Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!!

Picture borrowed from web

Popping on to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

I pray you all had a great day. It's been a wonderful day here. I am tired from  all the cooking and entertaining but I feel really blessed.
Blessed to have family around, blessed to be able to have mummy around and for her and to have her and her lovely hubby here.
Blessed to have a place big enough, blessed to have enough food for everyone to enjoy.
Blessed that we were all together and in good health. I remember the horrid year when Kuppie was so ill at Christmas.

I am too aware that there are people who cannot say the same, Christmas can be a lonely time for some for many reasons.

May the Love, Hope, Peace and Joy of Our Saviour fill you and comfort you both today and forever xxx

Blogmas: Christmas Eve pt2

Wow!! How is it so late?!

The Gingerbread Cake finished baking and this time round it has cracks in the top, no matter, by the time I cut it into squares it'll be fine.

I made a quick icing to go ontop of the cake when it cools and on some of the cookies too.

I decided to drizzle the icing onto the cake while it was still hot to form a glaze.
It looks very shiny, I'm sure the opaque parts will dry/cool clear.

I washed my hair with my new bits I purchased earlier.
Ugh!!! I need my scalp to behave... NOW!! I was hoping to do a protective style for Christmas and winter in general but as my scalp is playing up its really not worth it.
While the deep conditioner was on my hair I finished off the window sill decors, put the Christmas tree lights on the tree and finished off in the kitchen.

I just finished wrapping the last of the pressies(gahhh why every year last minute?)
Now I'm gonna set my hair in a Wash&Go and let it dry overnight.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Blogmas: Christmas Eve

Whoahh!! Is it really Christmas Eve?! My goodness time is steaming by.

I thought I'd do a little Christmas Eve run-down like I did last year(it won't be as big though as the day's already gone lol)

So far I went out to the shops, picked up the last bits and pieces, last pressie, went to the hair shop quickly as my scalp is still giving me probs(I'll post more about that at a later date)
Came back home bearing goodies for the boys and sat down for a bit.

I went to season the mutton ready for tomorrow and gah!!! No curry powder?! How can I do curry mutton with no curry powder??!! Soooooo off I trodded to the shops but none of the local ones had any and the nearest supermarket (Waitrose) was already shut, so I ended up walking quite a way and thank goodness I saw a Co-op (didn't even know there was one there) and grabbed said curry powder and remembered milk, flour and couple forgotten items lol.

Hubby was outside our house so he kindly picked me up as by then I was pooped and achy, and back home.

I finished seasoning the meat and put it in the fridge.

I prepared dinner and afterwards cleared, cleaned and then it was time for the baking.

I made the dough for the Ginger Cookies, rolled into a ball and put it on the fridge to chill.

Next on to the Gingerbread Cake.
I made the batter and its in the oven baking -- wheeeeww 

Cleared up the mess, put ingredients away and utensils to soak (I find it easier in the long run if I clear/clean as I go.

Now I'll make some icing to go on top.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Winter Survival Part 1 - Why do I feel so SAD?

Picture Borrowed From Internet

First up sorry for the outrageous play on words in the post title.

It's no secret that I cannot take the cold, no way, no how. Myself and our middle son feel the cold the most in our household (as I type this I feel I am repeating myself lol, I'm thinking I may have moaned about the cold weather before) we just can't take the frost and chill brrrr.

Winter has it's good points and benefits but for many it comes with a condition called
Seasonal Affective Disorder - or SAD for short and also known as "Winter Depression"
This condition causes the sufferer to feel low, have a lack of motivation, problems getting out of bed and many more problamatic symptoms including physical ones.
The severity differs from person to person.

Even people who do not have SAD can feel down on winter days and need to find ways to pick themselves up so in this first part of my Winter Survival Series we will look at ways to survive the "Winter Blues".

Get some sun.
The lack of sunlight hours is the main culprit of SAD symptoms.
Although the frosty weather may cause you to hide under your duvet, brave the outdoors and get some natural sunlight. Not only will you top up your vitamin D but will help to increase the production of Serotonin - the hormone that controls sleep, mood and appetite, reduce the production of melatonin - the hormone that makes us sleepy and help the working of our circadian rhythm -the internal body clock.
If you are unable to spend time in natural sunlight you can purchase specially manufactured light boxes and/or lamps.

Picture borrowed from web

Get Moving.
Regular exercise is important for both our physical and mental health, it can help boost your energy levels, blood flow, immunity, self esteem and waste elimination.
The gym is often the first place we think off when we talk about exercising and it's brilliant for the variety of equipment and classes but if the gym isn't for you, for whatever reason, there's plenty of alternatives.
 Walking is a great choice as it is free, gets you outside (soak up the sun) gets the heart racing and tones legs hips and bum. If you are feeling energetic or are quite fit why not step it up a gear(no pun intended) and jog or run instead.
 You can also workout at home, weights and kettlebells are readily accessible or you can make use of exercise dvds, online classes and Youtube videos.

Be Social.
Isolation and loneliness can make the symptoms even worse. Being around others is great for your emotional and physical well being.
Spend time with people, talk more, go out -it doesn't have to cost much you cold even go on a joint walk and get some sun(see a pattern here? lol)
Organise a day or night where a group of friends get together and socialise.

Get Some Sleep.
Although insomnia and/or sleep disturbance can be symptoms of SAD, it is important to try and regulate your sleeping pattern.
Aim to get adequate sleep at night. Use sleeping techniques if you find it difficult to fall asleep or even to stay asleep.
Take opportunities to nap during the day if you haven't slept well the night before.

Talk It Through.
Anxiety and stress will wreak havoc on your health at the best of times but teamed up with the feelings of SAD you can begin to feel in despair. We often bottle our feelings up and keep them inside but this can be very harmful.
Try to open up to someone close and trustworthy, share your feelings. The old adage - "a problem shared is a problem halved" has a lot of truth to it.
Consider therapy whether individual or group. Writing things down also helps.

Keep Calm.
The worse thing anyone can say to me when I'm in a panic is to calm down! If I could be calm I wouldn't be panicked, but taking measures to keep calm really helps when low feelings arise.
Although medication can help there are alternatives that you may like to try for example herbal teas, bach flower remedies, essential oils and aromatherapy(always check these are suitable for your usage), massage.
Practical exercises such as breathing techniques, counting, closing your eyes etc will also work wonders.
Prayer and meditating on all that is good can calm even the most tumorous situations.

The Art of Distraction.
Sometimes it's hard to think clearly, things get on top of you and you just can't deal with everything. Day-to-day stresses, or difficult issues can become too much to bare.
It's helpful to find something that will take your mind of your problems, even for a short while.
Find a hobby, play a game, read a book, volunteer for a good cause. Anything that will get your mind concentrating on something else.

Picture borrowed from web

I hope this post was useful and also helpful, Even if you don't feel the "Winter blues" it may help you to identify if someone you know has.
If you do feel low, whether in the winter or any time at all, please don't suffer in silence. Seek help.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Product Junkie Rehab: Used Item

Whooop I have finished my first item in my current "Use Up List". You can see THIS post for more info (opens in new window).

The item is Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream  by OGX(formally Organix)

Definition and ingredients from official site;
This luxurious cream helps sculpt, revive and define your curls to silky, frizz-free perfection-with an extra bounce.

Water (Aqua), Isopropyl Myristate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PVP, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Polyacrylamide, Ceteareth-20, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance (Parfum).

Information from shopping site(superdrug);

Exotic pure argan oil of Morocco tames fly-a-ways and helps protect hair from harmful styling heat and UV damage as it gives greater bounce and shine.
Moisturizing curling cream which instantly penetrates the hair shaft to revive and define frizzy curls.
Warnings or Restrictions:
Avoid contact with eyes.
Product Uses:
Apply cream to palm, rub hands together then apply evenly to surface damp, towel dried hair working through to the ends. Scrunch hair with hands and let air dry or use diffuser to create more volume.

My Experience/Review;
I purchased this item because I wanted to see if I could get a product that was by a well known and easily accessible brand and available from mainstream shops.

The cream was thicker than lotion but thinner than butter and doesn't weigh my hair down. It feels silky, which may be due to the argan oil, and smooths easily into my hair. My hair has a good amount of slip with the cream in it and my curls were a little defined.

Fresh, floral but not overpowering.
It has the fragrance of the other products in the line but is stronger.
The fragrance lingers on the hair but not offensive.

Value for Money:
Approx £6.99 for 177ml but often on offers - half price, 1/3 price, BOGHP, 3 for £10 etc.

Can be found in mainstream shops (accessible and special offers)
Rich without weighing down hair.
No Coated feeling.
Pleasant fragrance
Fulfils purpose/claims - Defines curls, revives.

Can cause build up if used too many times.
Hair didn't feel as moisturised the next day when used as a Leave-In after washing.

Would I repurchase?
Although It's not a staple or must have item for me, I would repurchase this item if I ran out of moisturiser or leave-in and couldn't get to a specialised hair shop.

OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream can be found in Superdrug, Tesco and some other shops that sell OGX products.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Blogmas 2015: Fave Christmas Goodies - Drinks

Its no secret how much I love Christmas. Everything about it just makes my heart sing.

I love "Christmasy" stuff and I know shops and companies can get very grabby during this season but I enjoy many of their offerings. Today I will chat about my fave drinks;

Egnog!! Ohhhhh I know so many people dislike the creamy yellow goodness that is egnog but I really like it. Here in the UK it's not available much and the only version I see is this cheap spiced milkshake carton with a "fake" after taste.
I keep saying I'll try to make some and I may well do this year.....not sure about the raw egg though.

Flavoured Lattes. Starbucks has to be my number one stop for a coffee treat. I don't go often at all. In fact since leaving my job where SB was two doors away, it's normally only a couple times a year and that's during the autumn/Christmas season. I LOVE their Pumkin Spiced, Egnog (surprise lol) and Gingerbread lattes.
I have a tasimo machine in which I make lattes and add my own flavours to save money, or I'll just make a flavoured coffee with my trusty kettle.

Guiness Punch. This isn't exactly a Christmas drink per se but because of all the naughty ingredients I don't have it often at all. I can't even remember the last time I made it, it could well have been last Christmas.

Flavoured Cream Liqueurs. Baileys Original has to be one of if not my fave "strong drink". From a young girl when on special occasions I was given a literal drop to taste to my teen years when I was lets say freer with alcohol it was my go to drink.
It seems to be at Christmas when all the different shops do their own version and add seasonal flavours. Marks and Spencers have gorgeous options like Gingerbread and toffee and pecan. This year they have introduced new ones - Chocolate Yule Log, Sherry Trifle and Tiramisu. I bought the Tiramisu one a few weeks back and it is lovely.
Tesco have a salted caramel one which I have on my list to try.

Mulled Rum Punch. A feww years ago, Marks and Spencers added this yummy addition to their mulled drinks and it was divine. The taste of mulled wine but with the full and warming taste of rum added!! I didn't see it last year in store but I had a bottle or two left over from the great discounted offers the previous year.

Port and Sherry. Much to my hubby's amusement I love a good port. He loves to tease me about loving an "old lady's" drink but I don't care lol. The full bodied drink is on my Christmas list and I use it during the year in cooking and baking. Sherry get's the same treatment both by him and by me but it has to be good quality one (I sound so snobby lol)

mmmmmm just thinking about these drinks is making me thirsty lol, well it's far too late in the night for any of the yummy choices above. It will be some water and bed for me.

Feel free to let me know your fave seasonal drink or even the drinks that are not necesarily seasonal but which you like to partake at this time of the year.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Blogmas 2015 - Chatter

Whooaahhhh!!! Are we really in December already?! I cannot beleive it's Christmas in 23 days!! 23 DAYS!! My oh my the year is nearly over. I will make a big effort to Blog everyday for Blogmas again this year.....being realistic I aim to blog as much as possible. Many of the posts will be Christmas themed but the aim for me is more to blog more often to make up for my huge blogging fail for months.

The frosty air and billowing wind has got me wrapping up in my blanket in the morning and dreading the walk to and from school! The bus at the halfway point to school and the journey back calls to me louder each day but I close my ears and carry on walking. I am still amazed at my walking! Today I have already walked 6.26km and got a top 25%..... I give thanks that little by little I am claiming my body back.

I can't wait to buy and put up our Christmas Tree!! It will be our first tree. In fact I can't wait to put up all the decorations and set up rooms and areas with festive decor. I love the Christmas season!!
The excitement is building lol.
I did a small decor shop this morning to add to the other bits I've been buying during the last month or so. I still didn't find anything to use as snow for the Christmas jars I have planned. I haven't seem anything locally so will have to have a think about that.
My eye caught the new Tim holtz sizzix houses and bell tower!! Ohhhhh they look fab and the houses would look great both in the jars and as decor pieces.... Sigh I wonder how much they are, I'm scared to look as my fingers may be too quick with the order button *hides face*

I have put the beef on to stew early today as I have sooo much to do after the school run, Orders to make and a Greek class in the evening! I am sooooo looking forward to learning Greek again.

Anywayyy chatter over. I must do some preparations to make later run as smooth as possible and cheer up Kuppie as he is a little grouchy today.

Have a great day xxx