reindeer Hunt around the arboretum, matching the deer to their favourite colours was great fun. Ted got super glittery making his decoration and was amazed by Santa in his carriage. It was dark in the grotto lit by fairy lights which made it all the more magical. Slightly star struck Ted was lost for words but managed to tell Santa he wanted a skateboard for Christmas...guess who is off to find a skateboard this week?! 

We finished the day off with snacks in the cafe where I had the best mince pie I have had all year and that is quite an achievement! We can't wait to see if they have an event next year. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

All About Me in Autumn

I have been tagged by the lovely Jules over at Pondering Parenthood in the "All About Me in Autumn" tag. I thought it would be a great opportunity for those of you that are new here to get to know me a bit more and my regulars (sounds like a pub!) to hear what we have been up to over the Autumn period.




Grey, I know that is totally boring but it goes with everything and you will notice my text on the blog is dark grey rather than black as I find black really harsh. 


Well I am writing this at 10am so Callie and I are sat chilling after a wet school run. The rest of the days plans involve housework, online Christmas shopping and some Christmas activities. A bit of a soggy day out so pootling around the house really. 


In the living room on my favourite sofa. 


Libra although I have no idea what that means. Joe is a Libra too as we are 8 days apart. Someone let me know in the comments if that makes us compatible or not! 

Cake I guess although I don't actually eat a lot of either, rather a biscuit! 


Moana all the way. You're Welcome! 


Night in, I may only just be 30 but feel like I am past night clubs and late nights. Much rather have people over to us for an evening in. 


See if the meal was cooked for me it would be homemade all the way but we are so shattered we end up with a takeaway maybe twice a week. I do cook the rest though and am quite a good cook when I have the energy to do it. 


I am one of those. I order a cheese and tomato pizza and add double pineapple. Judge me if you are the ones missing out! 


Films, I don't have the patience or time for books. Give me a few years when I have some time to read and I may answer that differently. 


Autumn. Our birthdays are in Autumn and it has Halloween and Bonfire night...what's not to love?


This has changed recently. Since we moved into the house I always have fresh flowers and swoon over vintage roses on instagram daily! 


Neither, I am a Pepsi Max girl. 


Phone, I do love writing on my laptop but my phone is with me constantly.


We are actually enjoying Shark Tank reruns on Netflix but Doctor Who is one I look forward to at the weekends. Also waiting for Friday Night Dinner and Plebs to come back soon! Love a good British comedy. 


Stockpile pumpkins and squashes around the house!


Right this minute? Because it was mentioned above...pineapple pizza! We do LOVE a Five Guys though so never a time when I couldn't murder one of those. 

I have 2 studs in each ear but am yet to brave my helix piercing and tattoo I have been wanting for years. Bit of a wuss with a low pain threshold and only just started getting my eyebrows waxed last year which was enough for me.


Tough one. I would say since developing my anxiety I have become more of an introvert but I am actually quite sociable and will always make the effort to go to events to be polite. However, I find myself talking way too much to overcompensate for nerves then beating myself up about it on the way home over analysing the whole event and wondering what people thought of me. 


Probably something lame like Hocus Pocus because I get scared easily. My inlaws are huge horror fans but I can't sleep at night if I watch anything too intense. 


McFly, always.
James Morrison
Ed Sheeran

Can you tell  I don't listen to a lot of current music? I also quite like Years and Years.


Death. I have a lot of anxiety surrounding losing people or something happening to me and not being around for the children. I get panicky as the years pass that one day I will have to say goodbye to someone I am really close to and I am not sure how I will cope. 


I do. Although I don't think I have ever felt love like I have now with Joe but my logical mind knows that if we were ever not together I have my children to keep going for and everything happens for a reason. That said I hope that never happens, can see myself growing old with that silly man. 


Yep Ted (5) and Callie (2) they make me so incredibly proud and despite the general difficult nature of children they are awesome kids.


To be happy, healthy and live a long and forfilled life. I want to see my children grow up, maybe have some grandchildren and be that couple that spends retirement touring the world hand in hand. 


Everyone was doing it. For different reasons to what people do now though. 8 years ago blogging was for fun, to share stories, enter competitions and join in with tags like this. Times have changed and I feel so much pressure to get good stats but essentially I still write to document our life and share cool things we find along the way. 


In life, my children. Callie's birth is something I am so proud of myself for. In blogging, I think being nominated for any award is pretty cool so my BritMums BIB's nomination a few years ago was pretty cool.


To continue to write because I love it, I don't earn money from the blog at the moment but collaborations are brilliant opportunities. There are so many amazing brands I would love to work with in the future and maybe I can grow my following along the way. 


To reach more people. Times are changing and algorythms on social media make it so hard for people to find me. I love writing about food so I guess to reach more people with my Slimming World posts would be fab. 

No, at the start of the year I wanted to post more and grow my following but then we reserved the house and it all went out of the window. I have spent the past few months playing catch up but I will get there in the end! 


Here, sat on my sofa but instead of writing I will be working hard running my own business. I have a dream of running my own design company and fingers crossed it will be a success!


Easy. 1 month touring Australia visiting all of the top restaurants. Been wanting to do it for the last 10 years since watching Masterchef Australia. Zumbo's Just Desserts on Netflix has fuelled the passion even meet Adriano himself would be amazing too. 


I don't even know. I don't really do well on my own, if Joe was with me though I would be chuffed. Lazy morning with brunch out, a mooch around a garden centre then back home for a movie afternoon and a takeaway in the evening. Easily pleased but the main thing would be child free. We rarely get time just the two of us but to just not have to adult for the day takes a huge amount of pressure off. 

I was going to tag some other bloggers but being as I am late to the party with this one I think I will end it there and let you carry on with your Christmas preparations. I would love to know what you got up to this Autumn too. 

Thursday, 22 November 2018

What has she got to be anxious about?

She has a a big house, beautiful family, doesn't have to work and her house always looks spotless! Isn't it funny what people see from the outside? What are your assumptions of me? 

I saw a great post on Instagram recently about anxiety and how it keeps you awake at night. I don't talk much on here about my anxiety because I think it is still somewhat of a sensitive topic. I mean...ill mental health, that's just for nutcases right?

No. It totally isn't. Some of the strongest people I know battle with mental health issues and I genuinely think you have to be a pretty strong person to keep going despite battling those inner demons. 

My inner demons are certainly well hidden from the world. I do a bloody good job of putting on a brave face and plastering on a smile which is not actually a good thing. By not opening up about anxiety I have found myself feeling quite isolated. Nobody is intentionally ignoring me or isolating me, it is mostly in my head but because I smile and pretend all is ok nobody knows any differently. 

My friends and family are often quite surprised to hear I have had regular panic attacks in the past. That on a daily basis my brain is running at 100 miles an hour over thinking every situation. I hide it so well but that is a heavy weight to carry alone. 

My panic attacks started in pregnancy. I was suffering badly with hyperemesis and constantly missing days off work due to sickness. I felt a huge amount of pressure to be in work and when I wasn't well enough the panic set in. Endless back to work interviews where I had to explain my absence as well as the worry for myself and the baby was just too much. I put  it down to Braxton Hicks at the time but the palpitations and fear weren't normal pregnancy symptoms and it wasn't until after Ted was born and I had one that resulted in a hospital visit (heartburn and post cesarean panic made me think I was having a heart attack) that I realised it wasn't the pregnancy doing it. 

It died down a bit after that and I managed a good few years before the anxiety reared its ugly head again. We started trying for a baby which sadly resulted in a miscarriage and my world tumbled down. I was fragile and didn't know where to turn. I got on with my life and pushed the emotions deep, deep down. Plastered that smile back on and pretended it hadn't happened. I thought I had done the right thing and actually it worked. Until our world got turned upside down again and Joe got diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called a sarcoma. He was in and out of hospital with operations to remove the tumour and I was juggling life with our then 3 year old, planning a wedding and carrying little Callie who blessed us with her presence at the worst possible time of our lives. 

When Joe was ill I really had to think about what I would do or how I would cope if the worst happened and we lost him. I thought about how I would tell the children, pay the bills, what it would be like never sleeping next to him again. My brain hasn't ever switched off from that and that is where the majority of my anxiety comes from. My brain is preparing me for the worst before it has even happened.

I have been to a councillor for a few sessions and probably should go back but she started digging a bit deep and I bottled it. I have always been a worrier. I was that kid that said she could smell smoke at bedtime or had a meltdown at bed time if the light was turned off. I would drive my Mum round the bend panicking that the stomach ache I had was something more sinister. All this was anxiety at its roots but childhood worries are so common I guess it was just put down to me being a hypochondriac and dramatising everything. My sister was really quite poorly when I was about 8 so it is easy to assume that set off my nervousness but my Mum will agree I was a worry wart before any of that happened. 

I don't like to think my childhood was anything to cause my anxiety as I had a pretty good upbringing. My parents did everything they could to provide us with a great life and when the counsellor started saying my early life could hold the answers I felt quite sad. I know people who have been through a lot worse than I have and genuinely think being an anxious person and suffering from genuine anxiety and panic attacks are different things. My anxiety definitely started in adulthood and I need to address those issues with someone who doesn't want me to write a letter to my 8 year old self in order to move forwards. 

I am yet to find the right counsellor or treatment to help me but after a really tough week being in tears every night I really need to reach out for help. I don't want anyone else to feel how I do in those moments. My emotions take over and I say and do things that really aren't me. At my worst this week I was fighting my urge to either punch the wall or walk out on the family and people that know me will know neither of those things are my usual personality traits. All reasoning goes out of the window and every thought in my head is scrambled. All I can think is I need to get out of here, I need this to stop. 

I opened up to Joe about everything and we have talked about it in the past. It is so hard for him to understand exactly how I feel but he has been through his fair share of crap too so understands how intrusive these thoughts can be. We just need to support each other and reach out for help when things are getting tough. I need to take my barrier down and tell people  when I don't feel 100% because they won't know to support me if I hide it all. 

Anyway that is a bit of a look behind the instagram 'perfect' life that you may see from the outside. If I can ask you to do one thing today it is not to assume everyone is ok all of the time. Ask if they are ok, check in with people you haven't heard from for a while and please, please be kind. Don't judge because you don't know what demons other people are fighting behind those smiles. 

Monday, 12 November 2018

5 Self Care Ideas

As a mother life is about taking care of others. Making sure everyone is fed, clean, clothed and happy. Juggling school admin, medical appointments, family commitments and generally running round like a blue arsed fly keeping things ticking over. It is easy for your own importance to slip to the bottom of the pile. 

When I feel like Mum life has got on top of me I like to do a few things to take care of myself both physically and mentally. These things are guaranteed to get me back to myself again. 

5 Minutes Peace

Sometimes it is hard to find big chunks of time to take out but just 5 minutes a day can really help. When Joe gets in from work and is able to watch the kids I take myself away. I will either practice my brush lettering (a new hobby) enjoy a cup of tea in peace or just sit in my bedroom and scroll mindlessly through Instagram. It really doesn't matter what it is but just those 5 minutes away to gather my thoughts, take a few deep breaths and clear my head help massively. Try it, just 5 minutes a day! 

Retail Therapy

Every once in a while I will arrange a shopping trip, often with my Mum or siblings. Joe will have the kids for the day and I may not even spend a lot of money but lunch is always on the cards. Nothing nicer than lunch without shouty children and shopping without a toddler fighting to get out of the pram! 

Home Spa

This one sounds posher than it is. I basically run a bath with lots of bubbles, dig out my favourite bath products and unwind. This is usually once the kids are in bed and I will catch up on my favourite YouTube videos in peace. I love to warm my towels on the radiator too to make them extra snuggly when I get out. Add some candles and soothing music if you like but just lay back and wash away all of your worries. 

Date Night

We don't get these very often but when we do I make the most of them. Our favourite place to eat  locally is Miller and Carter where the food is good and my favourite Summer Sling cocktail awaits. I pop on a nice dress, curl my hair and throw on a bright lippy. It is rare to get a chance to dress up so I embrace it. We don't stay out late but being just the two of us reminds me of who I am without the children and I remember that as much as I love them, I am more than just a mother. 

Eyebrows/Hair Appointments

I love getting my brows done. I have only been having them done for a year or so but feel so good once they are tidy. Getting my hair done is great too, especially if I pick up my favourite coconut latte beforehand! I only get it done once in a blue moon (probably 6 monthly!) but it never fails to perk me up. 

These things aren't huge, expensive (except Miller and Carter but you can eat somewhere else) or hard to plan. They can be added into your daily lives with minimal effort but trust me, maximum effect! If you feel overwhelmed try the 5 minutes a day and build up from there. Make time for yourself because if you aren't feeling 100% then neither will everyone else. 

Have I been missing out on any other ways to take care of myself? Let me know if you have any recommendations.