A Strong Coffee

Monday, 19 August 2019

A Pet Isn't For Christmas. Unless You Are Us.

One thing I have learned this summer, is that no matter what, we are not getting any pets in the near future. Every now and then, the boys say how they want a hamster/guinea pig/rabbit/bearded dragon and I am the big bad one that always says no.

Why you ask?

I have 3 boys and a husband that works a lot. I have my work cut out doing everything as it is. The last thing I want is to add another thing for me to feed, clean and worry about.

My happy medium is to pet sit for friends. This way, the boys get to look after a pet without getting too bored of it.

They always seem to be happy with hamsters as they are easy to handle. I’m not so keen as they smell so need cleaning a lot. 

guinea pig and christmas cracker

We had a guinea pig over Christmas which again they liked, but looked terrified every time they touched it.

Lizards have generally been the easiest pets to look after. The main problem with them is their food. Our house sounds like a Caribbean resort with the sound of crickets. Even worse is when it continues after the pet has gone home! Weeks to come I am finding chirping crickets in my curtains!

bearded dragon

Big man has always been good in the past. He loves animals and loves to get them out. However, this holiday he has been worse than ever at cleaning the cage and preparing food on a daily basis.

So for now, our pets will be for Christmas. Oh and Easter, the summer holidays and half terms.

Do you have pets? Do your children look after them or if it all down to you?

Monday, 5 August 2019

Completing Our First Park Run

A few weeks ago we completed our first Park run. I am not a runner. I am more of a baking cakes kind of girl. However, back in May, to help with my sanity when my husband was on a work trip in half term, I embarked on couch to 5K with the boys.

My eldest is a runner. He has the body for it. Lean and fast. He completed his first Park Run back in April. My youngest much the same. Middle man has my genes. But he has been doing cross country at school and we saw it as a way for him to improve at this. He is the reason that I am running and makes it much more enjoyable most of the time.

If like me, you say you can't run, then I can tell you that you are wrong. It really is mind over matter and not caring what others think of you. Runners, are generally really friendly and it is actually quite nice meeting other runners when you are out as they will smile and say hi.

Our whole aim of doing the couch to 5k program was to work ourselves up to a park run. We have one right outside our door which is a real bonus at 9am on a Saturday.

We actually did our first park run a week early - As our week 9 run. Karate had been cancelled for the boys, so we went for it. I was worried that we would be last or worse not complete it.

Completing our first Park Run

We got there early to have our first timers talk. It was so refreshing to hear people that were excited that we had come and who most importantly said that it is a run, not a race.

As we ran around there were volunteers showing us the way and cheering us on. I needed the cheering. There are people of all ages. Some walking others practically sprinting. You finish get a place mark and then give them your barcode. This means they will email you later in the day with  your time. We managed our first run in just under 37 minutes.

Since then I have done 3 more. I managed 34 minutes when middle man was away, but it wasn't the same without him. Whilst I sometimes get annoyed with his pace, you can't help but love the way he is cheering others on. Telling them that they are doing a great job.

If you have been thinking of doing park run, but are worried, give it a go. It is so friendly and I am glad that I have started. I am still not a runner but maybe one day I might be.

Have you completed a park run yet?

Monday, 29 July 2019

Courgette And Feta Fritters

These Courgette And Feta Fritters are a firm favourite and I am so glad that I have started making the, again. They are based on a recipe from Nigella Lawson.  If you want to show off to your friends then her version is the one to go to. This one is slightly simpler and uses more of what I have in the cupboards rather than buying extra ingredients.

Courgette And Feta Fritters

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 125g feta
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • Limes wedges to serve
  1. Grate the courgettes and squeeze out as much of the water as you can
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl (excluding the limes)
  3. Fry a spoonful in a little olive oil, turning when golden brown.
  4. Remove excess fat once cooked by draining on kitchen towel
  5. Serve with lime wedges. Do not miss this step - the lime makes them.
Eat them warm or cold, they taste delicious either way.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

[Ad] Tyre Care Safety With Headley Tyres, Thatcham

We all use our cars on a daily basis yet often don't think about tyre care safety. Thankfully, my husband is much better at this than me and will always use a pressure gauge to check my cars tyres before I go on a long trip to visit my parents. Quite often they need inflating slightly and it also gives him a chance to check that the tread is ok as well as look for anything unusual like bulges.

If you are local to Thatcham then Headley Tyres is a family business that can help you with your cars tyres, with no appointment necessary.

But why is tyre pressure important?

Having under inflated tyres on your car actually makes it less fuel efficient. No one wants to pay any more for fuel than they already have to so this is a great tip. Ideally you should be checking your tyres on a  monthly basis.

Correctly inflated tyres are also safer. Under inflated tyres are more likely to have a blow out, and are more likely to cause problems if the weather conditions are poor.

Increased wear can be caused by both under inflated and over inflated tyres, so if you want your tyres to last a reasonable amount of time then it is important that you check that the pressure is correct.

If you want to check the pressure of your tyres, then it is important to do this when the tyres are cold. You will find the tyre pressures particular to your car in your vehicles manual or usually on a plate in the drivers door.

Why should I worry about the tread on my cars tyres?

Tread is an important safety feature. Good tread means a good amount of friction with the road which is even more important in wet weather. When it comes to looking at the tread on your tyre, it is important to be aware that the legal minimum tread depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm. Headley Tyres in Thatcham have a handy guide on their website of how you can test this with a 20p coin.

It is perfectly normal for car tyres to lose pressure over time so if your car isn't fitted with an electronic warning device then checking them regularly is important and gives you the opportunity to measure the tread and look for any problems in the tyres are well.

If you are in need of some new tyres for your vehicle, check Headley tyres online to buy tyres in Thatcham.

This is an advertisement for Headley Tyres in Thatcham who are part of Point S Tyre and Autocare Network.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Meal Planning Monday

Last weeks meal plan went well and I also made courgette and feta fritters which I will write up this week. I had forgotten how good they were! They are perfect for lunch in the nice weather we have been having.

This week it is my turn to make a cake for the works bake off. I still have no idea what to make, so if you have any great cake recipes - let me know!

So what have we got on our meal plan this week?

Monday: BLTs

Tuesday: Chicken and chorizo one pot

Wednesday: Quesadilla

Thursday: Pizza. (I am still perfecting a cauliflower base for me!)

Friday:Garlic pork

Saturday: Prawn curry.

Sunday: I am off out so something from the freezer for my husband and boys.

What are you eating this week. Oh and don't forget to tell me what kind of cake you like best!


Sunday, 30 June 2019

Meal Planning Mondays

can’t quite believe how we are hurtling towards the end of term and the summer holidays. Three weeks and counting for me. Three and a half for the boys. This week we have a busy first half of the week with karate and the dentist.

I have decided to follow a lower carb diet in a hope to lose a few pounds before we head to the states and I put them back on and probably more. I’m not cutting them out completely as I love overnight oats for breakfast.

However, I am trying to eat less bread, potatoes and pasta. Especially after 4pm. I have been doing this for 2 weeks now and lost a couple of kilograms so am heading in the right direction. I have been replacing pasta with courgettes, rice with cauliflower and potatoes with butternut squash.

So what is on the cards for this week?

Sunday: Ham, Egg and chips (I will be trying butternut squash ones from Sainsbury’s.) We were meant to have this last week but I forgot to put it on before work and ended up with freezer surprise for tea.

Monday: Tacos. I will be having lettuce cups rather than the crispy shells

Tuesday: Scrambled egg and chorizo, but no bagel or toast for me.

Wednesday: Pizza. I am going to give a cauliflower crust a go. I will let you know my verdict!

Thursday: Lemon Chicken. This is a recipe I have never tried before but have been looking for inspiration from one of the many recipe books I own so again will give it a go.

Friday: Slow cooked chicken Korma. A favourite of all the family and I love a curry on a Friday night.

Saturday: Hoisin chicken skewers and salad.

What have you got planned this week?


Thursday, 27 June 2019

[Ad] Completing Couch to 5K week 5 with the Soundcore Icon Mini

When I said yes to reviewing the Souncore Icon Mini, I didn't really have running in mind. I had been planning on taking our flare speaker with us on our upcoming trip to Orlando. However, I like to pack light and the icon mini seemed just the right size. Much lighter, so easy to pack in the case but perfect to listen to by the pool in our villa.

When it arrived, excitement took over. I wanted to use it right away. Working it was so simple. Turned it on, located the bluetooth on my phone and played a downloaded spotify playlist. So I decided I would take it out on our couch to 5 k runs. We had completed week 4 and I knew that we needed music to keep us going. I hadn't expected what a difference this would make.

As I am running with my boys, I didn't want us all plugged in to our own devices. The icon mini enables us to run together and have music playing to focus us when the going gets tough. A distraction. Oh my how it has made a difference. This week for the first time in my life, I ran for 20 minutes without stopping! I may not look my best but who cares - I ran for 20 minutes!

I have still not caught the running bug yet, but the icon mini is making our runs more enjoyable. Well that and middle man claiming that "listen the birds are cheering us on too Mummy!"

What more can I say about the icon mini? It is lightweight, sounds good, easy to use and waterproof too. Have you done couch to 5K? What helped you make it through the 9 weeks?