Blogging

My Britmums Live Experience

Sunday, June 28, 2015


I have been home from Britmums a whole week now and wanted to talk about my experience of Britmums. This year was a lot different than others, I went to Britmums Live confident with my blog and not looking specifically to learn any new blogging skills, but to spend time with other blogger's and to spend time alone without the kids and decide on whether or not I am happy with the direction I am going with my blog. Basically I went to enjoy myself with no huge expectations with finding some kind of inspiration being my only hope for the weekend.

10 months

Elsie at 10 months

Saturday, June 27, 2015



Elsie is now 10 months. I am just about coming to terms with the fact she is no longer a baby. She is now an army crawling, noisy, cheeky wannabe toddler. She is trying to copy everything her brother and sister do. She crawls around putting everything in sight in her mouth, climbing all over Gracie and Zach and shouting at everyone she see's. 

competitions

Review & Competition: Upbeat Protein Drinks

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Today I have a great competition prize up for grabs from Upbeat. Upbeat is a delicious dairy protein drink. With half the sugar of most fruit smoothies it is high in protein and low in fat with no more than 150 calories in each bottle. It comes in four different flavours; Strawberry, Blueberry & Raspberry, Mango & Passionfruit and Chocolate & Orange.

Great for those dieting or enjoying a healthy eating lifestyle who fancy a smoothie/shake without the high sugar content. A guilt free treat that slowly releases energy, my favourite flavour out of the four was definitely Blueberry & Raspberry with Strawberry close behind whereas Gracie loved the new Chocolate Orange flavour which I wasn't so keen on. They are very smooth tasting more like a fruity milkshake than a smoothie. It is a great way to help increase protein in your diet especially for fussy eaters. 


Upbeat is currently available to buy in the chilled aisle in Tesco and will hopefully be available in more stores soon!


Upbeat kindly sent me the goodies above (vouchers for the drinks so I could choose my own flavours) and they want to give a selection of goodies to one of you lucky readers too! To enter all you need to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below. Don't forget if you are commenting using the anonymous selection to add your name with your comment so I know it is you!

Terms & Conditions

Open to UK only. The competition will end 18/07/2015 at 12am. All entrants must complete the mandatory entry on the rafflecopter form. Those who don't will have all entries removed. The blog owner will choose the winner through the rafflecopter form (which uses random.org) The winner will be notified by email and displayed on the widget. One winner will receive a  selection of Upbeat goodies (may vary slightly from items pictured). No alternative prize will be offered.  Allow up to 28 days for delivery.


Disclaimer
I received the items featured free of charge for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

5:2

Weigh In Week 11

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This week has been an eye opener for me. I was right last week it was almost my time of the month which is why I was bloated and put on weight despite eating so well. Being a female really does suck sometimes! Anyway, for the past 3/4 weeks I have yo-yo'd gaining and losing the same 3lb and it has been driving me crazy. Enough is enough. 

I have been too embarrassed to talk about how much I actually weigh choosing to only talk loss/gain and not reveal my actual weight. In reality I know that weight doesn't matter, it is how you feel in yourself and I think I need to remember this more often. The problem is I am not happy with the way I look and the way I feel and so I need to be honest with myself and get on with it. So from today I am starting afresh with my attitude to my weight loss. I have come to the realisation that talking about exercise also isn't good enough. 

So this morning I did my usual weekly weigh in and was pleased to see I had lost 3lbs. This takes me back to the lowest I have been since starting my healthy living earlier this year. I am currently at 12 stone and 8lbs and after weighing myself this morning, I had a small bowl of porridge and started day 1 of the 30 day shred before an afternoon of walking and running around the park with the kids. 

I am ready to start working out regularly and determined to smash past 12 stone 8lb and carry on towards my goal of 10 stone.


Weight Lost: 3lbs
Total loss: 15lbs

Current Weight: 12 Stone 8lbs

2 Stone 8lbs to go!

lactofree

Lactofree #sayyestodairy

Monday, June 22, 2015


I have two children with allergies to dairy, there seems to have been a huge rise in the amount of people who have developed allergies and intolerance to dairy products. Some people recognise the signs and self diagnose avoiding all dairy products in an effort to keep the nasty side effects at bay. What they don't realise is many of these people may just have an intolerance of lactose, the natural sugar found in milk which can cause digestive problems. Lactofree make it possible for people with lactose intolerance to get the delicious taste of real dairy minus the lactose and as it is made from real cows milk, it comes with all the nutritional benefits.

I was sent a hamper of products including the new chocolate flavour lactofree milk to experiment with and make some home made milkshakes.


My first attempt wasn't great. I thought that a chocolate milkshake with raspberries and almond flakes would be lovely, I whizzed it up in my Breville Blend-Active along with some chocolate chips for added chocolate flavour ( I am not lactose intolerant which is why I added the chocolate chips, there are lactose free chocolates available to substitute). When it was ready I added it into my cute jam jar glass with some marshmallows on top to dress it up a little. The smell was really overpowering and the raspberries gave it a bitter after-taste in fact I had a few sips and couldn't drink any more.

I did think it was unfair to judge the lactofree chocolate dairy drink after one bad milkshake experience though and wanted to give it another chance. This time I decided to source my own ingredients to make an indulgent chocolate milkshake. 


This time around, I decided to make my own Malteasers thick shake. As soon as I thought of the idea I was excited to try it. Now I was going to use our usual dairy free ice cream but had some Carte Dor to use up and I simply popped two big scoops of ice cream in the Breville Active Blend along with about quarter of a carton of chocolate lactofree and around 18 Malteasers. It took under a minute to blend perfectly. It looked and smelled amazing and tasted even better than I imagined! 


I was so impressed that I would definitely make the Malteaser shake again. It would be perfect for a family movie night! I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the chocolate lactofree is. It is so creamy and tastes just like your average chocolate flavoured milk. I also used dairy products (ice cream, malteasers) but you can use your imagination and find lactose free ingredients if creating your own completely lactofree shake.

If you think you may be lactose intolerant, lactofree have a short quiz that may help on their website along with lots of advice on symptoms so would definitely be worth a read.

Disclaimer
I was sent a carton of lactofree along with a few ingredients for the purpose of this post. All views are my own.

baby clothes

My Vintage Finds #1

Friday, June 19, 2015


We have recently had a small area of our city revamped and turned into the perfect spot for small businesses to open up, a creative village for independent shopping, music and arts. It is a lovely place to visit and I have had regular lunch dates there with my little man. A few days ago I took all the kids there for some lunch and a spot of shopping when I came across a vintage clothing shop. The lady that owns the shop had found some old 80's clothing, many still with tags. I picked up a few pieces and just had to show off what I found.

5:2

Weigh In Week 10

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Last week I decided to go back to the 5:2 diet. I figured it is enjoyable for me, I see results and feel better about myself without the restrictions of your average low calorie diet. I have invested in a Breville Blend Active in the hopes of making myself some low calorie green juices and smoothies to have healthier options on my fast days and making the most of my calorie allowance.

 I have struggled a bit more on my fast days this week but I think I had gotten so used to eating large amounts of food in the days after I finished my Slimfast diet (the dreaded indulgence after being strict for so long) . It is also almost my time of the month so my hormones are kicking in and begging for chocolate which is not an easy time. In fact the past two days I feel bloated and rubbish so I am quite certain that is why this week I have managed to gain 1lb! 


I am actually really disappointed this week. It is always disappointing when you try hard and don't lose, let alone gain weight. I definitely feel it is probably more I am bloated than anything else! I was really hoping to have lost a good amount by this weekend so I could go to Britmums Live feeling good about myself. I guess the disappointment is helping me with my determination though. Today has been my 2nd fast day this week and I have been very disciplined. As part of the 5:2 diet they do recommend you weigh the day after your 2nd fast though so may jump on the scales tomorrow and see if I can make myself feel better about the weekend!


Fingers crossed for a better week next week!

Weight Lost: +1lb 

Total loss: - 14lbs

2 Stone 9lbs to go!

Gracie's First Sports Day

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Last week Gracie had her first ever sports day. This is something I have looked forward to since before I ever had kids. I have always said I want to be the Mum that never misses a sports day or school play. It is such an exciting part of school life for kids especially when they do it for the first time. In fact we have been hearing about the practising for weeks now and being asked how long it is until sports day.

review

Review: Meadow Kids Pink Mini Stencils

Monday, June 15, 2015


Gracie was recently sent a mini stencil kit from Meadow Kids. The kit contained 1 booklet of mini stencils, 5 colouring pencils, 6 cards and envelopes, 1 pencil sharpener and 1 design booklet. The booklet has 8 different plastic pages of mini stencils with different themes from horses to fairies to alphabet letters. It all comes in a cute box with little drawers which hold the contents neatly. 

Craft Fun With Baker Ross

Saturday, June 13, 2015

We were recently sent a box of mixed craft supplies from Baker Ross and I have to say the last few weeks they have been a god send. With all three children suffering with Chicken Pox this past month, we have spent a lot of time indoors and the kids have been so incredibly bored! 



The first activity we did was decorating boat money boxes. The ceramic boats came in a box of four (£4.96) and we used the pottery pens? to draw on our fun designs. This was an activity that took an hour or so with Gracie carefully drawing and decorating one for her and one for Zach who was asleep. It was a nice, easy and mess free activity that I could trust Gracie to do unattended. Zach also did one later on when he woke up but at 2 he was very supervised to avoid having my whole house 'decorated'.  

Summer Style*

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Style


Summer Style by carlymarkham featuring a summer outfit

Between June and July I have many events to attend and so I have been putting together some outfit ideas. I am loving pastel colours at the moment. This outfit, I have put together as it is casual yet pretty. I love the grey lightweight jacket which could be coordinated with almost anything. A camisole is always a good idea. With the typical British summer it is impossible to tell what the weather will be like, a camisole is ideal as it can be worn with a jacket when cold but is perfect alone when it really heats up. I love a good pair of well fitted jeans for any occasion but much prefer a lighter denim in the summer months. 

I like to match accessories and pink is one of my favourite colours at the moment. I chose wedge shoes as I love a bit of extra height at events and thought these pink wedges were gorgeous. A satchel is great for storing all your essentials, purse, phone, notepads, business cards etc. they are so roomy! The watch is just really pretty and top of my wishlist! I am loving this style of bracelets with them all mixed and matched. I have some similar in bright festival style colours but need me some of these! Last but not least I have become a huge fan of floppy hats this year and the black is simple and stylish. 

I would wear this outfit to one of my upcoming blog events or even for coffee with friends. It would be adaptable for many occassions!

*This post contains a sponsored link


health

Weigh-in Week 9

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


So Friday saw the end of my two week Slimfast challenge. After two weeks I managed to lose an amazing 6lbs! Not only that but I felt so much better in myself and I am beginning to notice all my clothes are getting baggier which is definitely a good thing! So how did it work? 

Each day for 14 days I started my day with a Slimfast shake, either ready made or using a tin of powdered milk. I really enjoyed the shakes, with strawberry and banana flavours being my favourites. For lunch each day I had a meal bar, there are three different flavours, chocolate crunch, chocolate peanut and summer berry. I really enjoyed all three flavours and it was nice to be able to switch each day depending on what mood I was in. For dinner each evening I found it really easy to stick to 600 calories. I usually had some kind of fresh meat with either mixed salad or vegetables and sometimes a handful of potatoes/chips. I was also allowed three snacks a day, some days I had one mid afternoon and two in the evening and others I managed to stick to just the two in the evening.

Some days I found easier than others, there were times when my will power was seriously tested. I really enjoyed the Slimfast challenge and although I don't think I could cope with it long term, I will definitely do it again every now and then when I need to lose a few extra lbs or if I have an occasion coming up. 

As for this past week, since the end of the challenge, I have been bad really! I had an engagement party Saturday and my first child free night out in years. I drank a few too many glasses of wine and ate way too much Sunday to make me feel human again. 

After all that, I have weighed in this morning and I have somehow maintained! I was expecting to have gained 1 or 2, especially after having a sneaky look at the scales yesterday to see the damage caused but being good yesterday obviously helped!

Weight Lost- 0 lb
Total Loss- 15 lb

2 Stone 8 lbs to go... 

baby books

Review: Parragon Books 'Peek-a-Boo Moon'

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Last month we were sent another baby book from the Parragon Books Little Learners range. 'Peek-a-Boo Moon' is a lovely little book containing peek-a-boo holes with clues as to who you will see getting ready for bed on the next page. It is a fun interactive book to read with your baby or toddler, asking them who is in the peek-a-boo hole and what they are doing in each picture, is a fun way to get them involved at story time.

cornwall

Cornwall: St Michaels Mount

Monday, June 08, 2015


We went to Cornwall a few weeks back staying at Haven Riviere Sands and decided to go on a few nice day trips. I had a couple of people staying there too ask what places I would recommend to visit after finding my pictures on Twitter and Instagram so decided to share a few.

St Michaels Mount sits in Mount's Bay, separated by the sea from the town of Marizion. At certain times of day when the tide is out you can cross over on foot, with boats available to ferry you across when the tide is in and the Mount is surrounded by Sea. St Michaels Mount is a National Trust property and dates back to the 12th Century.

Coombe Abbey country park

Going Outdoors With Chicken Pox

Sunday, June 07, 2015


The last few weeks we have been tormented by the dreaded chicken pox! First it was Gracie, who missed a whole week of school then carried it through half term. We were so happy when it disappeared with no signs of affecting Zach and Elsie. WIN. Until this week, just as we had packed Gracie back off to school and Summer seems to have finally arrived, it struck! Both Zach and Elsie woke up covered head to toe in blisters one morning this week. Noooo!
Luckily, it isn't the plague and after a few days of hiding indoors with bored children bursting with energy, enough was enough. We decided we needed to get out, anywhere. 

competitions

Competition: Tommee Tippee

Saturday, June 06, 2015




Whilst at The Baby Show I got to see the brand new range of spill-free cups that have launched recently. With three different stages; Weaning 4m+, Training 7m+ and Active 12m+ and a choice between types of lids to suit your child. Whether your child prefers sippee cup or a straw cup you can pick or choose which you prefer and get the benefit of the non spill valve in all of them. 

family photos

Father's Day Gifts from Truprint #TruprintDads

Friday, June 05, 2015

I love giving personalised gifts especially for family members. There are so many different products you can make these days using your own photos, creating extra special gifts for your loved ones. With Father's Day coming up on the 21st June I have been putting together some extra special gifts for both Andy and my Dad. 

Gifts for Dad


I chose a few different items for Andy from the kids as they love giving him gifts and some will obviously be for use by all of us. The first thing I chose was a medium photo book (£9.99). We have done a lot of exciting things so far this year and I have taken many lovely family pictures so I chose some of our favourites and popped them in the book as memories for him to cherish.

Blogging conference

I'm Going To BritMums Live! 2015

Thursday, June 04, 2015


In less than 3 weeks I will be heading back to London for Britmums Live! 2015.This will be my third year attending Britmums and this year see's me being sponsored by a fab company that I am really excited to be working with!  As Koodi's new Blogger of the Year I will be working closely alongside them for the following year to bring you the latest news, reviews and competitions from their exciting range of  products. Look out for the first post very soon!

I am so excited to be going back again this year and meeting lots of new people. Last year I wrote this post about my experience at Britmums and all I can say now was it was a mix of emotions, thanks to pregnancy hormones I was a bit all over the place, but overall it was once again an amazing chance to spend time with some of the best people I have ever met and time to liaise with some of my favourite brands who were attending.

This year I will be glad to be able to have a few glasses of Wine and sleep in a bed alone with no one to disturb me! *Bliss*. 




Name: Carly Markham

Blog: www.mummyandthechunks.com

Twitter ID: @CarlyMarkham1

Height: 5'' 7 ish

Hair: Brown with Blonde Ombre 

Eyes: Blue

Is this your first blogging conference? 

No I have been to a few different ones now.

Are you attending both days? Yes


What are you most looking forward to at Britmums Live 2015? 


Catching up with friends and having a weekend to be 'me'

What are you wearing? 

Honestly no idea yet. I will have a shop around H&M shortly to find something nice but probably a dress or skirt.

What do you hope to gain from Britmums Live 2015?

I am hoping to discover what direction I want to go with my blog. I always come home motivated and with a sense of direction and I have so many plans for the future already!

Do you have any tips to pass onto others who may not have been before?

Whether it is your first time or you have been many times it is ok to feel nervous or anxious! We are used to hiding behind the safety of our keyboards so can feel like a rabbit caught in headlights when it comes to a huge conference full of hundreds of other bloggers. I would suggest if you are feeling like you don't know anyone and are scared to approach groups, look for someone alone and looking nervous (there will be plenty I am sure) and you will find you are definitely not alone and could well end up with a friend for life!


I hope to see you all there! 

health

Week Eight Weigh In: Week 2 of #SlimfastChallenge

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

This week has seen me starting the second week of the #Slimfastchallenge. The first week was great and saw me lose 4lbs! This week I have found it slightly more difficult, I have felt much hungrier than usual and have been tempted many times to have a cheeky extra snack but have managed to resist. In fact, I went to a family charity event on Saturday which included free burgers and instead I took along my Slimfast meal bar and felt very proud of my dedication. I am getting closer and closer to the end of the challenge and I am really looking forward to seeing my total loss come Friday.


I do like to stick to my Wednesday weigh in though so have weighed myself first thing this morning and have managed to lose 2lb this week. I am really happy with this weeks loss and I have loved taking part in the Slimfast Challenge. I don't think I could do it permanently as I really struggle with restricted diets and have a tendency to crash and binge if I do them for too long. I am definitely thinking of doing the challenge for 2 weeks at a time every now and then to drop a few lbs. What I love about the Slimfast diet is how good it tastes, I don't feel like I have to force myself to eat any of it and the 600 calorie evening meal can be really big if you are careful.

I haven't done any exercise this week except walking. I definitely need to start the 30 Day Shred again to start toning up! Friday I will weigh again to mark the end of the Slimfast Challenge and see what my overall loss will have been but 6lbs in less than two weeks is more than I could have hoped for. Also next week I will check my measurements again and see if I have lost any more inches.

Weight Lost- 2 lb
Total Loss- 15 lb

2 Stone 8 lbs to go... 

Apricot

Review: Apricot Clothing

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Now that I am finally loosing my baby weight, I am attempting to revamp my wardrobe. With Summer coming up, I wanted some comfortable yet stylish outfits so I can start to feel better about myself. Especially when it comes to the school runs! I was recently asked to choose some items of clothing from Apricot to review. I had a limit of £30 and this is what I chose:


I decided to go for a simple jacket in a neutral colour, easy to combine with lots of different outfits. This Stone Oversized Jacquard Print Blazer was just £7 in the sale! It is a gorgeous jacket, perfect for Summer. The material is emblazoned with small appliqué floral patterns which adds that extra bit of detail.

I also chose these Vintage Rose Print Joggers which are gorgeous! The photo's just don't do them justice to how great they are in real life. I absolutely love the pattern and they go so well with the blazer. They are really comfortable and a really flattering fit. These were just £22 which is a fab price! 

I teamed them with a plain black vest from Next to ensure I didn't draw too much attention away from the trousers.


I have a new found love for Apricot now and their amazing prices. You can see for yourselves at www.apricotonline.co.uk

Disclaimer
I was sent the items featured free of charge in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

Family Days Out

Roskilly's Farm

Monday, June 01, 2015


Roskilly's dairy farm is a fantastic free day out in Cornwall. It is also home to some of the tastiest ice cream I have ever tasted! We went last year after a recommendation from a friend and didn't hesitate in returning whilst on our family holiday in Cornwall this year. 

Instagram