Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Beauty Tuesday - Therapist Training

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might already have seen me mention (and I have a feeling I've mentioned it here somewhere within a post before as well!) that I'm currently doing some training in different beauty therapies.

As I said a while back in this post - my son has Duchenne and as he gets older I will need to be around more for hospital appointments and probably one day to actually care for him. I currently work as a Legal Executive as a small family law firm. Unfortunately that's not going to work very well alongside frequent hospital appointments or providing home care for my son. Generally I'll need to be home at lot during the day Monday to Friday and that is really the time when I would need to be the office.

So I made the decision a while ago to look into other career options. I settled on beauty therapy because I enjoy that sort of thing anyway, its not too expensive to do the training, and it would work well around my son - I can fit my clients in around hospital visits or do mainly evening and weekends when my husband is home.

Unfortunately I've received a fair bit of stick from family and friends for my choice - most seem to have the opinion that I'm "too intelligent" for this - personally I find that a bit insulting to all the beauty therapists out there, but it does seem to be the sterotype in people's heads that beauty therapists are young bimbos (they're not, FYI). To be honest its left me pretty upset as its not  been an easy decision to make and a bit of support would have been nice, especially considering I'm doing this for the benefit of my family. We simply can't afford for me not to work either.

Anyway, all their negativity aside, I'm excited and I'm enjoying it. I got my NVQ in Indian Head Massage back in July, I'm currently doing an NVQ in Make Up (hoping to do bridal make up particularly), and tonight I'm off to do a certificate in Gel Polish application. When my Make Up course ends, a fortnight later I start a course in Facials. So I'm pretty busy!

In the long run I'd like to do a proper 'full' make up artist course - working on photography make up, special effects and all sorts. I'm not sure, given my circumstances, where I'd go from there with it but I'd love to give it a go. I'm struggling though to find courses that are not full-time. I need an evening or weekend course really as I can't set aside 5 - 12 weeks Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. So I'm hoping the collective knowledge of my readers will help me out - I'm based in the South East and would appreciate if anyone has any recommendations?!

Have you retrained or changed career? If so, why and are you glad you took the leap?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Recipe Review Monday - Family Favourite, Grandma's BBQ Chicken

I'm going to do a couple of little mini-series on Recipe Review Monday - they'll run alongside each other so some weeks will be Family Favourites and other weeks will be 30 Minute Dinners. I'll probably throw some random recipe reviews in the mix as well but if Family Favourites and 30 Minute Dinners appeal to you, look out for my Recipe Review Monday posts for the next few weeks.

This particular recipe is one that's been passed on to me by my husband's Grandma (hence the name!). She's apparently been cooking it for years and its still much requested when we all go round their house for dinner. It's not the quickest dinner in the world and its not the prettiest to look at but I promise you, it is absolutely delicious.

I believe it originally came from an old Delia Smith special edition recipe book that was produced for Red Nose Day but I'm not sure how true this version is to the original - you know how it is, recipes can get tweaked a little over the years.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Favourites #1 - TV Series, Our Girl

This is a first for me - I've not reviewed any TV here but I've come across a programme the last few weeks that I've become completely engrossed by so I just had to write about it! Sadly it ends tomorrow night but I believe you can still catch up on all the episodes on BBC iPlayer. The programme I'm talking about is, of course, the fabulous Our Girl.

I know a lot of people saw the original one hour one-off last year, which I'll admit I missed and although I saw the adverts I never really thought much about it but whilst channel hopping during the first episode I came across it and within a few minutes I was hooked.

The show is all about Molly Dawes (Lacey Turner) who enlists as an Army Medic. This series has seen her sent out on her first tour of duty to Afghanistan.

This is an absolutely fantastic series- so well written and acted. The soundtrack is stunning too. I think it does a great job of showing the difficulties that I'm sure many women face in what is a very male-dominated world. Molly is cheeky, brave and quickly proves herself to her Captain and fellow soldiers. It is definitely worth a watch if you haven't already.

Now before I go on, I have to just mention the utter perfection and eye candy that is Ben Aldridge who plays Captain James in this series.

Having spoken to all the women I know who are watching this series, I don't think there is one of us who has not professed to be head over heels in love with this man - he is simply bloody gorgeous. I believe one friend even said he makes her "ovaries ache". Look at him - he would produce the most beautiful curly-haired babies, wouldn't he?!
Now I'm going to add a jump in here so if you've watched the series so far, click and read on, if you're not up to date or haven't watched it yet I suggest you stop here unless you're after spoilers!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Family Friday - Kids Clothing, Advice Needed

This post is going to be short but wordy (a distint lack of pictures I'm afraid). I just need some advice from my fellow Mums - maybe you're having the same problem as me, maybe I'm stuck in a rut but  I am really struggling to find decent kids winter clothes this year!

My son (9) is still fitting into much of his clothes from last year (being on steroids has its upside I guess, he grows very slow so is cheap to clothe as they last him aaaaages!) but I'd like to find him a few new bits and Dennis (2 and a half) has had an enormous growth spurt and she now needs size 3-4 (I kid you not, this girl is huge!).

I've hunted all my usual places - Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco, (kids outgrow their clothes too fast to spend a fortune), H&M, and even Next and I'm struggling to find much I like. I've picked up the odd pair of leggings for Dennis and I did get her a gorgeous grey coat in M&S here but otherwise I cannot find much at all. And what I can find seems to be all casual stuff.

Please help me - am I missing something or is all the kids clothing this year actually rank?!! (PS I don't usually bother with Primark as I find their kids stuff always washes poorly so I'd rather pay a little more in a supermarket or high street and find it stays nice for longer). Someone point me to a good kids clothing shop pleeeeeassse before I lose the will to live - kids and shopping are not a good mix, please put me out of my misery!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Family Friday - Comfort Foods

I know that in light of yesterday's post, this is a bit of a contrast but we all need a little comfort now and then!

All families have little traditions or quirks or just things they do in a certain way. In our house, one of those, is that when someone is ill or the weather is turning cold, we have a bit of a thing for cream of tomato soup and cheese sandwiches.

I don't know why, it just seems to be one of those things that we automatically turn to for a comforting lunch. A big bowl of steaming soup and cheese sandwiches (always on white bread too with lots of butter....oops!) to dip in it. Both my husband and I love it and so do our kids.

When its just myself and the kids eating, I will often be completely lazy and heat the soup in a Pyrex jug then just put that in the middle of the table and we all reach over to dip our sandwiches in! (Sorry but the less washing up the better in my world!!)

I was feeling pretty grotty yesterday, which is what inspired this post and as you can see from the picture, I was feeling lazy too. It had been a while since we'd had a soup and sandwich lunch so I really, really enjoyed it (as did Dennis!) and for some reason felt like I needed to write about it here.

I'd love to hear about any little 'traditions' or comfort rituals or foods your family has, let me know in a comment. The title has also just reminded me of the series Jamie's Comfort Food - has anyone else been watching it? Jamie Oliver made some absolutely delicious looking food!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Fitness Thursday - Breakfast Favourite Recipes

Getting fit and, particularly, eating right is not always the most exciting of things. If you don't experiment and branch out a bit you can find yourself getting a little bored. If you get bored, you're more likely to stray from the healthy foods and starting eating too much of the naughty treats again.

Breakfast is one of the trickiest meals to keep on track - for most of us, we don't have a great deal of time before we rush out the door for work to faff about with breakfast. At the weekend, healthier things like scrambled or poached eggs are ok as you have a bit more time on your hands but during the week, unless you have options to hand, it can be far too tempting to reach for the buttery toast or sugary cereal, that will have your sugar levels crashing within an hour or so, leaving you digging in the work biscuit barrel long before lunchtime...

With this in mind, I thought I'd share a couple of my favourite breakfast things to eat so that those of you who are also on a health kick might find some inspiration from these!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Family Friday - Barefoot SOS Face & Body Rescue Cream*

I may have mentioned here before that I have pretty dry skin and my poor kids seem to have inherited this unfortunate trait, particularly my son. He suffers with very dry skin with patches of eczema. In the winter his skin, despite my best efforts, gets particularly bad and no matter what I do he always gets chapped cheeks once the cold weather sets in.

I've tried nearly every moisturiser going to keep his skin in check and had little success. The prescription lotions from the Doctor (Diprobase and the like) are disgusting textured, thick, heavy creams that he hates. He used to stand and cry while I tried to rub it in. In the end it simply wasn't worth the battle any more. Someone did once give me a sample of Kiehl's Creme de Corps, which did a beautiful job of keeping his skin soft and supple but it cost me a small fortune as I have to use it on him head to toe after every shower, bath or swimming session and on his face at least once a day. I simply can't afford to pay that out all the time. I moved on to other moisturisers becoming more and more disappointed by them until I eventually settled on the Vaseline Intensive Rescue for Very Dry Skin for his body and The Body Shop Aloe Vera Cream for his face.

These do the job, just about, but his skin never feels soft like it did with the Kiehls stuff so I'm always on the lookout for something new that would do a better job and could help prevent the horrible red and cracked chapped cheeks in the coming winter.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Craft Wednesday - Latest Nappy Cake Creation

With a bit of a push from family and friends I recently decided to take the plunge and set up a little page on Facebook for my nappy cakes. Elliott and Rose Designs currently only has likes from my family and friends (or their family and friends) but its a beginning. I think it will always be a hobby for me but I enjoy it and knowing people get so much pleasure from my creations gives me a great feeling!