Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Easy Melted Cheese and Tomato Baguettes

 
Just thought I would quickly share this recipe as it's something that's really simple and really tasty! I love hot cheese and tomato ciabattas and toasted sandwiches and this is a really good alternative.
 
 
Using the bake at home (part baked) baguettes slice down the middle, and cut them in half. I cut them in half before baking as I find it easier than halving them afterwards.
 
 


Fill with cheese, I love cheddar, but any cheese that melts is fine and top with sliced tomatos.


Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes as per the baguettes instructions. And the cheese has melted.


Serve! Yummy!

Add your favourite sauce too, my favourites to add are sweet chilli or basil dipping oil.


Perfect with a cup of tea!

Jill. x

Saturday, 1 September 2012

If I Had An Unlimited Budget! - My Dream Wedding Stationery

As I mentioned in my last post I'm having to find some ways to save money on my wedding, we've pretty much blown the budget on the venue so I'm having to really cut back on some of the other things I would like.

If anyone has seen my little wedding board on pinterest you'll get an idea of the kind of things I'm going for but I thought I'd share some here too.

I'm going for a lacey/floral theme rather than any glitz or sparkle. These are my dream wedding stationery choices.

All images below have been embedded from pinterest and links to retailers site are available where possible.

Invitations and Stationery


Source: chartula.co.uk via Jill on Pinterest


 
Source: chartula.co.uk via Jill on Pinterest

I think these personalised laser cut invitations and menus from www.chartula.co.uk are absolutely fantastic and everytime I see them my heart flutters! The delicate laser cut designs are perfect for my theme but with a minimum order of £1000 for their bespoke range, I will have to just keep dreaming about these ones, unless we get a lottery win in the next couple of months!

A more affordable option comes from their create range which have a more simple laser cut design and prices for invitations starting from £2.60 per invite. www.chartula.co.uk/create


Source: chartula.co.uk via Jill on Pinterest

Another website I've been really impressed is www.hummingbirdcards.co.uk they give you an option to have the cards made by them, prices from £3.65 per invite depending on size and quantity, or assemble your own with prices starting from £2.50 per invite. They have really pretty designs and also do other wedding stationery, menus, table names/numbers, table plans etc to match.



 







The other cards I love are these laser cut cards from www.borisanddoris.co.uk these start from £4.30 per invitation. I think these are really current and combine the pretty lacey element wih contemporary design.



 

With stationery being one area that we might be able to save some money on I will be attempting to make some myself and as I write this I am waiting for the postman to deliver a couple of items that I've ordered so I can start experimenting!

I'm half hoping that my other half will see my pathetic attempts and say "it might be better if we just order some"!

Jill. x

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

DIY Wedding - Is it a good idea?

I think I must have gone a little bit mad, as after having a 'discussion' with my other half about the cost of various items for our wedding next year, I am contemplating making some of the things we need myself. Now, this was not in my plans!

I was quite happy to get everything made (as I'm not really that crafty, wish I was!) but on discovering that a few of the things I want are completely out of budget I'm going to attempt to do some of it myself. As if I really have the time!

I'm thinking of making my own invitations and other wedding stationery (table names, place cards, table plans, menus etc) as well as wedding favours, some decorations and even... *I hold my breath as I write this...the cake!

For some people this amount of craftiness would be heaven, for me...hmmm, well I'll let you know! In my head everything I foresee making will turn out wonderful and super stylish, but it's turning that image into a reality that may just be very stressful, ending in eventual disaster.

My wedding is not until next June, so I have time to practise and perfect (!) but I'm wondering if I'll end up spending as much money on failed attemps and stuff I don't need as I would have done if I'd have just paid to get everything made. (If I do, it's his fault!).

I will keep you updated with my progress, but if anyone had any advice or words of wisdom do let me know!

Jill. x

Weekend in Bath

My blogging has fallen by the wayside recently so I'm trying to get back on track! There's just been so much going on, as well as looking after my little one and running the website, I've been trying to get to grips with planning our wedding and I had no idea that it would involve so much time and effort. There is endless research to be done!

We're also in the process of having a new kitchen installed to the house is a complete mess and there are pans, plates and tins of food in nearly every room! We're not far off it being finished but I will be so glad when it is!

Last weekend we had a little break from it all and had a lovely weekend in Bath, we were there for a wedding but decided to turn it into a long weekend so we coud spend some time together as a family.

I lived near Bath when I was at school, so it was an opportunity to show my other half the sights as well as the places I frequented when I was young. And it was also wonderful to catch up with some very dear school friends who I haven't seen for years!


Pulteney Bridge

Unfortunately the weather wasn't that great on our little sight seeing day, and we don't have many good photos, they're all a little grey! It's also always that easy and enjoyable with a toddler who would rather do other things!

 
'I'm sick of sight seeing now mum, please can I go and play in the park!'


'This is much more fun!'
 

One bit of sightseeing he did enjoy was our visit to the Roman Bath's where we kept him entertained by giving him the audio guide handset so he could pretend it was a phone and have a lovely chat with the recorded visitor information.
 




Jill. x


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Another Little Video From our Holiday



Our son had his eye on this little Noddy car ride all week. It was on our way to the beach and we passed it daily so didn't want to let him have a go in case we couldn't get him off and in case he wanted a go everytime we walked passed it.

On the last day, while I was packing the cases, my other half took him for a little walk and finally let him have a sit on the ride. He was loving it, turning the steering wheel and laughing (he is obsessed with cars!) and when some money was put in and it started moving he slowly started to change his mind and decide it wasn't fun any more and wanted to get off!

Jill. x


Friday, 13 July 2012

More Soup Please Mummy!

My son can be a somewhat fussy eater, he can like something one day and then make it again for him and he just won't eat it. However one thing that always seems to go down well is homemade soup. Leek and potato is his favourite but I wanted to try some different veggies so also added some kale and spinach, as you can tell by the photo it was very popular indeed!


Although I'm not sure how much ended up on his face and bib and how much ended up in his tummy.



Jill. x

Monday, 9 July 2012

Starting the Search For THE Dress

This weekend saw my first visit to a bridal shop as a bride to be! I've accompanied others on a couple of occasions in the past but this is first time I've looked at any wedding dresses for me. I've never been very weddingy! And haven't had a dream wedding or dress in mind since I was a little girl as I never really thought I would get married. Always too independent and not sure I would ever find anyone to put up with me for long enough!

It's less than a year until we tie the knot so I thought it was about time I started looking, I did have some gentle nudges from some good friends! I had no idea dresses could take so long to order and as I think it may take me a while to find the right on I thought I should get cracking with the search.

After some googling, which didn't help much as all the dresses I found seem to be super cheap and from China (they maybe ok, but don't want to risk it!), I decided just to take the plunge and visit a local wedding shop to try some dresses on. I went on my own to a really friendly shop in Bolton and they asked me to choose 4 to try on to get me started.

To start off with it was so difficult, as I walked down the rows of dresses I kept thinking I'm never going to find any I like! I'm not into the big princess dresses and not that keen on sparkle so my options were rather limited, I finally found 4 to try on and to my utter suprise I really liked the shape of first one I tried on (despite it having feathers on, don't ask!). The other 3 were better than expected too so although I may have some way to go to find my dream dress, I'm much more positive now that it is out there somewhere!

I'm keeping a little board on pinterest with my wedding ideas (most of them probably out of my price range) but if you want to see what I like so far see http://pinterest.com/jillmtm/wedding-ideas/
I'm thinking of going for a 'lace' theme so if you have any ideas or suggestions I would love to read them in the comments below.

Jill. x



Friday, 6 July 2012

Love to Dance!

Was going through our (many!) holiday photos and videos and came across this one and decided to share. My little boy loves music and doesn't care where he is or who's watching, if there's a tune he likes he shows his appreciation by doing a little dance! This little video was take at the Castello S. Jorge in Lisbon where there just happened to be a guitarist playing some lovely mellow music while tourists looked around the castle.



Jill. x

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Very Busy Week = Very Tired Boy!

This week has been so busy! In my normal week not much happens really, my little boy goes to nursery for a couple of mornings a week and to his grandparents a couple of afternoons so I can keep on top of my work and the house. And then I usually take him swimming once a week, the park for an hour or so once a week weather permitting and also to a Tumble Tots session once a week. The rest of the time he's at home with me and I try to keep him occupied and work when he's busy playing or napping!

This week however, we've been having a new boiler installed as well as having all the radiators flushed out, and it's taken a couple of days to get it all done. I thought it would be better to take the little one out of the way on the days the work was being done. My other half has been working from home so he kept an eye on what was going on and was available to answer any questions and make the tea!

So it was up to me to take our son out, keep him occupied and hopefully tire him out! And also find new things to do when the weather's too wet to take him to the park or out for a walk.

On Monday, for the first time we went to a soft play centre. We went to the 'The Funhouse' in Swinton, Manchester and as it happened it was their 1st birthday so entry was only £1 (usually £3-£4.50 depending on age and day). It's not too far away from where we lived and was perfect for a few hours activity. My son absolutely loved it there, he's 2 in September so still a little young to really make the most of it but was fascinated watching other children playing, climbing and sliding! He was also on a constant mission to put any loose balls back in the ball pool, as other children we throwing them out he kept going putting them back in, bless him! Wish he was that tidy at home!

At the Funhouse they had 2 separate areas, one for under 5's, with various areas suitable for little ones from about 12 months and then another larger area for over 5's with lots of climbing and slides! My little one was desperate to go in the area for older children and I had to carry him away in tears on more than one occasion! He also really didn't want to leave the soft play centre and it was only with the help of one of their 1st birthday celebration balloons that I managed to get his shoes on and get him to the car!

On Tuesday, the weather was still pretty miserable and there were a few bits I needed to buy so we headed to the Trafford Centre. While we were there we happened to be walking past the cinema and I noticed that Tuesday was their day for the 'Newbie' screening. I don't know if all cinemas do it but Odeon do what's called a 'Newbie' screening once a week where parent's can take their babies to the cinema, and as it's only aimed at Parents and babies you're not too worried about them having a little cry or, in the case of toddlers, a little run around!

I'd heard of it before but never been and the screening started at 11.30am, which was only about 10 minutes away so I thought we'd give it a try! The screening was of 'Rock of Ages' and I'd never heard of the film but these days I'm really out of the loop so had no idea what to expect and hadn't been to the cinema since I was pregnant.

It was a huge screen room and there were only about a dozen mums with their babies so there was plenty of room to spread out. I think my son was one of the oldest and I wish I'd taken him when he was younger as he'd have been more likely just to sleep through it! He sat still for the first 15 minutes with the help of some Quavers and then decided he wanted to test out all the seats! We ended up moving from a seat in the centre aisle to a row at the side, so I could sit at the end near the aisle and he could run up and down! Eventually he did run out of steam and fall asleep leaving me to enjoy the rest of the film in peace!

As for the film, it was ok. I was a little worried as when it started they immediately burst into song, and musicals are not my thing! But it had a great cast, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, and it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. It's only something we'd do every so often though as I can't believe how expensive it is to go to the cinema, £7.50 for one ticket!!! I'm not looking forward to my son being older and asking to go regularly and taking friends etc. Or if we have another child, it'll cost a fortune to go and see a film as a family!

Anyway, I'm sure there will be future rants about cinema prices, I just hope they never stop doing Orange Wednesdays!

On Wednesday we met up with a friend that I hadn't seen in years which was really lovely and we met in a child friendly coffee shop in Warrington where my little one could pay with cars and look at books while we had a good catch up!

Today though, he's absolutely exhausted! I think all the activities this week have really taken it out of him, we went to our normal Tumble Tots session this morning but he was so tired he was trying to get settled for a nap on the crash mats, we ended up coming home early where he's been asleep on the sofa ever since! So a perfect opportunity to quickly write this and catch up with some work!

Jill. x

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Papillons!

Someone who is really please we are back from holiday is one of our Papillon Dogs, Amelie (or Ami as we affectionately call her) has been following me around non stop since we got back. Everytime I get up to leave the room she's there at my feet, even when I go to the bathroom she waits outside the door. That's if she's not snuck in with me!

Ami

We have two Papillons, Amelie who's nearly 4 and Rafael who's nearly 5 (and we refer to as Rafi). I should explain now that I'm a really big tennis fan (Wimbledon has been very distracting this week!) and they are named after two of my favourite players, Amelie Mauresmo and Rafael Nadal!

They couldn't be more different, Ami is 'princess perfect' she rarely has a tangle in her coat and is always super white, even if she's been out in the rain or mud she's dry and clean within minutes!

On the other hand, Rafi is a right little scruff bag! He's the complete opposite he can be lovely and clean after a bath and the immediately goes and rolls in the mud and you just need to look at him and he gets another knot in his fur!

Rafael (still a bit wet from his bath!)
They are both so different in personality but both really lovely dogs. I'd never had a dog before I got Rafi, and then Ami a year later, and I'm so glad I chose Papillons as they are just lovely and have been so good with our little boy.

Jill. x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Post Holiday Blues!

It's just over a week since we got back from holiday, and the post holiday blues have definitely set in. Certainly not helped by the weather, all I've seen when looking out of the window since we got back is grey sky! Not that I've had too much time to look out of the window, I've been so busy catching up with emails (nearly there!) as when we were away I hardly checked them at all because holiday is family time!

I remember going on holiday with my mum and dad and my dad taking his laptop, being constantly on his mobile phone and even arranging for people to fly out for meetings, even on holiday he rarely switched off from work.

Anyway, we hadn't been abroad as a family before and we were in two minds as to whether it would be a good idea just yet as our son is nearly 2 and we weren't sure how he'd be travelling on a plane as well a going somewhere hotter than he's used to, but we decided to just go for it and overcome any issues that arised.

We wanted to go somewhere that wouldn't be too long a plane journey, so it would have to be Europe and we decided on Portugal, Estoril (near Lisbon) to be precise. There were other reasons for choosing to go there, it's on the Atlantic so it doesn't get too hot, there's always a lovely cool breeze, and most importantly from my point of view I'm really familiar with the area.

Beach in Cascais


I should explain now that my parents took me there on holiday when I was 2 or 3 and then a couple of years later when I was 5 we ended up moving out there. We lived there for 7 years before returning to England; and although I was only 12 when we left it's somewhere I think of as home and I love being there. I also still have some wonderful school friends there too who I still keep in touch with, although not as often as I should!

Our holiday was a wonderful mix of sightseeing, playing and relaxing on the beach and a heck of a lot of eating! Which I now have to pay for down at the gym :(

As far as sightseeing goes there were places that I remember visiting with my family or on school trips and then there were other places that I'd never been to or at least have no recollection of. We spent a couple of days in Lisbon, which is about 15-20 minutes from Estoril and also a day in Sintra which is up in the hills (about 20 minutes again in a different direction) and is so beautiful and is full of castles and palaces and if you are ever in that area of Portugal most definitely worth a visit.

View of Lisbon from Castelo de São Jorge


Palacio De Pena, Sintra

Our son's favourite day was when we went to the aquarium in Lisbon, it's very modern and the 2nd largest in the world. He just got to run around looking at all the fish and wildlife, we were there for a few hours and he slept extremely well that night! He also loved being on the beach with his new bucket and spade!

Asleep on the beach!


With it being somewhere I'm really fond of I was over the moon that both my partner and son enjoyed being there as much as I did so hopefully we will be able to return more often. It's been nearly 7 years since my last visit and I hope it's not so long until the next one!

Jill. x

Monday, 25 June 2012

Just got back from our first family holiday abroad in Portugal, we had a great time and I will try to write a little more about it very soon, inbetween catching up with work, washing and everything else!
Post holiday blues have definitely set in, especially since it's been so grey in Manchester since we got back, I can't believe it's June. Hopefully the weather will start brightening up again soon. We've got our wedding planned for this time next year and I'm already starting to worry about what the weather will be like!


Ready for the beach!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Finally a blog post! My Poorly Little Boy and Claire's Article.

Finally, I have some time to sit down with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and relax and write for the blog! I’ve been meaning to write at least once a week bust so far it just hasn’t happened.

It’s been a very hectic week, as well as adding many new articles and businesses to the website and some interesting meetings, my little boy hasn’t been well, both with new teeth coming through and on top of that now a nasty cold and just today infection in his eyes.

Before I became a mother I never realised how much time you could spend worrying about someone else. I was in a real panic today after he woke up after an afternoon nap with weeping eyes, it was awful his little eyes were all puffy and his eyelashes were stuck together with a mucusy discharge. I phoned the doctors straight away but at half two there was no way I was going to get an appointment today so I took him straight to Trafford hospital walk in centre where we got seen nearly straight away which was absolutely brilliant for a first time mum who is never sure what to do in these situations! Sometimes I worry I overreact, but then when you’ve got a 16 month old who can’t tell you how he feels and you can’t get anything for him over the counter at Boots what are you supposed to do?

And why is it that he always seems to be unwell on a Friday, when I can’t get a doctor’s appointment until the following week and you worry they’re going to get worse over the weekend and you’re a terrible mother for not psychically knowing they were going to be ill.

I’m still feeling a little stressed about it and now worrying how I’m going to be able to successfully give him eye drops every 2 hours tomorrow when our attempts today have been less than successful! If anyone has any tips how I can put drops in his eyes as easily for me and as stress free for him as possible please let me know.

This wasn’t what I was planning on writing about but as it’s been my main focus today it’s at the forefront of my mind.

I was going to write about the article Claire Gibbs wrote for our website as I found it really moving and really resonated with my own story. If you haven’t read it yet please take a look it’s really inspiring Claire’s Crafts – One Mum’s Story of Setting Up Her Own Craft Business and I think a lot of mums will be able to relate to her story.

It really reminded me of when I decided I wanted to set up the website; I’d started the Yummy Mummies – Business Mums Facebook page and hadn’t said anything to my partner as I thought he’d laugh at me! Then after it seemed to be popular I thought I’d like to start a website and as he’s an I. T. consultant I thought I would ask him what he thought. I was so nervous and kept putting it off and then finally one day while we were having a nice family lunch at Pizza Hut I thought I would broach the subject. He was really surprised as it had come out of nowhere, but was very supportive and encouraged me to have a go and set up my own business and website. I was hoping he’d be able to help me with the website but it wasn’t an area he knew anything about so I then had to tell someone else about my idea!

This was just as scary, letting other people into this little world of plans that I had kept to myself; but there was no way of progressing without help from others so I sent an email to a friend of mine, Gareth, who was a graphic designer. He listened to what I wanted and envisioned and once again didn’t laugh at me and was very supportive. And in my opinion has done a fantastic job in designing the logo and the website. Especially as I was a little wishy washy at the start and the ideas seemed to come together as the website was under construction.

I still needed some advice on the business side of things and therefore had to tell yet another person about my plans. Arggghhh! This was probably the most nerve wracking as it was my Uncle Stuart who’s opinion I value highly. As an accountant he advised me what I needed to take into consideration and how I should next proceed and once again gave me the encouragement to just have a go, and if it all went wrong at least I would have tried and would most likely have gained valuable skills that would assist me in a future career.

I didn’t tell anyone else until it was all up and running as, like Claire, I thought the fewer people that new the less people I had to explain to when it all went wrong. But I still wanted to have a go! J

I’ve always thought if I don’t give it a try, I’ve already failed!

If there’s something you believe in and want to try then go for it, it may not work out, but so what! You may have learned so much that it helps in all sorts of ways in the future. I’ll write something soon on all the things I have learned, and as a very none techie person I’m quite proud of myself!

Jill. X

From how they have helped me I am pleased to give a mention and recommendation to:


And Stuart www.crbh.co.uk  CRBH Accountants, Wigan, Lancs


Friday, 13 January 2012

Valentines Day - Share your tips for a special Valentines

As part of More Than Mummies we aim to come up with novel ways to help you promote your business, that’s why we run the free monthly themed showcases and encourage articles for our website, although we know not everyone has time to sit down and write an article and this month’s showcase theme may not be suitable for your product or skills.
Before Christmas we tried a little collaborative post Helpful Christmas Tips where you could submit a tip to make Christmas a little easier, more fun or less stressful and also include a link to your website or business Facebook page. These tips proved really popular both with those submitting tips and also the audience of readers so this is something we’re thinking of doing this a little more often. Fun themes where you only need to send us a paragraph or even a sentence and you get to include your link. Of course if you want to send us something and you don’t have a business to promote that’s absolutely fine, we can even add them anonymously if you prefer.
These collaborative posts are aimed at being informative, helpful or even light hearted and entertaining!
The one we’d like to try next is aimed at Valentine’s Day as it’s the next little celebration, and it’s for tips or suggestions on romantic gestures that cost little or no money but can make a big impact. These can be things someone has done for you or you for them, or something you wish your other half would do for you, like bring you a glass of wine while your sat in the bath after a very long day (*hint, hint* J) or make you dinner or even a lovely compliment.
Also if anyone has any really romantic Valentine’s Day tales or completely rubbish unromantic experiences that they would like to share as a tale of caution to others (listen up fellas!) then please let us know and we may be able to do another article on just that subject.
We’ll start to add these to the site as soon as we get them with a cut off being Valentine’s Day itself and if you’d like to take part please email morethanmummies@gmail.com with.


· your tip/suggestion could be a sentence or a paragraph

· your name how you would like it to be published, ie full name or first name, county

· you can also include a link to your business website or Facebook/Twitter page to help promote your business (you don’t have to and if you like it can even be anonymous)


To view our Christmas collaborative post see http://www.morethanmummies.com/2011/12/christmas-tips  

And if you make cards check out our Valentines Cards Voting Competition http://www.morethanmummies.com/2012/01/valentines-card-competition/


Monday, 9 January 2012

New Years Resolutions!

Well, the New Year has started and my resolutions aren’t really going too well, and not through lack of trying!
My main one was to make more effort to be healthier and get fitter and to hopefully lose a bit of weight. I’m getting married next year, and although it’s ages off, I would like to shed a few pounds before I even start looking at dresses.
 The healthy eating has gone ok, I’ve never eaten too unhealthily I think my diet got worse when I met my partner, or at least my portion sizes got bigger thanks to his generous servings! He’s one of ‘those’ people who can eat as much and whatever they want without putting an ounce on (grrrrrrr! Sulk sulk!) and I unfortunately am not!
Any way I joined the gym, and have been going at least twice a week and have somehow managed to gain 3 pounds L really not too happy about this and a little disheartened! Will persevere though as I know it can take time and I haven’t done any real exercise since before I became pregnant with my son, so it must be over 2 years ago, Oh the shame!
The gym I go to is fine, I don’t feel self conscious in my appearance as there aren’t a load of Lycra clad, skinny minnies looking fabulous... however there are a vast number of ladies old enough to be my grandmother that put me to shame in terms of their fitness. I can’t keep up with them in the aerobics class and I’m nowhere near as bendy as them in the yoga class!
I have found that reading the articles by Tanya Grant, on our website, really help keep me motivated and have even started doing a little dancing around the house! I put the radio on and have a little boogie in the kitchen while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil or the microwave to ping in the hope that it may just burn a few calories, my son thinks it’s hilarious and as long as no one else can see me its fine!
As I’m trying to eat healthily, I’ve been aiming to have my 5 a day and fruit juice being one of them, not sure if this cranberry juice I bought from M&S counts though if there’s only 16 cranberries in the whole 1 litre carton?

I thought cranberries were tiny?!!
Anyway I'm going to keep on trying to get fit and healthy and I'll keep you updated with any progress or major disasters!

Hope your resolutions are going well, if you have any good diet or exercise tips please let me know!
Jill. x

Friday, 6 January 2012

January Newsletter

January Newsletter
(email version)

New Articles December 2011



Link to full article Ditching disposables and going real…

Click here for the January Sales Showcase





Previous Newsletters:





November 2011

December 2011



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