The Biggest Loser: Our Weight Loss Challenge Update #1

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

You may have seen my previous post about our Biggest Loser Challenge. For those that haven't, Mark and I have embarked on a weight loss challenge.

We both need to lose at least 2 stone to be in a healthy BMI range, but as we both find it easy to revert back into old habits, we decided to make it a bit more fun and make it a little competition!

The person who loses the least amount in percentage lost has to do a forfeit!

We've now been doing the Biggest Loser challenge for a month, so I thought it was time that I updated you on our progress!

Biggest Loser 2017

Initial Weigh In

Mark: 194 lb
Laura:  177 lb

Week 1                                                                              Percentage loss

Mark: 193.8 lb                                                                       0.1%
Laura:  173.6 lb                                                                     1.92%

Forfeit: 20 (verified) push-ups every morning!

Week 2                                                                              Percentage loss

Mark: 192.6 lb                                                                       0.6%
Laura:  173.2 lb                                                                     0.23%

Forfeit: 30 (verified) squats every morning!

Week 3                                                                              Percentage loss

Mark: 191.6 lb                                                                       0.52%
Laura:  171.6 lb                                                                     0.92%

Forfeit: 60 seconds of hand walks!

Week 4                                                                              Percentage loss

Mark: 191.6 lb                                                                       0%
Laura:  170.6 lb                                                                     0.58%

Forfeit: 20 (verified) burpees every morning!

Weight lost so far                                                                             

Mark: 3.4 lb                                                                      
Laura:  6.4 lb                                                                   

So that's the past month's stats. We've not lost as much as we'd like, but we're on the right track. Slow and steady which is good. Plus, apart from one week, I'm beating Mark, which is an added bonus!

Mark has been really good and started running a couple of times a week, but as he's been working on the garden (new update coming soon!) he is famished and eats over his calories!

As well as going for a long walk every Monday with my sister and the girls in pushchairs, I've started going to a local spinning class (!) with a friend and am going to go back to jumping with my sister this week, so exercise is not a problem!

I still have to sort out my diet and make it a bit better. I've found that I do better if I eat little and often throughout the day, but it's harder to do with Dot. If she sees me eating, she wants to eat too. It's bad enough already, as she asks for her dinner as soon as her breakfast is finished!

Next month, I'll update you all on our challenge. Hopefully, I will still have avoided forfeits!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


Turning #TearsIntoSmiles with Elastoplast

Friday, 12 May 2017

As you know, we love to get out and about. It's always great to get outdoors and blow the cobwebs away, especially if you've got little ones. If they spend too long indoors, they become like caged animals. I know mine do!

Like all children,  mine love to run and jump and climb whenever they can. I love to see the smiles on their faces when they're enjoying the freedom of playing outdoors.

Unfortunately, when they fall over, especially Dot, those smiles can quickly turn to tears. Elastoplast is celebrating playing outdoors and the freedom of playing outdoors brings to children, and turning tears into smiles when they fall down.

It's such a lovely video :) Falling over shouldn't make playing outdoors a bad experience. Here are a few of my tips for turning those frowns upside down:

Big hugs

Nothing helps to stop the tears better than a big mum or dad hug!

Do a little dance!

Sometimes, when Dot hurts herself at the park we do a little dance to stop the pain. It's a little bit like when you stub your toe at home, but with more jumping up and down and a few strange looks from other parents!

Tell off the inanimate object!

If Dot trips over on the path, it always makes her laugh if I tell the path off! She thinks it's very funny and on one occasion has told me that it needs to sit on the bottom step! 😂

Use funny plasters!

Seeing a plaster with a funny face on or a well known character can make everything all right again, just like Elastoplast's range.

I had no idea, but Elastoplast is nearly 100 years old!
Since 1924 Elastoplast has sold in six countries across the world: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Elastoplast products have been continually renowned internationally for their quality. 
Elastoplast is a worldwide brand that you and your whole family can rely on – they offer modern and high-quality solutions to the demands and small inconveniences of everyday life, like the little ones falling over!

Falling over isn't nice, but it is a part of growing up. With a few great tips to help turn those tears into smiles, playing outdoors can be a fantastic experience for children.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Family Board Games Night 2017

Sunday, 7 May 2017

We love board games in our house! We have a games cupboard that is overflowing with different games, from a vintage Sorry! (a game we loved to play at my Grandparents growing up) to a favourite from my childhood, Escape from Atlantis.

If it was up to me, we would play one all the time. I've probably told you before, but me and my brother once played a three day marathon of Monopoly! We weren't children then though. We were grown up adults! He even called in sick to work so we could carry on playing!


I couldn't believe it when I was told that Pork Farms was running the National Board Game Championships for a second year in a row, in association with the Micropub Association and with games supplied by Hasbro.

I'd never heard of it before, but it sounded amazing!

What I liked about it was that anyone who loves board games could get involved, with the winners going to the grand final during National Board Games Week, which is May 8th- 14th.


But don't be disheartened that you've missed this year's competition. You can also join in the fun from home by hosting your own board games night!

Don't worry, you don't have to use the five games from the official competition. You can play anything on the games shelf ( or in my case, cupboard) from Uno and Top Trumps to Beat the Parents and Scrabble Slam!

Sign up here and Pork Farms will email you a free games night pack! 
You can also share photos of your board games night with Pork Farms through their  Facebook or Twitter for the chance to win a stack of board games and a year’s supply of pork pies!

We have our games night planned for National Board Games Week! We've been practicing for the night by playing one of the Hasbro games from the National Board Championships, Taboo.

We picked Taboo because not only did we thought it would help with Mikey's English, but I used to love playing a homemade version with my pupils in English lessons!

I have to say though, it's much harder than it looks! When you're under pressure, it is hard not to say the words you can't! I was useless at it!

We had such a laugh and were in constant fits of laughter! Mikey's favourite part was making sure that no one cheated and seemed to be in constant control of the Taboo Squeaker!

I can't wait to see what craziness will happen when we play at our Family Board Game Night!

Don't forget to download your Family Board Games Night 2017 and join in the fun this National Board Game Week!

Disclaimer: We were sent Taboo for the purposes of this post. The opinions are as always, our own.  

The Biggest Loser: Our Weight Loss Challenge

Monday, 17 April 2017

They say that the first step is to admit you have a problem, so here goes....I love food. I am a food addict!

My love of food has meant that over the years I have put on a lot of weight. It has also meant that I have helped my husband put on weight too, as I love to cook him big portions of food I know he enjoys.

We both need to lose at least 2 stone to be in a healthy BMI range.  The other week, we both decided that we definitely have to do something about it before we become stuck on the sofa forever!

One of my guilty pleasures is to watch weight loss programmes, like Obese: A Year to Save My Life and The Biggest Loser and so Mark thought it'd be a great idea to do something similar at home, although without throwing someone out of the house if they lose the least amount!

We decided that as well as eating healthy and exercising, we should hold a weigh in once a week and then calculate our percentage weight lost. Whoever loses the least amount has to do a forfeit.

And so, last Friday, our Biggest Loser competition began.

I thought that I would share our stats with you, (don't worry, Mark has given his permission!) so that we could be held accountable, not only to each other, but to you fellow readers as well :)

Biggest Loser 2017

Initial Weigh In

Mark: 194 lb
Laura:  177 lb

Week 1                                                                              Percentage loss

Mark: 193.8 lb                                                                       0.1%
Laura:  173.6 lb                                                                     1.92%

Forfeit: 20 (verified) push-ups every morning!

In fairness to Mark, he'd been working on the garden and in his words, it made him very hungry and snack!
We've only done one week so far, and unusually for me, I'm still feeling motivated, but now Mark is taking to his calorie allowance better, I think the competition is really on!

I'll let you know how we get on at Friday's weigh in!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Garden: A Brand New Look- An Update

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Last Spring, we decided that we wanted to update the garden, giving it a brand new look. You may have seen my original post about updating the garden and the first update of our progress.

Well, my husband and our family have been busy and I finally have a new update for you all!

This is what the garden looked like before we started:

So we wanted to completely strip the garden back and start again. We decided that we didn't want the lawn anymore, replacing it with artificial grass instead.

However, there has been and still is a lot of work to be done before that happens!

To make things tougher, Mark suggested having the garden at two different levels, which sounded great to begin with, but I didn't realise how much work it would be for him!

 You may remember my last update where they dug it all out!

Luckily, the bottom level has pretty much been dug up and is now looking a lot less like Time Team and more like Ground Force!

We had to put the garden on hold for one thing and another, but now the bad weather is almost behind us, the boys have been in the back garden again.

Over the past week, this is what they've done:

  • Dug out and over all flower beds
  • Built some raised beds and borders
  • Planted some old and new plants in the raised beds

  • created Gabion cage walls

So this is my new view to the back garden:

 We're still a way to go, but I'm so proud of Mark :)

Although the plan was to get the garden finished for the end of last Summer, we were greatly over estimating! The new plan is for the start of this Summer, but I'm optimistic, so I'm hoping for the end of May. Either way, it'll soon be ready for BBQ season!!

I'll keep you posted on any new developments :)

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Plamil Foods: Free From Easter Chocolate

Sunday, 9 April 2017

As you all know, our house is a free from one. This can make it hard to find yummy treats that Mikey  especially can enjoy. However, Plamil Foods have created chocolate that is both yummy and safe.

We've been a fan of Plamil Foods ever since we discovered their free from mayonnaise and chocolate spread a few years ago! Plamil Foods are a dedicated no dairy, no egg, no nut and no gluten factory site. Everything is made on site and so they have full control over what goes into their products.

They are the oldest vegan company in the UK, having being set up in the 1960s as the Plantmilk Society where they started making milk out of cabbage. I know Mikey, and many others will be very pleased to hear that they don't do that anymore!!

In 1972, they shortened their name to Plamil Foods and were responsible for the first 'milky' vegan chocolate in the world. Their chocolate is the only chocolate factory in the world (that they know of) that is run on 100% renewable energy and many of their ingredients are organic, Fairtrade or Utz certified.

Mikey was very excited to be sent some lovely Easter chocolate to try out.

Half Eggs

Easter Bunny Bars - in three dairy free varieties!

Hollow Easter Egg.  All the taste of dairy milk without dairy!

Half Eggs

These are perfect for any Easter Egg hunt, or on top of yummy Easter cakes or, like Mikey, keeping all to yourself!

Hollow Chocolate Egg

This Easter egg is perfect for those who can't have the regular ones :)

Bunny Bars

These chocolate bars are so cute! They are great as something different to the regular chocolate egg, a yummy treat, or as I did, popped into a lunchbox!

All have a fun presentation, are suitable for vegans, and are made in their very own factory which never uses dairy, gluten or nuts.

Now, I thought that instead of writing this review completely on his behalf, Mikey could take over a little bit, so here goes:

I was really lucky that I was sent some yummy Easter chocolate to eat. My mum can sometimes find it pretty difficult to find treats for me that are safe, especially for Easter, so I was very excited to try these, but only after I checked the label first! (*)

I loved all of it! It all tasted fantastic and I really couldn't pick a favourite! If you have an allergy, you can't go wrong :)

So there you have it. Mikey, who is extremely fussy (we have even seen him back up against a wall to avoid eating something**) recommends these chocolates. You can't get a higher endorsement than that!

You can find out more about the great Easter range and other Plamil Foods products on their website, and you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

*Note: Mikey is very good at checking labels for himself, which is great, but he has been known to ring my mum to 'check' because he doesn't believe the packet or me!
**Note: Don't worry, it was completely safe for him!

Disclaimer: We were sent some Easter chocolate in return for an honest review. As always, all opinions are our own.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

BookBeat: Audio Books Review

Friday, 7 April 2017

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read.  I will read anything you put in front of me. I used to walk to college and work with my face in a book and have even been known to sit and read cereal boxes!

However, due to having Dot and Mikey and being a stay at home mum, I don't really get the chance to read much anymore. It is probably one of the only things that I really miss since I've had children!

All that has changed though! I have been very lucky to try a new Audio Book subscription service called BookBeat.

BookBeat is a digital streaming service that was founded in Sweden in 2015, with Finland following shortly after. In March this year, it was released in the UK.

Bookbeat allows you to listen to thousands of audiobooks right on your mobile and tablet. You'd think that this would be expensive, but it is only £14.90 a month, the price of a couple of books!

I have to be honest and say that I  thought that there wouldn't be a great selection of audio books as it hasn't been in the UK for long, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many new releases there were as well as all of the classics!

I love that I can listen wherever I am. In the brief time that Dot is having a nap, I can still do the boring jobs around the house while indulging in an audiobook. I even got through my entire ironing pile (which is extensively large) and didn't notice because I was getting into the story!

BookBeat doesn't just have to stay at home though. As well as being able to stream stories via data or wifi, you can also download and save them to your library, so they can come with you. I took mine on a journey to the shops the other day because I had become so engrossed in the story!

I also really like that there are no commitments. If circumstances change, you can cancel your subscription easily.

There are so many audio books to listen to, it'll take me a long time to get through them, but I am happy to do my chores and even the ironing if it means that I can indulge in new stories!

Now, normally BookBeat have a two week trial, but they have very kindly offered a one month free trial to all you lovely readers!

Just click here to start your one month free trial!

You can find more about BookBeat on their website and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: We were given a subscription to BookBeat in return for a review. All opinions are our own.

Stampin' Up UK: Oh Happy Day card making kit review

Monday, 20 March 2017

I love being creative, whether it be cross stitching, trying to learn crochet (slow progress!) or just doodles.

Mikey is exactly the same as me and so when I found out that I was lucky enough to try Stampin' Up UK's Oh Happy Day card making kit, I thought that it'd be perfect for the two of us to sit down, flex our creative muscles and spend some quality time together.

We chose the weekend when all homework had been done and Dot was having her nap.

Even the box looked smart, so we couldn't wait to have a look at the inside!

The kit includes:

* Set of 13 photopolymer stamps
* 20 card bases and coordinating envelopes
* Giftable kraft box
* Die-cut glittered chipboard shapes
* Embossed sheets
* Printed die-cut images
* Die-cut gold foil sheet
* Die-cut white sheets
* Basic Black Archival Stampin’ Spot
* Printed color doilies
* Baker’s Twine
* Glittered dots
* Stampin’ Dimensionals
* Acrylic stamp block

Adhesive is sold separately, but luckily Mikey raided his pencil case for a glue stick!

My first impression was that I thought that it looked relatively easy, but still grown up, which I liked! It was also really bright and colourful, which made it a bit more fun!

Our first card we chose to make was "HELLO"!

We read the instructions carefully and got to work, making sure to ink the stamp carefully and gluing and sticking things in the right place...

...and this is what we ended up with....

Not too dissimilar to the original, but we were so busy laughing and joking, (especially when I glued the bow to my hand) that we didn't notice that we'd glued a heart to the paper before stamping it.  Mistake! Cue more laughter!!

We decided to take things more seriously, (at least with the cards!) and began on our next creation. This time, Mikey chose "YAY"!

And the finished article..... the difference! Not too shabby!

For nearly two hours we sat down and really had fun. It was great to be creative and Mikey said that he had a brilliant time, especially because he had a chance to make things and create art, which is one of his favourite things to do.











There are 20 cards to make, but we only made 5 to begin with. We're taking our time and making some more next weekend. We had a ball and can't wait to make some more!

This card making kit is ideal for anyone who loves to be creative, whether it's an older child or an adult. Mikey is nearly 13 and this activity was perfectly suited to both him and me!

Stampin' Up UK's Oh Happy Day card making kit is available to buy from their website for only £31.50.  They can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclousure: We were sent Oh Happy Day card making kit in return for our honest review. All opinions are our own.