Thursday, 13 September 2012

Proud Mummy Moment no. 5794308262849

Oh my gosh you guys, my baby...that little boy of mine started school!! The day came round very quickly and in between uniform buying and obsessing over pack lunch versus school dinners, we managed to make it to day numero uno!! He looked absolutely adorable, and so grown up!

Is he not too cute! Oh my gosh that smile melts my heart! For his first week he just does 2 hours in the afternoons but it has him totally wiped out! On the second day he came home and climbed into bed and slept almost right through! How on earth will he cope in 2 weeks going all day!

We took plenty of the obligatory first day photos. I love that he is so grown up and started school beautifully, but there is a tiny bit of me that is sad he is growing so fast. My mission is to keep him cuddly, well mannered, good natured and kind. If I can succeed with this I will be a very happy mummy!

Love Danielle

Friday, 10 August 2012

Glorious Mornings Make My Day!

Nothing gets me going in the morning like sun blazing through the window. The English weather so far this year has been somewhat unpredictable and mostly grey, but you can bet we have made the most of every possible drop of sunshine!

Days are very busy at the moment and I am working every day to get the perfect balance of family time, work, blogging, crafting, seeing lovely people and...well...sleeping every now and again. It's a constant juggling act, but if one day doesn't quite go as planned, I know I have the chance to start over again the next day. Most days begin with coffee and a little time to plan my day. Today however, routine is out the window as I am going to get my hair done, I am looking forward to doing a lot of nothing...until the boys get home of course!

What have you got planned for today?
Love Danielle

Saturday, 4 August 2012

August Mini Goals

Oh my gosh, it's August already, I still kinda feel like we are waiting for Summer to begin with all the crazy weather we have been having but a few consecutive days of sunshine have got me in the mood for summertime. I like to look at the new month as a new beginning, a chance to set new goals and challenges and change anything that doesn't sit well with me. I drew up a list of the most pressing mini goals that will all change my life for the better.

1. Finish Some Home Craft: This is a biggie for me, I am extremely good at getting the excitement and motivation to start projects, but I am easily distracted and lack the drive to carry them through. I really want to change this with some of my most recent ideas.

2. Cook More: The nature of my business is food, weight loss and cooking, but as time consuming as this is, I find myself reaching for the easy cook options and I would like to experiment and learn more, especially in regard to herbs, spices and more exotic fruit and vegetables.

3. 30 Day Photo Challenge:  This should be simple, use instagram to take one photo a day using a daily prompt...easy no? No! I forget, I get distracted and I miss a few this time I am determined to see it through.

4. Blog Regularly: Again, this should be easy. My head is always full of ideas and I have hundreds of photos to blog about but time (or lack of time management) makes it difficult.

5. Collect and Keep More Inspiration: Using photo albums, Pinterest and bookmarks, to actually keep track of things I find inspiring, beautiful and motivational instead of just viewing them and then forgetting where I saw them.

6. Save Save Save: I don't mean this in the sense of putting spare money to one side and saving for a rainy day. I mean making better choices and being more restrained with spending. Things like grocery shopping have become mundane and repetitive and we seem to spend more and more each week with no real difference to the variety of our meals. Just being aware of this and making conscious efforts to shop a little more savvy will make me del like an entirely different person.

7. Stop Using the Microwave. This may seem like an odd one but frankly the microwave annoys me, it makes me a lazy and impatient cook. I would rather get up and make my son fresh porridge for his breakfast on the stove than zap it in the microwave. To me it's cleaner and much more satisfying. I would dearly love to throw ours out, but Im not quite brave enough yet.

8. Be Organised and Stick To It. I am all for planning and to do lists and schedules but I do find myself making the best plans and then not always following through. This I would dearly love to change and am working on it!

So there you have my August plans, have you set any mini goals, are you thinking about setting some? I'd love to know!

Love Danielle

Friday, 20 July 2012

Dreaming of a Life

So it's not secret that I love the idea of a country lifestyle. A pretty cottage, a garden full of vegetables, herbs and flowers, cycling to the local village to buy my bread fresh front he bakers. Yes, I know that sounds like something out of and Enid Blyton book but a girl can dream right?  My obsession for that lifestyle was encouraged this weekend when I took Haydn out on a gorgeous Sunday morning to a local flea market.

He was so well behaved and let his mama walk round all the vintage furniture while I mental placed it all in my cottage. After we shopped (and I purchased one or two kitchen items) we went to sit out in the sunshine and had a drink, this boy is just so cheeky!

You wouldn't know it to look at this photo but he was feeling a little poorly so as a treat we went to feed the ducks and see the pet area to cheer him up a bit. Well, we discovered they were selling lots and lots of different types of I have a new obsession. Yes, I want some chickens, so a large concealed garden is going on my ever growing 'house must have list' that I have generated for when we finally buy our house. I would also like a pigmy goat, I have always wanted a goat but Im scared it will eat everything I own.

I thought this coop was pretty nice! Just need a garden now....

Another part of the lifestyle I am working towards is the healthy aspect of it and that includes widening my food vocabulary! I want to try lots of wonderful and different fruit and vegetables and eventually grow my own. I'm looking into any local farmers markets at the moment as I have never been to one and I'd love to say I bought locally to help my community.

I think my first challenge is to start with a herb garden that I can keep alive more than a week. At this very moment I have an empty window box which systematically gets filled with fresh herb plants which I forget to water and then have to replace.

These were the herbs that I did not kill. They were fantastic but the plants that remained were not so lucky. Maybe I need to grow a little myself before I take on a garden, but its all the dream.

Love Danielle

Monday, 9 July 2012

On Feeding Littles

Let me start off by saying that I am not a super-healthy, natural, organic mama. As much as I would like to be, and am working on changing towards. I have been thinking a lot recently about what I feed my son and how it affects him. As you may know, I work for Slimming World and one of the things I hear most often is that School Holidays are the hardest time to slim because all the children's snacks and treats are in the cupboards and temptation is just too much. THIS SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME!! I know its easy to give children, high sugar, high fat convenience snacks to calm them, please them or (as we have all done) bribe them when they are screaming or playing hell in the supermarket! But while we let them nibble on these unnutritional snacks do we really think about what lessons we are giving them and what the effect that the food is having on their little bodies. Anyone who is losing weight or has lost weight, is constantly saying to yourself...I don't want this in my body, its not good enough, when it comes to these snack foods. We know it isn't good for us and therefore refuse to eat it. So why then if it's not good enough for our bodies, do we insist that it's ok for them? Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that children should never be allowed to have these foods, but surely having them in the cupboard to be used as a daily food or even worse when they are eaten many times during the day removes the 'rarity and specialness' from them and they get transitioned into everyday food items that children are helping themselves to more and more often.

Recently I have been paying a lot of attention, not only to my food intake but also that of my family. It has been noticed that (kinda obviously) Haydns behaviour and attention span deteriorates after eating certain foods and this made me think long and hard about what I was letting him eat. I want to involve him in this process and not just suddenly swap out all of his foods so we got a book called The Healthy Lunch Box and sat together to choose some foods he would like to get from our next shopping trip. To my surprise, this was his favourite:

We made a list together and hit the shops, we choose lots and lots of fresh fruit and veg and absolutely by accident, when we got home there was no chocolate or processed junk in our all! Everyday now we make better choices and have still eradicated ant form of junk in our house. Please don't get me wrong, we still eat chocolate, ice cream and cake but its appreciated so much more as a one off treat we can enjoy on days out or as a family date.

I have also been encouraging him to help me in the kitchen with the cooking as I think it's quite scary how so many people grow up without the basic knowledge of how to cook!

I know it's not a perfect system but I feel confident that day by day I make baby steps towards becoming a healthier person and am teaching my family to have eating habits for life!

Love Danielle

Friday, 29 June 2012

The Happiness Objective


I'm using this post to lay out my objective, a mission statement of sorts. It's a huge part of my life to set goals and truly think I would be lost without them. I began thinking seriously about goals just over two years ago when I realised that without them I had no real aim or focus. It seemed like a simple way to organise the thoughts and hopes in my head into an actual list. (Please don't get me started on lists, that's a whole other blog post)

I started by listing short term goals, easily managable things that I figured would make my life more positive, the feeling of ticking them off one by one was amazing...and so addictive. It was around the time that I began regularly reading blogs that I made the decision to focus on bringing positivity and happiness into my life any way that I could. I strongly believe that your own perspective directly influences your life, mood, behaviours and also the way you cope with whatever comes your way. Almost 2 years ago, I made the decision to remove negativity from my life in every way possible. It was an easy change to make and one that has seen the greatest improvement.

My first step was to make the decision to longer portray any negativity through social media, that meant first and foremost my blog, also Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else I was to voice an opinion or leave my comments. I for one, don't enjoy reading the rants and raves about the ins and out of people's life. For me, it would be like airing my dirty laundry to the world and who would want the world to see that! So instead of writing my anger or frustration, I instead focused on a good part of my life and wrote about that and in turn felt so much better. This, was my first breakthrough. I realised that in order to feel good on the inside I had to feel good on the outside, almost as if you the positivity you give out radiates back in on yourself. This absolutely works, not only for yourself, I have had several comments from friends, that have felt a little bit of happiness from the positive comments I write about.

Step two was a bit more tricky. I had to tackle the ever growing list of things in my head that I wanted to be and do and experience. Trouble is, the more I see, the more I want to be. I see all these snippets of people's lives and want to accommodate them in my life immediately. It may be a habit, a way of life or a day out that I think would enrich mine and my family's lives. Unfortunately, this constant growth and inspiration eventually leads to a point of mental exhaustion and 'can't do' attitude. As a person trying to remove negativity it is important for me to learn to focus on area's that I do have control over and stop trying to change things that I can't. That's where this post comes in, it's the beginning, the start, the front cover for the rest of my life. So here is my mission statement for this blog and my life.

Number 1. (and this is a biggie for me) To be healthy, to encourage a healthy attitude for my family and attain a weight I am happy with (again....whole other blog post here)

Number 2. Spend as much quality time with my family as possible and photograph it.

Number 3. To make sure my Haydn and any other children I have grow up with manners, respect and intelligence.

Number 4. To be proud of my surroundings. I only want things I love and think are beautiful in my home.

Number 5. To work hard, to run a successful business that I am proud of and put my whole heart into.

Number 6. To be creative in all aspects of my life and make time to pursue it.

Number 7. To be organised. I honestly wonder if anyone is ever truly as organised as they really want to be.

Number 8. To procrastinate less and make the more of the time I have. Ever watched T.V and lost 2 hours or a whole evening? Yup, that's gotta go!

So there it is, best laid plans. It won't happen overnight (it took me three days to finish writing this post) but each step I take is a step closer the where I want to be!

Love Danielle

Saturday, 26 May 2012

7 years young

Why hello there lovelies! Just a few short days ago my Mr. and I shared our 7th Anniversary (not wedding anniversary, no no that's still to come) but the day we decided that he was for me and I for him. From that day to this, I have spent almost every day, with my best friend, getting to know and love him to bits!

We decided to mark the occasion by first going out to dinner at a local place called Priory Farm, it's set in a ruined Priory and is incredibly quaint. To add even more to it's charm, they have llamas out front! I adore llamas so it was an extra treat for me! 

After dinner and feeling more than full we went home to create cocktails! We bought in all kinds of liquers, mixers and fruit and just had some fun! The idea was to invent some signature cocktails that we can serve at our wedding. It was so so much fun and lots of taste tasting was done! I'm not sure we decided on definite favourites but there were some super tasty concoctions! The best bit is we have lots of bottles left to do it again sometime soon!

Love Danielle 

Wedding Inspiration: Glass Bottles

I don't know about you but recently I am obsessed with all things glass, and vintage bottles and jars are no exception. As you probably already know, Pinterest is a vast source of beauty and inspiration (you can also easily lose a couple hours too!) and I came across this amazing arrangement, and it got me thinking about how I can incorporate my love of glass into our wedding.

found here

How simple and elegant! I defiantly want to feature jars in my centrepieces and also took inspiration from the flowers that were used. I have never been sure of what flowers I love, but recently I've discovered Gerba's 

which are truly breathtaking and I also love the idea of using wildflowers like in this pretty arrangement!

found here

It's just beautiful and has got me totally in the mood for planning a spring time wedding!

Maybe, just maybe

Love Danielle 

Monday, 14 May 2012

Pretty perfect day

Hi all, you know sometimes you just have an unplanned, off the cuff perfect days, suddenly the weather is gorgeous and the whole day just comes together. I love those kinda days.

It started off by watching my two boys out in the back having a waterfight. It was great they were laughing so much as I got the rest of the washing up and cleaning done, so we could have a day out!

Then while the Mr did a little last minute bit of work I took Haydn and his Grandad over to the park next door. We originally went to play skittles but after we took the next shot, Haydn ran off and all the skittles blew down. 

We just ran round for a bit, played hide and seek, ran through some rose gardens. Haydn got incredibly muddy legs and kept taking off his shoes.

Can you believe that I climbed a tree??I know, right. A year ago I wouldn't have even considered it, I would have been way too self conscious but I just got right on up there!

(and just a little note here, Haydn wasn't hanging off my foot, he was actually stood on the ground!)

So we pretty much played the morning away and then drove into the City to meet up with a lovely friend of ours for some lunch. I've been trying to get the boys to venture out of their foodie comfort zones and try to do some different things and I'm proud to say they have been really brave. I took them for Sushi a few weeks back and this lovely day we tried out Wagamama. I could see from the look on Sharrys and his Dad's face that it was way way past the line of comfort for them but they did really well and oh my gosh was it yummy! I ended up with chilli squid, sticky white rice and some steamed edamame. Such good food!

I think the expression says it all! So after lunch, we decided we still weren't done for the day and went to see my mum and dad for the evening and ended up going for dinner (again) and I managed to stay on plan both times. Hurray me!

It really was such a sweet and lovely day. No tantrums either which is always a bonus. Don't you just love days like this! 

Love Danielle

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The best start to the day

How good do these look? And you had better believe they taste as good as they look! For anyone that doesn't know I became a Slimming World consultant almost a year ago after discovering the plan for myself several months earlier. I know it's already the number one plan in the UK and I am so so pleased that it has recently made the transition abroad to the USA. If you haven't discovered it yet then please go check it out. I can't even begin to say how much it's changed my life, but that's not what this post is about. You want a healthy but oh so easy breakfast like this? Then read on for the recipe and how to:

You will need:
30g porridge oats 
1 Vanilla Mullerlight (175g fat free yogurt)
3 eggs

What you need to do:

Add the yogurt and oats together in a bowl. Add 3 beaten eggs and whisk well. Get a frying pan really hot and spray well with fry light (any 1 cal spray) and pour 1/4 of your batter into the pan. You need to make sure its really well cooked on the bottom before you flip it (or you may have a scrambled egg situation) once its cooked well flip it and brown the other side. Repeat with the rest of your batter and stack em up. Top with loads of fat free greek yogurt and tons of fresh berries!

I love this breakfast and so do my boys. Let me know what you think.
Love Danielle 

On finding the time

Hi there,

I trawl the world of blogs quite a lot in my spare moments, to smile, to be inspired and to learn new things, and recently I have been having a funny feeling recently though and it took a while to realise what it was, but last week it dawned on me that it was a feeling that I was missing something. The thing that I was missing was my own blog, I haven't posted regularly for a long time and at first, it was ok. I had just taken on a new business and things were hectic.

We moved house and I had a family to look after and after weighing up my options, the blog was the thing that had to give...only for a little while I said. The business grew and turned to a second franchise and most recently a third and boy did that mean putting in a lot of hours. I've been very lucky in the fact that I have a very supportive fiancé and family around me to tell me I'm doing ok and keep me motivated to always work harder. Work is still busy and as long as I work hard I hope it will get busier still but I have come to realise that in order for me to keep my passion as huge as it is now I also need to make time for other things. My two boys will tell you that I can often be found in the morning still on the sofa, fully dressed next to my laptop, sleeping or going off to make that next coffee at almost midnight. This has made me think about how to create and maintain a really good balance, with time for family, work, housework (ack) and also me time. It took almost 3 years for me to accept that it was ok to say 'I need some time for me' without feeling like the worst mama in the world! And guess what, life got a lot happier when I did!

I want, so much to return to blogging but I feel like I need to focus it in a different direction. I LOVE handmade with all my heart and it will very much still be a core theme but I don't feel like I have the time enough to do as much crafting as I used to and so I want to blog about things that are important to me right now, so there will still be some handmade but also in the mix will be my family life, food and health and some home stuff too. I'm really excited to get back to regular posting and I hope all you guys that read like here too.

Here's to blogging,
Love Danielle

Monday, 7 May 2012

Weekend Frolics: Bristol

We decided it was high time we took a little trip across the country to see some amazing friends of ours and also to get a little family fun time too! So after a 5 hour drive (Well done to my Mr, who drove all the way) we arrived at our hotel and all clambered straight into bed and woke up ready for a fun filled day in the city! Considering this, we ended up at a farm!

It was truly lovely to find such an organic, peaceful spot right in the middle of the city! Haydn loved spotting all the different vegetables that were growing, I think that may be a future project for us, to get some growing going on at home!

We saw lots of animals and decided that as a family, we NEED a pigmy goat, before which we may need a garden.

Haydn took charge and led us round, he was so brave and stroked lots of animals.

I got the chance to road test my pretty new shoes and about 5 minutes after this picture was taken, they got covered in mud as Haydn, literally ran across my feet...oops.

The next day we got to go and meet with 2 of the loveliest ladies I have ever met and I was so excited! I'm pretty sure they have both been mentioned numerous times on here before but they are just both such amazing people and I am well and truly in a happy place around them! Say hi to Brooke and Genna!

Aren't they cute? we had a lovely brunch/lunch at an American themed diner and then took a walk down a street full of shops with vintage and pretties galore. I excerised a lot of restraint today in not purchasing all of the lovely things I saw!

We found another (oh yes) cafe and dipped in to sample their cakes and homemade lemonade, and boy were they yummy! My boys were being so silly, behaviour which can be attributed to the copious amounts of sugar that were ingested! To burn off some of which we walked to a park area and found some water to play in.

I think it was decided today that under no circumstances are we to leave it so long again! I simply adore these girls and even though there are 260 miles between us, we need a regular meet up!

We have one more day in Bristol and I get to see the other lovely lady that lives here, but more about that tomorrow!

Good Night All,
Love Danielle

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Haydn is 4!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how fast these past 4 years have gone! I know everyone says that by seriously, I blinked and they happened!

I think this birthday was the first real one that he actually knew what was going on! We had a really sweet build up and he got super excited and kept asking for all these things he saw on the T.V (thanks Nickelodeon) and, eventually the day came round.

We had a birthday tea the night before and he got spoiled by family and that just geared him up even more!

I'm so grateful for digital photography that let's us cherish memories like these so much!

Look at this smile! Pure excitement...I wish I could bottle this!

On the actual day of his birthday we hoped and prayed for a sunny day in amongst all the rain and, dare I say it, hail we have been having! I couldn't really believe it when we woke to beaming sunshine and a huge smile from our boy because we could go on a day trip to Bewilderwood, an absolutely enchanting outdoor adventure park full of whimsical creatures and tree houses to climb!

He was such a brave boy, climbing trees, swinging on ropes (which I absolutely could not upper body strength at all) and going on huge slides!

It was absolutely gorgeous, and so geared up for kids of all ages, even us big ones!

All in all it was such a fantastic day and I for one won't forget it!