The Perfect Xmas Nibbles With Pop Chips

It’s official. It’s Christmas. And I actually love nothing more than settling down on the sofa, with a good film or classic sitcom and nibbling on some great snacks. From Chocolate Oranges to a whole tub of peanuts I WILL sniff that food out and eat the lot! Factor in my pregnancy and this hunt for food just gets more hardcore!

But… there are only so many pounds that I am allowed to put on (and £’s to spend!) at Christmas time. I can’t be the only woman that feels soooo guilty about how much she has chowed through over the festive period. But… there is a saviour! Popchips!

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Popchips are the wonderful popped crisps (We say crisps, they say chips) that are a much healthier alternative to what you may usually snack on- they are less than half the fat of fried potato crisps.

The geniuses at Popchips select the finest potatoes and create a masterpiece! They arn’t fried or baked but ‘popped’ in a unique way, then seasoned with all-natural ingredients. A bag of Popchips are less than 100 calories per pack (actually my favourite flavour – sour cream and onion- are just 94 calories) and all packs contain no cholesterol and 0g of trans fats…. now that I like!! Guilt free Christmas snacking!

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I tasted (OK, devoured) Sour Cream and Onion, Salt & Pepper, Barbeque, Salt and Vinegar and Original flavours, and all were as crisp and crunchy as each other. They weren’t greasy like your typical crisp, but their flavour was intense. Totally perfect, guilt free, crispy, flavoursome, round crisps, sorry chips, of awesome! I might be addicted.

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Popchips are widely available all over the UK in stores and online.

Go Home Matalan, You’re Drunk

Occasionally you see something on some packaging that makes you giggle.
Sometimes you see a whole wrapper of mistakes that makes you actually question reality.

First of all. It’s not 1 pair of tights. Oh no, it’s 2 pair.
Not pairs. Because that would be fruit, right?!

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These tights don’t cost you £4.50, but £4.5. I know that’s technically the same thing… But that extra 0 gives me comfort. This just feels wrong.

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Finally (I may be nit picking here) but I’ve never seen a 12-23 months clothing size. Standard is 12-24. Trying to be edgy are we, Matalan?

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Where to buy Wagner Suit X Factor 2014

Snazzy suit Wagner…

If you were wondering where to buy the suit that Wagner wore tonight on the final of X factor 2014, you can get it here on PresentsForMen.co.uk.

Here’s Simon’s tweet showing the suit in all its glory:

Might buy my husband one for Christmas this year. I’m sure there is still time! Head over to Presents For Men and order your sexy suit today ;) (Bongos not included)

A Tiger Earns Her Stripes

Now that I am brewing our 3rd baby, I know all too well about the tale of stretch marks. The stretch marks that I have developed are what I would consider actually quite bad stretch marks. There are lots of them, very thick and some even split so deep. I gained most of them when I was pregnant with Willow, And I remember my first one so very clearly. It happened when I was 23 weeks pregnant and I was looking at my bump in the mirror, I noticed a little red line about 2 inches long down to my belly button, cutting right through my navel piercing. Soon, within a few more weeks they seemed to be everywhere- Backs of knees, my lower back, and even my bum! Luckily I avoided any on my boobs! Phew!

38+1, The day I was induced with Willow- 8/3/12

38+1, The day I was induced with Willow- 8/3/12

After Willow was born I felt quite low about my tummy and how it looked, I never have had a flat belly but it was most certainly now out of the question that I would be buying a bikini any time soon! Fast forwards some time and along came Olive. My stretch marks did not dramatically change between babies, but I did gain a few extra stripes as I grew bigger (much bigger than I ever was with Willow) and I popped out so rapidly my skin once again became itchy with the stretch marks. You see, stretch marks develop when our Collagen and fibres struggle to keep up with the rapid stretching and this results in the stretch marks. I thought I should give you some science there ;)

I stated to appreciate my tummy. I learnt that a tiger does have to earn  her stripes. These deep marks were a trophy of my babies, they told a story! They couldn’t have looked toooo bad as Jay didn’t seem to mind- but I still didn’t ever put that bikini back on.

2 days after Willow was born, I took this picture of my stretch marks

2 days after Willow was born, I took this picture of my stretch marks

I now once again find myself pregnant in the mid winter. At 28 weeks pregnant I find that my bump gets faced with the harsh cold! I am trying really hard this time round to prevent getting any more stretch marks and sore skin created by the cold! So along with moisturising my face (which is also ridiculously dry at this time of year), I also moisturise the bump too. Jay loves to join in with this routine, using this special time as a way to bond with his newest baby girl. Bepanthen are well known for their nappy rash cream, but the amazing folk from the team now bring us a silky soft stretch mark cream too.

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Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream is just rubbed into the skin (anywhere that you are prone to stretch marks) twice daily to help the skin keep its elasticity. The cream is so soft and mess free to use, and is easily dispensed from the bottle leaving no drips anywhere.

Look! No mess!

Look! No mess!

The stretch mark cream rubs into the skin very easily, it doesn’t feel greasy on my skin and I am not left feeling sticky for an eternity, unlike some other moisturisers do. It has a really pleasant smell too, which is handy because as a pregnant lady with a nose like a blood hound I am so sensitive to strong smells. You also don’t need much cream to cover a large area of skin because the cream spreads and rubs in so well.

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The bottle also uses a unique ‘Bag-In-Bottle’ design, where the pump action creates a vacuum inside of the bottle squeezing the bag inside, meaning that every last drop of the product is used with no waste.

Bepanthen once again delivers another well made product to add to their list of well trusted family favourites. Bepanthen Stretch Mark cream can be found in Boots and Tesco for the RRP £24.99.

 

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Where Will We Renew Our Vows?

When we got married just 2 years ago, it was in the quiet and beautiful village church where I grew up. It was so busy that every seat was taken, and people were standing anywhere they could. It was beyond what we expected! We then had a small party in the school hall (actually, it wasn’t small, we just didn’t quite imagine how many friends would turn up that I didn’t even manage to eat a slice of my own cake!), we then headed to the pub for a knees up with our mates’ bands playing.

Even though it was absolutely amazing and cost us next to nothing, and we had the best time ever (even if we didn’t have a first dance!) it still felt very rushed and impersonal.  I didn’t even get to speak to my new husband until we collapsed into our bridal suite that evening.So, We have recently decided to renew our vows. Yup, so soon!

We havn’t made it official yet, as we are kinda just throwing a few ideas around to get a feel for what we are going to do to make the day special. A few things that we have decided on are: It needs to be personal. The less of us the better. It needs to be about US as a couple. It needs to be set in an idyllic space and it needs to be unrushed and quiet.

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What better way to get the ball rolling and to create some ideas than by visiting a special venue and relaxing together on our actual wedding anniversary?! We got rid of the kids for the night, and took a drive up to the North Yorkshire Moors to visit one of Yorkshires most beautiful and finest hideaways- Ox Pasture Hall Hotel.

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We arrived at 6 pm, in the thickest fog imaginable (scariest drive ever!) and were shown to our luxury suite by the lovely welcoming gentleman on reception. As we walked through the building and courtyard to our suite, we were totally taken aback with the hotels beauty and cosiness. A real, stunning country property that oozed true Yorkshire character.

Once we were in our suite and the door was shut, James looked at me and we both ‘squeeked’…. i think it was a squeek. It was most certainly a small high pitched noise of excitement. The suite was huge! Our suite had a super squishy and luxurious kind size bed with TV and plenty or storage space.

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The lounge was equally as glorious with a beautiful sofa, tea and coffee making facilities,  refreshments, a safe, ironing facilities, CD player and another big telly! It all felt so big and spacious with wonderful high ceilings and massive windows overlooking some of the most stunning views of the North Yorkshire Moors.

 

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We had a huge bathroom with possibly one of the most stunning decors I have ever seen! The bath was massive, his and hers sinks all with waterfall taps and a gorgeous walk in shower.

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Once we had unpacked, we got changed and booked a dinner reservation for 7pm in the hotels Courtyard Restaurant. The food served in the restaurant has a reputation for being exceptional and is widely regarded as being one of the best dining spaces in the Scarborough area.

While we waited for our table to be prepared we sat in the lounge with a drink. A glass of red wine for Jay, and a cola for myself. The lounge was so warm and cozy with a woodburner lit and soft leather sofas to wait on. The atmosphere was romantic and inviting, absolutely perfect for our anniversary evening.

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We were called down for dinner and welcomed into a softly lit restaurant, our waiter presented us with an appetizer to tickle our tastebuds as we made a decision on what we were to order. I chose a salmon dish and Jay went for the pork belly as our mains. The ingredients that the restaurant use are locally sourced and a wide range of dishes to choose from the menus.  We were not waiting long before our dinner wassuperbly presented to us, and it certainly tasted as amazing as it looked. After all, Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is the only restaurant in the Scarborough area to be awarded with 2-rosettes for its culinary excellence.

Our puddings too, were just stunning and we couldn’t get enough! I think if I had any more room left for food, I could have easily eaten the whole meal again, it was so delightful.

 

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After our stunning meal, we headed back to our suite for a hot relaxing bubble bath. Put on our robes, had a nice cup of Yorkshire tea and relaxed with the TV on… how Rock N’ Roll ;)

In the Morning, we opened our curtains for the best surprise ever! As we arrived the night before in the pitch black dark, and heavy fog we had no idea what was on the other side of our suite curtains. To draw back the curtains the next day to find a beautiful, breathtaking view of the moors was just spectacular. That was a true highlight for us.

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We got ourselves dressed and headed down for breakfast. We chose some fresh fruit to wake us up, and a hot pot of coffee and then we ordered the biggest and most perfectly cooked Yorkshire breakfast. The best way to set up the day!

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Now, we can’t forget why we were there; To look at a possible wedding venue and get some ideas rolling around in our heads.

Weddings At Ox Pasture Hall

Ox Pasture Hall really is one of the prettiest settings for a wedding I think I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. A truly beautiful, picturesque and historic back drop for any special day. Chatting to one of the amazing staff members about wedding choices, we were completely blown away. Ox Pasture Hall can tailor your ideas to suit you, all set amongst 17 acres of secluded ground, right in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

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We were pleased to hear that we can get married outdoors in the stunning green grounds, or even around the beautiful fountain in the courtyard. The idea of renewing our vows outside was something that we hadn’t thought of before, but was now a definite considertaion!

oxpastureCourtyard1Ox Pasture Hall can work in a hundred different ways to make your special day just perfect, and that is not just including the tough indoor/outdoor venue decision! With a stunning wedding meal menu to choose from, huge function room with bar amazing photographers to choose from, seasonal and themed weddings. The venue is also licensed for civil weddings and partnership ceremonies. So many different options to make that day a real fairy tale!

 

This venue will stay in my heart for a long long time. Yorkshire will always feel very special to me, with a few family members being born and bred on that side of the woods so to speak. I have always found the views in Yorkshire absolutely breath taking and will always remain one of my favourite places to stay.

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