Monday, 10 August 2015

Reading Challenges - Bout of Books 14 and Beat the Heat Readathon

So, as I mentioned in this post, I haven't been reading anywhere near enough books lately. I make the excuse that I'm busy but by doing these reading challenges I hope that I will have to make time to read. This makes reading sound like a chore, which it certainly isn't in my eyes, but sometimes I get lazy and need a little motivation to read something other than Take a Break magazine (my guilty pleasure). I'll post my goals for each challenge closer to the time but here are the basic rules and details on how you can sign up.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

  • The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 24th at 12:00 AM to September 6th at 11:59 PM. What does this readathon entail, you ask? Well, read as much or as little as you want – the main point is to READ! You set your own goal, and for three weeks you read as many books as you can/want to reach your goal!
  • There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end!
  • Sign up here at Novel Heartbeat or over at Phantasmic Reads. You may join whenever you like, but to be eligible for our grand prize giveaway, you must sign up by August 28th.
  • To join, all you have to do is make a sign-up post – even if it’s just a “Let’s do this!” thing – and add your post URL to the linky below! You can put your goals and progress (will be required for the final giveaway) in your sign-up post, or you can make it separate. Totally up to you! (You are welcome to use the template we provide in the kick-off post as well.)
  • In order to enter for the grand prize, you must have a post to keep track of your progress so we can see that you participated.
  • Follow along on Twitter and share your progress with the hashtag #BtHReadathon!

Let me know if you're participating in either of these challenges, I'd love to see your goals and progress!

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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Super Veggie Soup

I KNOW it's Summer (well, apparently so!) but this is one of my favourite quick and easy lunch recipes for Slimming World on the go during any season. I often take pasta salad or some variation on that but it involves making it the night before so if I've been really busy or just a bit lazy then I just grab a portion of soup from the freezer and my healthy extra B of bread and I'm ready to go. Also, when I have this for lunch I seem to have really good weight losses! It's really filling and keeps me going all afternoon but it only has vegetables in it, brilliant.

I usually just chuck in anything I've got in the fridge so feel free to add whatever you want but I thought I'd write a rough 'recipe' for anyone who wants a bit of inspiration! 


  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red Onions
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Stock Cubes (I would usually use vegetable stock cubes but I only had chicken today!)
  • Fry Light (Or oil if not doing Slimming World)
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder (Optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
I haven't put quantities as you can pretty much do as you please. I also like to add celery, red pepper, courgette, parsnips, basically anything that can be boiled like hell then blended into yummyness.

 Peel and dice the red onion, add it to a large saucepan and fry in Fry Light for a few minutes. Add some minced garlic and the curry powder and fry for a further minute. Then peel and roughly chop the butternut squash, carrots and sweet potato into cubes, it doesn't really matter what they look like as it's all going to be blended in the end anyhow.

Add the rest of the veggies to the pan and cover them with water then add the stock cubes. Put the lid on and boil until all of the veg is tender (it takes roughly an hour) then leave to cool a little. Trust me you do not want to be blending molten soup, unless you want little splash burns all up your arms. Blend with a stick blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then eat it! Or leave to cool completely and divide into portions for the freezer. Easy peasy!

Let me know if you've got any recipes you think I'd like or if you try this recipe yourself!

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

I Haven't Blogged In Ten Months!

So, as the title suggests, I haven't blogged in such a long time. I think the main reason for this is, ever since leaving London I didn't know which direction this blog would take. I don't do exciting 'London' things any more, I don't have so much time to read or crochet any more because I'm spending time with my family and socialising. I didn't really know what to write about. I was also working very little hours leaving me with not many pennies so it felt like I was living a half life, going to work, coming home and that's about it.

I'm so much happier in life right now. I've got a new job, I started about four months ago and I absolutely love it. Having more hours and more of a routine has helped me get my life back into reality and I'm able to do more and save for exciting things. I've also lost 3 stone in the last eighteen weeks with Slimming World and I'd like to write a little bit about this.

So I think that's what this blog's going to be for a while, a little lifestyle, a little craft, a little reading, a little dieting, lots of bits and bobs!

I hope you'll stick with me,

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

25 Things I Love About Autumn

Well, after a long and wakeful night I'm so pleased to announce that my cousin has had her baby. I cant wait for a big cuddle, she is beautiful. It feels like we've all been waiting for this day for so long and now it's finally here I don't know what to do with myself!

It is a decidedly chilly morning so, after retreating back under my duvet with a cuppa, I thought I'd write a good old list of all the things I love about Autumn! Brr, pass me those slipper socks.

1) Novelty bobble hats - The cuter the better, if they're sporting any woodland animals then that's bonus points!

2) Pumpkins - After watching this hilarious video, I can solemnly say that I am not addicted to Pumpkin Spice Lattes (okay, maybe just a little bit!) but is there anything that says Autumn more than the little orange veggies? And they make a delicious soup too!

3) Woodland Animal Prints - Foxes, owls, I love them all! And the trend is supposed to stay strong throughout 2015 which makes me rather happy.

4) Warming Home Cooking - Something to warm hungry tummies after a long day just makes everything seem so cosy.

5) Halloween - An excuse to dress up like a loon and party hard. Well, if your idea of partying is making some of these jelly worms then come on down!

6) Autumnal Colours - Oranges, reds, browns, matching the cruncy leaves scattered on the floor is always a plus in my book.

7) Crisp Mornings - I think this is one of my top favourite Autumn moments! Being able to see your breath in the morning is so exciting.

8) Bonfire Night - My parents got married on the 5th of November so we always have a special little gathering on bonfire night. Fireworks, sparklers and hot dogs, what more do you need?

9) Sloe Gin - No explanation needed surely??

10) Christmas Planning - It's my favourite time of the year and when the nights start drawing in it's a signal for me to start those prezzie lists.

11) Gigantic Mugs - Filled with tea, coffee, mulled wine, wrapping your hands around a big steaming mug seems to melt many troubles away.

12) Rugby Season - Beefy men in shorts and patriotism, beautiful.

13) Open Fires - Cliche I know but I don't care one bit. Roaring flames, crackling logs and the smell of wood smoke makes me feel instantly Christmassy.

14) Slipper Socks - Another one that needs no explanation, a warm woolly, foot hug.

15) Wood smoke - Already touched upon this but the smell of wood smoke needs it's own special mention, delicious.

16) Gingerbread Lattes - Or any latte to be honest, gingerbread ones make me feel extra snuggly though.

17) Wearing Layers - I'm a very hot person so Summer is usually sweltering for me! It's nice to have minimal clothes on for a while but once Autumn comes around and I can get out the leg warmers and boots then I'm chuffed.

18) Family Duvet Days - Closing the curtains, bringing our duvets into the living room and watching a proper family film makes those wet days a little special.

19) Crocheting Afgans Without Overheating - Crocheters will feel my pain here. It's so annoying to be draped in a wooly blanket and sweating buckets during the warmer months.

20) Awesome TV - Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, it seems that all the good telly starts in Autumn.

21) Rosy Cheeks - Again, a little bit cliche but I love coming back from a walk with the dogs with windswept hair, rosy cheeks and massive smiles.

22) Harvest Festival - I'm not a 'churchy' person but I love harvest festival and try to attend the service in our tiny family church most years. Everything always looks so beautiful with all of the flower, fruit and vegetable decorations.

23) Scented Candles - Yes, 'Beach Flowers' and 'Garden Sweet Pea' are lovely but bring on the 'Apple Pumpkin' and 'Christmas Cookie' to warm a cold evening.

24) Movember - Mustachioed men? Fine by me!

25) Birthdays - Autumn is the time for, not only my lovely Mum's birthday but now also my beautiful niece Lily. We are going to have so much fun over the next few years.

Have a peep at my Autumn board on Pinterest here.

Muchos love,

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Saturday, 9 August 2014


Shaz, me and Millie enjoying Pembrokeshire
Well, I'm home. I've been home for two weeks and it is absolutely lush! I have also done pretty much nothing during those two weeks, and enjoyed every last second of it.

Moving out and the journey home went really well. My mum and step dad came to pick me up in their van so we got all my stuff in easily, although it seemed to have bred. I brought home twice as much as I went up there with I'm sure. We made really good time coming back to Pembrokeshire and although it was very cosy with all three of us in the front of the van, it all went smoothly. My room here was tiny, I could fit in a single bed, a chest of drawers and that was about it so I moved into the office. My mum had made out that it was a bit of a cave and that they'd only had time to bring my bed down but when I came home they'd completely set out my room with furniture and some of my knick knacks which were here. It was such a surprise and really lovely.

I have so enjoyed being back with my family and getting back into the routine of family life. I'm still in holiday mode really but it's just so nice to be back. Leaving the children was hard. They gave me a beautiful photo of the two of them in a lovely frame and a card which my boss had written some really lovely things in. We both cried in Carluccio's, haha! I was sad to be leaving them as they're wonderful, funny, clever children but I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with them and visiting them. It was the right time for them but most importantly for myself. It's very difficult as a nanny to think of yourself sometimes, I had such a close bond with them as I'd looked after them for two and a half years but this has been the right thing for all of us.

I've started Slimming World. It's going well, I'm about four days into it and I'm feeling really motivated. I'm hoping to do a full post on my reasons for going and how I'm finding it so keep a look out for that. I have weigh-in on Tuesday evening so I'll keep you updated.

I volunteered with SPAN arts, they were hosting an open air theatre performance and I helped wtih the catering. I really enjoyed it, it was something a bit different and I got to meet new people. My best friend works for them so I got to meet a few of her workmates and they were lovely, we're all going on a night out together soon which will be great. I was also surrounded by delicious looking cakes all night and not a single morsel passed my lips so I was pretty pleased with myself.

I've done lots of crochet since coming home. I've finally finished the blanket for my niece and I'm really pleased with it. I've done a rainbow colour scheme and it's really bright and fun. I can't wait to see her all wrapped up in it.

I've also been enjoying getting out with the dogs to the beach. There were many times in London when I just wanted to go to the seaside so I was determined to do it more now that I'm home. We have an Alaskan Malamute (Millie) and a Siberian Husky (Shaz) and they've been loving it too. The trouble is, in Pembrokeshire a lot of the beaches are closed for dogs during the summer months but our local beach, Amroth, allows dogs on part of it and we went to Newgale today which I'm going to write a full about about. It is so good to get out and appreciate this beautiful world we live in. My friend bought me a Wales travel guide as a leaving preseint! Such a good gift. I've already gone through it and marked all the things I'm hoping to do, I'm determined to visit more places locally.

Well, I think that's all for now! Sorry if this post is a bit 'me me me', I'll have something more interesting for you next time I hope! The dogs are both fast asleep so I may join them for half an hour! It feels very decadent to have a snooze in the day.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Week

Well, it's been my last weekend as a Londoner! It's been a lovely, relaxing weekend. Yesterday I spent the day with a friend, S, in Central London, it was so hot. I had tickets for The Pajama Game (no, I haven't misspelled it, I think it's an American spelling) for my birthday from my boss so S and I went to that in Shaftesbury Theatre. It was really brilliant, I'll post a full review soon. Then we had dinner in Bella Italia which was delicious but I couldn't really enjoy it because it was sweltering in there.

Today I've just been pottering around my room, finishing off the last of the packing and I popped into town to do my last Primark shop for a while, the closest Primarni to home is about an hours drive away so we go there on special occasions haha! I feel pretty organised which is worrying me a bit. I was so stressed last weekend thinking about all the things I needed to do but I seem to be nearly finished. I feel like I've forgotten something.

So, this will be my last week with the monkeys (I'm a nanny for twins who were three the other week, when did that happen?). I'm excited about going home but I'm going to miss them terribly. I really hope we stay in contact. We're just going to have a really fun week with lots of laughter as usual. They really have grown into wonderful, funny, kind individuals. They are very special.

Six sleeps until I'm back in Wales!! Eeeeeee!

Friday, 18 July 2014

New Beginnings

Okay, so you may have noticed (actually, you probably haven't, I don't want to seem big headed haha!) that I have not been very regular with my blog posts since Christmas. I am really annoyed at myself for falling out of the habit of blogging because it's something which I enjoy so much and I love being part of this community. I've been wanting to write a post for a while but I wanted everything to be finalised before saying anything as it means that this blog may change a bit.

I'm moving back to Wales. I will no longer be a London nanny but a Pembrokeshire....something!! I don't have a job to go back to but I am chilled out and relaxed (more about that later) and know that it will be alright in the end.

I've made some amazing friends whilst being up here, without whom I would never have been able to stay for two and a half years. They've been so supportive and helpful, a lot of the time without even realising it, and for that I am truly, truly grateful. I've missed my family so much and my friends from back home too. It was very strange for me to come from a community where everyone knows each other and where I was hardly ever alone to a place which seems so impersonal at times. I've really enjoyed my time up here, it has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible, has made me so much more confident and a little bit more sure of what I want in life. I cannot wait to get home to put all my wishes into action.

I had a card reading recently, not tarot but cards pretty similar to angel cards, and it was such an uplifting experience. I was basically told not to worry, to rest and relax, enjoy being home with my loved ones and back in my base. That what I want will come. So that is why I'm not stressed about finding work or trying to do so much that my mind is running around in circles and I never actually acheive anything. I am excited for this 'new beginning' of sorts and look forward to what the next few months have in store for me.

So, this blog. I suppose it won't really change that much. There'll be less posts about London life but I haven't really posted much of that sort of thing anyway. I will hopefully have more time for crafting so will be writing posts about that and I'd like to keep up with the book reviews and author interviews as they are often my favourite posts to write.

Pembrokeshire National Coast (Source)
I'd also like to explore Pembrokeshire and Wales more. I feel incredibly guilty that I haven't seen many of the most beautiful sights in my home country, some of which are a mere thirty minute drive away from my home. I am going to be a tourist in my birthplace and hopefully share with you some of the beautiful places Wales has to offer.

I am also going to be joining Slimming World and exercising. I am a rather large gal and I want to change that. I'll write a full post about that soon but I want to do this for me. I'm going to start putting myself and my family first more often, we deserve it. Happiness is priceless.

So I would like to thank all of you who are still folowing me for not deleting me, and those new followers I've had recently. You'll be seeing more of me I hope and I'm pretty damn excited about it all!

Thanks for listening to/reading my ramblings. I hope they made some sense!