Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 25-31 January 2015 #SmearForSmear

This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, so if you are reading this and your smear test is over due, do me a little favour and stop reading, call your doctors and book an appointment, no ifs or buts just do it!!! If you are up to date with your smears like me (smug face) then well done!

I know for some of you the thought of having a smear test fills you with dread, but for someone like me who has had 2 babies from that area, a smear test is a walk in the park, in fact a smear test is a guilt free 15 minutes (if that) away from the kids, where i can just chill out and think of drinking cocktails on a Thai Island. Yes, that’s right people, i like having a smear test because it gives me a break from the kids, there said it!!

There is nothing to be embarrassed about, your fufu is just another fufu to the nurse just like your teeth is another set of teeth to a dentist. I know that for others it’s the fear that the results are not going to be good, but the test is designed to catch the cancer warning signs early – which means this little test could actually save your life, you have the ability to save your own life, why would you not go for it? Here are some stats from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Campaign…

  • Cervical cancer is the MOST COMMON CANCER in women under 35
  • 1 IN 3 WOMEN between 25-29 years old do not take up their smear test invitation
  • 8 UK WOMEN are diagnosed EVERY DAY
  • Yet… Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that CAN BE PREVENTED!

What is #SmearForSmear?

Smear tests (cervical screening) save 5,000 lives a year yet one in five women who are eligible to attend to not take up their invitation. For yound women aged 25-29 this rises to one in three. #SmearForSmear allows you to remind people of the importance of smear tests by sharing your lipstick smear and nominating your friends to do the same. Together we can help prevent cervical cancer. Here’s what to do…

  1. Put on your lipstick
  2. Smear your lipstick and take a selfie
  3. Use #SmearForSmear and @JoTrust then nominate a friend
  4. Share your selfie on social media.

Text ‘CCPW01 £3′ to 70070 to donate now.

So here is my #SmearForSmear photo, which i’ll be putting on twitter now. In my photo i have 1 of 2 reasons for keeping up to date with my smears, my eldest son – with 2 sons, i will do anything to keep me with them for as long as possible!

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If you have never had a smear test and are worried about the unknown, then let me tell you it is not such a big deal (i know before my first ever test i was really anxious but walked out of it thinking ‘what’s all the fuss about?`) You basically undress your bottom half, the nurses are very discreet and will lock the room and pull the curtain round, they may also give you a big paper sheet that acts as a skirt so you don’t feel exposed but i wear a skirt normally, as it’s just easier. You then lie down and of course need to open your legs! They ask you to put your feet bottoms together a lower your knees so you kind of look like a frog *he he*, they then take what looks like a mascara wand, i am one of the fortunate ones that has a shy cervix, which likes to hide around corners, so they always need to have a good rummage to find it but it never hurts as i just relax (remember I am a mum and this is my kid free time!) I never feel the test being done, and before i know it the nurse says ‘all done’ and i say are you sure… again this is my kid free time and i want as much time as possible!! LOL! and that is that!

So what are you waiting for? Book your smear test NOW and #SmearForSmear!!

I’ve gone Baking Mad!!

I love baking, i’m not saying i am good at it but i enjoy it. What i enjoy also is finding good websites that are easy to use and follow. Thankfully i have been introduced to BakingMad a website dedicated to wonderful bakes, from waffles, to cakes, to muffins and even yummy smoothie recipes plus much more.

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Baking Mad is a very easy to use website (which i love), you can do either a straight forward search for a recipe or choose a particular type of recipe and even choose which ingredients you want to include or not.

I chose to make some Calorie Conscious Blueberry Breakfast Muffins (click link for recipe). I tweaked the recipe slightly and added Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract and made half the batch with blueberries and half with Billington’s Glacé Cherries.

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muff4 muff3 muff2Considering these muffins are low calorie, they are really delicious and are ideal for breakfast time. I have also been giving them to my boys as a snack as they are low in sugar.

I was so impressed with the website i also attempted the Cherry Oat Crunchies but this time i got my little boy involved! The recipe was easy to follow and my son really enjoyed getting stuck into making the crunchies.

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And the best thing about making delicious bakes with the little people is, we get to eat the lot! However, i have a feeling these lovely oaty, crunchy bars aren’t going to last very long!

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Disclaimer: I was sent ingredients and was asked to try a recipe from Bakingmad.com. All of the above is my own honest opinion.

 

Quorn and Leek Pie with Wholemeal Biscuit Topping

Although we are trying to eat as clean as possible (as in not eating processed food), i still crave comforting food when it is freezing outside. So yesterday i decided to make a pie but make it as clean as possible. I went for a Quorn and leek pie with a wholemeal biscuit topping.

For the filling i sautéed some leeks that i had in my freezer, onion and quorn in a drop of olive oil, i then added a handful of frozen sweetcorn. I then added 300ml of Kallo very low salt vegetable stock and a splash of coconut milk. I added dry thyme and parsley and 1/2 tsp of cornflour to thicken the sauce slightly.

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Once the onion and leek had softened and the sauce had started to thicken up, i transferred the filling to a pie dish and got on with making the topping.

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For the wholemeal biscuit topping, i used this recipe. It was very simple to make and easy to work with. Once all ingredients were combined i rolled the topping out until it was about 1/2 inch thick.

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I then covered the top of the pie, crinkled round the edge and put a slit in the top to allow the steam to escape. I then coated in milk to help it brown.

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I baked the pie on 180c for 20 minutes, by this time the top had started to brown and my kitchen smelt wonderful!

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I served the pie with a selection of vegetables. Everyone enjoyed the pie, even the boys who are picky eaters at the best of times! A pie this size will last us 2 evenings so i can not wait to have it again this evening. Food always tastes better on day 2 i think, i am definitely a leftovers girl!

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Normally after eating pie i have a heavy feeling in my tummy. this pie was really light but still offered the comfort that food brings to me. The topping was lovely and tasty – this will definitely be made again soon!

 

New Home Wishlist

I love the house we live in but our needs have changed since we have had the boys. Living in a 3 storey house has become a logistical nightmare and we need more of a back garden for the boys to burn off their energy. Our house is currently on the market, which means i can start planning what i would like in our new home (although i have no clue where that will be yet!) I have totally fallen in love with many items available on minted.com, and as i like to plan, i have devised a wishlist for our next family home!

The first thing that caught my eye was the Moving Announcements – these Movin Up Town cards would be ideal to announce that we have moved… but which colour to pick as they are all lovely!

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The boys will have their own rooms in the next house, so they’ll need some cute door signs, i like the Out of This World sign for Rowan and The Amazing Circus sign for Fred

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I would love some Kids Wall art to enhance the walls. I love walls to look like a bright, white canvas that i can fill with colour. The more retro the art the better!

For Rowan’s room, i would just love this Exploration Destination piece;

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And for baby Fred’s room maybe this On the Move piece;

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Now it’s not all about the boys is it…  I’m really hoping that in our next home, we have room for an office or even a little nook where i can blog, this Enjoy, Go to it Laughing & Emerson Quote would be wonderful to look at in my little nook. I just love wordy pictures.

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Because minted.com has a wonderful stationary section, (I put my hands up ‘My name is Amy and i’m a stationary addict!’) I would obviously need a new notebook like this Followed Path one (my maiden name was Archer and i love the archery arrows on this one!) It can be personalised and choose whether to have it as a journal, address book or weekly planner.

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And finally because i want to get back into some good old snail mail, paper writing – this beautiful Two Feathers writing paper would be perfect;

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There is the option to change the colour of the theme, personalise and change the shape of the paper.

Letters would look cute finished off with a lovely Shower of Love closure sticker for the envelope – absolute bliss!

Most minted.com beautiful pieces of art work and stationary can be personalised and there is also the added bonus of a lot of products being available in a variety of colours. I will be making an order soon as International Shipping is only $9.95 (approx £6.50) – now i just need to decide what colour to have everything in!

Disclosure: Written in Collaboration with Minted.Com

I handed my 3 year old to a stranger and walked away….

3 years, 2 months Rowan has been in my life and i have only ever left him alone with Grandparents. I never needed to leave him with anyone else as I’m a stay at home Mum, it’s my job to be with him. So handing him over to a stranger (even though it was a lovely stranger at the pre-school) was the hardest thing i have had to do. I know I’m fortunate to have had Rowan at home with me for over 3 years but i am missing him like crazy. He’s my little buddy, my little wing man, who hands me nappies when Fred is wriggling during a change.

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4 years ago Rowan was just a cluster of cells, i didn’t even know he was in there. He changed my life, he made me a Mummy. I didn’t know then that in 4 years, i would have the sweetest, kindest boy – who tells me to be careful when i am stoking the fire or hold the rail when i walk down the stairs. I didn’t know he was going to be the best big brother, who cares for Fred more than i thought a 3 year old was capable of. I love him so much and i miss him when he is not here.

I feel silly, he’s only going 2 mornings a week and although i crave a bit of time with my Fred, i will be watching the clock until i can go pick up my boy.

Rowan loved his first day of pre-school. He was so excited to pick a rucksack, he went for Spiderman!

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We went in and i had been telling him that he would be staying for a play and Mummy would be leaving but i would be coming back. He said ‘OK, see you later Mummy’, gave me a kiss and went and played with the train set. It was so hard for me to walk away, i just wanted to run back, take him by the little hand and bring him home. I would be lying if i said i didn’t have a lump in my throat and watery eyes. Two hours later i went to pick him up, i could see him playing outside in a little plastic car, looking so happy. I went inside to get his bag, he walked in took off his coat and went to hang it up, his little cheeks were glowing – he obviously had been having fun. He spotted me and his little face lit up a bit more – that felt nice inside. He was reluctant to go but after some gentle persuasion and a guarantee that he could return the next day and stay longer, even have lunch, he put his coat on and came home with me. He told me all about playing with the trains and his friend Evie and how tired he was – bless him.

Ollie had baked the boys some biscuits for when we got back from pre-school. Rowan got home, got comfy on the sofa and looked pretty exhausted and enjoyed his treat.

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I was so proud at how he handled his first day at pre-school, he didn’t get upset and just went with the flow. I however, feel happy that he enjoyed it but sad that this is the start of my little boy slipping away :'(

Wearing a Revealing Dress Post Birth is NOT an Achievement! (no offence Rosamund Pike)

The fuss over Rosamund Pike wearing a revealing dress 5 weeks after giving birth at the Golden Globes has really irritated me today. I’m not saying that she didn’t look amazing, she did, she is beautiful but it’s the hype that putting on a pretty, cut out dress is such a big achievement post birth.

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Showing off an amazing figure a month after giving birth is not an achievement. A month after i gave birth, getting out of my pyjamas before tea time was a pretty good darn achievement. I think a month after having both Rowan and Fred, if i was in clothes that were acceptable to walk up to the local shops by 10am I felt like i deserved to get a Golden Globe!

I personally think a parent that has been up feeding a baby (every 2 hours i was breastfeeding Fred for 10 months! – thanks very much buddy, Mummy still loves you though). Changing poopy nappies through the night, especially the ones that shoot up their back, reaching their hairline. Getting woken up by the blaring voice of a toddler at 6:00am screeching ‘I NEED A WEE WEE!’ and then going about a full on day until your other half gets home from work at 5:30pm (not a minute past or they will get the phone call that starts something like this ‘Hello…. er where the HELL are you?!!!!!’) – now that’s an achievement.

Having a windy baby, bouncing them, patting them, rubbing their back, filling them with gripe water, dangling them on your arm like they are a ‘tiger in a tree’ and getting a resounding ‘BBUURRRPPP!’ noise as they deflate – now that’s a bloody achievement.

Wearing a pretty dress is not an achievement… you just take it off the hanger, put it on – jobs a good’un!

Rant over!

Bio-Kult Infantis Review

After my boys experienced their second tummy bug of the year in December, I decided to introduce a pro-biotic into their diet. This ensured that the good bacteria that was lost during their illness was replaced. I was interested to learn that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut and a balanced gut flora from birth is essential to stimulate the development an infant’s immature immune system.

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Bio-Kult Infantis is an advanced multi-strain formula for babies, toddlers and young children, it contains;

  • 7 strains of live bacteria (including two of the most predominant species found in an infant’s gut. Research has already shown how these strains help to reduce diarrhoea in gastroenteritis, improve constipation and improve symptoms of eczema)
  • High in Omega 3 (believed to contribute to early brain development and cognitive function, along with immune support)
  • Vitamin D3 (the sunshine vitamin’ that helps to contribute to the normal function of the immune system and is needed for the normal growth and development of bones in children)
  • Preplex (FOS and gum acacia) (A food source for beneficial bacteria, which is naturally present in breast milk)
  • No Sugar, artificial colours or flavourings
  • Can be stored at room temperature without the need for refrigeration
  • Total viable count guaranteed to the end of the 2 year shelf life
  • Gluten free
  • Contains traces of soya and traces of milk at a level which will not affect lactose intolerance sufferers
  • Made in the UK

Allergen advice:

Bio-Kult Infantis contains fish. Bio-Kult Infantis also contains traces of soya and milk as these are used in the growth media of the strains. Traces of milk are at a level that would not affect lactose intolerance sufferers

Directions for use:*

½ – 1 sachet once a day mixed with milk, water or food (start with ¼ of a sachet for young babies). If still breast feeding some of the powder can be mixed with a little milk or placed directly on the nipple before a feed or given directly into the infant’s mouth.

I spoke to a Bio-Kult Infantis Nutritional Therapist before i gave my sons the product who was very informative and answered any queries that I had.

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The box contains 16 sachets, so I gave my 3 and 1 year old ½ a sachet a day in their morning drinks, they took the product for 8 days. As there is a long shelf life on the product, I am going to reserve the other 8 sachets for if they fall ill again (hopefully not any time soon!) It was reassuring to know that their little tummies were being filled with some goodness after such a nasty bug.

The boys didn’t experience any effects from taking the pro-biotic, so i am more than happy to use this product again in the future to aid their recovery after an illness.

Bio-Kult Infantis retails for £11.95 for a box of 16 sachets and is widely available in high street retailers, independent pharmacies, health food stores and online.

For more information visit http://www.bio-kult.com

*I was sent the Bio-kult Infantis product to review, however all opinions are my own. 

Ozeri Digital Bathroom Scales with Electro-mechanical Weight Dial

Since i took part on Katie Hopkin’s – My Fat Story, i have been monitoring my weight as I didn’t want to undo all the good work by over indulging over Christmas. Thankfully i was sent these wonderful scales from Ozeri.

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The Ozeri digital bathroom scales with electro-mechanical weight dial not only look attractive in my bathroom, they also display my weight digitally and visually.

I have to say i love the dial on the face of the scales, there is something quite satisfying about seeing the hand of the dial going down as i continue on my weight loss journey. It’s also very convenient to have the weight displayed digitally for accuracy and for those mornings i weigh in and I’m still a bit blurry eyed from an early morning wake up call from my boys.

Here is the specifications for the scales;

  • Synchronized electro-mechanical Dial and LCD automatically illuminate and instantly point to your weight in lbs and kg, for easy-to read results in all light conditions and from any angle.
  • Visually stunning design incorporates a 14 cm (5.5 inch) dial and integrated digital display with stylish chrome accents to create a distinctive retro look with the accuracy of modern technology.
  • Professional quality scale features and an oversized platform made of impact-resistant tempered glass for ideal stability, and a new built-in alarm that reminds you to measure your weight at the same time each day.
  • Uses 4 high precision GX sensors that weigh up to 180 kg (400 lbs) in 0.1 kg or 0.2 lbs increments, with StepOn technology that captures precise weight measurements upon contact.
  • Auto-calibrated and automatically turns off to conserve battery life. Runs on 3 AAA batteries with a Low Battery Indicator (batteries included).

The scales work as soon as you stand on them and i like that i can see the digital weight no matter the light conditions, this is something i have had issues with on other scales in the past. But for me it’s the retro dial that i just love! This stylish product is a keeper in my bathroom!

Healthy Banana and Oat Bites

We need to go grocery shopping, i looked in the fruit basket and i was greeted by some sorry looking bananas – but i’m not one to let food go to waste so i made something with them!

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Healthy Banana & Oat Bites

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These are super duper healthy and very versatile. There are 2 basic ingredients;

  • 2-3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 cups oats

Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a fork. Put the oats in a food processor and grind them until they resemble fine crumbs. Mix with the banana – that’s the basically it!!

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Now you can get creative and add whatever takes your fancy, i added mixed dried fruit to mine, but you could add vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate chips, cranberries etc

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Once all ingredients is mixed together, place dessert spoons of the mixture onto a non-stick baking tray – mixture makes about 12-16 bites.

Place the baking tray into a preheated oven and bake at 190 for 9-12 minutes.

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And there you have it, a simple recipe that creates a healthy snack! These bites last a couple of days in an airtight container, however in my house they get snapped up in about a day!!

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Katie Hopkins Fat Club… the RESULTS!!!

Back in September 2014 I was invited to be a member of Katie Hopkin’s Fat Club (the documentary will be screened 2nd/3rd January 2015 at 9pm on TLC). I was there to represent all Mum’s out there who want to lose weight but are on a budget. For the next 8 weeks I wore a Fit Bit Flex to count my daily steps/calories and recorded everything that I had eaten on Myfitness Pal. The rules were simple… Eat less and Move more. I aimed for 10,000 steps a day but in actual fact I was averaging about 7,500 so I compensated with 2-3 workouts a week. I did all workouts in the comfort of my own home using Youtube videos, there are some great workouts on there, all different in duration and fits whatever mood you feel, yogo, cardio, high impact interval training, zumba… you name it, they have got it on there.

After 8 weeks I managed to lose 1 stone in weight. I have to say it wasn’t too difficult either as it was just common sense, if i wanted to eat cake, i had it but just a small amount. By not depriving, i hardly ever craved anything, i had more success in Fat Club than i have ever done on any diet or slimming club. So after 8 weeks and 1 stone weight loss, here are some before and after pics (before was taken at the end of September and the after was end of November)

Tummy comparison;

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Front comparison;

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Side 1 comparison;

 

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Side 2 comparison;

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You can see me and the rest of my Fat Club buddies on TLC tonight (3rd January 2015) at 9pm.

I plan to continue with the rules of fat club into 2015, who knows i may find that 6 pack i’ve never seen before!!

 

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