Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Hopes & Goals For 2015 - Revisited




It's coming to the end of another year once again and while i'm suffering with an apocolyptic hangover and the worlds worst indigestion, it's the right time to look back over the past year and see if i have achieved any of my hopes and goals for 2015.

Get a new job


Thankfully, this is one that i can most certainly tick off the list. I got myself out of the most manotanous, unsociable and impractical job known to man and it was such a relief. I'm now working from home and i won't lie, it's the best thing ever.



Fall Pregnant

Unfortunately, this is still yet to happen. I won't go too much into it but i think it's got to the stage where we are just going to wait and see and hope for the best instead of planning it. It's been a real rollercoaster of a year for me and Carl and we have gone through quite a difficult stage with regards to the subject but we are hopeful that we won't have to wait too much longer. Keep your fingers crossed for us everyone.

Improve my health 

 I actually lost weight this year which i'm really chuffed about. After only trying for over 2 months, i have lost over 1.5 stone which is a real achievement. Carl has also lost weight aswell and i'm so proud of both of us. I'm still smoking which i'm not proud of but as any smoker will understand, when life is stressing you out, trying to give something up is not a good idea.


Learn to calm down

This has been half completed. I've had one of the most stressful years of my life on every level and it's been increasingly difficult to just have a breather and relax. But i have learnt that when i'm on the war path, it's a better idea to walk away and calm down rather than to kick off.



Organise my life better

Again this is half accomplished. I have been writing everything down in my diary and doing everything possible to make sure that all of us are organised and not running around like headless chickens. My only downfall was trying to get Carl to wrap my Christmas present (which as a matter of fact was the last bloody thing that needed wrapping) and he didn't do it until last thing Christmas eve which really wound me up. Ugh men.


Catch up with old friends
I won't beat around the bush, i haven't caught up with any of my old mates at all this year.My best mate Michelle has been living in Cork for the past 18 months while her husband (who is a site foreman) has been running the build of a new hospital. She was due to come back in October but decided to spend Christmas out there and is now thinking of living there permanently. And i was due to catch up with my school mate Gemma in November but i was just too busy. I know mates are there regardless of how long you go between visits but my god i've missed them this year.




Friday, 18 December 2015

Stuck For Last Minute Gift Ideas? Build A Personalised Hamper With These Tips



As we all know, finding the perfect gift for someone takes time and energy. In some cases, it also takes a lot of additional thought, money and effort. However, it’s all worth it when you see the expression on the face of whoever you have bought for.  For a gift that’s guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face, why not create your own hamper. It’s the ideal solution if you’re running out of time and need a great last minute gift. Follow these tips to get you started now.

Choose a theme

Theming your hamper can be over the top or simple but should reflect the occasion or special event. Having a set theme will make it easier to know which items you should include inside. Christening gift hampers, for instance, could include personalised ceramic plates, toys and blankets. If you’re giving your hamper to someone for their birthday, theme it around an interest of theirs. This could be crafts, baking or movies to name a few. A popular theme that works well for most occasions is a food and drink hamper. You can fill the hamper with your loved one’s favourite homemade snacks or a selection of beers they’ve always wanted to try. Making it personal is what makes the hamper such an excellent gift so choose your theme wisely to suit the recipient.

Set your budget

However much you decide to spend on your hamper will dictate the size and the items you put inside of it. If you’ve got a limited budget, you can still make a wonderful gift you can be proud of. Stick to your theme and look in Poundland and other discount stores for items you can include. Think of buying items you know the recipient might not consider buying for themselves, to give them a real treat. Or make some quick and easy gifts yourself that work well with your theme. This could be a hand decorated notebook for a book themed hamper or homemade bath products for a spa theme. People always appreciate gifts that you have made yourself and will love the personal touch it brings to the hamper.



Containers

They may be called hampers, but that doesn’t mean you have to display your gifts in a traditional basket hamper if you don’t want to. Cardboard, wooden or plastic boxes work really well too. Or you could try carefully placing your gifts inside a glass bowl or vase, just make sure it’s not too flimsy. Try not to make your hampers too heavy to avoid breaking the container you have chosen. Also, think about protecting your gifts by filling the basket or box with shredded tissue or straw to provide some extra padding. Wrap the container in cellophane and tie with a box for a very professional looking result.

It’s a great feeling knowing that you have chosen something perfect for them to enjoy. The possibilities are endless with hampers, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to create something that they will love. It might be last minute but it will appear as though you have spent ages on this marvellous gift.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

5 Tips For The Perfect Dinner Party



Hosting a dinner party can be stressful.  People to organise, food to prepare, and worrying that you'll be judged how the evening goes!
Unlike a more relaxed evening where it's just drinks and perhaps board games, dinner parties are much more involved.  Of course there's the table to prepare, the food to plan and cook.  Then you need to make sure the timing for preparing the food works in tandem with people turning up.
So here's a few things to keep in mind to make your next dinner party go off without a hitch:

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Keep it Simple

Unless you're Gordon Ramsey, it's probably safest to keep to relatively simple dishes.  Avoid preparing anything too complicated and exotic.
Now, it can be exciting and motivating to cook something you've never cooked before.  But if you'd like to do that, it's probably best you experiment on your own time.  Just for yourself, or you and a friend.
A dinner party can sometimes be quite formal, or at the very least there's lots of people to consider and their different palates.  So keep that in mind.

Know Your Audience

You of course want to surprise people by not telling them what you'll be serving.  But you also need to know what people like, don't like, and are allergic to.  Who's vegetarian?  Who's vegan?  Can you cater to them?
Having a different dish for each person defeats the point of a dinner party, but perhaps offer an alternative for certain people.  Or perhaps even a meat and non meat option for each course.

And then hopefully you make it through to dessert and coffee without a hitch.  And this can go even easier with a coffee pod stand for your kitchen so make sure you’ve planned ahead.

Don't Overfeed

All your guests have probably avoided eating for hours, looking forward to what you're going to prepare.  But don't stuff them!  Space out the courses, and perhaps alternate heavy and light courses.  Also, don't let them fill up on bread!

It's Largely About Timing

The more you organise your timing, the more relaxed you'll be.  Particularly if you can cook some dishes earlier in the day and keep them warm (or reheat them) without it impairing the taste.
If every dish you're preparing needs to have perfect timing, you'll be running around like crazy all evening.  And a stressed and largely absent host makes everyone there have less fun.  So try to balance fantastic food with relaxed timing, if possible.

Have Fun!

You're the host, and if you're not having fun, others won't either!  You want to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere, while at the same time getting the food organised.  It's a bit of a balancing act, and dinner parties can sometimes be a little stressful.  It's certainly not the most relaxed type of evening you can plan!
But once the most difficult dishes are out of the way, and you're on desert, you can unwind.  And everyone having a great time at your party is one of the most satisfying things ever!


A letter to my boyfriend - 3 year anniversary




Carl,

So we've made it to 3 years and what an amazing (if not interesting) 3 years it's been. You know i'm not the best when it comes to remembering things but i can remember every moment, every memory and every up and down we've had together like it happened minutes ago. 

Do you remember when we first met and the first conversation we had was about our Iphones? I'd just got an upgrade and i thought i was the dogs bollocks having a white Iphone 4 and then you showed me you had exactly the same phone and i felt a little dejected haha. Since that very first time we met, we've laughed every single day, sometimes to the point we were crying. Every couple has their own language and ways to communicate with each other and we are no exception, we've come up with some much random crap together like;


  • Chocolate mouse
  • Teet pippet
  • Piglet - Small pig
  • Religious sink
  • Mechanisms of aviation fowl
These are just a handful and i take great satisfaction in knowing that whoever reads this or can hear us saying these things, they will never fully understand what we're talking about haha.

Unfortunately, life isn't perfect and together we've faced some difficult challenges, one of them stands out above them all. I have no idea how we managed to get through it but i genuinely believe that because we supported each other, that's what made it a little bit easier so for that i thank you massively. We bicker more than anything but we have had some blazing rows, admittedly some of them were down to me but the majority were because of you because you're a stubborn twat when the times right but we never let it drag on and we always make up within hours, sometimes within a few minutes but let's face it, who is in a relationship without any arguing?!

Going back to always laughing together, i honestly hand on heart can say that no one has ever had me laughing as much as you. The way you say things, such as adding 'Meh' to the end of the majority of your questions just tickles me pink. The way you enjoy pulling down the sun visor above my head in the car and slamming the brakes on so that i hit my head. My god you annoy the living hell out of me but the fact you keep me laughing every day just cancels out your annoying nature.

You've somehow managed to change me, something that i never believed anyone could do. You can calm me down even when i'm at boiling point, you're the voice of reason when i think i'm right but above all else, you've just made me a better person all round. You encourage me, you support me and you love me...i can't ask for more.

Neither of us really know what is coming up for us in 2016, you've told me that we'll be engaged which you know has made me ridiculously excited and i hope that it will be the year we can finally say we're able to add to our family, something that we both want so badly.

So all in all babe, i can honestly say that even after 3 years, i love you more with every passing day, you piss me off something rotten but Meh! Haha

Happy Anniversary Carlisle

Love from Kate xxx

 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

How To Give Up The Cot Now Your Baby Is A Toddler



Realising your baby isn’t a baby anymore can bring on such a mix of emotions. Your little one will be growing ever more independent. Learning to feed himself without making a huge mess was certainly a celebratory moment for many Mums. But there is so much more that will be happening very quickly. Learning to walk without holding onto anything quickly turns into running everywhere! Soon, another celebratory moment occurs when you can give up the nappies for good.

But now your little one is running around and able to manage the potty or toilet, it’s time to give up the security of the cot. If your tot has started trying to climb out of the cot, then now is the time to act before he has a nasty fall. Some cots are also cot-beds. They convert so your toddler can get in and out safely on his own. But they don’t last long. Before you know it, your baby is too long for his bed! It’s time to get a big boy/girl bed.

Choosing a bed for your preschooler can be quite tough to do. There are just so many options. Some come with storage, others even have a slide or playhouse! Your budget may have a part to play in all this too. Storage is really handy for any child. They just have so many toys and things. At this age, there will be plenty of clothing to find a home for as well. You can find under-bed storage that converts to desks or other furniture as your child gets older.


Next, you need to find some toddler bedding. Often, we buy a standard three-foot by six-foot bed. But cot bedding is much smaller than that. So you’ll need new single sheets, duvets, covers and pillows. Kids love having bedding with their favourite TV character on. But tastes change quickly so try to pick something a little more generic to avoid arguments later on. Some of the things from the cot can be saved for now. Favourite blankets can be very comforting now your little one is going through such a big change.

The mobile and monitor are also very handy to keep around. They offer some consistency when redesigning a child’s room. All these changes can be very upsetting for a little one, even if they’re not usually insecure. Try to turn the whole process into a big adventure. It could be considered a reward for being good or grown up. Your little one will need to see it as gaining something rather than anything being taken away.

You too may be going through some emotional upheaval during this process. Your baby isn’t a baby anymore. They have blossomed into a small child. This new bedroom will offer them more freedom to move around, so you may worry about what they’re up to in the night. Keep hold of your monitor for a while yet, and be prepared to keep putting them back to bed at first. They’ll soon get the message!  



Friday, 4 December 2015

A Cheat Sheet to Making the Ultimate Coffee


Whether you’re a coffee lover yourself or you always have people over, you want to make sure that you can make the best coffee ever. If not for yourself, for the marriage proposals that will come with it! This cheat sheet is one of the best ways you can learn to create the ultimate coffee. It’s quick and easy. Try it for yourself!

Pick Quality Coffee Beans

Make sure you pick high quality coffee beans to make your coffee. That’s the only way this drink is going to impress your visitors. Instant coffee is used in many households, and some of it is OK. But do you want your coffee to be just OK, or do you want it to be magical?

Ensure Freshness

Make sure the coffee you use is fresh. If you’ve just bought it, this won’t be a problem. If you’ve had it a while, you need to make sure you store it right. Storing your coffee correctly is imperative to keeping it fresh and delicious.

Know Your Coffee

Know your coffee. If you’re not currently a coffee connoisseur, become one. There are all kinds of different coffees, and it comes from different places. Coffee from Costa Rica is going to be different from beans from mexico. Make sure you know the main differences by region and the area it was grown in.

Grind Your Own Beans

Instead of buying ready ground beans, grind your own. It’s definitely worth investing in a quality grinder. If not for your guests, then for yourself! Do your research on the best grinders to work out which one is best for you.
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Use Fresh Water

Fresh water is a must! It really does make a difference from the bottle to the tap. If your goal is to produce a top notch cup of coffee, using pure, filtered water is compulsory. Fresh water can make us healthier, and science has proven that coffee can too. If you want to look and feel amazing, make sure you use fresh water in your coffee.

Never Use a Cheap Filter

Using a cheap filter is the ultimate fail when making a cup of coffee. If you want all of the rubbish filtered out effectively, you need a filter that will do the job properly. One great example is the Hario v60. I don’t know anybody with that filter who makes a disappointing cup of coffee. Every small detail makes the difference when you’re looking to make the ultimate coffee.  

Always Use Clean Mugs and Cups

Finally, a clean mug or cup is important. It might not make a difference to the taste, but it’ll change the drinker’s opinion of it automatically when they go to take a sip. The ultimate coffee deserves the ultimate presentation, so make sure your mugs and cups are all stain free and sparkly before serving. Chips and cracks can be unhygienic, so get rid of any mugs or cups like that.

There you have it. The cheat sheet to make the ultimate cup of coffee. You could go from a coffee zero to a coffee hero in a matter of minutes! We all love a good hot drink, especially when the cold weather sets in. Make sure you’re prepared by using these tips. Thanks for reading!