Thursday, 27 September 2012

Recipe Review - Chicken Korma

This evening we had Chicken Korma for dinner served with rice and some garlic naan.  It was yummy yummy.

Its a recipe from my Good Food magazine which can also be found online here.

At first we thought it was too runny but it actually turned out perfect for using the naan to soak up the sauce.  I didn't put the sultanas in as per the recipe as we aren't fan of those and I made it with alpro soya yoghurt instead of greek as I'm lactose intolerant.

Papa penguin thoroughly enjoyed it.  Loves his carbs as he is diabetic type 1 so he couldn't have been more happier with rice AND naan !

Thoroughly yummy recipe and will definitely be making it again exactly the same !

Reasons 2b Cheerful

Reasons 2b Cheerful this week begins with R

Redundancy - although I shared this news last week I'm still really cheerful about it especially as today I got my redudancy money through and wow its definitely something to be cheerful about! Decided to buy lots of premium bonds for toddler penguin and new baby when he/she makes an appearance in approximately 3weeks time.  Also going to match the government grant that toddler penguin got so I can start a mini savings account for new baby. Must be careful how I spend the rest of the money but I need to work out how much I need to live off a month.  Our car passed its MOT but a minor service showed that in the next few months a lot could possibly go wrong.  We have a BMW estate that is 10 years old and rather expensive monthly.  So I think we'll buy a newer car out my money that although will be a shame on the initial cost it will be a saving each month.

Rain - can one be cheerful about rain !  Sure thing - because they mean muddy puddles which my son loves loves loves.  We went out in the rain on Sunday, him in his waterproofs, me with a raincoat on and my belly exposed and headed to the river the other side of the road and jumped in Muddy Puddles.  Yes it was bitterly cold but he was so excited and we had been cooped up indoors all weekend - its just a bit of water !  Don't forget that add sunshine to the mixture and you get a lovely rainbow !  I have an ornament that we just dug out of storage that when the sun shines on it creates a rainbow pattern on the ceiling.  Its amazing to look at !

Recipes - this week I made good use of my Good Food Magazines and tonight will be the 3rd recipe I'll be trying out.  I love trying new recipes. I tend to follow them quite accurately the first time and then make changes for the next time.  Papa penguin was very amused to find that Monday and Tuesday he had two vegetarian meals as is a big meat lover but he actually loved them both and found them very tasty.   Its amazing how many recipes there are out there - especially with the internet.  You can always find something that takes your fancy!

I look forward to reading everyone elses x

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


For my 30th my lovely antenatal friends treated me to a Vera Wang compact mirror which as gorgeous as it is and I can't stop looking at myself in has one of those close up mirrors in.  No imperfections can hide it seems I have a few more wrinkles around the eyes than I remember!

This evening I was having a clear out of the bathroom cupboard and I found an unopened box of Biotherm Eye Cream to use at the first signs of wrinkles.  This is a fab find for me as pre kids I only used biotherm then decided that althought nothing beats their Source Therapie I can get moisturiser from anywhere and spend less than £5..... Not that I enjoy it. I do miss spending money on lavish products but my money these days it better spent else where. So to find an unopened box of expensive eye cream was like finding gold at the end of a rainbow! 

However just how good are eye creams? Do they really work?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - September 24

This week I'm making use of my Good Food Magazines and trialling a load of receipes.

Monday - Mexican Bean Rice and Salad served with baguette
Wednesday - Chilli Con Carne
Thursday - Chicken Korma and Rice made with soya yoghurt
Friday - off to my mums for the weekend so we'll have a quick bite to eat before leaving then have some jam on homemade bread when we get there ! Bit of a tradition.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tester Pot Overdose

We are currently in the process of decorating our hallway.  We've removed an unwanted radiator (which we left outside our house to find it gone the next day!) and we've bought the laminate floor for the downstairs area and today I ordered the carpet for the stairs and the upper hallway.

As I'm now not working and have 4 weeks till baby is due, 2 of which toddler penguin will be at the minders 3 days a week I've decided that Monday I going to sand down all the woodwork, Tuesday paint it and Wednesday paint the walls. We are going for white above the dado rail and a shade of blue below.....but we just can't decide what shade to go for.  

We bought about 6 tester pots of blue and painted an area and now we've decided we want something a bit darker.  A couple of weeks ago I ordered some gorgeous prints from Caroline Rose Art and we love them so much we are going to put them in the hallway and try to colour match them.  

Papa penguin wants the one on the far left of the 3rd one.  I want the 5th one but I guess am happy to go with the 1st one.  The 3rd one is way too dark and we only really get sun in the hallway for a few hours in the afternoon so it can be quite dark.

Opinions welcomed !

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Reasons 2b Cheerful

Reasons 2b Cheerful this week begins with Q

Quitting is a big change to my week this week.  Not so much in that I quit my job but in July I was put up for redundancy and I took voluntary but agreed to stay on till my original planned maternity leave date. Yesterday marked my last day of 9 years with the company and now I am looking forward to becoming a stay at home mum/housewife for a couple of years.  It still hasn't sunk in that I've finished, maybe because I worked part time 3 days a week for the last 1.5 years.  But yeay no more commuting into the city of london, no more waking toddler penguin up so I can get to the childminders on time and still make my train and no more pigging out at my desk because I'd rather eat that do work !

Quilts - Sunday marked my first duvet day (well morning) with my 2.5 year old son.  He thought it was great getting up and sitting on the sofa watching tele.  Usually he's up and playing, might watch the odd peppa pig episode and have a glass of milk but Sunday with papa penguin having a lie in I put Finding Nemo on and I had a cup of tea and toddler penguin had a beaker of walk milk and we slobbed on the sofa !  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Why why why?

I have been tagged by Mama Owl (originally started by Mummy Central) to share my whys.

Luckily my 2.5 year old isn't at that stage where he asks "why this" and why that".  I'm dreading those days because I remember I asking "why why why" to my dad.  Its one of those words that you can just keep going on and on with.

Here are my whys....

Why does my bladder wake me up 15 minutes before my alarm goes off?

Why do I get the urge to do cleaning at 10pm at night when I really should be getting to bed?

Why do I pig out on chocolate when I know it doesn't agree with me?

Why does that garden spider by the fence keep coming back?

Why does my ironing pile never disappear?

Why do you insist on buckling yourself into the car seat when its designed for use by adults only?

Why do I have to wake you during the week yet at weekends you wake up at 630am ?

Why do I put you in clean pj's every night yet I have gone for a week without changing mine ?

The Rules
1. Post your whys – as few or as many as you like 
2. Link up your post below, and it would be great if you could leave a comment too 
3. Tag 5 bloggers to keep this going 
4. If you’re not a blogger, leave your whys as a comment below. We’d love to read them 
5. Show your support by reading a few others and commenting on them

My name is Lara and I am a Stay at Home Mum

4 hours ago I left my office of the past 9 years and got on the train home.  I picked toddler penguin up from the minders, came home, bathed him and put him to bed then made some dinner.  Papa penguin is in Glasgow so its just me....sitting here still not believing that I have finished work....possibly forever !

In July redundancies came up and I took voluntary.  However I agreed to stay on till my original planned finish of mid September in order to have 4 weeks off work before my due date.  Its worked out well in that my redundancy money means I don't have to work for a year.  Longer if papa penguin gets some nice pay rises !

It still has not sunk in that I will no longer do that thrice weekly trip on south west trains to waterloo then the waterloo and city line train to my office.  Working in the city of london has been an amazing part of my life.  Shopping during my lunch breaks, Pret a Manger, EAT, Pod to name a few places and drinks after work. I have met some amazing people and I really hope we keep in contact.

Now with baby number 2 on its way I've chosen a new career of being a stay at home mum / housewife.  I know its going to be challenging and I think some days I will probably want to pull my hair out but I know its going to be rewarding and easier.

For example this morning after getting out the shower I heard toddler penguin cry and found him sitting next to a puddle of sick.  Now normally I would keep him home from the minders but papa penguin was off in Glasgow and it being my last day the minder offered to have him for a duvet day. I now no longer will be torn between going to work and caring for my son.  Obviously my son takes priorty but there is always that underlying guilt you have when you leave your child for the day....sick or not sick.

Toddler penguin will still attend the childminders until Christmas.  I think it will be good for him when baby is born for him to continue in his routine and it will give me a chance to bond with the baby.

I am determined to not become a slummy mummy. I'm going to plan activities for every day so we don't go mad, even if its a trip to the park in the morning. I'm going to keep on top of housework - especially before baby comes - but not let things get to me if it doesn't all go to plan !

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Is my wedding over?

Papa penguin and I got married New Years Eve 2010 and it was one of the best days of my life! It's an amazing feeling to marry the one you love and have all your friends and family together in the same room together all celebrating at once.

We got married at Winters Barns in Canterbury and what an amazing venue it was. Yes a December wedding meant it was a bit chilly but we both prefer to be a bit chilly than sweaty hot so it was perfect for us....lots of champagne helped!

3 weeks after our wedding Debenhams delivered all our gifts that our wonderful friends and family hd purchased. Sadly we were due to put our flat on the market so we had a quick look through took a few bits out and the rest went into storage.  12 months later we finally moved but as we had plans to do up the kitchen a lot of the wedding boxes went straight into the garage....until yesterday....I got to unpack all of them (a further 9 months later).

Oh it was like Christmas Day! Every thing had labels on as to who got us what and it was so nice to be reminded of how giving all our friends were. There is just one box left that includes a new king size duvet....we've yet to buy a king sized next year once baby is no longer with us it will be another nice treat to open the box.

Does feel like its all over more wedding bits and pieces to deal with....for now I will just have to keep looking through my photo albums or my hubby to remind myself what an amazing day it was.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Reasons 2b Cheerful

Reasons 2b Cheerful this week begins with P. At the start of the weekend I really struggled to think of things but now my list is endless....

Firstly Pregnancy is a huge part of my life right now.  I am 35 weeks today and although I'm measuring two weeks behind every thing is great.  Baby is head down and very active.  I've had a pretty easy pregnancy.  First trimester saw evening nausea.  Second trimester saw tiredness and a few scary scans and third trimester has continued the tiredness and a bit of pelvic pain.  I generally feel blessed every day that I am pregnant ! I'm in no rush to pop and love the feeling of baby wigglying around.


Parents - I love being a parent and I love my parents. Sadly my dad passed away 7 years ago when I was 23 but he was an amazing parent. My mum is an inspiration to me. She is loving and an amazing cook! My in laws have done an fantastic job at being parents to my husband. They have raised an amazing person who is thoughtful and caring. The best thing about being a parent is being able to act like a child at times to bring fun into the household !

Penguins - my favourite! I love the way they waddle!

Plants - I love plants! I just bought one for our dining area. We all know that we can't survive without plants in the universe. Green is my favourite colour and love spending time in our garden. I wish I knew more about gardening and I also wish I didn't have a fear of Mr Skinny Legs.

Peppa Pig - this 5 minute kids show brings soooo much joy to my son its insane.  His Grandma bought him the books and we read them every night. I'm so thankful for this silly program.  I love how just 3 episodes total 15 minutes and I can get so much done in the house during that time.

Pink bubblyyum yum! A friend of mine was in Selfridges the other day and picked me up a pot of the new limited edition of the Vaseline Pink Bubbly. Its yummy (not too overpowering in smell and flavour) and does an amazing job at keeping my lips dry free!

My list could go on....pumps (I live in these every day), pearls (my besties bought me a Thomas Sabo pearl bracelet for my 30th a couple of weeks ago), purple (along with green were my wedding colours and whenever I see the colours together I have happy thoughts), Pinterest (great invention - I need to use it more)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit

I finally went out and bought the Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit.  I'd had my eye on it for a few weeks and happened to walk past Lakeland and couldn't resist treating myself. I bought it at the weekend but only got round to making some cupcakes yesterday.  I waited till papa penguin got home to look after toddler penguin and off they went out into the garden and out came the butter and icing sugar.....

photo courtesy of
I had already made chocolate cupcakes at the request of papa penguin so decided to team them with chocolate and orange icing.  I whipped up a batch of buttercream, put half in another bowl.  Added cocoa powder to one and orange essence and red and yellow food colouring to the other.

I got the nozzles on with no problem, just a few snips of the plastic piping bags but putting the icing into the bags was more of an issue.  I think I put too much orange in one side first as there was then no room to put the chocolate one in.  I squeezed some orange which made room and then got piping...

My chocolate icing was quite moussie probably from over whipping and I was taking so much time piping each gem out that my hands were getting hot and started to melt the icing but apart from that it was good fun trying out lots of different decorations.

Disclaimer: This is my own personal review. Lakeland have had no involvement apart from providing the store that I went and purchased this product from!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - September 10

Monday - Jacket with Bacon, Beans & Cheese
Tuesday - Pork Stir Fry
Wednesday - Spag bol
Thursday - Breaded Chicken with hmemade chips and peas
Friday - I'm out so hubbie can fend for himself !
Saturday - hubbie is out so toddler penguin and I will have something from the freezer
Sunday - Steak Casserole

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Reasons 2b Cheerful

Once again its been tough thinking of Reasons 2b Cheerful, this week beginning with O.

Organisation is a big part of my life.  I meal plan, I have an app to help me keep on track of housework and I budget for everything. I like to plan weekends in advance and I hate waking up in the morning without knowing what I'm going to do that day. I'm sure my friends think I'm a nutcase with my apps and my online calendar but without it I'd be lost.

Yesterday my plans to see my antenatal friends were cancelled and I was left thinking oh crap today could go really badly unless I get out the house.  I actually had a really enjoyable day in the end.  I got 2 wash loads done in the morning, took toddler penguin swimming which he absolutely loved.  Fair enough he didn't really swim, just paddled and wanted to jump in lots but it was great seeing him have so much fun considering 6 months ago he hated it.  I think the Peppa Pig Goes Swimming book that we read every night has helped loads and he couldn't wait to get his arm bands on.  During his amazing 2 hour nap I got lots of ironing done and then he woke up whilst I was cleaning the front porch which he willingly helped me with.  I have an iPad app called Home Routines and it was so nice checking off housework items.

In the afternoon I set up a huge BriO track and got on with making my first ever lasange which turned out a success. Toddler penguin played trains for about an hour with me popping to help ever 10 mins.  Papa penguin was home from work early and we all ate together which was nice and then all played trains.  Having eaten dinner early and with toddler penguin in bed I just had to tidy up and so was on the sofa relaxing by 745pm where I spent the next 2 hours doing cross stitch and watching The Great British Bake Off.  I won't mention the huge Mr Skinny Legs that almost runing my evening !

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Money money money

"Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go 'round"

Today I received an email from work about my redundancy money and what I'm getting and I have to say I'm a little excited!

My last pay cheque will be this month and then we would just have hubbies salary to live off.  However being made redundant but still within 13 weeks of giving birth I'm entitled to all my maternity pay up front.  We've looked into our budget and living off papa penguin's salary puts us a couple of hundred short each month.  So I have to give myself an monthly allowance out of my maternity pay for a year and can save the rest of my redundancy money.

I think we are going to look for a new car that although will have an initial cost the monthly bills will be less.  It costs us about £300 a month to run our BMW estate.  Its 10 years old and done about 150,000 miles and insurance and tax are just bloody expensive. So if we can get a car that is cheaper to run monthly then my maternity pay will stretch even further.

In the meantime papa penguin needs to get a good pay rise or I'm going to have to look for another job in a year that works around 2 kids with no need for childcare !

Monday, 3 September 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - September 3

Monday - Stir Fried Rice (needed to use up ham and eggs in fridge)
Tuesday - papa penguin out and my pregnancy cravign is carbs so Pasta and Cheese !
Wednesday - Lasagne - I never make this as I don't eat creamy sauces but I'm going to give it a go with rice milk.
Thursday - I'm out and hubbie wanted Pizza
Friday - Was going to be salmon risotto but sainsburys turned up with a rubbish substitute so going to have to rethink this
Saturday - BBQ for lunch with friends, out for dinner with other friends.
Sunday - Chicken and Okra Curry - an all time favourite!