Cake for a cause

On Sunday, Sugar, Spice n All Stuff Iced at Sowerby Bridge hosted a fabulous afternoon tea on behalf of Casey’s Crew.

We managed to raise (so far) over £100 for Tommy’s the baby charity. but as the raffle is still open there is still much more to come!

It was a fabulous afternoon – the afternoon tea was completely amazing – so much choice! Plus the kids also got to decorate their own little cupcakes which kept them happy.

Additionally from Thursday (if you happen to be passing Sowerby Bridge) there will be Casey’s Crew & Tommy’s branded cupcakes on sale! Pop down and treat yourself!

Afternoon Tea Afternoon Tea3 Afternoon Tea4 Afternoon Tea2

2014… the year of #CaseysCrew

This year marks what should (and still is) my sons 10th birthday!

He was born too soon at 20 weeks on the 3rd June 2004 due to a condition I suffer from called ‘Incompetent Cervix’. After losing him I went on to suffer an early miscarriage before getting pregnant with my eldest daughter, Stevie now 8 and my youngest daughter, Jaime now 2.

CaseyStevie born at 33 WeeksJaime

To mark 10 years we have a number of things going on…

Firstly my husband, his dad and friend Mike are taking part in the annual ScumRun which is this year raising funds exclusively for Tommy’s the baby charity – our charity of choice. This year Tommy’s aims to open a fourth research centre which will purely focus on early miscarriage. Something that over 250,000 women experience each year.

Casey's Crew

Tommy’s hope to raise £100,000 from this activity alone. So far our fundraising total stands at £2770.93 (excluding gift aid) and smashing our target of £2004!

To support our fundraising efforts we are holding an Afternoon Tea this Sunday 27th April at 12 noon at Sugar, Spice n All Stuff Iced at Sowerby Bridge. Priced at £10 per person with £5 from each afternoon tea benefiting Tommy’s. Additionally there will also be a raffle and you can purchase tickets via text if you can’t make it on Sunday. Simple text CCSR77 £1 to 70070 and state your name and include the message raffle (if it allows you to send a message, it should ask this on the confirmation text you get back). Full details about the event and raffle prizes can be found on our facebook page.

There will be other events taking place over the next few months of which there will be more information to follow, but in the meantime I wanted to share the news that I have signed up to the Great Yorkshire Run and will be completing my first 10k in September!

This will be a bit of a challenge especially as I have been out of action for the last couple of months owing to whiplash, but hopefully it will help me on the road to recovery and fitness! For anyone that knows me they will know I am not a runner so this will be some challenge!

I am quite excited about donning my Tommy’s running vest – I have been coveting them for a number of years and if I was ever going to do a run it had to be in 2014! So if anyone fancies joining me in Sheffield on the 28th April let me know! It would be great to get some running buddies!

You can donate here should you so wish!

I look forward to keeping you posted on the challenges!

It’s been a while…

I’m completely aware I’ve been neglecting my blog lately but there’s good reason.

First of all I had a car go into the back of me on the 15th February which resulted in a whiplash injury and in me undergoing physio which I am still having as it’s still now quite right.

It also meant that after 9 weeks of PT I had to stop so as not to aggravate the injury further! Needless to say I am extremely upset about the work and results I achieved that have pretty much gone to pot and also what I am paying in physio could instead be going on PT.

The pain hasn’t been debilitating and as I appear to be an emotional eater led me to over indulge and drink a little too much. I haven’t put a load of weight on but I can tell my pants are tighter.

Thankfully though I managed to get in my bridesmaid dress for my sisters wedding last week so I haven’t done too much damage but I just don’t feel as great as I did when I was doing PT twice a week plus the gym.

Additionally I started a new job on the 10th March so I am now commuting 40 minutes each way to Leeds and back, I also decided I would undertake a further CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing so have been crazily working away to get my first assignment together, the first draft got submitted today subject to tutor feedback and hopefully just minor refinements I can submit it to the CIM!

One final thing is that my husband will be undertaking the ScumRun in a fortnight to raise money for Tommy’s the baby charity so I’ve been busy helping to promote fundraising and communicating the efforts on social media! If you would to know more then visit our Facebook page!

I hope to get the blog gradually back up to speed and back into my healthy lifestyle… I already have some healthy goodies and lunch prepped for tomorrow!

Below is a little picture of me and my gran at my sisters wedding! We’re waiting on the official pictures!

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A roundup of 2013 & what to expect in 2014!

So 2014 is here… honestly 2013 I blinked and practically missed it! What a hectic but incredible year!

Firstly I completed my CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications – whilst thinking I may go slightly mad! We had a wonderful family holiday in Egypt, I got to travel to some amazing places for work (Chicago and Bangkok) and topped it off by creating an amazing new extension on the house that included a brand new kitchen (can you believe my husband almost made me keep the old one)! There’s a few pictures at the bottom of the post so you can have a nosey!

The downside to the latter half of 2013 is that my healthy eating and regular exercise took a massive hit – we had no kitchen for the best part of two months and my husband was also doing a lot of work himself on the house which meant I couldn’t get to my regular gym classes or do exercise at home as I had the kids to take care of and when we had free time it was to plan for the renovations or sleep. This was topped off with my husband getting made redundant at the beginning of December and us just thinking sod it let’s enjoy Christmas before we embark on the chaos of 2014!

We certainly enjoyed it – although my waistline certainly hasn’t and the last quarter of 2013 really ripped apart all my hard work that I had done with my diet (healthy eating) and ‘regular’ exercise.

As of now I weigh 64.8kg – at my lightest in 2013 (back in June) I was 60kg! I honestly cannot believe I have put almost 5kg (11lbs) on in that time!

Getting back into the swing of things has already started – I’ve already been to the gym 4 times this year and I start personal training tomorrow! Be sure to follow my blog to get some hints and tips if you are planning on beginning a fitness regime! The diet since the 2nd January is already much better (check MyFitnessPal), the amount of protein being consumed has increased whilst the fat and carbs has decreased (along with the alcohol)! So I am sure in no time at all things will be back to the way they were and more! I’m actually struggling with eating enough right now and trying to keep my macros and micros in check – if anyone has any input they can give on this it would be much appreciated!

Generally with a New Year come resolutions – I don’t tend to make them, I guess mine is the same each year… ‘try and be a better me’ that way I can focus on what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t. I feel that it is a much more positive way to think as it keeps you away from focusing on the negatives. If you have to set goals set smaller, more realistic ones that can be achieved slowly over time and gradually increase them.

My overall goal will be achieved through getting back into the swing of it eating and exercise wise and additionally I have signed up to complete a further CAM diploma – this time in Digital Marketing with a focus on Metrics and Analysis. I just love putting myself under pressure! BUT I’ve done it before and I can do it again and interestingly I came across a book called Spark that highlights the benefits of exercising whilst studying in order to retain information – it might explain why I got an A on my last and final assignment of my previous diploma!

The husband will also have a new job (yet to be confirmed where) but it is likely that he will need to undertake commuting which will be a big change for all of us – I expect we’ll get cranky with each other whilst we adjust, but we’ve been through much worse so this will be nothing in comparison!

2014 is also a significant year for us as it marks our son’s 10th birthday. I honestly can’t believe 10 years have passed since we lost him part way through my pregnancy so this year I want to do all I can to raise awareness as to babyloss along with raising funds for my chosen charity, Tommy’s! My husband will also be taking part in a ‘ScumRun‘ in May across Europe of which the beneficiary for the whole event is Tommy’s! So if you are a brand aimed at men who fancy providing some products to pop in some goodie bags or are interested in sponsoring the car please get in touch. Otherwise, if you are a reader of my blog and fancy sponsoring my husbands team it would be very much appreciated!! You can find the link here!

So here’s to 2014, I’m looking forward to taking you on!

kitchenKatrina Room

Katrina Beams

Katrina Room 2

 

 

Bimuno – Prebiotic Review & Giveaway

I was recently asked if I would like to try Bimuno IMMUNAID – a prebiotic designed to keep the immune system fit and healthy and as I spent this time last year battling flu… twice! I was keen to do everything that I can to ensure I have a healthy festive season.

Bimuno IMMUNAID come in a pastille form – they are soft and chewy and easy to digest. I was expecting an orange flavour  but they are almost flavourless aside from a strange taste I can’t describe and which is why it is much better if you take them after breakfast as advised. Upon receipt I just gave them a try in the afternoon and it certainly wasn’t like my experience with other multi-vitamins – but like I said definitely take after food and you won’t know the difference!

Bimuno

Bimuno IMMUNAID helps encourage and sustain a healthy level of the guts ‘good’ immune supporting bacteria and by increasing and strengthening the good bacteria you support your body’s natural defences. It was also interesting to read how the pastilles are not digested by the stomach or gut but instead reach the colon where maximum results can be achieved. Additionally Bimuno IMMUNAID includes 15% RDA of Vitamin C (per 2 pastilles).

At this time of year the body is under a lot of stress – trying to get sorted for Christmas, frantically busy trying to get as much work out of the way before downing tools, you are stressing about what to buy who, the kids seem to have a constant cough and cold (the youngest has), we over indulge and don’t always continue the healthy activities we undertake year round so it is worth giving the body a little helping hand not only during this time but all the year through. I have since last years flu episode taken a multi-vitamin throughout the year whilst also trying to ensure I consume as much nutrients and vitamins through healthy food and I am happy to say that so far so good! It’s worth watching the video for more information on the benefits of taking a prebiotic at this time of year.

The pastilles arrived in good time – at a time I was suffering from severe stomach pains most likely due to something that I ate so I made a start on them. Within a few days my stomach was feeling much better and a lot less bloated and I was back to normal. Additionally the kids have started coming home from school and nursery with coughs and colds and as yet (touch wood) I am not showing any signs of catching these bugs. Additionally the pastilles are suitable for children 6+. My eldest daughter likes to take a multi-vitamin so I might see what she thinks of these.

It is worth noting that supplements are best taken in order to prevent problems and that by taking Vitamin C during times of colds, flu etc… have little benefit so try prevention as opposed to the cure.

I have a decent supply of these so I will continue to take and report back my findings as I have only been taking for just over a week. As indicated on the packaging the benefits build up over time and a daily intake is recommended. If I make it through to February without a cold I will be most impressed!

Bimuno also offer additional products aimed at supporting IBS (IBAID) and potential bugs you might associate with travel (TRAVELAID). As I have family members that suffer from IBS I will certainly be recommending that they give Bimuno products a try!

You can purchase Bimuno products from Boots or directly from Bimumo. The RRP for the Bimuno IMMUNAID pastilles is £9.99 but they feature in Boot’s 3 for 2.

GIVEAWAY!!

The good people over at Bimuno have also provided me with the opportunity to give THREE of my followers the chance to win a 1 month’s supply of Bimuno IMMUNAID!

All you have to do is comment below and share on either Facebook or Twitter or both! More you do the more chances you have of winning!

Winners will be announced on the 31st January 2014!

Disclaimer: Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be regarded as a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Sweet Asian Chicken

So I’m into day 3 of my slow cooker challenge and I have to say I am really enjoying it.

I was up early this morning to have breakfast with the husband as we have been like ships passing in the night recently, so the early start gave me chance to get this dish prepped before the school run.

Ingredients

  • 400g Chicken breast (I used Muscle Food Chicken breast as they aren’t pumped full of water – you may need to increase the weight if using supermarket bought)
  • 4tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • Small Onion Chopped (I always use red just because I prefer them)
  • 250ml Fresh Orange Juice (I used my Sage Juicer to get really fresh juice)
  • 200g (approx. 2 carrots) cut into batons
  • 15g (approve 1tsp) Corn Flour made into a paste
  • 1/2 tsp Coconoil (or 1 tsp Olive Oil)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Crushed
  • 4 tbsp. Honey
  • Sprinkle of crushed chillies
  • Additionally I added 30g Linwoods Ground Flaxseed, Sunflower, Pumpkin & Sesame Seeds

Literally put everything into the slow cooker – no pre-cooking required and pop the slow cooker on low for 6-7 hours.

I served with brown rice and an extra portion of veggies.

Although this was a really nice dish I didn’t get the taste of ‘sweet Asian’ that I was expecting. The sauce came out a little more like the one you get with Hunter’s Chicken. Perhaps next time I will add some lime juice and some palm sugar to sweeten up a little more.

Well you have the basics so go experiment!

p.s. The kids both ate it – I just gave them with a little less sauce

Sweet Asian Chicken

Nutritional

Serves 4

  • Calories 265
  • Fat 5.3g of which 1.3g saturates
  • Carbs 30.3 of which 4.7g dietary fibre
  • Protein 26.1g
  • Vitamin A – 2.5%
  • Vitamin C – 56.8%
  • Calcium – 3.8%
  • Iron – 3.8%

Additionally on Monday night I had a little baking session (I will sit down and relax one day!) using recipes from one of my favourite health and food bloggers Nic’s Nutrition. Cue a lovely little stash of Chocolate Protein Brownies and No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Balls to keep me on the straight and narrow and keep my sugar cravings at bay!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

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Chickpea & Courgette Tagine

So we’re into day 2 of my slow cooker challenge (and being organised) and here is today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Chickpea & Courgette Tagine. This recipe is packed with nutritious veg ensuring that you get your 5 a day whilst also dosing you up with plenty of vitamins. It is in fact packed with over 80% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C per serving! Great for keeping those colds at bay!

If you don’t have all the ingredients you can substitute for something else – don’t be afraid not to make a dish just because you don’t have all the exact ingredients – many of my dishes have been born from not having what the recipe books say!

I think this recipe would also be perfect as a baby / toddler food – all you would need to do is puree or mash up a little once cooked and there you have some perfect healthy meals for your little one which can be frozen and used at a later date!

Tagine Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400g/14oz can chickpeas in water, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and thickly sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes – peeled and cut into bite sized pieces (alternatively you could use a small butternut squash)
  • 2 courgettes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Coconoil (or 2 tbsp. olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground gingers
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g/1lb 2oz carton passata
  • 12 Dried Apricots
  • 2 tsp honey, plus a drizzle to serve
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • handful fresh mint or coriander
  • Total Greek Yoghurt – to serve
  • Crushed chillies to spice up if desired.

Method

  1. Place the chickpeas, pepper, onion, potatoes and courgetted into the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and spices until fragrant for about a minute. Add the passata, honey and harissa and bring to the boil.
  3. Pour the sauce into the slow cooker and mix.
  4. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours – perfect to pop in first thing in a morning so it’s ready for the evening. Alternatively if you want to speed things up pop it on high for 4-5 hours.
  5. To serve – season to taste. Tear up the mint or coriander leaves (I only had dried coriander) and stir through. Drizzle with a little oil if desired and honey.
  6. Top with a little more honey.
  7. If you want to make this dish go further serve with some couscous on the side.
  8. Overall even with the spices this is not a spicy dish and is perfect for kids (the 8 year old ate it and she is the fussiest out of the two – the youngest didn’t have any as she had not long eaten at nursery) so for those who like their dishes a little hot and don’t have kids to think about chuck in some more spices such as crushed chillies (you can also do this after!)

Tagine

tagine serving

Finally, the quantities of this dish made far more than we needed as a family of 2 adults and 2 kids aged 8 and 2 so with the remaining dish I chucked into my new Kenwood Food Processor and whizzed it up into a winter warming soup by adding some crushed chillies and some extra water to thin it out! That’s tomorrow’s lunch sorted! Although I think I need some new soup friendly Tupperware!

The bonus was cleaning up after dinner was done in record time… I’m starting to love this slow cooking business!

tagine soup

Nutritional

  • Serves 6 (this was enough for me with some pitta breads)
  • Calories 161
  • Fat 2.4g of which 0.8g saturates
  • Carbs 25.9g (dietary fibre 6g, sugars 9.5g)
  • Protein 6.4g
  • Vitamin A – 38.7%
  • Vitamin C – 81%
  • Calcium – 4.7%
  • Iron – 8.3%

Meal Planning

Now the kitchen is pretty much complete I am keen to get back on track and run an organised household whilst creating healthy, nutritious homemade meals for the whole family.

So, the plan for this week is as follows…

Meal Planner

I also plan to cook nearly all these meals in my slow cooker (can you believe this after finally getting the use of my hob and oven back!) – mainly so that extra portions can be made and frozen for future use and so that on the days where everyone is eating at different times, different meals don’t have to be created.

In general we all eat the same foods, there is no way I plan to spend my evenings cooking different meals to suit different individuals and I find it very important that children eat as little processed foods as possible otherwise what sort of adults are we creating?

There are some exceptions to this rule though – Monday’s Stevie is usually round at her Grandma’s, Thursday’s she has swimming so we allow her to have a fresh pizza from the pizza counter at Sainsbury’s (she only has 1/2 10″ thin base topped with chicken and sweetcorn) and sometimes a protein shake. Fridays the kids may also have something early on as it’s the only day that we pick up from school and then have to get sorted ready for Brownies at 6pm! Otherwise we try eat all the same dishes and all together – no TV!

I will post the recipes and pictures for each of these meals to give you some mealtime inspiration (today was supposed to be #MeatFreeMonday and we were planning on the Mushroom Stroganoff but the mushrooms are bad! Not good!)

How do you go about planning your meals for the week…. are you organised or do you see what you fancy on the day?

It’s been a while…

I want to apologise to all my regular readers for being quiet of late but I have good reason for being so.

Since returning from holiday, where I managed to eat healthily and maintain my weight, we have come back to a major renovation project on our house which you may already be aware of.

We have an open plan kitchen, dining room and sun lounge of which we have extended the sun lounge and dining area to almost double the size and installed bi-fold doors – which look totally amazing!

We returned from holiday to the extension build phase complete but have since then been planning where we want electrics, stripping wallpaper, laying floors and ripping out the existing kitchen.

During this time I have also been away with and absolutely crazy busy with work which has left me working a number of evenings too, all of which has impacted upon my health and fitness regime!! Don’t worry I’m not getting lazy, as soon as things are in order I will be back on it!

Since we have had no kitchen I have struggled to cook healthy meals, most of which I generally do from scratch and instead we have been opting for eating out, takeaways and my idea of hell… microwave meals. I have tried to eat healthy where possible, but we have a lack of storage at the moment (pretty much just the fridge and freezer!) You will not believe the emotional turmoil I went through to actually put microwave meals through the till, not only for myself but my children too. I just don’t think they shouldn’t eat them unless absolutely necessary i.e. in our case of not having a kitchen. I have to say though our girls are used to home cooked food and have mostly turned their noses up at these unhealthy options.

I’ve also struggled to make time for the gym as when John get’s home from work he is making a start on DIY so I can’t exactly ask that he watches the kids instead so it’s a small sacrifice I have had to make for getting the room done at both a cheaper cost and before our eldest daughter’s birthday. Plus it will be absolutely amazing and we even have exposed steel work which will be great for chin ups… when I finally master them.

So over the last 3 weeks whilst this has been going on I haven’t weighed myself, the batteries ran out thankfully! However, once I am back on track I plan to do so, I haven’t measured myself either, although I know my the lack of healthy eating and exercise is taking a massive toll on my body and here is why…

  • I am getting spots… I’ve had the odd one or two in my adult life but not to this extent
  • I look and feel bloated constantly
  • My nails are weak and brittle
  • I feel tired
  • I constantly crave crap food which is a never ending cycle
  • My clothes feel tight & don’t (well I don’t think) look as good!
  • I am grumpy because I am not eating well and don’t have that time during the week to unwind, de-stress and have fun whilst exercising!

I have established during these last few weeks that I am an all or nothing girl and that I cannot wait to get back to my healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating and exercising just go hand in hand and the positive changes I put in since the beginning of the year have certainly become engrained and had a massive impact on my life moving forward. So, once this kitchen is installed any remaining junk food will be going and a massive healthy shop will be undertaken.

At this time I will also be embarking on my personal training finally! It really didn’t make sense to undertake it if I was fuelling my body with junk!

So upcoming blog reviews will be coming soon, these include…

For now though I shall leave you with some pictures of the renovation! Although I can’t wait to share with you the finished look! Expect plenty of new recipe posts cos I can’t wait to show off my new kitchen!

Dining area, sun lounge & kids chill area

Kitchen removed!

Dining Room / Kids chill out area / Sun lounge plastered

Kitchen plastered

Sun Lounge - tiles going in

Spicy Seabass Supper

Believe it or not, I never used to be a lover of fish that is unless it was fish and chips!

But as I have opened myself up to experiencing new tastes fish has to be one of my firm favourites when it comes to food!

Here you will find a very low calorie fish supper which you can bulk further by adding a side serving of vegetables or sweet potatoes.

What you need…

Spicy Seabass Supper

  • Sea Bass Fillets
  • 1 Carrot – sliced using a julienne peeler
  • 4 Spring Onions sliced
  • 1/2 Chilli Pepper – I used green as I only had this in.
  • 100ml Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Reduced Salt Soy Sauce
  • Sprinkle of crushed chillies
  • 15ml Sesame Oil – to cook the fish
  • 1 tsp Harissa Pasta or Five Spice to be rubbed onto the skin of the sea bass
  • Thumb sized Ginger Root finely chopped & Sliced
  • 1 Garlic clove finely chopped and sliced

Place the fish sauce, half of the spring onions, garlic, ginger, chilli pepper and chilli flakes into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the Soy Sauce.

Sebass Sauce

Whilst waiting for the sauce to boil put the sesame oil in a griddle of similar pan and ensure it is hot.

Once the griddle is hot place the sea bass skin side down pushing the sea bass into the griddle to firm up. You only need to do this for about a minute. Leave cooking on the skin side for approximately 5 minutes and add the remainder of the spring onions and the carrots to the griddle.

Seasbass Pan

Once cooked take some of the carrots and make a bed for the sea bass.

Place the sea bass skin side up on the bed of carrots, then add the remainder of the carrots and spring onion on top. Pour over the sauce and serve!

Spicy Seabass Supper Served

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information – Serves 2

  • 207 Calories per serving
  • 9g Fat  of which 2g Saturates
  • 11g Carbs
  • 2g Fibre
  • 22g Protein
  • Vit A – 49%
  • Vit C – 59%
  • Calcium – 1%
  • Iron – 2%