Car Fails

On Boxing Day we were going to visit a few family members with my sister before heading back to Glasgow. The car was packed, the kids were strapped into their car seats and we were ready to hit the road.

For the life of me however I could not get the car started. The steering wheel seemed locked, and despite wiggling it around (sometimes you need to yank it about a bit whilst turning the key when it locks) it just wouldn’t switch on. I started googling how to fix a locked steering wheel and my sister dug out the manuals from the glove compartment. I even started watching a YouTube video (there are videos for anything and everything!) but still couldn’t figure it out.

In steps Robin, my sisters other half… he sat in the drivers seat and within 5 seconds he had started the car.

I recently made the switch from a manual car to an automatic, and I had put the gear stick into Drive when I should have left it in Park. Whoops, felt like a bit of an idiot!! I won’t make that mistake again, that’s for sure!

This reminded me of another car fail that I had when I must have been 17 or 18 years old. I had thought I had written about it previously on my old Glasgow Mummy site, but I can’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t often that I would fill up the petrol tank when I first started driving – it sort of terrified me a bit and I was nervous that I’d get it wrong – which is exactly what happened when I did try myself…

My parents were at work, and I must have had to be somewhere but the car needed fuel. I drove over to the garage (which was about 2 min drive from my house) and pulled up to the pump. I hopped out of the car to get the cover open to then allow me to unscrew the petrol cap. For the life of me I could not get it to open. It was one of those ones where you just pushed it, and it then unlocked the catch and popped open. But today it was just not popping. I tried for what seemed like ages, and could not get it.

I then embarrassingly had to go into the garage to get the guy behind the till to come out and look at the car for me – he couldn’t figure it out either. We also looked inside the car, and there wasn’t a button or lever for popping it open. Much confusion.

So I drove home and called my dad. He suggested a few things to try… I was then out with a ruler trying to prise it open – didn’t work. It was a cold day, and so my dad had said that it might have been frozen a bit… so I then was out pouring hot water over the car – didn’t work.

Eventually after many, many attempts I realised that I had jumped out of the car and locked the doors (force of habit), but by locking the doors I had also locked the petrol cap.

Oh dear……

 

Goodbye 2016

Well, 2016 has been a hell of a year and I will be glad to say goodbye to it! I thought I would reflect upon the year and share some of my Instagram photographs.

January

Joined a private gym / Turned 34 and bought myself sequin Converse / Perfected my pancakes

February

Attended a Contact the Elderly tea party / Had an amazing hot chocolate at Tinderbox with Laura / Continued with self injections of Humira / Went to Aberdeen for a night to celebrate my cousins birthday

March

Celebrated with the Easter Bunny at Hard Rock Cafe / Travelled to NY with my work for a flying visit / The Air & Grace boots I had ordered arrived / Spent a weekend exploring Perthshire

 

April

My divorce came through /  Enjoyed a family day out at The Tramway / My daughter turned 5 years old! / Met my cousins new baby

 

May

Attended the launch of the Scottish Mothers Collective / Suffered a Crohn’s flare-up and started prednisolone tablets / Attended a day class at The Cook School Scotland

 

June

Littlest lost her first tooth / House went on the market / Enjoyed a delicious Sunday lunch at The Trading House, Glasgow (note to self: must do Sunday lunch more often!) / Fireplaces were installed in the Forever Home / Underwent prep to start infliximab treatment next month

July

Moved into our Forever Home / Started infliximab infusions at the hospital for my Crohn’s / Visited the Hidden Lane Tearoom / Threw a cocktail party with Social & Cocktail

August

Stayed at an AirBnB in France for our family summer holiday / Littlest started Primary 1, and my son moved into Primary 3 / My son turned 7 years old

September

Started back with a personal trainer at the gym (I put on a lot of weight with the steroids) / Partnered with Aldi for a weekly food shop challenge / Went to a fancy dress roller disco at RollerStop

 

October

Had a fantastic evening at Malmaison with Martin Wishart / Spent a wondrous 2 weeks in Australia / Celebrated Halloween with the kiddos / Made progress with the Forever Home and the hallway stairs were carpeted

November

Put up our Christmas tree (on the 29th!) / Lit many coal fires #hygge / Attended the Eden Mill Christmas Fair where my son met Pikachu / Wrapped all my Christmas presents / Changed my hair and went darker

 

December

Discovered that the infliximab wasn’t working, and had to stop treatment / Started a new restricted diet removing wheat, dairy, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol / Had a fab day out with the kids at Tribeca and ten pin bowling / Celebrated Christmas in Aberdeen with my sister and her family / Had a gorgeous turkey lunch with Dawn at The Larder, Bearsden

 

Healthy Cooking Challenge with St Enoch Centre

I can’t quite believe how quickly 2016 has passed, and we’re very nearly at the start of 2017!

Regular followers will know that I started one of my New Years Resolution earlier this month… I started a new diet which I am hoping will help my Crohn’s. I cut out alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy and refined sugar… and I went cold turkey!! It sounds horrific, but it actually hasn’t been that bad. I’ve been missing cups of tea with some milk chocolate on the side the most, which I have replaced with fruit tea and raw chocolate bars (IQ Chocolate is the best I’ve found so far) but the rest I’ve given up pretty easily. Christmas Day was tough, and I did indulge in two glasses of fizz but I managed to avoid all the sweets, chocolate, cheese and ice cream.

Anyway, I’ve joined forces with the St Enoch Centre to bring you some ideas for healthy cooking to get you off to a great start in 2017.

I was in the Centre just before Christmas, and armed with my complimentary gift voucher I was on a mission to find some paraphernalia that would help with my healthy cooking challenge.

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First stop was Debenhams to browse the electrical gadgets. I had spotted online that the Tefal Actifry systems were heavily reduced, however unfortunately the price reduction isn’t reflected in-store. Seems crazy that Debenhams are willing to do an electrical price promise with their competitors, but they won’t match in-store the price that is on their own website. So I bypassed the Actifry in search of other bargains… and I decided to purchase the Morphy Richards Spiralizer. I have a manual spiralizer at home, which I never use, and I thought that with this one being electric that it might encourage me to do it more. It was also reduced from £50 to £35.

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There are lots of appliances in the electrical department at Debenhams that would be ideal for the health fanatic including juicers, smoothie makers, soup makers and slow cookers. My only suggestion would be to check online to make sure you are getting the best price.

Another item that I picked up in Debenhams was some new Tupperware – a must for batch cooking and meal prepping.

With my spiralizer and Tupperware in tow I then made my way to The Works… again, I had done some research online ahead of visiting the store and had spotted that there were a number of cookery books that looked right up my street. I couldn’t find all the books that I was after from the website, but I did come away with Eat. Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer, Juiceman, and The Lean Machines book Eat Well, Move Better and Feel Awesome – all at reduced price compared with the RRP. I’m looking forward to reading them and getting some other ideas for healthy meals.

Useful little tip – whilst you’re in The Works you could pick up some post-it notes so that you can bookmark your favourite recipes, a notebook for writing in your meal plans/food diary and some new colourful pens.

My final stop was Tesco, to collect some ingredients so that I can start making proper, nutritious food. I relied heavily on processed foods in 2016, and the is something I am looking to change this year.

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Once home with my stash, I was keen to get started. The first dish I made was spiralized carrot with a dash of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some toasted cumin seeds – an ideal accompaniment for a curry (thanks to my colleague Zoe for this recipe idea) and I ate this with a dahl for dinner. 

I have to admit that the electric spiralizer is a bit of a faff, and probably is harder to use and clean than my manual one. Not sure I’d recommend it; reckon it’s a bit of a gimmick. I also tried to spiralize an apple to include in the baked porridge that I’ve been making lately (Deliciously Ella recipe), and the instructions included with the device do suggest that spiralizing an apple is possible – but I just couldn’t get it to work.

I spent the rest of the evening pouring over the cookery books, flagging pages with recipes that interested me. I then wrote up a meal plan for the week ahead.

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The Jerk Chicken Wraps with Pineapple Salsa from The Lean Machines was a simple but tasty evening meal (although I skipped the tortilla in favour of lettuce boats to keep it wheat-free). I have also tried The Lean Machines Breakfast Smoothie, with almond milk, banana, dates, ground cinnamon and protein powder which certainly kept me satisfied until lunchtime.

Nut butters are fast becoming one of my favourite staples, and it is great drizzled over sliced apple or banana for an easy snack putting a stop to sugar cravings.

So in summary, here are my top tips for starting with a healthy eating resolution:

  1. Get organised – arm yourself with some healthy eating cookbooks and draw up some meal plans. To keep yourself motivated, buy a pretty notebook and some colourful pens as it will keep things interesting (maybe that’s just me and my inner stationery geek!)
  2. Tupperware will become your new best friend – make sure you have lots of containers for batch cooking meals. I’m finding it very useful to have meals ready in advance so that I’m not reaching for the bad stuff if I get hungry.
  3. If you don’t already have them, then a food processor and/or a smoothie maker will make your life a bit easier for chopping veg, whizzing up soups or making healthy shakes. I’d advise that you avoid the electric spiralizer!
  4. Spices are an easy way to add flavour to a dish – stock up on the most commonly used ones and keep them handy. I used to store my herbs and spices in a cupboard but they are now on the counter where I can access them readily; as such I’m more inclined to use them. My favourite spice at the moment is Chipotle Chilli Flakes, which you can get from Tesco. Add to roasted veg or sprinkle over chicken for a smokey taste.
  5. Finally, if you fall off the wagon then don’t beat yourself up about it… just get back onto your plan as soon as you can.

Good luck if you’re about to embark on a healthy eating journey – I’d love to hear how you get on.

I received a gift voucher to spend in store at the St Enoch Centre. However, the views expressed in this post are my own, and as always are honest.

Online Sale Shopping – Home & Interiors

I’m a huge fan of all things interiors, and so when the sales come around I can’t help but look to see what bargains are to be had (even if I don’t really need anything in particular!).

Here are some of the top picks that I’ve come across:

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Anthropologie monogram door knocker reduced from £28 to £12.95

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Zara Home porcelain salad bowl reduced from £29.99 to £19.99

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Cox & Cox faux antler wall hooks reduced from £35 to £17.50

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notonthehighstreet.com black macrame hanger reduced from £19.95 to £9.97

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Cox & Cox grey standing deer reduced from £17.50 to £4.38

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Graham & Green brass wall hurricane reduced from £42 to £29.50

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notonthehighstreet.com carnival wall lights reduced from £20 to £9 each

Wanderlust

I have decided that 2017 is going to be my year for adventures. I love to travel, and have been fortunate enough to visit many new countries in my 34 (nearly 35) years. Lately I’ve been reluctant to travel, probably because I would be travelling solo and I’m not the most confident of persons. However I am not going to let that stop me and I will be making the most of my spare time next year. As well as exploring Scotland more, I would also like to start visiting some places further afield. With cheap flights within Europe, I have no excuse not to get out there and see the world!

Here are some of the places that are on my list:

Tschuggen Spa, Switzerland

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Kakslauttanen, Finland

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Positano, Italy

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Verdon Gorge, France

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Santorini, Greece

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What are your holiday recommendations for a long weekend in Europe?

 

Co-parenting at Christmas

Co-parenting is tough at the best of times, but then throw Christmas into the mix and it seems to get even more complicated; both parents wanting to spend quality time with the little ones whilst the magic of Santa still exists. Charlotte has written a beautiful post sharing her experiences, and I thought I would do the same.

I’ve now been separated for nearly 5 years making this my 5th Christmas as a co-parent. Initially the kids dad and I split Christmas Day down the middle, with one of us having the kids in the morning, the other the afternoon.

Their dad invited me over one year to see the children open their Santa presents which was so lovely of him (& he even cooked my sister and I bacon rolls), but then the following year when I had the kids at mine their dad declined his invitation to join us and instead we chose to FaceTime each other (I think he was away with his girlfriend for a few days, otherwise maybe he would have come over). Sadly our relationship seems to have deteriorated over the years since our separation; I naively thought that it would improve.

Anyway, my family don’t live in Glasgow and the arrangement of splitting Christmas Day in half then made it very difficult for me to see them. Their houses are much bigger than mine and so it makes more sense for them to host Christmas dinner. Our current agreement is that one of us has the kids up until 5pm on Christmas Eve and then the other parent has them until 5pm on Boxing Day, we then split the remaining days of the school holidays in half. It’s tough when it’s not your year, because after all Christmas is all about the kids really, but we take it turn about. This year I have the kids, and we will be driving up to Aberdeen on Christmas Eve to stay with my sister and her other half. Then we’ll be returning to Glasgow on Boxing Day. It truly is a flying visit, but it means that I can catch up with my sister and her family on Christmas Day as well as my aunt, uncle, gran & cousins on Boxing Day.

After a flurry of excitement and busyness on 25th and 26th December, I will have to say bye to the kiddos. I won’t then see them again until 2017, when I will have them returned to me on the evening of the 1st January.

Like Alice, who is without her kiddos for 8 days over Christmas, I’m filling my kid-free days with lots of plans. I’m meeting Dawn on the 27th for a late lunch, then I’m working in between Christmas and New Year (as I used up my annual leave for Australia!). Despite the fact I’m working, I’m going to be meeting a friend for lunch on the 28th and then I have a dinner organised with another girlfriend for the 29th.

I still need to decide what to do on New Years Eve… at the moment it’ll probably be early to bed!! I’m waiting on the finalised childcare arrangements for 2017, and as soon as I have this then I can start planning my weekends for the months ahead. I’m reckoning that 2017 is going to be the year for adventures. I’ve been reluctant to travel solo but sod it, you only live once and so I’m just going to do it. I turn 35 in January, and I have failed miserably with my 35 at 35 list. Perhaps I will spend New Years Eve writing some lists – starting with places to visit in 2017.

5 Things to Do in Glasgow for Kids at Christmas

I’ve got a series of festive activities that I do every year for myself… watch Love Actually (check!), watch The Holiday (check!), go ice skating (check!), visit the Christmas markets (check!), drink mulled wine and eat mince pies (I thankfully managed to do this before starting on the restricted diet!)… but I don’t have that many traditions for with the kids.

Anyway, with the school holidays looming, I thought I put together some suggestions for things to do in Glasgow, traditions that we do already as well as new ones to start.

Roller skating with a (pretend) reindeer at Roller Stop holiday disco

My two love Roller Stop (as do I… I used to love roller skating as a kid). It’s a great family activity, and is even better because it’s indoor so if it is miserable and raining outside (as it often is in Glasgow) it doesn’t matter! I think this will be a new tradition of ours.

Mrs Claus Christmas Party at Pollok House

The National Trust are known for their impressive Christmas events. We did go and see Mrs Claus at Pollok House a number of years ago now, and it was excellent. I’ve spotted online that there is a Christmas Party happening on Christmas Eve – it looks fabulous!!

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Mrs Claus

Visit George Square, admire all the Christmas lights and go on the fairground rides

One tradition we have done for the past few years is printable Golden Tickets (a la Polar Express). We all hop in the car with drinks and snacks and go for a drive around George Square to see the twinkly decorations. Now the kids are a bit older, I might be inclined to park up and take them into the square so they can actually go on the rides instead of just viewing them from the car window!!

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Royal Exchange Square

New Christmas decorations 

Each year we buy a new snow globe, and I also buy a few extra baubles. I love John Lewis, M&S or Dobbies – they all have a great selection. If you are feeling crafty, perhaps you could make your own decorations… salt dough perhaps or you can buy kits like these plastic sun catchers from HobbyCraft (there is a huge HobbyCraft at Glasgow Fort) or paintable ceramic at Cafe Ceramico, East Kilbride.

Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows and Cream

Obviously not for me anymore, but the kids absolutely love a good hot chocolate and there are plenty around at this time of year. One of our favourite haunts for all things chocolate is Tribeca, and I think we’ll be headed to this cafe for pancakes and hot chocolate at some point over the festive season. Another option is to create a hot chocolate bar in your home… stock up on the essentials, invite some friends over and have a Christmas moviethon… we just love Prep & Landing, Arthur Christmas and The Snowman.

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Festive Hot Chocolate

What are your favourite things to do in the Christmas holidays?