Malteser Bunny Easter Cupcakes

Easter is just around the corner so we thought we would crack out the eggs (pun intended) and catch up with some baking and make some Easter cupcakes. We all love baking, although my waistline doesn’t like it quite so much but someone has to test them, right?

As the kids helped with my Easter bucket list they decided to make some cupcakes.

Easter Cupcakes

We took our inspiration for the Malteser Bunny cupcakes from the Hobbycraft blog. You can check out their version here. We made our own cupcakes from scratch and then decorated them with Malteser Bunnies and butter cream frosting, which we coloured using green gel food colouring.

I think they turned out pretty well and the kids said they tasted good too.

We also managed to make some Chocolate Krispie Nests complete with mini eggs.

Have you done any Easter baking? I’d love to know what you’ve made.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

5 Things To Do Now Spring Is Here

It’s official, Spring is here. The weather is starting to improve, the nights are getting lighter and everyone seems that little bit happier.

I love it when the seasons change. The transition from one season to another seems to awaken something in me and I feel like I’ve been given a fresh start.

So what am I planning to do with my fresh start in the coming weeks.

Spring Cleaning

I’m not one of those people who feels the need to blitz the house every spring, as I try to keep on top of my cleaning. Unfortunately my windows appear to have been a little neglected of late and the recent increase in sun highlights every single fingerprint left by my darling children. When the nights are darker or this sun doesn’t shine as much I can close the curtains and forget about them, but once spring arrives I know I need to make more of an effort.

Decor Switch Up

When the seasons change, I like to try and switch up my lounge decor a little. I usually switch out my cushion covers, add a couple of new ornaments and seasonal candle. I’m hoping to get some new curtains too as my current ones are a bit dark for Spring.

I may also add a nice vase of fresh flowers such as daffodils to hep brighten the place up.

Get Out More

When it’s grey and overcast I love nothing more than to snuggle up on the sofa with something to read and a warm drink. Now it’s getting brighter (and warmer) I like to take my reading outside with a nice chilled drink.

Spring is also a fantastic time to take a family trip to the local farm to see the new arrivals. Or just get play outside in the garden or at the park.

Wardrobe Transition

Spring weather in the UK can be a bit of a mixed bag. However it is safe to say that I will probably pack away some of my thick winter woollies in favour of some more appropriate clothes.

I will also use this time to review which of my clothes I need to get rid of and what gaps need to be filled.

Switch Up Your Meals

I don’t know about you, but all the comfort foods I love to eat in the colder months don’t seem quite as nice as the temperatures begin to rise. I much prefer lighter meals such as pasta and salad so I will be updating my meal plans to include more appropriate foods.

So there are my plans over the coming weeks. What about you? Do you have anything you want to do now that Spring is here?

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

April TV Schedule

What’s on your TV schedule for the next month? Any series coming back that you love?

It’s that time of year when the TV listings switch around and all the programs you enjoyed watching before Christmas start coming to an end to make way for some new ones.

I don’t tend to watch too much live TV. I much prefer to catch up with things (cuts out the adverts) and love my Sky+ and Sky Boxsets for this reason.

So what am I looking forward to in the next few weeks?

Blindspot

Blindspot is due to return to Sky Living in April following it’s mid season break and I can’t wait. I love this program and can’t wait to see how they wrap everything up this time around.

Doctor Who

The Doctor is due to return around Easter with this season (Season 10) being the last for Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat. There is already speculation over who will be returning as the 13th Doctor. Personally, I have no idea who it will be and it’s safe to say that for the first couple of episodes I won’t like whoever they cast!

Madam Secretary

I didn’t watch this when it was first shown on TV but am currently working my way through the Sky Boxset and I’m loving it. I seem to be enjoying my American political dramas at the minute as I’m also catching up on Scandal.

Quantico

Quantico returned to our screens for a second series in March and, as with the first series, I’m loving it.

Other series that are currently taking up space on my Sky+ box are Shades of Blue, Lethal Weapon and lots of DC/Marvel shows.

What are you looking forward to watching in April?

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie

Giving Back

I’m proud to say that I gave my 3rd pint of blood on 23 January. However I’m a little ashamed that it took me so long to actually book my first appointment.

I had been wanting to donate for year but didn’t get around to it until August 2015. I should definitely have done is sooner because despite all my anxiety surrounding the process it’s pretty straightforward and relatively pain free.

I initially signed up online and booked my first appointment at the Blood Donation Centre in the city. They have loads of appointments and often accept walk ins.

The Process

Prior to my appointment I received a health questionnaire which ask yes/no questions relating to your health, travel, tattoos etc to check your eligibility. You take this along with your to appointment. Don’t worry if you forget as they have plenty available for you to fill in on the day. On arrive you are given a booklet explaining the process and advised to get a drink of juice/water from the machine in the waiting room.

Shortly after arrive your name is called by the nurse and you are taken to a side room where your questionnaire is reviewed. This process will take a little longer on your first appointment since you have to review your full medical history, whereas on subsequent appointments the form is worded to say ‘since your last appointment’. The nurse will then do a finger prick test to check iron levels. This is usually done on the opposite side to the one you give blood from but not always.

If you iron levels are acceptable then you are transferred to the donation waiting area ready for the main event. From here you are transferred to one of the donation chairs and asked to confirm your details again before the process begins.

The main event

In my experience the first action is to check for the best veins. Mine are a little reluctant to come forward which can cause a little bit of an issue but it hasn’t stopped me from giving blood as yet. Once they have selected the best arm/vein it’s onto the cleaning. A small pad is soaked with cleaning alcohol and rubbed along crook of your arm for 40 seconds and then left to dry. You will also be tilted back in the chair.

After this the needle is inserted. I won’t say this is completely pain free as you do feel a bit of pinch but once it’s in you can hardly feel it. I have been advised that I have quite deep veins and could possibly experience a little more discomfort than others due to this but as yet it’s not been anything that I can’t handle. The needle and tubes are taped to you arm and subject to the flow, you’re pretty much good to go.

Don’t be alarmed if you here a beeping, this could mean one of two things in my experience. The first is that you have finished donating your pint of blood and you’re all done. The second is that the blood flow has slowed down/stopped. I experienced this on my second donation and it caused my donation to take a little longer than expected as the needle needed to be adjusted. Luckily I managed to complete my donation with only two adjustments, should I have needed any more the donation would have to have been terminated due to the regulations.

Whilst donating you are advised to cross and uncross your legs, clench your buttocks and thighs and clench and unclench your fist in order increase your circulation and encourage the blood flow.

All done

Once you have finished the nurse will remove the needle. You will be asked to apply pressure using three fingers to the gauze to stem the flow of blood. Once the bleeding has stopped a large plaster will be secured (assuming you’re not allergic – they do ask) together with a small wad of cotton wool to apply pressure. You are advised to keep the cotton wool on for half and hour and the plaster for 7 hours. So far I’ve managed to avoid any major bruising but have been advised that if you can keep your arm straight for as long as possible this helps.

Your chair will be raised back to the seating position gradually over 2 minutes and providing you’re OK you will be guided to the post donation refreshment area. You will be offered drink and something to eat (the selection is pretty good, although I usually just grab whatever is on the top) before leaving in case you suddenly feel faint. Providing you feel OK and the nurses are happy you are free to go.

It is possible to book your appointment before you leave but I usually book online once I get back home. I also pick up a couple of stickers the kids and one for my planner (yes I’m such a geek!)

Can you spare an hour?

Overall, based on my experience, the process takes 30-45 minutes from start to finish. If you feel you’ve got time to spare every 16 weeks (12 for men) then why not look into donating a pint.

I love the feeling that you’re giving back in some way. Especially when you receive the text to say that you blood has been used to help someone who needs it.

Why not check it out for yourself www.blood.co.uk

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Kon Mari – Week 4: Books

As a complete bookworm I was a unsure how I would get on with this category the second time around. In my first sweep I did manage to get rid of quite a few old reference/non-fiction books and some paperbacks from my mum.

It also made me reconsider my purchasing of books. I didn’t stop, I just purchased books for my kindle instead of paperbacks, however I missed the feel of a good paperback so a few more have crept into the house since the first attempt and I’m completely happy with that. Most of the time they get passed on when they’ve been read so they’re not creating too much clutter.

Kids Books

Like me, the kids are total bookworms. I decided it best to tackle their books first while they were out.

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t count them before I started going through them but can confirm that 40 books left the house. Some went to charity, some to school and a couple found their way to my mums for when the kids visit.

With the exception of some seasonal books, the rest found their way back to the relevant bookcases. The seasonal books will be rotated into circulation at the appropriate time.

My Books

I started this time with 81 books from my bookshelves and over 300 on my kindle!

I thought I would find it quite difficult to work through my books. However, I found that since most of the books made me happy I was able to whizz through them quite quickly.

There were two books that I loved from my childhood which were definite keepers and several that I have still to read so they stayed. That said I did manage to part with 5 books. This may not seem like many but since my first round I try to follow the one in, one out rule where possible.

I deleted 30 books from my Kindle. I may be able to remove more once I have organised them better.

Verdict

Overall this category didn’t take me quite as long as expected, mainly because books make me and my family happy.

I have also found that on the whole I tend to purchase kindle books over paperbacks. This is helping to reduce the clutter around the house. I also try to pass on books that I have read to make way for new ones.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

Kon Mari – Week 3: Kids Clothes

This week on our Kon Mari schedule we’re tackling the kids clothes.

As my kids are 5 and nearly 3 respectively I asked them to help. I didn’t expect too much from them and was ready for them to disappear half way through but that was fine.

Corey’s Room

I started with my son’s wardrobe and he helped me pull out all this clothes. We sorted them into piles to help the process and made a start.

Corey’s clothes

We began with his PJ’s and went from 7 pairs to 3. Hoodies and coats and went from 6 to 3 (some of the discards still had tags on)

Coats and Hoodies

He reduced his jumpers and sweatshirts from 8 to 5 and t-shirts went down to 23 from 29 (he definitely takes after his dad with this!)

T-shirts
Sweaters and Jumpers

He got as far as going through his jeans/shorts, which went from 18 to 15, before getting bored and wandering off to play.

Jeans and Joggers

I finished off his underwear, folded it all and put everything back in his wardrobe before bagging up the discarded clothes.

Anya’s Room

Next up was his sister’s room. From the outset she decided she didn’t want to help so I set to work on my own.

Anya’s Clothes

We got rid of 11 tops, 5 dresses, 1 pair of leggings, 2 coats and 11 pairs of pj’s. Her wardrobe is still fit to burst but at least she can see everything now and it all fits.

Anya’s Discard Pile

All in all it was quite a productive day and it’s a lot easier to see what they both have and where they have gaps. This will make it easier when shopping for them in future.

Next week we are working on books. Wish me look as both me and the kids are serious bookworms.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Kon Mari – Week 2: Clothes

Last week I shared with you my vision of a home that would spark joy for me. This week it’s onto the actual decluttering stage. Now having done this twice previously I have to confess that I have found making the decision to part with certain items of clothing quite difficult – for me it’s my wedding shoes and a maxi dress.

I began by pulling out all of my clothes and piling them on the bed, as you can see from the photos I’ve made some progress over the years… just! I decided to just work on my clothing to begin with and go back to shoes and accessories later just in case I ran out of time.

2015 Clothing Pile
2015 Clothing Pile
2017 Clothing Pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I followed the advice given in the book by feeling every item and slowly began to put thing back in my wardrobe, only selecting the things I truly loved. Admittedly there are a couple of items that don’t quite fit right at the minute (the floral maxi dress you can see in the photo above), but as they still spark joy, they got to stay. This was my get rid pile.

As I hung everything up I turned the hangers round so I can see what clothes I actually wear and it will hopefully make it easier to maintain my tidy, organised wardrobe and will help when I review my capsule wardrobe.

Once I completed my clothing I moved onto shoes, again you can see I’ve made quite a bit of progress since my first round.

2015 Shoe Pile
2015 Shoe Pile
2017 Shoe Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only got rid of 4 pairs of shoes this time around and one of them was a hard decision for me as they were my wedding shoes. In some ways they do still spark joy but not really enough for me to justify keeping them (I think I’ve only worn them 3 times in 11 years so I think its about time they sparked joy for someone else).

Next up was bags and since I now only own 6 bags this was pretty easy and I only discarded one bag as I use the others pretty regularly.

I didn’t bother with my underwear this time around as I discarded a load after Christmas as I received lots of new stuff. The same applied to my scarves as I wear them pretty much all the time. Both drawers just got a bit of a tidy up and they were done.

Have you attempted KonMari? How did you get on? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time

Debbie x

My KonMari Journey – Week 1: Getting Prepared

So I’ve started my third attempt of decluttering using the Marie Kondo’s life-changing (her words, not mine) system of tidying up.

My first week focused on prep work – setting up a donation station, re-reading the book, catching up on laundry and sorting/putting away all the Christmas paraphernalia and documenting my vision statement.

So how have I fared, well there are still several boxes of Christmas decorations at the bottom of the stairs waiting for my OH to put them away, however they have been KM’d and anything we no longer wanted has been discarded/donated.

The laundry isn’t totally caught up with, but in my defence I know that everything of mine and the kids that is in the laundry sparks joy. Having been through this process already one thing I have taken from previous attempts is that if something doesn’t spark joy then it goes there and then (or after it’s been washed usually). My OH and my eldest are excluded from this category as they are old enough to KonMari their own stuff if they so choose (they did it last time around and were quite impressed, although my OH does still have around 50 t-shirts in his wardrobe!!)

Next up I had a quick re-read of the book to familiarise myself with the process again before finally reviewing my vision statement and updating it to reflect my current goals. I also spent a bit of time reflecting on my past efforts and why they might not have provided the outcome I had hoped for. I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t get rid of quite as much as I should have done in my previous attempts, in part due to the fact that we would have all been sitting on the floor.

I’ve also realised that completing the process doesn’t stop clutter from finding its way back in afterwards and to be honest  I feel that this is a big part of why my home doesn’t quite spark joy. That said I have noticed a bit of a shift in my thinking when it comes to buying certain things and I do find getting rid of things a lot easier so hopefully I’m on the right path.

So that was my first week completed, next week we get started on the hard bit – getting rid of stuff – so please pop back to see how I’ve been getting along with my first category of clothes.

Until next time

Debbie x

Third Time’s A Charm!

Every January I promise myself that by the end of November I will have decluttered and organised the entire house, needless to say most of the time I fail miserably as the amount of clutter than comes into the house generally outweighs the amount of stuff people are prepared to part with, such is life with a husband, a teenager and two small monsters.

In 2015 I came across the Nourishing Minimalism challenge of parting with 2015 items during the year and although I managed to part with quite a lot of junk I fell very short of the 2015 items expected of me.  Not prepared to admit it was impossible (as my OH kept telling me) I attempted the same challenge in 2016 (adding an extra item to my list), however by this time I had also begun reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

For those of you not familiar with the book, where have you been! Seriously though, Ms Kondo has developed a bit of a cult following with organising junkies everywhere testing out her method. Now it’s not for everyone and I admit to being a little sceptical at first with some of her processes (touching everything to see if it ‘sparks joy’) but nevertheless I decided I had nothing to lose made plans to get started on my life changing KonMari journey.

I found a Facebook group that were making the decluttering process a challenge while offering support. They broke down the categories over a 26 week period and aimed to work on one area each week until they were all completed approximately 6 months later.

I wrote out the checklist in my bullet journal and began to put together my vision statement. All was going well, and then it wasn’t so I waited it out and began the challenge again at the end of the 26 weeks for the second time around. This time I completed it, or so I thought.

I worked through all the categories and parted with just over 2016 items, I also made some extra cash in the process. However, my house still doesn’t spark joy so I think I may have gone wrong somewhere so I have decided to try for a third time to see if I can get my house in order once and for all but this time I will be working at my own pace as I’m hoping to complete it in less than 6 months. I will also be participating in the Nourishing Minimalism challenge again this year I like to see how much you have actually got rid of throughout the year.

I will be documenting my journey over the coming weeks and hopefully by the end of it I will be able to see a difference.

Until next time

Debbie x

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Blog Schedule

I’ve been a bit of a busy bee today, I mean three posts in one day is almost unheard of but I thought that while I have the time to spare I would spend a bit of time trying to get myself in front as far as my blog is concerned because, as I mentioned previously over the past few months I’ve kind of let my blog slip and haven’t really been posting.

I’m hoping that now we are getting back in to a routine at home with the kids are school etc I will be able to spend a little bit more time on my blog and with that in mind I decided to put together a blog schedule to help with things and also in an attempt to hold myself accountable.

My overall goal is to post on a daily basis but at the minute I’d be happy with at least three posts a week until I get myself into the swing of things. However in order to avoid posting on one particular subject every day for a week I have devised a bit of a timetable to maintain some variety to my posts.

After some deliberation I have decided on the following schedule, however it may be subject to change depending on how things go.

Monday – Planner Girls Collective formerly know as Confessions of a Plannerholic
These will be predominantly planner/stationery related, however there may be a few surprises in there too.

Tuesday – Family Life, Parenting and Relationships
This could be anything from craft activities with the kids to family days out to date night ideas.

Wednesday – Home and Lifestyle
This could be anything from room redecoration to cleaning tips and anything in between. I have a lot of projects/ideas I want to try and finish this year and will also be looking for ways to make money in order to reach these goals.

Thursday – Stationery, Planners, Productivity and Organisation
I could be covering anything from reviews and set ups to unboxings and my latest hauls. I will also be covering my journey to increase my productivity by following David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

Friday – Anything Goes
Fridays will cover anything that doesn’t quite fit with my other days really so could be anything from book reviews to fashion, personal development to health and fitness and everything in between, basically whatever takes my fancy.

Saturday – Goal Updates
Anything related to my goals such as my weight loss, project zero etc. I will be aiming to cover a different subject each week.

Sunday – Weekly Roundup/Reviews
My aim on a Sunday is to post a weekly roundup of things I’ve been loving over the course of the week. This could be blog posts, Instagram photos, TV programs, You Tube videos etc.

The plan is to start working from this schedule on Monday with my first post for the Planner Girls Collective and then we’ll just have to see how it goes from there.

Personally, I can’t decide if I’ve been a little bit over ambitious but as the saying goes ‘Go Big or Go Home!’

What do you think of my schedule? Is there anything you’d like to see discussed? Feel free to drop me a comment with your thoughts.

Until next time

Debbie x