Monthly Archives: February 2015

Mums on Blogs… Kim Williams

February 27, 2015

about-page-pic-1024x7311. Who are you and what is the name of your blog?…..

My name is Kim Williams I am a mum of 3, A Wellness Coach for busy mums, blogger, author of Burst of Breaky and foodie. The name of my website is Healthy Zest.

2. What is your blog about?...

I blog clean eating recipes and real world advice, tips and tricks about living a healthy, happy and fulfilled life when you tend to put yourself last like many mums do. All my recipes are “normal” every day meals, just made healthier and still delicious.

3. How long have you been blogging?…

Not even 12 months, I officially launched my blog in March 2014.

4. What made you start?…

As a busy mum myself I found a lot of articles online just simply weren’t relatable to my busy world. I didn’t have time to make gourmet meals with fancy ingredients every night and so that’s why I created my own site where women could find real life, attainable and simple advice they could implement into their worlds to make it easier.

5. What was your last extravagant purchase?…

My husband would probably say “daily” haha I am a bit of a closet shopping addict. What can I say I like shopping.

6. The washing is done and the kids are in bed… What do you do now?….

Chill on the couch watching tv with a glass of wine, which I tend to do even when the washing isn’t done, with 3 kids and a husband its never ending!!

7. What is the one thing you can not go one day without?….

Coffee!!!… Coffee rocks my world.

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8. Any favourite online shops?….

I tend to search for products online BUT I LOVE shopping in person more!! Some of my favourite shops include, portmans (I love structured clothes), Zara , Cotton on (for basics) and I have to admit I own way too many Target clothes.

9. Who is your favourite person/blog you follow on Instagram?…

@food52 is one of my faves for foodporn, their pictures make me hungry DAILY!! I do follow over 1000 people so my news feed is always jammed pack with food, fashion, parenting and daily inspiration.

10. Any advice for other mums who might be stuck in a rut?….

Start with small changes, don’t try to change everything at once. Small changes = Lasting changes.

You can find Kim on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Peanut Butter and Nutella cookies

February 24, 2015

cookies2 words that make me happy.. Well 3 really. Peanut Butter and Nutella. Put them together and there just simply can NOT be anything bad about that. You must make these but don’t forget you can’t really send them off to school for the kiddies. That’s if they last long enough for the kiddies to even try them. These straight from the oven are something else!

You should have everything you need in your pantry already which makes these even better. Here we go..

 

 

  • 115gr softened butter
  • 3/4cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2cup white sugar
  • 1/2cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
  • 1/2tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. In a stand mixer beat together the butter, peanut butter and sugars for about 4-5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour, salt, and bicarb soda and fold in with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Heat the nutella in the microwave for around 30 seconds and pour over the dough. Fold through gently so you get the appearance of a rippled effect. Put the dough in the fridge for around 10 mins just to cool down a touch, and then roll the dough into small balls. Leave a little space between them all as they spread out a bit.

Bake for around 10 mins and then remove from the oven. They will be quite soft but they do harden as they cool down. Although, I can’t seem to let them cool down enough before I eat them. But then again, I have a problem.

Mums on Blogs… Michelle Green

February 20, 2015

Michelle_Green_Head-201406291. Who are you and what is the name of your blog?

My name is Michelle Green and I’m the author of The Business of Baking – a blog which teaches, motivates and inspires bakers and decorators as they navigate the wild world of sweet business ownership.

2. How long have you been blogging?

The Business of Baking has been around for about 2 years now, but before that I wrote a personal blog for 10 years.

3. What made you start your blog?

Thanks to all the amazing cake TV shows and shows like Masterchef, cake making became a very popular hobby – and for some, that hobby turned into a business. As I was running my own cake business, I started to get a lot of requests for mentoring, and I noticed a lot of changes happening in the industry. There were a lot of very talented, well meaning people out there but many of them lacked the business skills to truly turn that talent into a profitable business. There were also customers reporting some really crazy experiences thay had with cake makers who – while again very well meaning – would do some crazy stuff! So it became clear that the industry needed some solid business information out there. I started offering some very small workshops about running a baking business but quickly realised that I needed to find a way to get the information out much further and faster. I was already familiar with blogging as a platform, and I love to write – so the answer to, “how do I help more people with this?” was a simple one to answer.  I started the blog because it was the resource I wish I’d had when I started down the business path.

4. What do you love most about it?

I love that it not only changes the lives of the people who read it, it changes my life too. I cannot adequately explain how amazing it makes me feel when someone sends an email or a message to thank me for writing the blog, or helping them to solve a problem.

5. Any favourite online shops?

I’m the worst online shopper there ever was! I’m one of those people who fills a cart then walks away (well, digitally walks away) from it. The only things I ever buy online these days are books – and for that I usually use Bookworld.

6. What is your one guilty pleasure?

I have several – and I don’t feel guilty about them! Everything in moderation – including moderation…

7. The kids are in bed, the washing is done… What do you do now?

I’d like to say that I sew amazing quilts, or plan vast empires, or work on solving poverty – but in reality I play on my phone, read a book and fall asleep.

8. What is the one thing you can not go one day without?

Hugs. I’m ridiculously lovey-dovey.

9. Do you have a favourite person you follow on Instagram?

I’ve got so many that I love to follow on IG for inspiration and motivtation but lately I’m having fun with the more humorous accounts like @hotdudesreading and @crazyJewishMom – my kids also love to tag me in tons of funny memes and “dad joke” type accounts. I’m also not-so-secretly obsessed with nail art – which is funny because I’m not really into make-up or fancy things – and there are some INCREDIBLE nail artists on Instagram. My feed is pretty much cakes/funny/nails/cakes/funny/nails. Oh, and @snoopygrams and @barbiestyle …. good lord, anyone reading this is going to think they don’t really know me at all!

10. Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by anyone who makes the most with what they’ve got. One of the amazing things about the blog is learning about people who are chasing their business dreams – and catching them – even in the face of huge challenges or limitations. I truly believe we all have great gifts to give to the world and I’m always inspired by people who, no matter what life hands them, continue to stand up, dust themselves off, and carry on.

You can reach Michelle here:

Via email:michelle@thebizofbaking.com

Instagram: @businessofbaking

Facebook: /bizbake

Twitter: #bizbake

Pinterest: /bizbake

The official hashtag: #TuesdaysWithBob

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50 Shades of a Middle Age, Middle Class, Married Mans Experience.

February 18, 2015

UnknownLet me first preference this by making several points straight off the bat.
1. This is not a review of the film.  Well….. I guess it’s my review of how I felt after sitting through two plus hours of “cinematic excellence” that was 50 Shades of Grey.
2. I have not read the trilogy that the movie (and its apparent sequels) is based on. My wife, and partner in this movie going activity has read the series. I went in uneducated and with no background. Suffice to say I had heard the hype of “the greatest mummy porn ever written”. That’s all.
Let’s begin.
I took my wife to the gold lounge to see 50 Shades of Grey. Big leather recliners, 50 couples seats in the cinema. No expense spared. Tasting plate, drinks to open and half way through, coffee, hot chocolate and rocky road. I highly recommend the experience. My one hot tip. Stick to finger food. Eating burgers and nachos require you to see what you’re doing and if you are anything like me more food lands on your shirt than in your mouth. Eating in the dark is not easy for me.
But I digress.
The cinema was full
Not a single seat left.
98% of patrons had vaginas.
The only male other than myself was sat directly across the gap from me. We made eye contact and in that brief nanosecond we shared the same “I hope this gets me some with the missus” look that only a slight raise of the eyebrows from one bro to another can give. To any male reading this please be deathly aware from this moment on, this movie will not put her in the mood to re-enact any single scene except perhaps if she wants to fly a helicopter or glider… or take expensive gifts of iMacs and Sportscars. But hey, if that sexy bastard Mr Grey wanted to smack my arse and give me an Audi, I’d count to 6 (referenced to prove that I did in fact take full notice and didn’t nod off as expected).
I’m a middle aged man. I’ve seen the world. I’ve lived many different lives and a relatively full existence. I’m open to admit I’ve had good and bad relationships. Let’s be honest here, the movie isn’t your traditional love story. It’s got a dark side. Bondage, discipline, control and manipulation are what made this the phenomenon it’s become.  I’ve smacked an arse or two. Come on, who hasn’t. A friendly playful tap in our own “playrooms” “workshops” or “where the magic happens” have been going on in suburban bedrooms for centuries. Not everyone though has a four poster with huge brass rings capable of human suspension and knows how to tie more knots than a boy scout earning his next badge. Grey does. He also has more riding crops and whips than the Dungog rodeo and a few items that looked like he could hit a hot six runs off a bouncer from an Indian fast bowler at the MCG.
Back to the audience. Half of the 50 were in a single group. All had a bottle of wine in hand and most looked, sounded and acted like they had already had a bottle or two prior to arrival. For the first time EVER in the many many years I have been seeing movies, as the title of the movie came on there was a collective round of applause from said group. For a brief second I wished I was the leader of the packs husband. For one simple reason. He was back at home and she wasn’t.
Wolf calls and woot woots at the first sign of Christian. Yeah we’re on first name basis. I thought, yeah look he’s not a bad looking dude. I snuck a look at the wife, she had a slight smile on, I assumed she agreed in my summation.
Again I’m off on a tangent.
The thing that stood out and probably annoyed me most about the story was The Contract. I won’t explain it, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve seen it you heard it mentioned and saw it what seemed like every 3 minutes. Like what my father used to describe as “a broken fucking record” he went on and on and on and on about it. Dude! You’re supposed to be a successful gajillionaire. If she took that long and delayed it that many times, chances are she wasn’t ever going to sign it. Give it a break. Move on.
Men, here’s your part. And a definite positive in both story AND casting. Tits. Yeah I said it. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of them. I rate them. Ms Steele doesn’t mind showing them off either. I was not complaining. These little handfuls…..you could have hung a towel on one and engraved glass with the other.  They stood proud whenever called upon. And for that, we thank you.
The movie continued. And continued. And then it continued. BUT, just when you thought it was going to continue some more, like the proverbial slap on the arse… BOOM. It ended. Pretty much (I assume) like most of the rowdy cougars in the back of the cinemas love life. It built to a crescendo and abruptly ended without satisfaction. I heard 30 voices in perfect harmony moan “whaaaaat? Noooooooooo”…………….. and that made me smile.
As we walked from the darkened room, my wife asked me what I thought. “Be honest, how much did you hate it?” was what she actually said. I said I needed a minute to think about it. But I had more questions now than when I went in.
1. Does Mrs Jane Average really get off on this?
2. How would she react if tonight I whipped out a set of handcuffs, a ball gag and Indiana Jones’ favorite bullwhip and said “Mr Grey will see you now!”
3. Will my OCD force me to sit through 2 (knowing how Hollywood likes to stretch it out) possibly 3 more of these to get closure?
I have theories. And I have hunches. These are best left to another time though.
To summarize: The movie was not as bad as a certain channel 9 Today show reporters rant portrayed it as. There was chemistry between them. I won’t need to watch it again. If it comes on free to air tv in years to come and I’m flicking channels I might wait to see her nipples again, they were note worthy but I’ll continue flicking channels to a re-run of Dukes of Hazzard or Lost before I watch it in its entirety.  Drunk, horny middle aged housewives dream of out of the box naughty sex with abs of steel billionaires. Tonight I will pop in a copy of Bonnie Rotten’s Obedience School Volume 2 and see if this is a game of double standards.  You only have to watch it for 142 minutes, otherwise <insert sexy billionaire with a fetish voice> “You’ll need to be punished”.

Apple and cinnamon muffins

February 17, 2015

muffinsI go through a LOT of muffins in my house, so trying to come up with something new, that everybody likes every week sometimes proves to be a bit difficult. However, all 3 of my girls love these ones more than any other. Extremely easy and you will want to make these for the smell that wonders through your house alone!

First preheat your oven to 180C and line your muffin tray .

Heres what you’ll need,

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1tbs baking powder
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 125gr butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs lightly whisked
  • 3/4 cup milk

Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, then add the brown sugar and apple pieces. Give a little stir to combine the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter, eggs and milk. Stir to combine taking care not to over work it. Spoon into muffin tin and cook for 20 minutes. You will know when they are ready by the awesome smell. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Done.

My thoughts on 50 Shades……….

February 16, 2015

7f789b276859741be5d977db5407b672So I have been to see the 50 Shades of Grey movie along with all the other women out there. If you haven’t read the book here is a quick rundown..

Quite plain girl meets hot young billionaire business man who is both physically and mentally scared from his early days. Said billionaire is a control freak and has a “playroom” full of S&M paraphernalia and sets out to make quite plain girl his submissive. That’s pretty much it.

When a book has been so successful, it is always going to be a bit risky to go ahead and make it into a movie. Will they get all the key parts in there? Will the characters be what we want them to be? Will they change anything that people love/hate about the book? Will it be as popular as the book?

So… what did I think of it? I feel it may be easier if I put this down in point form.

  • It took me a very long time to read the book so when it finishes in 2 hours 5 minutes I felt slightly ripped off. (This is entirely my problem yes, I should read faster than a 5 year old)
  • Everyone has their own version of what Christian Grey will look like…….Yes? This is where I kind of feel a bit for the actor playing him (Jamie Dornan). He is probably not everyones choice to play the part but would there be anyone who would have made everyone happy? I think not…I actually think he did ok… I mean… there are worse things to look at.
  • I think Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson…. both of which would probably not want to see her in this particular movie I would imagine) plays an awesome Anastasia Steele. It is exactly what I would have pictured her to look like anyway.
  • If you have read the book, you will already know how it ends….. Don’t complain. If you haven’t read it… you are probably not going to be happy.
  • If you have read all 3 books you may get a little mixed up as to what happens in which book.  Having thought about it I’m pretty sure I will fancy the second movie better.
  • It is nowhere near as raunchy as the book.

Honestly, I expected it to be a little bit more. I don’t think it was bad, but I don’t think it was outstanding either. However.. I am LOVING the slowed down version of Beyoncè’s Crazy in Love. It’s worth seeing the movie for this alone.

All in all, I think it is worth seeing with a girlfriend or two… It was just a little bit too Days of our Lives for me. If a kinky soap opera is your kind of thing… go ahead.

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Slow cooked Mexican chicken.

February 12, 2015

a3  So I am all about getting dinner on the table as hassle free as possible… and without spending a fortune. This Mexican chicken is just delicious. Throw it in the slow cooker for a few hours and a little finishing off at the end and you’re done. It uses chicken breast which is unusual in the slow cooker as normally you would use thigh so it doesn’t dry out, but I think this has so much liquid in it it’s completely fine. You’re going to need…

  • 2 chicken breasts, each cut into 3 pieces
  • sachet of taco seasoninga1
  • jar of mild salsa
  • carrot
  • onion
  • tin of tomatoes
  • celery

 

I mix the taco seasoning throughout the tin of tomatoes so as its mixed through thoroughly but then all you do is throw it on the slow cooker on low for about 6 hours or high for about 3. After this time remove the chicken and pull it apart with two forks.

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Transfer the chicken and all the tomato mixture that’s still in the slow cooker into a baking dish and stir through a can of kidney beans. Once combined, throw over some grated cheese and put under a hot grill until the cheese has browned. Scatter over some spring onions and that’s it!

Once it is cooked I serve it with a simple salad… shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes and avocado and also serve it with some tortillas, sour cream and a squeeze of lime on top.

If you wanted to cut down on the carbs it would still be delicious with some mixed leaves and a good dollop oIMG_7578f guacamole on the side. Or….. I think next time I might sit with the entire dish and a bag of corn chips.

Dusk Artisan Collection

February 11, 2015

duskForget your cheap shop “vanilla” candles, this range form Dusk is something else. We all know Dusk do candles. Every kind of candle and fragrance you can think of they have it covered. Over the last few months I have been stocking up on the Artisan Collection of products. They are just divine. It started when I bought the single wick candle in the Midnight Orchid fragrance  (orchid, orris and sandalwood) and quickly decided this was “my” smell.

You know how some people have a particular smell about their home? This was going to be mine. Candles, room sprays and mood reeds for the home and then I realised they actually have a body range as well. Hand creams, body washes and lotions. Perfect

Quite often when you buy candles you might find they are either really over powering or the complete opposite. You have to pretty much be hanging over the top of it to be able to smell anything!  Of course everyone has their preference in regard to smells and if this Midnight Orchid isn’t for you there are 4 others.

  • Black Gold is black pepper and bergamot
  • White Breeze is juniper berries and geranium
  • Spiced Vanilla Noir is Vanilla and wild Angelica
  • Evening Rose is rose and chypre

So, next time you think it is time you bought yourself something nice, I’d head to Dusk.

 

 

Nutella mug cake

February 9, 2015

Ok so I will be honest with you, this is most certainly not my recipe but ohhhhmygod!! It is cakey, puddingy perfection. I mean it’s Nutella, how can it be bad?

The recipe is from a blog called Tammileetips, the ingredients are obviously American but we have everything that’s the same and its all metric measurements so no need for converting.

If you plan on making this, wait until the kiddies are in bed so you don’t have to share. Or, if you’re nicer than me go ahead. All it needs is a bit of vanilla ice cream and some quite time in front of the tv and you, my friend.. are very welcome.

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My story.

February 5, 2015

pregnant

So this is a new series which I am calling Real readers… Real stories. So before I publish any  stories written by my awesome readers…. I’m going to go first!

Every woman who has had multiple pregnancies will most likely agree that they are all different. This is my story on how trying my third pregnancy was.

On 21st September 2009 I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. Everything was seemingly normal until I went for my 12 week scan. Later that afternoon I received a phone call from the specialist to say that the equation for Downs Syndrome came back high and to inform me that he had booked me in for the CVS test the next morning if I wanted to go ahead with further testing. Only about an hour later I received a phone call from my obstetrician telling me that the bloods I recently had taken tested positive to a virus. Something called Cytomegalovirus, more commonly called CMV. He told me that depending on when it was during the pregnancy I had contracted the virus would depend on how it could affect the baby. “I have you booked in to the neonatal diagnostic specialist at 11.30 tomorrow morning” he tells me….to which of course I nod my head forgetting that he can’t hear me nodding.

He told me not to go straight to Google as this just causes more confusion and gives you the worst case scenario. (I immediately ignored him and did exactly that!) This is the first thing that came up ..

“Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection. In healthy people, it causes a mild flu-like illness that passes harmlessly within a few days. In certain high-risk groups, including pregnant women and organ transplant patients, CMV infection can be dangerous. CMV can cause hearing loss and intellectual disability in unborn babies.”

Oh.My.God… What the actual hell is happening? I wasn’t even sick for God’s sake. How did I get this? I then carry on to read this..

” Women can catch CMV during pregnancy and pass it on to their baby – this is called congenital CMV. Around one in ten infected babies will have lasting problems. These can include deafness, poor eyesight, intellectual disability, an enlarged liver or spleen, and a small head.”

Jesus Christ why the hell didn’t I listen to the Dr and not gone to Google. Shit!!!! How do I process all this.. Oh my frigin God. By this stage I am an absolute abomination… not to mention that in the meantime I had forgotten about the CVS test I was yet to have to rule out any Downs Syndrome. Needless to say the rest of that day was not well spent.

Next day we go in for the CVS first thing to which I truly don’t remember much of, other than me laying there squeezing my husbands hand and saying endless Hail Mary’s to myself. An hour after we left there we were at the hospital waiting for this fancy pants doctor. He turns up and is just gorgeous. Seriously the nicest man in the world. He goes into more detail over what this virus actually does and what it affects.  If I had contracted this virus before 6 weeks I should be ok.. If it was between 6 and 12 weeks then we may have an issue. So then the process of blood testing follows to establish exactly when it was that I contracted this stupid thing. And so the wait begins.

Next day whilst out grocery shopping I get a phone call saying that the CVS came back all clear and there is no Downs Syndrome. Obviously I was relieved. One down. One more to go was all I could think. Later that day I was called by the  hospital to tell me to come back in the next day. Great.. this can’t be good. And….. it wasn’t.  Blood levels indicate CMV contracted between 6 and 12 weeks. Fuck. What now?

Well… we wait until 20 weeks and perform an amniocentesis to determine whether the baby has contracted the virus or not. I’m currently just 13 weeks. Then what happens after that?…….. What happens if the baby has it?……. Well, we establish how bad the damage is and then whether you choose to carry on with the pregnancy. ………… 7 (but turned out to be 8) more weeks of wondering WHAT is happening with this poooooor baby.

So for the best part of 8 weeks I continued on with my life as normal as possible trying to ignore this pregnancy. We didn’t even tell anyone, except for a very select few.  I just didn’t want to know anything about it. If this baby might not survive I didn’t wasn’t any attachment to it at all. Didn’t want to know about it. Sounds horrible yes, but until you are in the situation you just don’t know.

During this time I learnt more about myself than I ever thought was possible. What I used to worry about I certainly didn’t any longer. What used to bother me doesn’t any more. It really does just seem like a blur to me. One of the nicer things that happened was I used to hear Amazing Grace all the time. In the most random places at crazy times. It was weird. I like to think it was my grandfather assuring me from heaven that I was ok. I had the strength I needed.

20 weeks eventually arrived which happened to be right before Christmas. The test was performed and the Dr seemed pretty confident. However, we still needed another week before we knew the results… and then because apparently the world ceases to turn during Christmas and New year we then had to wait the best part of another week before we got the results back.

The night before we got the call, I heard Amazing Grace again on the TV and I had this overwhelming sense of calm. For the first time in ALL those weeks I felt calm, so much so that I went ahead and told our other 2 children that Mummy was having a baby. They had no idea.

Next day at lunch time I got the call. Everything was fine. The baby has not contracted the virus. “Unusual for this to happen, usually what mum gets, bub gets…..You must have someone looking after you my girl” were the exact words from my obstetrician. I will never forget those words as long as my feet are on the ground. To this day I don’t know how to describe the way I felt.

The next day I rang my Drs office back and asked the receptionist to grab my notes and more importantly the results from the CVS that was taken back at 12 weeks. I needed to know the sex of this baby as we had some serious bonding time to catch up on. I needed to know for myself. My husband didn’t want to know so this was another little thing I had to keep to myself… Can I go another couple of months not saying anything?….Absolutely.

“Another pink one” were her words. I cried and cried…… and cried. I always wanted 3 girls and after all this I truly did not care but I was being given what I always wanted. After all this.

A very short 16 weeks later, after 11 scans and I don’t even know how many blood tests we were blessed with the most perfect baby girl ever.

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6lb10oz and 48cm long and just divine. She would still need to have sight and hearing tests for a year or two as she was exposed to the virus, but all the doctors seemed pretty confident she would be fine.

Of course she is fine. Completely fine… and turns 5 soon. She is a constant reminder to me not to ever sweat the small stuff.  The way my attitude changed after this experience was immense. Some things seriously just do not matter. Just love your kids, they are ALL a blessing.