03 June, 2016

Fitness Update #9

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to think of ways to get me into a routine, but still keep fitness fun.

I've tried fitness plans before but I'm not actually sure if they work for me- it makes it seem very regimented and I'm all for trying to make fitness as fun as possible! If you have any ideas, please let me know! 

I've been trying to find lots of different things to try, different YouTube workout videos, small ways of getting more exercise without really realising that I've done more exercise! 

I've been really good at keeping up with the fitness though, and even managing to do more! 

Week 1 
This week I walked to the train station every day and also walked home from the train station three times. My fitbit is making me get super competitive with myself and I'm constantly trying to do more steps!

I also attempted to walk up to my desk from the ground floor (I'm based on the 5th floor) and although I was completely out of breath by the time I got up there, I did it. I've tried doing it a few times since and it hasn't got much easier and I dread doing it, but it will get easier eventually! 

Week 2
I did the most fun workout this week, a Ballet Barre Youtube workout. I've always wanted to do ballet and a colleague of mine was saying how she went to a class that did Ballet Barre and it was really fun but hard work, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I suck at workout videos, because I get bored. I get 5 minutes in and I'm struggling and I feel silly and I turn it off and go and sit down.

With this one, I started to struggle and thought I was only 5 minutes in - I was already half way through! There were points that I felt silly but you also feel super graceful and I just really enjoyed it. I don't want to do it too often because I'll get bored of it, but I'm definitely going to do it once a week. 

I think it did a lot of good too, I was sore from using so many different muscles the next day! 

I haven't done as much walking this week because it's been raining, but I have still been managing to do 10,000 steps a day which is good.

Diet wise, I'm still trying to stay strong with the FODMAP diet but every now and then I give in and regret it. It's so hard to stay away from the things you love eating! I'm going to do another post on how I'm finding it once I've been doing it for two months. 

My goals for the next two weeks is to add in some gym sessions and stay strong with FODMAP! Considering where I was a few months ago, I'm really proud of how I'm steadily adding more and more fitness into my daily routine.

My problem, is that I am completely an all or nothing girl, I go head first into things and then lose motivation. I'm finding that doing it slowly and steadily is helping me to stay motivated and on track!

How are your fitness goals going? Let me know!

01 June, 2016

Reflecting back on May

Reflecting back on May

In last month's reflection, I talked about how I had had a bit of a blogging break and that I felt super refreshed and ready to dive back in.

Which I really thought was true.

But turns out, I wasn't so refreshed. The problem was, I hadn't really had a proper break from my blog, because I was still making sure that the posts I'd written for April while I was "away" had tweets scheduled, facebook posts scheduled, pins scheduled, comments were being replied to, emails checked...

And so when I "came back", it was a little bit like I hadn't been away. I just hadn't written a blog post in a month, but everything else was the same. All my energy was still pretty drained and I kinda dropped the ball and had a proper blogging break, which is why at the beginning of this month, I only had 1 post out. 

In my old job, I never had anything much to do so spent a lot of my day writing blog posts and doing all the other admin that comes with having a blog. In my new job, I just don't have time to do that so I have to spend my weekends or evenings doing it- but sometimes I just don't want to.

I put a LOT of pressure on myself about this blog and I forget sometimes that this is just a hobby. And like with my other hobbies, sewing, reading, baking, drawing - sometimes they have to take a back seat while you enjoy life. 

So I guess what I'm saying is, bear with me. At the beginning of this year, I set myself a blogging goal of writing 5 posts a week every week, but that hasn't happened and I don't know if that will always happen. But I'll still be here and this blog isn't going anywhere, I just may not be as active as I used to be. And that's okay- I'd rather put out less posts that are good quality rather than more posts that are bad quality! 

Anyway, after that ramble, if you're still here- here are my highlights from May:

  • My fitness is officially back on! - I've finally started to shed some pounds, so fingers crossed the only way is up from here! 
  • I've been trying the Low-FODMAP diet to help my IBS symptoms - you can see my post on my first month of doing it here. 
  • Dan and I went to Legoland! - Dan's birthday was last weekend and we had the best day in Legoland, there will be a post up about it soon! 
How was your May? Let me know in the comments- I literally can't believe we're halfway through the year already, it's crazy! I should start saving for Christmas!

29 May, 2016

Summer To Do List

Summer To Do List

Last Christmas, you may remember that I wrote a Christmas to do list. Because I always enjoy writing those, I thought it might be a good idea to write one for the summer too!

1. Go to the Beach
I haven't been to a beach in years which just seems crazy! I know Dan really wants to go to the beach and we have a week off together in July, so hopefully we'll have nice weather then and we can go! The last time I went to the beach, I ended up buried in sand as a mermaid.

2. Visit somewhere scenic
I probably will go to the New Forest in Hampshire, but I'd love to go anywhere scenic really just for a long walk. Last year I visited places like Hampton Court and the Tower of London, and I'd like to visit more places like that. Maybe Windsor Castle will be next on my list!

3. Go horse riding
I once went horse riding in the New Forest and I loved it. I've been horse riding a few times and it's so much fun that I'd love to do it again. I don't know if anyone I know is as keen though, so we'll have to see! :(

4. Take Lady on lots of long walks
We take Lady for a walk around the block most days (unless it's raining because she's a wimp even with her coat on), but it would be nice to take her to some local fields and take her for a longer walk. She always enjoys it there!

5. Go to Legoland
Dan and I love Legoland and I'm hoping we can get to go there this summer. We are big kids who need to have kids so that we have a genuine reason to go to these places hahaha! But for now, we just go and act like big kids for the day. Being serious adults is boring! [UPDATE: We literally visited here yesterday, so one is already ticked off!]

6. Go to Chessington
I went to Chessington with some friends a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun. I can't go on big rollercoasters which means that somewhere like Thorpe Park or Alton Towers is pointless for me to go to, but Chessington had enough rides that I COULD go on to make it worthwhile!

7. Bake some summer treats
I'm not sure what yet, but I feel like strawberries and other summer fruits will be a big theme! Let me know if you have anything you'd like to see me bake!

What are your plans for the summer? Let me know in the comments!

27 May, 2016

Disney themed things to do this Summer!

Disney themed things to do this Summer!

We all know that I'm suffering pretty darn badly from the Disney blues. It's extremely bad at the moment because this time two years ago, I was in the Magic Kingdom. This time last year, I was weeks away from returning.

Today? Weeeeeeell, I'm in England with no plans of returning. Stupid mortgage saving. (Which I know, I know, will be worth it!)

So to make myself feel better, I've been compiling a list of Disney themed things I can do this summer!

1. Go to see Aladdin the Musical!
I'm really hoping we will do this, but tickets are SO expensive that I just don't know if I can justify paying out for it. I'm in love with the soundtrack though so I will try! If you haven't heard, Aladdin has had an extremely successful run on Broadway and is now coming to the West End (I'm pretty sure opening night is tomorrow!) to the Prince Edward theatre. I've linked the website above, so go check it out! And if you're going to see it, let me know if it's worth paying out for!

2. Have a Disney themed BBQ!
This is something I'd love to do! Turn on those Disney songs, invite everyone to dress up or Disneybound and enjoy the lovely summer weather with your favourite sidekicks! Or if you don't want a BBQ, you could have a Disney themed dinner party instead!

3. Go to see the Mary Poppins Musical Tour!
If you missed Mary Poppins when it was in the West End (as I did!), they are touring the UK! I've linked above and I don't believe tickets are too expensive and they're going all around the UK so they may be visiting your town! If you want a review, Danielle wrote a great one on her blog!

4. Get up to date with all the Disney films and TV shows using DisneyLife!
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with DisneyLife. I kinda hate paying for it but I really love watching the Disney Channel. Then I hate that I'm a 23 year old who watches the Disney Channel. But I also really love the shows. Gahh! But if you're looking to fill your summer, you could always do the free 1 month trial and see if you also get hooked on the Disney Channel shows!

5. Have a Disney themed activity day! 
This can be fun for adults but especially if you have kids- make Disney crafts, play Disney games and watch loads of Disney movies!

I mean, none of these are going to be the same as visiting one of the Theme Parks- but they will help to keep the magic alive wherever you are!

Let me know if you can think of any other Disney themed activities in the comments!

Also I just want to say that I've recommended the above items because they genuinely seem like good things to do- no one has asked me to!

25 May, 2016

What I learnt from budgeting for a month

What I learnt from budgeting for a month

Last month, I had to really restrict the amount I spent. The cut off point for payroll on my new job was before I started which unfortunately meant I didn't get paid until the end of April. Luckily, I had just enough from my last job to pay off my bills, but it meant that I had to be super strict with what was left!

I thought I would share with you guys what I learnt from having to live on a strict budget last month:

1. I can live without Starbucks or Costa!
It's true guys, I can live without them! Instead of buying a coffee on my way into work, I just wait until I get into work and make myself a coffee then. Sure it's not as nice as a White Chocolate Mocha but it still wakes me up and I still enjoy it! I've even carried this into this month to help me save money, I just have the occasional one as a treat.

2. I can still bake a lot even without buying new stuff!
Although, I received a lot of vouchers from my old job as a leaving present for Amazon and used them to buy a LOT of new baking stuff. But I already have so much fondant, icing, food colourings etc., that I managed to make lots of stuff without even needing to buy anything!

3. Making yourself eat homemade lunches at work is hard.
Every day I would take lunch in and look at it and think "I don't want this..." and it was so hard not to go out to Pret or M&S and buy lunch. But it made me get more creative! I took in soups, sandwiches, wraps, all kinds of thing so that every day was a little bit different. Pinterest helped me a lot with this!

4. If you write down what you spend, you realise how much crap you buy! 
I bought my budget book from Paperchase ages ago and didn't really use it, but lately it's been my best friend! And the thing is, you buy silly little things for yourself without really thinking about it but when you do actually look at it- I was spending so much money on snacks and food that most of the time I wasn't really eating!

5. You won't budget properly until you have to
I've said so many times that I will save and budget- but I never do. Until I was forced to! I really think that until you really put your mind to it and actually WANT or NEED to budget, you won't do it. So if you're trying to save, try and think super hard about what you're saving for and how much you want it. If you truly want to save, it'll be much easier to give up those purchases like coffees!

What are your tips for saving? Do you find it hard to budget? Let me know in the comments!

24 May, 2016

Mario Kart Star Cookies

Mario Kart Star Cookies

If you have yellow food colouring, a star cookie cutter and ingredients to make cookie dough- what do you make?

Well, Mario Kart themed cookies OF COURSE!

Dan and I love to play Mario Kart. I'm actually a bit torn over whether or not I want to buy Wii U just so I can play the new version. I played it at my friend's house when we went to stay with her in Devon and it just seemed SO much better- but is it worth spending £250+ just for one game?

Anyway! So I decided to make star cookies and while I was icing them, I remembered the Nerdy Nummies Youtube Episode where she made Mario Kart themed treats and I suddenly thought- why not make my stars into the stars from Mario Kart?!

So, I piped some black eyes onto the stars and hey presto- a treat fit for any gaming fan! Well.. as long as they liked Mario I guess...

If you want to make these for a Mario fan in your life, I'm sharing the recipe!

Ingredients (makes 24-30 cookies)

For the Biscuits
  • 350g Plain Flour 
  • 100g Self Raising Flour 
  • 125g Granulated Sugar 
  • 125g Butter 
  • 125g Golden Syrup 
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract 
  • 1 large egg
For the Royal Icing
  • 300g Royal Icing Sugar
  • 2-3 tsps of water
  • Yellow Food Colouring
  • Black Food Colouring

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

2. Sift both flours into a mixing bowl and add the sugar.

3. Add the butter, mixing with your fingertips to create breadcrumbs.

4. Lightly beat an egg and then add it to the mixture with the golden syrup and vanilla extract.

5. Mix well until the mixture has formed a ball.

6. Roll out your mixture to your desired thickness, about 1cm.

7. Using a star shaped cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. Keep rolling up left over dough into a ball and roll out again using a rolling pin to make sure you get as many cookies out of the mix as possible!

8. Put your cookies onto a pre-lined baking tray and bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. I always find that when I get these cookies out of the oven, they're always very soft like cake but harden to be a soft biscuit once they are out.

9. Allow your cookies to cool before icing.

10. To make your royal icing, mix the water with the royal icing sugar. This is a bit of trial and error as at first, you need your icing to be at a toothpaste like consistency, so add a tsp of water at a time until you get to this consistency. Then divide into 3/4 and 1/4- the 1/4 of the mixture we will use to pipe the black "eyes"!

11. Add yellow food colouring to the bigger amount of royal icing mixture until it becomes a bright yellow.

12. Using an icing bottle, pipe your yellow icing around the edges of the biscuit and around the hole in the centre. Because your icing is thick, it will create a "wall" to stop the rest of the icing leaking.

13. Once you have lined your biscuits, add 1-2 more tsps of water to your yellow royal icing mixture to make it more runny.

14. Fill in your biscuits in between your outlines, which is called "flooding".

15. Add black food colouring to your remaining uncoloured mixture which you set aside earlier.

16. Using your icing bottle, pipe the eyes of the Stars by piping two lines on each cookie.

17. Leave out or put into the fridge to set.

Mario Kart Star Cookies

And that's it! You will have delicious and adorable cookies to share. These would be perfect for your next gaming session with friends, especially if you're playing Mario themed games!

If you make these, I'd love to see them as always! So please tweet me @CakeyDreamer or use my Instagram hashtag #cakeydreamerbakes!

22 May, 2016

Trying the Low FODMAP Diet

Trying the Low FODMAP diet

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with IBS (or irritable bowel syndrome). It basically means that my bowel is sensitive to certain foods and can't process them as well which leaves me feeling really bloated, sick or with a bit of a dodgy stomach.

So why did I start trying the Low FODMAP diet?

Obviously, the symptoms are pretty embarrassing. I've genuinely had people thinking I was about 3 months pregnant when I've had a bad day with bloating- I know I'm no skinny minnie but it's ridiculous! The bloating is also extremely painful and when I used to drive home from work, I was occasionally unable to do so because I was in so much pain every time I tried to move.

The sickness was what got to me the most, though. I would often feel sick after every meal and it was awful when I would go out for dinner with friends and end up having to go home because I felt like I was going to be sick halfway through. Then an hour later, I'd feel fine and annoyingly, extremely hungry.

So I went to the doctors to ask about IBS (my mum and sister both suffer from it so it was quite likely that would be the answer), only to be told that IBS is (and I quote) "kind of a thing, but not really a thing... it's just something you have to live with, there's no tablets or anything I can give you. Oh by the way, do you still work at [name of hotel he often visits]?" and proceeded to ask if I knew anyone who still worked there who could give him discount instead of actually helping me with what I needed! 

Needless to say, it wasn't the best experience but I didn't give up and went to see a different doctor at my GP surgery who DID think IBS was a thing but made me do a blood test to see if I had coeliac's disease first (the symptoms of IBS and coeliac's disease are very similar). When it came back negative, she gave me tablets to help with the bloating and other IBS symptoms and suggested trying the FODMAP diet.

So, what IS the Low FODMAP diet?

If you want to know more about the FODMAP diet, here is a link- although PLEASE only try it if you have been advised by your doctor. It's not a weightloss diet! 

High FODMAP food items are items which will irritate your bowel and you should avoid eating as much as you can. They do say that you don't necessarily need to cut it out completely, but it all depends on how much it irritates you. Onions and garlic are very big triggers and should be avoided as much as you possibly can (more on that later!).

Low FODMAP food items are items which are good for your digestion and are unlikely to irritate you. Some items have quantities which means that you should only have that amount and no more. 

So how have I been finding it?

It was hard at first. I'm not allowed dairy, so I have to buy lactose free milk and ask for soya milk when I go to Costa or Starbucks. But a couple of times at first, I forgot and put normal milk in my coffee or forgot to ask for soya. I've also had a couple of times where someone has bought me a coffee and didn't know that I needed soya and not wanting to be rude, I drank it anyway. 

But I have found that cutting out dairy has actually done a LOT of good. I feel a lot better- yet I only have dairy in my coffee, so that goes to show that you only need a tiny amount to irritate you. 

I also have to cut out gluten which wasn't AS hard because we already eat a lot of gluten free foods for Dan. But I am struggling to give up biscuits- gluten free biscuits just aren't as good.

Onions and garlic are actually harder than you would think to cut out- we've had to prepare our own sauces for dinners and I have to read the backs of every labels because it's EVERYWHERE. I've always known I'm intolerant to onions and garlic since I was a baby so this isn't new to me, but small amounts have never affected me badly enough to cut it out completely (or so I thought!).

Another thing I struggle with is the amount of things on the high FODMAP list that you wouldn't even expect to upset your tummy. Apples?! Coconut water?! 

But the longer I've been doing it, the easier I have been finding it. Once I got into a routine and learnt what I could and couldn't have, it became much easier to do the food shopping and I made less everyday mistakes. 

I really think though, that it's helped a lot. I still feel sick occasionally after eating, but not as much as I was previously. I also still get bloated but I've only had one painful bout of bloating since I started. Fingers crossed, the longer I stick to the FODMAP diet the better I will feel! 

If any of you suffer with IBS and have tried this diet, I'd love to know what you think! Again, I'm giving you a reminder that I'm not doing this diet to lose weight but for health reasons! :) 

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