Keeping The Kids Busy This Summer With David Lloyd

For some of us the long school summer holidays are already upon us or they are only a few days away and I’m sure that many of you are the same as me and having mixed feelings about it.

I absolutely adore having mine at home with me but it can also be a real struggle to keep them entertained and also work around them when all they want to do is have your attention.

This is where David Lloyd Health Clubs are an absolute godsend and offer anything from a fulfilled day with all the family, a few hours in a club or two to keep them occupied, full days of childcare and so much more.

With Oscar set to start school this September and Frankie needing a little extra extra push with swimming we are booking onto the intense course to really make sure they get their water wings ready!

It is not only swimming that All Stars at David Lloyd offer. They can learn skills in tennis and gymnastics too with the clubs expert coaches who make learning lots of fun!

As well as keeping fit as a family by swimming together, have a game of tennis or taking part in one of the family friendly circuit or spin classes the children can join in one of the many clubs that DL Kids offer. If sport isn’t their thing then there are plenty of other ways to keep them entertained such as film club, arts and crafts or Nintendo Wii sessions.

These clubs are a great way to keep them entertained and make new friends while you can take part in a class, head to the gym or even enjoy a treatment in the spa.

The holidays can be a really tricky time for working parents and finding childcare that the children will enjoy can be a real challenge. At David Lloyd you have the option of half or full days in their very resonantly priced holiday camps where the children can enjoy all the fun of DL Kids plus a yummy lunch…what could they possibly not enjoy about this!

My younger ones are pretty easy to please and are happy to give anything a go. My eldest son however is pretty hard to drag away from the Xbox but by some kind of miracle David Lloyd has managed to do that! He has loved coming to win as a family and of course fill his belly in the DLicious Cafe which is always a hit with us all for its deliiocs coffees, creamy smoothies and vast choice of healthy hot and cold meals. All of which can be enjoyed in the cafe itself or in the dedicated children’s area where the kids can left of steam in the soft play or spend some time on the built-in iPads.

Some thing he is yet to try is are the special 11+ gym, swimming and tennis sessions which he has his sights set on the summer.

With this wonderful weather we are having at the moment we also want to spend as much time as we can outside and David Lloyd has a large number of clubs with outdoor pools which we are itching to try out. Outdoor swimming in the UK is pretty limited these days so this really is a fantastic addition.

I’m sure there are things that I haven’t covered as the fun at David Lloyd is so expense you really need to see it to belive it. Why not nip along to your local club and see for yourself what a membership could offer you and your family this summer.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Two

This time of year is never my friend! I get depressed by the weather, long for brighter and longer days and generally spend the whole of January and February wishing away the minutes until the start of spring.

I am however hoping that this new series of ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ I started last week is going to bring a bit of joy to the next few gloomy months ahead.

This week I have picked a couple of my favourite moments that have involved things I don’t get time to enjoy as often as I would like.

One On One Time: With five children this is certainly something I don’t get the chance to do as often as I would like so I cherish them everytime I get the chance.
We took a trip to Southbank to an event where Frankie got to meet some of his favourite characters from the Cartoon Network show – We Bare Bears and we both sampled delicious coffee that had been expertly poured and topped with incredible latte art.
Aside from having to take some pics whilst I was there we spent the rest of the morning completely screen free, talking about all those radom things that run through the mind of a six year and and really just enjoying each other.

Healthy Changes On Track: For those of you that are followers of my blog you will know that the past few years have gained an ever expanding waistline with my change in career.
Its something I’ve been battling with for a long time now and this week I feel that I’ve finally broken the cycle and things have got back on track.
There have been no faddy diets, I’ve just cut out the rubbish and reduced my portion sizes, I have got back into all the exercises I love such as spinning and kickboxing and have been feeling and seeing the benefits both physically and mentally.

Getting An Insight Into School Life: When your children set off to school they spend over half their day in the care of somebody else and we have very little insight into what they get up to; and if your children are anything like mine they aren’t to free with letting you know what they do either.
At the beginning of the week I wasn’t to excited about the thought of having a meeting at the school, but was pleasantly surprised when we got the chance to join the children in the classroom to see what they get up to during their working day.
It was so lovely to see Frankie interacting with his peers, thumbing through textbooks and asking questions on things he was coming across and seeing how much he has come on during his short time at school.

Everdine:Healthy Eating Straight To Your Door

We are halfway through the year now and I’m sure that the majority of those healthy eating resolutions fell by the wayside months ago.

I know that mine have been pretty on and off and I have to say that aside from my terrible lack of willpower a large part of me failing is due to lack of preparation and misjudgement of portion sizes.

Being on the go continually means that sometimes I don’t get myself together enough to prepare a healthy, home cooked meal and I find myself reaching into the freezer for the old faithful nuggets and chips.

Don’t get me wrong the children are always over the moon when this happens but is really not good for my waistline and tends to then lead to the whole ‘well I’ve eaten badly so I will carry on’ attitude and before I know out I’ve packed away a whole pack of biscuits!

What I need is something nutritious and filling that I can prepare in a short space of time, so when Everdine got in touch with me to try out their home delivery meal service I was egar to find out how they would measure up.

Their healthy and nutrious meals are created by Mitchelin star chefs who go to great lengths to prepare gourmet meals that can be stored in the freezer to take out as and when needed and ready in around 10 mins.

You simply need to choose from a 8 or 12 meal option that can be delivered weekly or monthly and your delivery arrives to your door in a sheep’s wool instillation to make sure it as perfect as possible for you.

 

I had a mixture of classic and vegetarian options from things such as pulled beef ragu spaghetti and paneer of sweet potato kofte biryini to rainbow vegetable pad Thai and Cajun blackened salmon.


I’m ordinarily not a fan of microwave meals as they are full of rubbish and you end up with an unrecognisable lump that you need to pour into the plate.

Everdine meals however are full of flavour, and beautifully presented. They are in fact the closest to home cooked I have ever seen in a ready meal.

They were packed full or flavour and were surprisingly filling with a burst of flavour in each mouthful.


I used my meals over the course of a couple of weeks and stuck to healthy meals for the rest of the time plus regular exercise and managed to loose just over half a stone.

At just over £6 a meal I will certainly be keeping a stock of these in the freezer for those last minute meals in a bid to keep this weight loss up.

*I was given these meals for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Vegetable Broth With Ginger And Chilli Meatballs 

My life sometimes seems to be filled with me wondering what I am going to cook for the family, and most importantly when I do are they all going to eat it!

I can count on one hand how many meals I prepare that please them all, but eating out is always a different matter.

One of our favourites is Wagamamma and what I love about this restaurant is their use of fresh and healthy ingredients that also taste great.

I timidly tried to do my own take on this with a mildly spicy broth filled with rice noodles and tasty meatballs.

If you want to have a go yourself then take a look at my super easy recipe. It is also free from most major allergens so great for my little allergy boy.

Vegetable Broth With Ginger And Chilli Meatballs


  • 450g minced chicken
  • 225g rice noodles
  • 3 pak choi
  • 8 spring onions 
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 400ml vegetable broth 
  • 1 tbsp wheat free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp grated lemongrass 
  1. Place the chicken into a large bowl and then with you’re hands mix in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, half the spring onions and half the chilli flakes.
  2. Roll into balls that are about 3cm in diameter and place into a hot pan to cook for around 10mins, turning occasionally.
  3. While the meatball are cooking I a large pan lightly fry the pak choi and remaining spring onions for a couple of mins.
  4. Add to this the broth, soy sauce and remaining chilli flakes and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and add the rice noodle and meatballs and simmer for a further five minutes.
  6. This will now all be ready to serve in deep bowls…with chopsticks if you are brave enough!

After School Treats With Sunny Fruit Mix-Ups From Whitworths


With the school term back in full swing I have lots of hungry mouths to feed come three thirty and I’m always on the lookout for something quick and easy to stave off the hunger pangs until dinner time.

It’s all to easy to reach for the biscuit tin which ultimately leads to hyperactive children charging around the house which is never something you need after a long day.

When I was sent a selection of Sunny Fruit Mix-Ups from Whitworths I was eagar to give them a try.

The bright packaging and the fruity, named characters really caught their eye and it wasn’t long before they were tucking in.


The portion sizes were perfect to fill a tinny tummy, pack into their lunch boxes or have as a standby snack in your handbag which I always need as a form of bribery!

With no added sugar and portions of real fruit they really do make for a guilt free snack for children and adults alike.


I have a range of picky eaters to ones that eat anything and the whole range was a hit with them all, from the juicy apricots and mango, the chewy pineapple and raisins and the flavoursome strawberries and sultanas.


With the different varies these mix-ups have to offer I’m sure you will find a flavour that suits everyone.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

*we were given a selection of mix-ups to sample for the purpose of this review. They are all my own, honest opinions.

Baking With Sweetpea Pantry’s Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix

I’m normally one to avoid pre-packed cake and biscuit mixes in favour of just starting from scratch myself, but when I came across what Sweetpea Pantry had to offer with their healthy take on pre-packed baking I was intrigued and could wait to try them out!

Sweetpea Pantry offers a great range of nutritionally balanced mixes that are free from refined sugar, gluten free and packet with plenty of wholesome ingredients to keep little tummies full without the junk.

With the little ones busy playing in the garden number three got set to try out the wonderfully named Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix.

The pack contains everything you need and a small list of store cupboard ingredients that needed to be added to.


The instructions were easy to read and follow and number five had a fantastic time mixing, rolling and having a sneaky taste as we prepared our biscuits.


We picked a gingerbread man shaped cutter to form our biscuit and added a few raisins as eyes once they were baked.


I will definitely be picking some more mixes from their range to put into my store cupboard as they are the perfect way to create a healthy treat for your little ones with no fuss and plenty of flavour!

*we were given this biscuit mix for the purpose of the review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Coconut Rice Pudding 

  

We are midway through the month and some of us may still be going strong with our New Year healthy eating plans and some of us may have already fallen off the wagon.  Whatever boat you are in this yummy pudding is the perfect sweet treat without to much guilt!

Coconut Rice Pudding

Serves 4/6

  • 400g pudding rice
  • 1 litre oat/almond/rice milk
  • 2 tbsp honey/agave syrup 
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • Sprinkling of seeds of soft fruit to serve
  1.  Place the rice, milk, syrup/honey and 200ml water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for around 30 mins stirring regularly to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Serve straight away with some seed of soft fruit and a dusting of desiccated coconut.

Spicy Mince With Cauliflower Rice

One of my biggest pitfalls when it comes to eating a healthy balanced diet is portion control and my love of all things stodgy!  Bread, pasta and rice in abundance are my love and something I need to try and get under control.

I had seen a few recipes for cauliflower rice in the past but had not tried it until today and I was very presently surprised.  It’s light cous cous like texture was the perfect accompaniment to my spicy mince.

Spicy Mince And Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 500g turkey/beef mince
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb sized piece of garlic
  • 2 red chilli
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 100ml stock
  • 1 onion
  • Half a bag of kale
  1. Chop the onion and garlic and fry with a little olive oil until softened.
  2. Add the mince and cook until browned.
  3. Add the grated ginger, chopped chilli, soy sauce and stock.
  4. Simmer for 15/20 mins and add a little water if it begins to dry out.
  5. For the last 5 mins add the kale and cook until it is wilted.
  6. Whilst the mince is cooking take the heads from the cauliflower and place into a food processor and pulse until it is the consitincy of cous cous.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film and pierce a couple of times.
  8. Cook in high for 7mins.
  9. Serve together with the mince.

Sticky Asian Salmon

Along with most people after the indulgences of Christmas, New Year is the perfect time to get healthy eating regimes back on track.  In my experience as a personal trainer most people fall off the wagon due to unrealistic goals and being to strict with themselves.

The word diet immediately puts fear into people’s heads and food plans that are not suited to your personal choice means that they stop before they even really begin.

I am a food lover and find that if I keep my meals flavoursome and varied I am much more likely to stick to them.

A favourite in this house is my sticky Asian salmon that we serve with rice noodles and stir fry veg but is equally as yummy with rice or simply on its own.

Sticky Asian Salmon

  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Thumb sized amount of grated ginger
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • Half a side of salmon
  1. Line a baking tray with enough foil to sit the salmon on and cover over the top.
  2. Mix together all the above ingredients and cover the salmon
  3. Leave to marinade in the fridge for 30 mins or overnight if you can
  4. Cover and place in a preheated oven 180 C/gas mark 6 for 20 mins
  5. Cook uncovered for a further 5 mins and then serve

A New Me For Christmas:Week Eight

I’ve been a little quiet on the weight loss front for the past couple of weeks and that’s mainly due to the fact I fell off the wagon spectacularly over half term!

Way to many days out and parties occurred which resulted in not fitting in enough exercise and a large amount of overeating!!

  

I had a wake up call when my jeans wear getting more than snug again and jumped straight back to it.

I have massively cleaned my diet up again and have got lots of exercise in even with the children.

 

I did my first buggy run for about six months and throughly enjoyed it.  I’m a gym bunny at heart but love the feeling you get from running outside.  It’s way more invigorating and give you time to clear your head and gather your thoughts.

I’ve had a gain in weight which came as no shock but I’ve taken it as a positive to stay on track from now on.

Week Seven

Weight 10.4

BMI 23

Body Weight 25.4

Goals

To exercise outside at least twice a week.

Keep food healthy yet interesting so I don’t waver .