Friday, 29 January 2016

Smear Test's and Why They Are So Important

I know loads of people and I'll be honest I don't know anyone who's life hasn't been touched by cancer in some way, but I still find myself stunned hearing about healthy young people getting the diagnosis no one wants to hear. No surprise then that I was keen to help a blogger pal, Rachel from Life In Geordie Land, spread the word about a brilliant campaign #SmearForSmear.

Rachel was only 27 when she was diagnosed, what were you doing at 27? I was being proposed to, planning a wedding not thinking about Cancer BUT I was up to date with my smears and like Rachel says in her story below, its so important to have a smear and not put it off, and lets face it its over with in about the same amount of time as it takes to shave your lady garden, it may not be the most social thing you'll ever do but it could be one of the most important. 

My bestie will tell you I'm a bit of a smear warrior, I don't think there's any reason not to have it done, so much so I told her off for putting it off, made her make an appointment and went along with her for moral support. I'm pleased to say that was over 10 years ago and she is still my bestie so her result was good and the experience obviously didn't make her hate me!

Reasons Not to Get A Smear

It will hurt - OK Ill grant you it doesn't tickle, but I've now had about 6 and not one has ever caused pain, nurses don't want it to hurt because you wouldnt come back and theyd be defeating their own purpose
Its Embarrassing - Well I'll grant you its not a position I would put myself in down the pub BUT why be embarrassed our lady gardens are having a check up, for a medic thats it no different to having your foot examined after you thought it was wise to dance in bare feet at the club. Itys just another body part to them.
I haven't waxed or shaved - Im sorry but give over  no nurse is looking closely enough at your bush while shes doing this to judge you on your topiary skills!
I'm A Virgin - This will make no difference to the result or the procedure, just tell the doctor or nurse and they'll be happy to spend all the time you need to put you at ease and talk you through it.
I Don't Have Time - Im afraid it takes far less time to have a smear every 3 years than it does to have to go through what Rachel and countless more have been through, and those precious 30 minutes you spare for it now, will mean time spent with your loved ones later JUST DO IT
I'm Scared They'll Tell Me Its Bad - I get it, I really really do but if you think theres something wrong you have a better chance of getting things put right the sooner you find out. Hiding wont make the result change, but it will change your chances A LOT!

OK I have waffled enough and I don't need to say any more, you need to read Rachel's story and then make an appointment if you are overdue. 

Rachel's Cervical Cancer Story

It's the three words everyone hopes they'll never hear… 'You've got cancer'. At the age of 27 I certainly wasn't expecting to be told that devastating news but there I was, in a cold, soulless, sterile room, squeezing my mum's hand as the words the nurse was saying sank in. I had cervical cancer.

That was seven years ago now and thankfully I'm currently healthy and happy, I had to have a radical hysterectomy and five weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy that made me feel horrendous and took away my fertility but I'm pleased to say that my cancer was curable. 

More importantly though it's PREVENTABLE! 
I may have survived but I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I went through, it's been a physical and emotional roller-coaster, not just for me but for my friends and family too… and I was one of the lucky ones, my cancer was caught early. Sadly some of the girls I met through my experience did not win their fight with cancer and every day around 8 women die from cervical cancer.

That's why I'm speaking up, to encourage all women aged 25+ to attend their cervical screening appointment. A smear really is nothing to worry about, it's no more embarrassing or uncomfortable than a bikini wax and it could save your life! For most women, a letter will land on the doormat within a few days saying that everything is fine and that's it done, no need to go back for another three years. If there are abnormal changes in your cervix then these can be dealt with to prevent cancer from developing. I know life is busy, you've probably got a million and one things to do but please don't delay or ignore your invitation to go for a smear, tell your girlfriends, sisters, mums, friends and daughters how important it is too, screening saves lives, no fear, go smear!

Thank you for reading, if you have any questions for me or Rachel please feel free to leave them in the comments or mail to and just before I go, don't forget to cop a regular feel of your boobs as well, best to learn how they normally feel so you can spot any oddities early. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mummy Judgement

This post has been written in my head for a long time but its a difficult one to get right, it could sound like I'm being petulant or selfish but I'm not, I'm trying hard to strike a diplomatic balance on a difficult and unspoken subject, Mummy Judgement! Let me set the scene or scenes of my inspiration.

I have a friend who birthed at home pain free, peacefully and found it life affirming pride making and amazing, but a friend of hers made her feel so bad for being proud of this that she no longer talks with passion about her home birth, she and her husband keep it to themselves so that they don't upset anyone?!?!?!? How scewiff is that, in this society of medicalised births we should shout from the rooftops about how amazing our bodies are and instill positivity and not fear into mamas to be.

Mama 1 'I breastfed for 15 months and it was the best thing for us, no cold night bottle making and I'm super lazy so not trudging up and down stairs is a winner' 

Response from a non breastfeeder, (angry tone) 'Well I couldn't breastfeed and my baby is just fine some people cant you know!'

Mama 1 'Oh Homebirthing is great it was so peaceful and calm a really brilliant experience'

Response from someone who didn't home birth 'yes well I had 76 hours in labour and ended up with forceps and stitches it was the worst experience of my life

OK let me set the record straight, If a mam is proud that she breastfed and she shares that with you, she isn't being judgmental or smug, she is rightly being proud of something important to her. She is not passively aggressively saying You are doing it wrong for  doing it differently. you don't need to make her feel guilty for successfully breastfeeding, she isn't trying to make you feel guilty for successfully bottle feeding, you are mamas and you are loving your babies and that's what counts

And if your friend tells you she gave birth at home naturally and peacefully and it was the best experience of her life, she isn't saying you are less of a mother for taking drugs, having a section, forceps or anything else. Shes sharing her pride with you, its ok to say 'wow that's fab'  it doesn't matter how you both chose to birth, you are mamas loving your babies and thats what counts

There is a real culture of stamping down pride in doing things differently, these are some examples, and its sad that we seem to be losing a culture of sisterhood. It doesn't matter that you do things differently what matters is that you support each other.

Here is another example, I re-shared  a pic of the queen on twitter, I cant share it here as I don't have permission but it was the queen holding a tiny Prince Edward in her bed surrounded by her children after giving birth at home. I said 'The Queen Homebirthed and breast fed all of her children she rocks being a mama'

Me and Termite mere hours after our homebirth

The thought behind this tweet was that I don't reckon many people want to high five the Queen for being an amazing Mama and someone should, same as someone should high five the mamas who had 2 sections in hospital and bottlefed her kids. Because being a mam isn't the easiest and is sometimes not bigged up enough. 

But apparently this tweet caused some offence because I had a tweet to say not everyone can breastfeed and us commoners cant homebirth. I was quick to try to put this right, I'm a commoner and I home birthed and I wasn't saying anyone who doesn't breastfeed doesn't deserve praise, I just personally think it was a nice thing to know about the queen. But  was left feeling like I had insulted someone, which is never ever my intention.

Similarly I once commented on a facebook discussion that so long as mum and baby were happy the she should try not to be so hard on herself, the mum was saying she felt a failure for having a c section! Oh how I was shot down for discounting the mum, apparently by suggesting she shouldn't feel guilty I was worsening her grief! Now I see the benefit of supporting a woman through the process of coming to terms with a birth that wasn't how she imagined BUT lasses come on, if we say something supportive to a fellow mum we are trying to be supportive we aren't trying to lord it over one her.

 I guess what I'm trying to say, Mummys  of the world is,  do not let society make you feel anything. If you are listening to a pal shine with pride, shine with her, build her up dont shoot her down beacause your paths are different. If you hear of a mammy feeling like she's not enough, share with her support her and give her a damn hi 5 because lord knows we appear to be treating motherhood as a race instead of a team sport.

We are all in this together and we need to build each other up no matter how our paths differ because we are all heading for the same destination..... Happy Healthy Children who feel warm and loved and secure

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

What is it really like having 3 under 5!

If you have stumbled onto this page it's probably because you are either knocked up with your third or you are considering getting knocked up with your third! I'm right aren't I?

Yep I too googled, 'what is it really like to have three young children' and 'will I cope with three'

Ok if it's the first CONGRATULATIONS, I promise you will survive this! If it's the second GOOD LUCK, probably best if you don't to too much research, parenting three is crazy but it's best gone into blindly!

My third child was born when my son was just a bit past three and my daughter a bit past 4.5yrs, if I'd had my way she would have come even sooner but the mister took some persuasion! There are many views to take about having three so close together and the trials that come with it, imagine a child who doesn't sleep EVER, now add to that the memory of two years of children having 12 hours sleep a night. The shock is big! It's also a constant worry, am I giving the big kids enough, is the littlest being ignored?

I'll be honest I spent a large amount of my first few days after Termites birth in a panic thinking what on earth have we done? I mean honestly we've made a huge mistake we have THREE CHILDREN! THREE, THREE!!! How the heck will we cope! 

Rest assured that passed quickly, well it had to I was doing 6 journeys to and from school a day by the time Termite was a week old, and that's the thing life goes on, you get swept up in all the stuff that goes with kids and before you notice the change you are efficiently mothering three children! Some days your going to think it's all gone wrong, that you'll never get a handle on it, that you are THE worst mother in the world! You aren't, everyone of us feels like that at some point whether it's 1 or 12 children that we have!

So let me give you some highlights

  • The confidence you gain with you first two means you don't spend 90% of your time second guessing yourself and feeling guilty that you are doing it all wrong!

  • Three kids fit on your knee, just about

  • They will always have someone to play with

  • The third learns very quickly, mostky the third may learn how to get away with more than the first two but they learn it quick!

  • Life is never dull, its also never quiet unless they are all in bed

  • Clothes become better value for money as they get much more wear, yes my termite is wearing 3rd hand jim jams and clothes, we definitely getting our moneys worth!

  • You will meet loads of new people, during the three different school mum groups, during the many and varied, dance, drama, sport and after school clubs you will be attending you talk to many many other parents.

  • Strangers will talk to you when you are out, this normally starts with one of the following
You've got your hands full
 Do you not have a TV ha ha ha 
You must be fond of a treat

or the nicer ones who probably have more kids than you... 

Ah what a blessing
I bet theres always a hug to be had at your house
Aren't you lucky

I prefer these last ones as they give a better picture of the good times, yes I'm always being hugged and I LOVE IT, yep I am blessed beyond belief and I'm thankful every day and yes I am super lucky.

I'm thinking I've painted a fairly rosey picture for you and if you are still reading you must not be panicked yet so I promise you can cope until the end but it wouldn't be fair to not give up some of the nitty gritty....

  • Some days you wont know if you are coming or going, in fact I set an alarm on my phone so that I never forget to pick the kids up from school! I kid you not sometimes I get so sidetracked I forget the time!
  • There will never be a moment of peace in the early days. I can not have a wee, poo or a bath without someone asking something, needing something or wanting to join me or sit on my knee!
  • If one of them gets sick they will likely all get sick, the pain of this is greater but shorter if they get it all together. That way you do all the sleepless nights of medicine, cuddles or vomit cleaning at once. If you aren't that lucky you could be looking at 3 weeks of disturbed sleep and Florence Nightingale impressions!
  • Food bills are bigger.... Much much bigger than you think, start buying in bulk its a good move
  • School uniforms in primary school rarely make it through  the academic year so forget any plans of hand me downs, just buy budget brands its not worth spending the extra!
  • You will never NOT have laundry of some description, even if you think you have washed, dried, ironed and put away every last scrap.... someone will be hiding a pile of clothes somewhere. Embrace Mount Washmore, it is here to stay and it could be worse!
  • Housework may not be carried out as diligently as in days of old, but hey you have three little helpers! Ha ha ha ha ha I'm actually crying at this, Be under no illusion tidying with three children is like trying pick up leaves in a hurricane!

  • Getting a family picture is close to impossible someone will have their eyes closed, or not be looking at the camera, or be pulling an insane face or crying. 

  • Bed time with three takes a long time! Three stories and chats and teeth cleaning and excuses of why they shouldn't go to sleep? It takes yonks some nights. It best to pr empt this by starting bedtime an hour before you want them to sleep!
Mostly though having three children is a load, crazy, busy, fun life to lead and I obviously wouldn't
change it for the world, I might go as far as saying having  4 should be a breeze....

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Marmite Pasta Recipe

I love Nigella's marmite spaghetti and it's one of Termites favourites too but all that butter doesn't bode well for my Syn count.  So I've tweaked it a bit to make it syn free.
  • 400g pasta
  • 4 laughing cow light
  • 1 dollop of marmite (I like lots you may prefer less)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cook your pasta, about 5 minutes before its finished start your sauce...
  • Place marmite, laughing cow and 100 mls of the pasta water (I use half a ladle)  in a saucepan and stir together while the cheese melts
  • Set aside a cup of the pasta water
  • Drain pasta and place into the pan with the marmite mix
  • Stir well
  • Add more pasta water if it seems sticky (I don't need to normally, these measurements work perfectly) 
  • Serve immediately 

Friday, 15 January 2016

Ten Helpful Things To Say to A New Mum

Upon visiting a new mum it's tempting to spend all afternoon hugging her baby and talking about the joy (or pain) of parenting, but remember she just pushed a human from her body! She's probably a knackered, foggy brained, dishevelled, leaky eyed, sweaty version of her former self. Here are some thing she definitely wants to hear...

  • 'You look fabulous'
  • 'I won't stay long' 
  • 'How are YOU ALL' (very important to remember the whiole family not just the cute new bundle of joy)
  • 'Congratulations you are amazing and you are doing brilliantly' feel free to pepper this with anecdotes of your parenting fails if you have any
  • 'I brought you this casserole/pie/easy heat dinner, I'll leave it in the kitchen and let me empty that dishwasher while I'm in there.
  • 'Would you like me to hold the baby while you do anything' please note showering is probably highest on her list but don't suggest that or she may slap you with a breast pad for saying she smells! 
  • 'I brought chocolate/biscuits/cake' (any or more importantly all of those are great)
  • 'I'll make a cuppa you start on these chocolates/biscuits/cake that I brought'
  • 'I'd love to be practical help so is there anything I can do? Hoovering, ironing, popping to the shops?'
  • 'I'm happy to pop over any time you want even if its just so you can get an hours kip or 10 minutes of peace, but I understand you may want the house to yourself so n pressure'
You'll notice there's a bit of a theme here,  post-partum women are very much in need or rest and help, I mean they've just worked HARD,  but our society is not one for encouraging such frivolities, in fact we seem intent upon encouraging women to just hop straight out of their maternity bed and back to the housework. So you will find most of us would never ask for help and would even be reluctant to accept as we feel its a failing. But keep offering it, it is truly appreciated and helps women feel valued and loved.

A very new to the world peanut, note my face is not in shot but I looked shell shocked!
I think I avoided photos with The Golden Child, 2 children in 18 months left me looking less than glam!

Third time looking much less stressed with teeny Termite

Here are 5 things she doesn't want to hear

  • "So you decided to breast feed / bottle feed" either way she will feel judged, just leave that one well alone
  • 'Ooh I thought your bump would go straight away! ' (I kid you not it has been said to more than just me!)
  • 'Have you fed/changed/winded him/her?' DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES say these things she will assume you are suggesting she may not be performing her motherly duties, she will definitely want to throw something at you! 
  • 'You should sleep when baby does' she won't do this because in that rare 20 minute spell she will be running around doing laundry or showering or prepping dinner, and if not she is probably entertaining another guest.
  • Is he/she good? This sort of indicates that a baby who doesn't sleep (which most don't) is a bad baby, and in those early days any indication that she is doing anything wrong will make her want to wail for hours!
Have you any to add? What is the best worst thing you heard as a new parent?

Thursday, 14 January 2016

English Heritage Membership - Guest Post by The Monkeyfooted Godmother

Perhaps this new year sees you resolving more, get out more or see more? Well English Heritage membership can help you do all of those things! I'm very pleased that we here at Monkeyfeet HQ have been given the honour of membership to English Heritage and now that the kids are settling back into school I think they are ready for some weekend adventures discovering all the different English Heritage locations 

We here at Monkeyfeet HQ are very new to English Heritage but have fallen in love after only one visit to Belsay Hall (review coming soon) but The Monkeyfooted Godmother has been a member for some time and writes here telling us all about how she finds it..

At the start of this year we considered joining English heritage, but we weren't sure how much use we would get from it. After a spring and summer with a 2.5yr old boy who loves castles, knights, swords & putting the bad people away we had to reconsider. We had a day out at Belsay hall, castle & gardens, 5 children ranging from 2-6 yrs if age. We joined English heritage that day, £88 for 2 adults & up to 6 children getting 15 months membership when on direct debit. We had a great day, the children loved every minute. Starting by running around the hall, particularly the cellars with the great echo's and acoustics. 

Then a picnic in the summer house, followed by a walk through the gardens - the quarry gardens are amazing. Finally we ended up at the castle, activities for the children - dressing up, jousting, sword school & crafts - then we explored the castle. 


It was fantastic, the children were occupied all day & very tired by then end! We went back to Belsay a week later & had just as much fun! We then attended the Hadrian Wall celebrations at Birdoswald Roman fort, I can say I loved it as much as the children. An 80 strong Italian Roman legion and a 30 strong barbarian horde recreating sights with fantastic accuracy from 2000 years ago. It gave me goosebumps to see a single Roman soldier walking through a field of reeds, it was like a ghostly vision of a Roman centurion far from home in a cold strange land! I must addthat the children, only 2  of them this time had fun running around & meeting the soldiers - having a little sword fight of their own. We have certainly got our money's worth already from the membership & plan to have loads more visits. The staff are amazing and always ready to help, pass on knowledge, give advice & most importantly interact with the children. Even if your child is not castle mad the English heritage sites provide space to run, explore & have fun, there are so many sites all over the country & discounts at many other affiliated sites - as far as I'm concerned it is must - just wish we'd joined earlier. 

Which English heritage sites have you visited? I'd love some recomendations

Find out about membership here 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Unboxing The Newly Launched Teletubbies Toys

If you are a parent of any child under about 4 then you will not have missed the 2015 return of Teletubbies, if you just read that sentence and said o yourself 'return, what's she on about, Teletubbies are new' then honestly you are blessed by youth and I hate you! No I'm joking I dont hate you but I am old enough to remember the hoo hah of trying to get Teletubbies toys for younger cousins when they sold out EVERYWHERE.

We were privileged when Character asked us to be a Teletubbies reviewer! Its been so hush hush though that I couldn't reveal the toys we would be reviewing until now....

Our talking plush, Po and Tinky Winky are absolute favourites with termite (and the big kids) they are super soft but have firm faces which makes them feel really real, if that makes sense? They aren't just like normal soft toys and I really think Termite believes Po is now her bestie! Priced at £9.99 I think these are really reasonable and would make the perfect gift.

The smaller plush we recieved is great for bed time, super soft and no distracting noises, and priced at £6.99 i think this is a great toy for kids to save up for and purchase themselves. Even better value for money are the collectable figures with a single at £3.99 but a family pack at £9.99 with all of the figures in means lots to play with and whilst the boring adult part of my brain always screams 'They are bits of plastic !!!!' The mummy part of my brain knows that kids get so much from fre platy with toys like this, so far the teletubbies have met the playmobil babies in the mansion, they have played hide and seek and they've had a disco (that last one was Peanuts idea!) They are really sturdy and great fun.

I'm quite taken with the Teletubbies range and I already have my eye on this fab Laugh and Giggle Po for Termites birthday, I think she will love it

If youd like to know more and even be in with a chance of winning some Teletubbies goodies keep an eye on our Facebook page for details of the upcoming Teletubbies twitter frenzy coming soon.

We're going on an adventure

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Dry January - Mocktail Recipes

I have spent around 5 of the last 8 years either pregnant or breastfeeding and therefore alcohol and caffeine free, not to mention giving up undercooked steak, runny eggs, peanuts and pate but that's a whole other rant, so I have become adept at making mocktails, 

This January the man is taking part in Dry January and therefore so am I, although this is not a great sacrifice given that I partake in alcohol so rarely now due to my super quick slide into tipsy fool! None the less I'm being the amazing supportive wife that you all know I am, oh be quiet and just nod in agreement, and I've been pulling out my best mocktail creations for the man. Please note my names are totally unimaginative and I genuinely made all of these up over the past years in order to not be always drinking lemonade at parties and barbecues, so if any of them resemble a cocktail you have seen elsewhere I promise I didn't copy! 

Friday Night
Mix 5 parts lemonade with 1 part apple and blackcurrant cordial and  healthy slug of lemon juice, serve over ice

Noca Cola
Mix 1 part noisette syrup (the stuff you get for you coffee) with a can of caffeine free cola. This offers a lovely alternative rich tasting alternative to iced coffee (especially if like me you are not a fan of coffee)

Pink Bubbles
5 drops of grenadine mixed with 1 part line juice, 1 part lemon juice and soda water

Not So Cheeky Vimto
This one is for the kids but its actually really tasty, mix vimto cordial with sparking water and serve in a champagne flute for a bit of poshness!

Virgin Margarita
Ok so I didn't actually make this up but I did adjust the recipe to take out tequila! Blend margarita mix with lots of ice until slushy and serve in margarita glasses

Prince Harry
Mix Ginger Beer with apple juice and lots of ice

 5 parts apple Juice, 5 Parts Orange juice, 1 Part Lime Juice, and a drizzle or grenadine to create a red fade down the glass

Bahama Blend
Blend some pineapple and coconut juice with plenty of ice pour into a wide glass the top with soda and an umbrella

Friday, 8 January 2016

Dear Apple, I hate you

Years ago I remember watching an episode of the Simpsons, where the world is enslaved by their ipods...

Oh how I laughed back then happily in love with with my Samsung flip phone unaware that   all these years later the prophecy would be true (ish) and that  I would have spent hundreds of pounds on iphone, iPhone repairs, iPhone BLOODY CHARGERS and hours upon hour upon HOURS trying to figure out the effing CLOUD!

Does anyone actually understand it? I once sent all my phone photos to it then deleted them from my phone only to discover they had gone from icloud and I had to do an emergency recovery to put all the photos back on my phone which effectively meant I have had no storage on my phone since about 3 months after I got it!

The battery life on the 5c is so shockingly bad that I need to charge it 3 times a day so I really have just bought a really clever LANDLINE!

And why oh why oh why do I have to perform 35 million app updates a day and then  a special update every few months from your good selves, APPLE, which requires 5gb of my 8gb phone storage. Who dear lord who in their infinite wisdom thought that was clever?

Well I'm sorry dear Apple my iphone and I have decided to file for separation, I have found another phone and he loves me enough to provide, unlimited cloud storage and a fabulous 32gb of internal goodness, he takes a cracking photo and is never to bloated for movie making! His name is Sony and I think we shall be rather happy!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

It's Vintage Darling Boutique

You may have noticed from my  many tweets comments and mentions that I made it to the finals of the North East Blogger Awards, I didn't bring home the title but I did come home to this certificate from my eldest monkey...

And with all the love in the world for the awards I'm afraid to say there's no better parenting award in the world than that! I did however have an amazing night and thanks to the wonderful Sarah Jane at Its Vintage Darling I looked (in my head at least) like a right glamorous 50s babe!

It's Vintage Darling is a small but fabulously stocked Vintage boutique located in South Shields and run by the most lovely Sarah, she's passionate about what she does and has a knack for finding just the right frock for you. She offers great, honest but kind advice and is always happy to chat. She very kindly dressed me for the event in this awesome vintage inspired frock and even loaned me a tremendously gorgeous blue diamanté choker too.

The dress was amazing and I was complemented by everyone I spoke to, most of them requesting I do a twirl, its the petticoats you know! I felt amazing in it and I have decided that as a treat to myself for every tone I lose this year I shall by a new vintage frock from here! So watch out Sarah I'm going to be there a lot!!

If you'd like to inject a bit more glamour into your wardrobe or just want an original looking outfit, not the old high street same old then pop along, and do tell Sarah  I sent you.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Slimming World Chicken Kiev

I love Chicken Kiev, I mean properly fresh home-made Chicken Kiev, I grew up thinking Mr Matthews' products where the standard l so I didn't know how yummy this dish was until I had a freshly cooked Kiev in our favourite Italian Restaurant
Sadly its not exactly Slimming World friendly but a pal of mine shared her Kiev recipe with me and its so simple!

This serves 2 and is syn free if you use your healthy extra A or its 6 syns per serving if you don't use that healthy extra!

  • Two plump chicken breast's (so there's plenty of room for stuffing!)
  • 90g Feta (healthy extra A)
  • Garlic to taste (you can use freshly crushed, lazy garlic, dried, crushed or  the stuff in the jar, whichever is your preference

Crumble the feta into a bowl and mix with garlic

Make a slice along the chicken breast to form a pocket, try not to cut right through

  • Stuff each breast with half of the cheese mixture
  • Wrap each breast tightly in tin foil and place in an oven proof dish 

  • Bake for 35 minutes until cooked through
  • Unwrap and serve with rice and coleslaw

Slimming World Creamy Coleslaw

In my humble opinion nothing beats a great dollop of coleslaw to add a bit extra to a meal, but on Slimming World coleslaw is about a bazillion syns and to be honest I need all my syns for chocolate! So I have created and now perfected my own gorgeous creamy coleslaw and better yet its packed with speed food, crammed with vitamins and fibre and low in syns  fact its only 5 for the lot and it will serve about 6!

  • Half a Red Cabbage
  • Half a White Cabbage
  • 2 Large Onion (I prefer red but white will works too)
  • 4 large Carrots washed but I don't peel 
  • 5 Table Spoons Quark or fat free greek yoghurt
  • 5 Table Spoons Mayonaise
  • 1 Teaspoon mustard powder
  • a tablespoon white wine vinegar

I use my food processor to grate all the ingredients but you can use a grater or mandolin (which is what I used before I got my processor).

  • Grate or shred all the veg into a bowl

It gets messy!

  • Mix in Quark mayonaise vinegar and mustard powder
  • Stir well

Refrigerate covered until ready to eat, if you can make this in the morning for use at dinner time the flavour have a change to develop and its lush, but still yummy if you cant wait and need to scoff it asap!

Serve with anything you like, here it is with my rainbow rice and chicken kiev

Monday, 4 January 2016

Lazy Exercises To Lose Weight

You may remember I shared my #MummyMakeover with you all in 2015 and I'll be honest when I'm good, I do really well. In fact this year I lost 21 lb with Slimming World . Sadly 2 weeks in Cyprus in October, not getting back on track and a fantastic diet break for Christmas mean that I've gained back some (well 11) of those and so I start this year only 10 lb lighter than last.

Here is the truth, I eat lots of chocolate when I'm not being 'good' and we love a takeaway. none of these things are going to move the pounds, what I'd like is someone to wave a magic wand and make me a size 12 again. Maybe if I could get fit just thinking about exercise?

I had a conversation with a personal trainer recently who has been showing me some work outs (you can watch them on you tube) and I asked if we could work together, I wanted to make video clips of easy (I mean lazy) exercises you could do while you were getting on with other things, like squats while you clean your teeth, a plank in the Corrie break, you get my drift. Shirley nodded and agreed sure we can do that. Then she started my plan and said here's the thing mate, doing two minutes of squats while you brush you teeth won't be that effective so we are gonna try this.... and then she almost killed me! But it was over in about 15 minutes and while my legs were wobbly and my head was a red as a beet, I felt better, Hell I felt good, more motivated for work and keener to do the housework, But I will be honest with you, I'm lazy! I can think of a million reasons not to exercise yet I know I will always feel better afterwards. 

That's why Shirley is right, and also the best trainer I could ask for. There is no such thing as Easy or Lazy exercises, but there are quick routines that can make a difference and you can do them with your kids in tow, as you will see in our first (badly shot, awful to watch) video. You can do them while dinner is cooking or while you have a spare 20 minutes!

Shirley owns Trimmed Toned and Toddlers, a local class where parents and carers can take their little people for a play while Shirley hosts the exercise class, she also offers 1-2-1 training which has been awesome for me, but the great thing is she is a mum to 3 she has been where I am, feeling unfit and wanting to make a change but fighting an inner battle with the voices who offer those million excuses. So I'm putting my faith in her, I shall follow her instructions and have faith, because I'll be honest, she looks ace!

So we are going to show you me (eek) doing short sharp exercises timed so that you can follow along, I'll be honest now, the early videos are a bit rubbish but you can hear the timings and you can follow the exercises, heck you can even make yourself feel better that you cant possibly be as bad as me at them!

Here goes ....

We will be making more videos and I will post footage of Shirley showing and explaining the exercises as well  so stay tuned to my YouTube channel for all the new workouts

So my goal for this year is a steady 2lb a week loss, I will post lots of recipes and will keep you all updated, I'd love to hear if you tried the exercises, what you thought of them.

I Have Become A Secret Agent

Here at Monkeyfeet HQ we have received a very special parcel from character options but the contents are so top secret I'm not allowed to reveal them until 11th of January

I won't lie t you my friends its taking most of my will power, which is of course why Im eating chocolate while I type! What? I only have enough will power for one thing at a time!

I can give you some clues though....


Sunday, 3 January 2016

Goals for 2016

I know I know, everyone is at it, posting about what they will do in 2016 well I'm going to join in! I figure if I write it here it makes it more real, so here are my goals for 2016.....

Blog -

  • I plan to have a little re brand 
  • I'm going to learn more about web design so I can be more independent and move toward more of a magazine style site. 
  • I'd like to increase my Facebook following to 3000 this year and my Twitter to 5000. 
  • I'm tentatively moving into vlogging and I'd love if I could get to 500 subscribers on YouTube. 
  • I shall be attending my fist blogging conference (and leaving the children with Dad for the first time ever!)
  • I'm going to post AT LEAST 1 Travel, 1 Recipe and 1 parenting post every week 
  • Earn twice as much as I do now from my writing
  • Meet more local bloggers


This year I have picked up a reasonable income from writing web content for others and offering assistance with social strategy so I would like to build upon this more and make that little income a big one!


  • To do even more with the kids, I love spending time with my little people and they are growing so fast I just want to catch every moment that I can!
  • Spend more time with family
  • See my pals as much as possible 
  • I'm going to run, a bit more every week
  • I'm going to exercise, more than I do now
  • I'm going to grow more veg
  • I will fit into my wedding dress again on our 10th anniversay in July
  • I will reclaim my glam (I have pledge this before and I struggle not to roll into the mummy uniform and ignore the mirror!)
  • I will take better care of me by taking care of my skin, drinking more water, learning to have 5 minutes detachment and restoration, 

  • I will purchase a 10 inch Kindle Fire
  • I will own a new all singing all dancing DSLR camera
  • I will treat my husband to something spectacular for our anniversay!

But the biggest thing this year will be planning a 6 moth trip to INDIA!!!! Yep you read that right, if all goes well and funding can be secured, my clever clever man will be going to India to research game changing building methods over there, and team Monkeyfeet will be right there with him!

Friday, 1 January 2016


A huge 2016 welcome to #LoveNorthEast. I couldn't be more excited to announce that Sam from North East Family Fun has asked me to co-host #LoveNorthEast. This is very big news for me as I begin to focus part of my blogging week on our fabulous North East as part of my 2016 goals (you can read about them soon). I'm very excited to read all of your wonderful posts.

#LoveNorthEast Twitter Chat
We will be  launching a #LoveNorthEast Twitter Chat which will be on the first Wednesday of every month from 8-9pm. Sam  will host the first chat (so make sure you are following @NEFamilyFun  and @Monkeyfeettweet) on Wednesday 6th January and our topic will be '2016'. we would love lots of local bloggers, businesses and readers to join in so hope to see you there.

#LoveNorthEast Linky Rules

1 - Add our badge (copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your blog post at the bottom. If you are confused - just ask and we'll do our best to help). Alternatively, you can add a text link to this post or to Sam's #LoveNorthEast post at the bottom of you blog post.

2 - Comment on both host posts and a couple more in the linky. It is GOOD to share the love!

3 - You can link up one post every month. Posts must be written by a NE blogger or be based in the NE. Business posts are also welcome and posts can be old or new.

Bloggers that don't play by the rules will have their posts removed. Karen and I put a lot of work into promoting NE bloggers and blogs and it only takes 2 minutes to follow the above steps and keep us happy

In return we will:-

1 - Both comment on every post that takes part.

2 - Share our favourite posts across our own social media (combined 20k+ followers).

3 - Both choose our favourite blog to showcase in next month's post.

Join #LoveNorthEast now

North East Family Fun
#LoveNorthEast will open on 1st of each month for 10 days. Grab our badge and then add your link to the tool below.