Friday, 18 April 2014

Love The Little Things #16


As well as watching footage on YouTube I have been reading up on the Oscar Pistorius trial. I am so late into getting into it but it's addictive and fascinating. Gerrie Nel really seems to know his stuff and astounds me.


I'm really into watching various videos on Youtube and one of my favourite Youtubers is Vivianna Does Makeup. In particular I love watching her Weekly Vlogs, as well as Lily Pebbles' too. They both seem down to earth and like they haven't got an ego (unlike other Youtubers).


An old skool classic. Oh hey. Tell me you don't love this.
It came on the radio and I was singing along to it and realised the words really mean a lot to me when it comes to particular friendships I've had.


Bad diet choices! Oh man. I've been doing well-ish with my diet. Watching calories and so on and then this week had just been manic and has involved late nights and a fridge with out of date food. We need to work out how we can eat on the boat and create healthy meals and also have food in that we can whip up quickly late at night without relying on the takeaway man.
I did make a nice lunch of just chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn, tuna and a tiny slice of cheese to try and balance out the rubbish I've been eating. It was yummy.


Totally not a flattering photo of me but ya know....a lifejacket.
We took the boat out a few times this week so the life jacket was needed. We don't have the big bulky ones like the boys do. Ours are quite comfy and not at all restrictive. They self inflate IF you hit the water....which hopefully won't happen.

And lastly...

I'm gutted that the Easter Holidays are almost over and that Charles returns to school on Tuesday. We didn't get as much done as I hoped this two weeks, due to busy boat things and because of him having chicken pox.
I've really enjoyed having him home though and feel super sad that I won't get to spend all this time with him until the next school break.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mr Nutcase | Review

When I got my new Samsung Galaxy S4 I was worried about smashing the screen. I had seen so many iphones with smashed screens and didn't want to have to go through that so, even before the phone had been delivered, I had a case.
The case didn't last long, and in fact within 2 weeks my screen had cracked in the corner. Since then I've been through a few cases mainly because the quality wasn't top notch. I'm fussy with the design I have. I don't want anything plain and want something funky or a bit different to everyone else.

Of course the best way to have a funky phone case that is different to everyone else's is to have a personalised one.

Mr Nutcase provide cases for most phones and have a range of designs available if you didn't want to have a personalised case.
To design a personalised case is really simple and easy.
You can choose from a simple Ultra Light Weight Slimline or Executive Flip Leather Style (which will protect the screen). You can choose to either have one image on the case or to create a collage.

I had a play around and creating a collage is simple and easy, although I chose to go for a case with just one photo.
Having the option of being able to move a photo around, zoom in or out, or rotate means you are able to make sure the case is exactly as you'd like, and you are able to avoid anyone being cut off by the hole created for the camera and speaker.

The photo I chose was this one:

I was hoping that the brightness of the photo and the colours would be exactly the same and I wasn't disappointed.
The photo onto prints onto one side of the flip case, the other side is just white. Which is fine, although being able to have a photo either side would of course be better but the fact this isn't offered isn't a problem at all.
The plastic holder for the phone is attached to the case really well and doesn't feel like it will break at any point (unlike cases I've had in the past).
There is a magnetic "clasp" to close the phone, and keep it closed. This clasp is really strong and certainly won't pop open at any point.

The case flips down rather than to the side as per other cases I've had. This again isn't any thing to complain about and isn't a problem, but, my only complaint is that I can't have the case closed when the phone is on charge.
The case would benefit from a hole at the bottom so a charger can be put through and connected without the case being left open.

At £19.95, with free next day delivery, I think these cases are fantastic either to buy for yourself or as a gift to others.

I was sent this case for the purpose of the review

Watchbot | Review

When it comes to home security it is obviously incredibly important to us, as it is to everyone. We are good at locking windows and doors, locking the back gate and so on but you can never be too careful.
As far as we were aware CCTV units for the home are expensive and would take a lot of installation, that was until we were introduced to the Watchbot.

A Watchbot is a simple plug in and play device and takes around just 5 minutes to set up due to being wireless. My husband set the video up on his phone and said it was simple enough to do by scanning a QR code on the instructions.

What we loved the most about the Watchbot, other than the quality, price and ease of set up, was that it
has so many uses. Not only can it be used as a security camera to protect your home, it can also be used as a baby monitor, security for business premises, and as my husband likes to use it in the daytime, it can be used to keep an eye out for any deliveries you are expecting or for the postman.
Due to the small side it is very discreet so won't be seen by anyone you are "spying" on, and also doesn't create an eyesore in any room you choose to have it set up.

There are some fantastic features of the Watchbot which really impress us.
Firstly is the fact that you can interact with whoever you are watching by simply pressing a microphone button which is on the screen (when viewing on a mobile, we don't have a tablet so we've only been able to test it on a phone) and talking into it using the built-in microphone and speaker. We've tested this a few times and each time it has worked perfectly. The sound is really clear both ways.
The other thing we really love is being able to control the Watchbot and turning it left, right, up and down just by using the control on the mobile phone screen.

Other great points are that you can record any footage onto the optional onboard micro-SD card, or to any connected device. There is also infrared and motion detection which you can activate, and, if triggered, the camera will alert you to any movements - you will know exactly what is going on, day or night.
And as it is wireless you can use the device anywhere around the home or business premises.

My husband is really amazed by this piece of technology and as we can use it for many things is considering purchasing more for added security.

Priced at £149.99 it's amazing that it has so many uses and so many features, and creates piece of mind that IF anything was to happen you will have the evidence to use, or indeed be able to stop someone in their tracks.

We would recommend this for both household use and business use too.

We were sent the Watchbot for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

One Month On

A month ago I started taking anti-depressants. It wasn't a choice I made easily and despite really not wanting to take them and feeling like a failure to have got to the point of needing them I am now in a position where I feel ok. 
Of course, I would rather not need them at all. But, I do. And that's that.

The first two weeks were fab in some ways and tough in others.
I had a really positive time, felt happy and for a moment did think maybe I didn't need the tablets after all. The toughness came in forms of hot flushes. Awful hot flushes, which are quite embarrassing when you are on the school run surrounded by mums who are chilly and wrapped up warm and you are stood there with no coat on sweating.

Yesterday I took my last tablet from the months pack and had an awful time as per other months trying to get an appointment with my doctor. I was expecting a phone call from him, phoned to check he would be ringing me in the morning as previously planned, and was spoken to in the most awful way by the receptionist and told I may have to wait until next week, despite saying I needed to speak to him THAT DAY to get a new prescription as I had completely run out and needed to talk about which dose I would be taking next.
I became so upset I had to hang up the phone so she didn't have the satisfaction of hearing me cry.
15 minutes later my doctor phoned and right now I am standing with 2 months worth of tablets in an increased dose.

Although the first 2 weeks were really good the second 2 weeks were tough and I went back to my "usual ways". Crying for no reason, and just feeling generally down.
With my increased dose we are hoping that within 2 weeks from now I should see an improvement and feel better.

I think I've changed a lot psychologically since taking the tablets. It's not that they have made me this way but more changing my thoughts. I take the tablets around lunch time, I am a nightmare at remembering to take tablets so have set an alarm on my phone, but I find I get reminders when it's time to take them.
Be it happy reminders, something making me smile and me thinking "ooo this is a happy moment" and then linking happiness to my tablets, or feeling a bit down and feeling like I need a pick up and linking that to my tablets.
I am recognising happy feelings a lot more. Things that make me feel good and make me feel nice. Things that make me smile. Things I don't want to forget.

For a while I did feel ashamed of myself for going on the tablets. I've tried so hard to not have to resort to them, to try and work things out myself, to understand my thoughts and reasoning but I realised I needed help. I needed someone or something to give me that support, to hold me up and help me along.
I've always said I'm not ashamed of having anxiety and depression. So why feel ashamed to need help?
I'm not responsible for suffering from anxiety and depression, but I am responsible when it comes to getting help and trying to make myself better.
I am responsible for my life and my quality of life.
I am responsible for my family and if me being on anti-depressants makes me happier in the long run and means life is better for all of us then it's silly to avoid taking them.

I am learning to accept that I'm not a failure for needing help.
I am learning to accept that although I didn't want to take tablets to feel happy or to feel good about myself, or to enjoy life, I need to take tablets to do that.
I am learning to accept that I have done all I can elsewhere, by changing certain things in my life, changing the people in my life and the people in it, by trying to do various forms of therapy, I have done all I can and just need that extra "thing" to guide me along.
I am learning to accept that this isn't going to be a short term thing. I'm not going to be off the tablets by the end of the year. I could be, but I may not be. I may be on them a year, two years or longer.
I am learning to accept that I am a bit fragile, and a bit broken, and that I can't just fix it all.
I am learning to accept that I am not weak. I am strong. I am strong because I asked for help, and I keep asking for help.
I am learning to accept that this is me. This is my life and taking anti-depressants is a big part of ME but isn't all I am. It doesn't define me.

I am not ashamed.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Zizzi's New Spring Menu | Review

We are all big fans of Italian food, especially Charles and me. Charles definitely prefers eating out if he can choose between pasta or pizza rather than something with chips.
Unfortunately we don't have an Italian Restaurant in our town but just 45 minutes drive we are treated to one of our favourites, Zizzi's.
I first visited Zizzi almost 2 years ago. We were shopping for Harry's first shoes and wanted to pop somewhere for lunch that would be family-friendly and have something on the menu for all of us.

This weekend we were given the chance to go along and try out the new Spring Menu at Zizzi's in Norwich.. I had a look at the menu online for a sneaky peak. Does anyone else do this? I always plan my meals before heading out to a restaurant.
With so many meals to choose from it was hard. The classics are all still there but the new dishes were too tempting to resist, and as we were sat near the open plan style kitchen we had a sneaky look at the food going out to the other diners.
I love being able to watch chefs at work, as did the boys. It also helps me trust that we are having fresh meals cooked by people who clearly love what they are creating.
The Spiedini seemed to be the most popular choice. Available in two varieties pescatore for fish lovers and pollo for those preferring chicken, both versions see a combination of marinated fish or chicken with Mediterranean vegetables. They really did look delicious and every single plate and skewer went back empty.

Executive Chef Angelo Garofalo said: “With a focus on fresh ingredients, the spring menu is inspired by simple ingredients that really deliver on taste. We want to help diners celebrate spring with authentic Italian flavours combined with a contemporary Zizzi twist.”

To start we went for the large Zizzi Antipasti to share. I had this at our first visit as my lunch so it's always been a firm favourite of mine. And once again it didn't disappoint. The portion size is perfect to share and as it's it not too heavy so prepares you perfectly for your main.

Harry's meal was from the children's menu. To start he had some dough sticks, which he really enjoyed and kept him occupied whilst he was colouring too, followed by Spaghetti Bolognese which was quite a big portion (which I don't mind as it's better for them to have too much than not enough) and is full of vegetables. Harry is NOT a fan of vegetables yet didn't turn his nose up and only left about a quarter of the bowl, which we were extremely impressed about. The children's pasta meals are available with either Penne or Spaghetti.
Charles just wanted garlic bread, nothing else. I was reassured by the waitress that this would be substantial enough and she wasn't wrong! It came out on a wooden board, as does the antipasti and other pizzas and is something I really like about eating here, and was more than enough to curb his hunger.
Both boys had a bowl of chocolate ice cream for dessert.

My husband went for the Salmone Broccoli, which is new to the menu for the Spring. Although the salmon was a tiny bit overdone for his usual taste but husband still enjoyed it. Especially after adding some of the chilli oil which is on the table all the time.

For dessert he went for the, again new to the menu, Chocolate and Toffee Nut Sundae. Again this was really popular with the other diners and we lost count of the amount of these that went out and came back empty. My husband's usual dessert choice is something chocolately, so I expected him to go for the Chocolate Tartufo. After seeing all the Sundaes go past to the other diners he couldn't resist. And in his own words "It was perfect. Really nice, really nice. I think desserts are Zizzi's strong point".

Chocolate & Toffee Nut Sundae: Chocolate and crema gelato, banana, whipped mascarpone cream, toffee sauce and caramelised peanuts.

Despite having so many tasty dishes to choose from I decided to go for the Rustica Bistecca Formaggi. Oh my, oh my. I thought I may miss the tomato base of the pizza but I didn't at all. The cheese base was perfect and the addition of the slow roasted tomatoes meant that the taste was still there. The steak was BEAUTIFUL. It was rare so if you don't like rare beef you might want to mention it. The only tiny problem I had was that Harry wanted to try the beef, which I let him as I thought he wouldn't like it. Big mistake, he then stole lots of it, which proves just how tasty it was.

rustica bistecca formaggi: Thinly sliced steak on a cheese base of gorgonzola, gruyère and pecorino. With slow roasted tomatoes, rocket, mozzarella and grana padano.

For dessert I stepped totally out of my comfort zone. Bananas are evil but I really liked the sound of the Chocolate and Banana Calzone. I was informed by the waitress that as the desserts (as with all the other meals) are made fresh you can control how much or how little goes into each dish. So, if you love bananas you can ask for extra, if you don't like them at all, you can ask to have it without. But, I was brave, and asked to have a small amount. 
The chocolate sauce is beautifully rich so for me blocked out the taste of the bananas to an extent (I find them really overpowering but it's just my taste). Although after eating half of the Calzone I had to pick out the rest of the bananas BUT again, this is just because I don't like them. To anyone who does like bananas, you MUST have this dessert.
The hot toffee sauce worked so well with the dough and the chocolate sauce. It was heaven.
This was probably a bit too heavy to have after a pizza but could either be shared (I would say it was big enough to be shared between 2 people) or would be ideal after a pasta dish.

Chocolate & Banana Calzone: Sweet, warm dough filled with banana, chocolate sauce and mascarpone cream. With crema gelato & hot toffee sauce.

One thing I did notice on the menu and was impressed by was the lighter options, such as the new Skinny Prawn and Broccoli Salad, which at under 250 calories balances simple, filling, flavour-packed ingredients with delicious taste. I think it's nice to know that those on a diet aren't restricted to what they can have and can still have the pleasure of eating out without feeling guilty after.

The service at Zizzi's Norwich couldn't be faulted at all. We felt really welcome, we didn't have to wait long for food, and the boys were made a fuss of too. (note: this wasn't purely because we were there to review, we have always had fantastic service when we've visited here).
There was a wonderful relaxed and warm atmosphere, and we left feeling like we'd had not only a fantastic meal but also quality time as a family which we needed after a crazy 3 days.

To add even more flavour to the menu, Zizzi has commissioned up and coming artist Charlie Davis, a recent illustration graduate from Falmouth University in Cornwall. Championed by Zizzi as one to watch in art and design, Charlie has taken inspiration for the new menu from Italian culture to pay homage to the restaurants’ roots. His Venetian themed artwork has used elements of the new dishes and transformed them into cartoon-like characters to create a visual story of the spring menu.

Jo Fawcett, Marketing Director of Zizzi said: “At Zizzi, we have always championed new talent in various industries. Cutting edge illustration and design is at the heart of our restaurants’ culture, that’s why we commissioned Charlie – we love his work and think it is the perfect way to showcase our new spring menu.”

“Bringing Italian culture to our restaurants is in our nature – we want our diners to see food as a celebration; the new artwork demonstrates this perfectly through the Venetian style gathering with the foodie characters, surrounded by delicious food and drink.” 
 We were given a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review.