Slimming World Sweet and Sour Pork

I love a Chinese but take aways are ladden with syns, so I found a recipe for a low syns alternative and this recipe is only 1 syn! It's served with noodles so will fill you up.
Ingredients
500g pork loin steak
1 large onion
1 red pepper
2 large carrots
200g sugar snap peas
¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice
2 garlic cloves
1 level tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp light soy sauce
150ml chicken stock
400g dried egg noodles
Put the pork in a heated wok sprayed with fry lite and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover and set aside.
                Add the onion,pepper,carrots and sugar snap peas and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes.
                 Return the pork to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until piping hot. 
Mix 2 tbsp water with the Chinese 5 spice, garlic, cornflour, tomato purée, white wine vinegar, soy sauce and stock. 
   Add the mixture to the pan, stir and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 3-4 minutes until thickened. 
                                                       Serve with noodles and enjoy!

Jelly Stickers from John Adams #NationalCraftMonth

We love a bit of art and crafts, we spend a lot of time indoors so it's essential to have something to hand to keep the children busy. During the month of March, you may have seen #NationalCraftMonth around social media. To help celebrate the end of craft month we have been sent a fab set from John Adams Toys.
This little set is available to buy from Amazon priced at £9.99 and is great for some quick low mess fun. The set comes with 4 gel glitter colours and 4 sheets of stickers for you to colour in. It is going to be great to use a little time filler in the holidays. It's the type of item you can get out to fill a few minutes and then put away again.
The 4 colours are all nice pastel shades, you just screw the top of and there is a nozzle that the colour comes out of. You get 4 sheets of stickers and there is plenty of variety to choose from.
You do need to be careful not to squeeze the tube as it makes the colour gloop out, there is a bit of a knack to it I think, but Mr C didn't do bad, he is only 5 and a bit heavy handed. But he did enjoy this activity and he said he liked the bright colours.
Once you have had fun colouring in your stickers you need to leave your designs to dry. The thicker you lay the colours the longer it takes to dry. We had to leave Mr C's creations for about 20 minutes as there were really thick!
When they are dry you can peel them off the sheet and stick them where ever you like. They are great for sticking on windows or other shiny surfaces. They just peel off and you can reapply them to wherever you like. I love this feature of the stickers, Mr C has been enjoying sticking them in my window, wardrobes and even the fridge doorway!
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*We were sent the above set for the purpose of a honest review.

The A to Z of Autism - F is for......

When Mr L was diagnosed back in 2007 I didn't have a clue what Autism was or even what it meant, 8 years on and 2 more diagnoses its still a puzzle. I have been contemplating doing a blog series with all the words associated with Autism to help other parents and to maybe be a bit of a reference point. So say hello to the A to Z of Autism. Each week will be a different letter, last week was E is for and I got some fab inclusions from other autism parents. This week is F is for.........

Forms

I feel like I spend my life filling in forms, if it's not for DLA, it's for school, if it's not for school it's for Doctors. It becomes part and parcel of being a parent of children with additional needs.

Frustration & Fighting

Toni from Gym Bunny Mummy says: Not with Autism or my gorgeous boy but with the system. We're having a complete nightmare at the moment & the other 'f' word is not appropriate! Here's her latest post which explains her frustrations.

Family Fund

Joy from Pinkoddy says they have been amazing at making lives easier. I have to agree, we have used Family Fund for about 4 years and the help they provide is great. The provide grants for families to get things needed for your additonal needs child. There is a criteri to meet, but you can find out more on the Family Fund Website.

Food

Lucie from Our World and Autism suggested food and its a biggie for a lot of us. Miss S has a very biege diet, the only thing of colour she will eat is chocolte and tomoato ketchup. She is very picky over what biege food she eats too. For some children on teh spectrum it can be about the texture of food also.

Friends

Sarah from Dragonriko says -  It might be hard to make and/or keep them but a good friend will understand and be there for you no matter what. I think it's really importnt to find yourself that 1 person you can talk to, to let off steam and even a cry too. 

Flapping

Jane from Our Little Escapades says she is sure Ethan will take off some times. Its common for children on the spectrum to have some kind of flap or tic. Miss S used to flap her hands but she has now transitioned to rocking instead. 

Family

Tina from MotherGeek says - Some help you get through the tough times, others hinder. Some stick by you all, others disappear from your radar. Some embrace autism, others are repulsed. Alas, we can't pick and choose our relatives, despite wishing we could disown a few!

Do you have anything else you would add for F then just leave me a comment below? Make sure you come back in a fortnight for G is for.....
Mandy
xx
Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

Slimming World Weigh in Week 35

After last week's surprise loss, I was spurred on the keep to plan this past week. I think I did really well; staying on track and made a pledge to start exercising again. I use my fit bit to keep me on track and ensure I hit my green target zones each and every day. I have also started to up my water intake each day and found a lovely water bottle that holds 700mls per bottle, so 3 bottles is my 2 litre goal but I have been having 4 or 5 taking me way over that goal.

This week I even had a takeaway with the hubby, but kept it Slimming World friendly. I opted for boiled rice and I had a chicken tikka starter, which was just chicken chunks with tikka flavouring, so oil and no sauce. I don't know what the syn value actually was but it was delicious. All other meals were on plan and I stayed within my syns each day...... Until Saturday!! The weekends are turning into my arch nemesis and I continually fall off the wagon! This week I'm blaming Easter chocolate, but ultimately it's me who just can't control myself. I headed to group last night and while waiting to be weighed a few of us had similar stories, we just couldn't resist the temptation of that Easter Bunny. The results on the scales last night were........
I'm glad of a very small gain, I will gracefully take it on the chin. As I mentioned above I want to increase my exercise daily, without the need to go to the gym every day. So after a browse on Youtube, I found a fab HITT workout. I completed my first one this morning and I really enjoyed it. I think it's going to work for me, its short 20 seconds intense exercise followed by a 10 second break. You complete each exercise 4 times and there are 3 different exercises in each circuit. From what I can see, there are different intensity levels, but for me a 5 minute warm-up and a 10 minute work out on top of my 10'000 steps is a real good start.
Start Weight - 20 stone 5lbs
Current Weight - 17st 11lbs
Target Weight - 16 stone (interim target)
This Weeks Result - 0.5lb gain
Total Weight Loss - 2 stone 7lbs
This Weeks Goal -  3lbs loss

Sim's Life

#Win a BlokPod Lego Sorter

Did you see the review of Blokpod we did? We love it and our Lego has been played with even more since we got it. In case you didn't see it here is a little run down of what a BlokPod is.
The Blokpod is a cylinder shaped container that stores and sorts your Lego, priced at £34.99 and available to buy from the Amazon page. The 4 layers are all interlocking and with a simple twist can be unlocked to access your bricks on each layer. In each compartment is a colourful filter with different sized holes in each layer. This is what the Lego will pass through, only pieces small enough to go through will fall into the next layer. You can even buy additional layers for your cylinder if you need more storage.
For your chance to win, just fill out the widget below and do take the time to read the terms and conditions before entering. Win a BlokPod Lego Sorter
Terms and Conditions
Open to UK Residents, competition closes Midnight 24th April 2016, the first entry is mandatory, all others are optional. The more you enter, the more chance you have of winning! Winner will be drawn from all correct entries on the closing date and will have 28 days to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn. The brand/PR is responsible for arranging delivery of your prize. I am in no way responsible for compensating or replacing missing prizes. Please do allow up to 28 days for delivery
Enter my other giveaways here

U, me and the kids
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
See more at - ThePrizeFinder 

Barbecue Party Review & Giveaway

We love to sit down together and play a fun game, we aren't really the board game type, but we do love a  bit of an action game. Drumond Park offers a whole host of games for all ages and we have been sent 2 of them recently to review and giveaway. This month I am sharing with you what we thought about 1 of them.
Barbecue Party priced at £19.99 is suitable for ages 4+ and can be played by 2 -4 players. I like that it's an easy to follow game, as it means that all the children can play together and know what's going on in the game. There is no building up to be done when the game is fresh out of the box. You do need to stick the googly eyes on all the barbecue food though.
The aim of the game is to be the first person to get 4 cards with the matching pieces of food on them. The youngest player goes first. They turn over a card and the food that is on that card the have to pick up with the tongs and place on the barbecue. It's them the next players turn and they do the same, the barbecue can pop at any time and throw all of the food off.  If this happens you need to reset and start again. As the game progresses and the food is loaded the game element comes into play. When you turn over a food card you can add or remove that item from the grill. If you are removing that is when you get to keep that piece of food. You place it on top of the card and put to 1 side. Once you have 4 food items you have won!
The children loved playing this game and the element of surprise of when the barbecue will pop added to the excitement. The tongs are great for practising their motor skills and it states in the rules for younger players who can't manage the tongs that they can use their hands. My gang love the game, take a look at our YouTube clip.
Looks great doesn't it. would you love to have Barbecue Party for your brood to play with? Well you are in luck as I have another on offer for one of you lucky readers. For your chance to win, just fill in the widget below and read the terms & conditions before entering. Barbecue Party
Terms and Conditions
Open to UK Residents, competition closes Midnight 24th April , the first entry is mandatory, all others are optional. The more you enter, the more chance you have of winning! Winner will be drawn from all correct entries on the closing date and will have 28 days to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn. The brand/PR is responsible for arranging delivery of your prize. I am in no way responsible for compensating or replacing missing prizes. Please do allow up to 28 days for delivery
Enter my other giveaways here

U, me and the kids
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
See more at - ThePrizeFinder 

BlokPod Lego Sorter Review

We have a LOT of Lego in our house, they all started off as sets but all kind of ended up in one big tub for free play. It sometimes gets left a little unloved though as sorting through a mountain of Lego to find a piece you want itsn't high on the agenda of an impatient 8-year-old.
The Blokpod is a cylinder shaped container that stores and sorts your Lego, priced at £34.99 and available to buy from the Amazon page. The 4 layers are all interlocking and with a simple twist can be unlocked to access your bricks on each layer. In each compartment is a colourful filter with different sized holes in each layer. This is what the Lego will pass through, only pieces small enough to go through will fall into the next layer.
The Blokpod was designed to grow with your collection and in Spring this year you will be able to purchase additional layers and additional filters. I love that this is an option, although we have lots of Lego my eldest loves it and is always getting new sets.
I think the children just loved putting the Lego in and watching it sort through the filters. It can sometimes get a little stuck but you just have to gently shake it from side to side and the flow starts up again. We love this and think its a great idea. The children have played with our Lego so much more, it's really easy to see what they want to make their model and just get it. We will definitely be buying extra layers for the rest of our collection.
I have also made a little video for our YouTube channel showing how the Blokpod sorts and filters out your Lego pieces. Pretty impressive isnt it? How would you like to win one for yourself? Keep your eyes out for the giveaway soon.

Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*I was sent the BlokPod for an honest review

Diary of an Autism Mum - 23/03/2016

Just sharing my latest Diary of an autism Mum vlog for those that dont follow me on Youtube, do pop over and subscribe.

U Hugs Doll Review

Miss S has a big love for dolls at the moment, but unfortunately, she refuses to leave any of the accessories on them. She loves to take their shoes off, clothes and any other attachments they have on them. This week we got the perfect thing that meets her doll requirement and the ability to be able to take all the bits and pieces off.
The U Hugs range is of collectable doll characters, the range included 6 dolls all with their own unique names. The dolls allow your child to choose a doll to match their personality and express their style. Once you have chosen your U Hug that matches your style you can then build your collection. Each doll is made from lovely soft plastic. Your doll comes with 12 unique pins to get you started and you put these into the soft holes in her body. Each doll retails at £14.99.
The Screamy Queen U Hug is a cool minty blue colour and has bright pink hair with a cool black hat on the side. She wears a funky cape and has her own wand in her hand, even here shoes are pretty funky. All if her accessories come off and you can reposition them anywhere you want to.
The Sassy Fashion U Hug doll is quite the fashionista, with her huge oversized sunglasses she definitely gets your attention. Her shoes are reversible so she has 2 looks in just 1 pair of shoes, she has a funky handbag and a really cute bunny mobile phone. All of the U Hug dolls have a compartment on their back where you can store their accessories when not in use.
Miss S really liked these and we will definitely be expanding our collection, she particularly liked that the dolls body parts came off as well as the accessories. This means you can also swap the dolls heads and arms to truly unique your U Hug. I also created a little demo video for our Youtube channel which you can see below. Make sure you check out the U Hugs Youtube Channel also, its fab!

*I was sent the above products in exchange for an honest review

The Bissell Vac & Steam Review

When you're a parent cleaning becomes a bit of a nightmare, it's the job that you have to fit in around everything else in your packed day. Throughout my home I have wood flooring, which is great for ease of clean but it doesn't end to show up the marks even more than carpet. It can be a pain to keep clean, first the sweeping, then the mopping and waiting for it to dry. I wanted something that could do all these things in 1 to save me having a brush, mop and a hoover, step in the amazing Bissell Vac & Steam rrp £149.99. The Vac & Steam combines the power of a cyclonic vacuum and a steam mop in one machine. Now I have always wanted a steam mop and I absolutely hate my really old heavy vacuum cleaner. I do need both though as the whole downstairs of the house is wood floors, as well as the 2 large bedrooms, but the stairs and landing and box room are all carpeted. We now also have a puppy so the ability to clean up any mess she creates quickly is essential. I was really impressed when the machine arrived that there was very little assembly required. I just had to click the head onto the machine and it was ready to use right away. I'm never very good with electrical building, give me flat pack furniture any day!!
The Vac & Steam is really easy to operate with the digital touch buttons on the handle. The beauty of this machine is you can use it as a vacuum, a steam mop or both at the same time. This was a particular feature that intrigued me. I was unsure how it could suck up dust as well as steam at the same time. The answer is in the base plate. You can see on the image above the red dust brushes either side, there is a long one of these running the length of the vacuum. This means the dust hits the collection hole before the steam mop part of the pad. It's genius really, the side brushes are great for picking up dust in the corners too.
I really like the adjustable handle, it's perfect for switching between myself and the hubby use it. It's really easy to operate, you just pull the black handle and pull the handle up or down. The handle can be pushed right inside the machine for ease of storage, it makes it really compact.
The water fill is on the back of the machine and it comes with a handy jug for ease of filling. You just pull the water collection port down and it exposes the collection hole. It only takes to jugs to fill the machine for use, which is about 400ml. This is plenty of water to do the whole house, I have not had to refill it yet while using it. The trigger for activating the steam in the mop is on the top of the handle. When you press it you can hear some knocking at first, this is completely normal and just the water getting through the pipes.
The dust collection has a really large capacity and the filters are completely removable for ease of cleaning. The vacuum has a powerful 1600 watt motor and has the capacity to collect just under a litre of dust before you need to empty it. I decided to do a Youtube video for our channel, it's great for showing you the machine in use and a close up look of the elements that it takes make up the machine.

I think you may agree that it's pretty impressive machine. I think my favourite feature is the ability to go from carpet to hard floor with just the push if a digital switch. I also love the ability to vac and steam my hard floors at the same time. The unit retails at £149.99 which I think is a good price when you think you are getting 2 machines for the price of 1. The whole unit is really light it only weighs 4.4kg and has an impressive cord length of 7.6 metres.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*I was provided with the Vac and Steam for the purpose of an honest unbiased review.

Toileting and continence needs and Autism

Miss S is now almost nearly 8 years old and yet toileting full time still seems like a million miles away for her. She attends an amazing specialist school who have tried lots of resources to help with toileting. She is still really hit and miss, you can leave her in underwear all day and she will hold onto her toileting needs until she is put into a nappy to go home on the school bus. The same thing can be said for at home too, we can leave her all day and her just hold onto her wee. The fear seems to be in letting it go so we are constantly thinking of new things to try. She also has bowel issues which means she cannot control when she goes, so nappies are still an essential part of our lives.
I never thought that I would still be changing nappies when my youngest child is 5 years and I definitely didnt think I would still be changing my 8 nearly 8-year-olds nappies. The problem is most brands  nappies only go up to a size 6, which when you're 8 just don't cut the mustard, they are just too small. Most areas have a continence team to refer you to, who can help with your needs no matter how big your child is. It is usually Hartmann Direct who will deal with your needs and they supply nappies and incontinence aides from child right they way up to adult sizes.
We now have a regular delivery from them every 3 months and the difference this had made is amazing, the worry of finding the bigger sizes can be a nightmare. We now have peace of mind that no matter how big Miss S gets we will always be able to get something to keep her dry and comfortable.
We currently use the Mollicare soft extra in a medium size. Unlike traditional nappies which go by weight Mollicare go by hip size, so it's really easy to find out which size you will require for your child. We have only just switched to the medium size, Miss S was in the small size for about 18 months to give you an idea of the actual size.
The  main worry I had as a parent was that people would be able to see that she is wearing a nappy, not for vanity reason, but I don't want her to feel uncomforatble or self conscious. But even though the nappies are obviously much bigger that the norm they aren't any thicker, so they are very discreet.
They are suitable for severe incontinence so are suitable for even the heaviest wetter. The side panels are non-woven so they let the skin breathe and they have an internal leg cuff to stop leaks. I like that they have dual fastening, they are quite a lot larger than standard so the double fastening means you know they are secure, the tabs are also resealable. Obviously when our child is older their urine smells a lot stronger but these have a built in odour neutralizer and even a wetness indicator.
For as long as Miss S has used Mollicare we have never had a problem with them, they don't leak, she doesn't get sore and they do an all round good job. You know you can have confiindence in a product when it's used by hospitals and nursing homes. You can see all the products Hartmann offer via the clickable link above.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy

Slimming World Weigh In Week 34

If you saw last weeks weigh in then you will know I was coming back off a 4lb gain! It was my anniversary and I just wasn't on plan at all. I had all the good intentions of being a good girl  and getting the 4lb back off again this week. I know from previous weeks when I am 100% good I can loss between 4 and 5lbs a week. My week started really good but the meal plan slipped by the by and I had a few bad meals and some naughty treats. So going to weigh in this week I was sure I would see another gain on the scales! I have never had 2 gains in 2 weeks so I was dreading 5pm for weigh in.
I think I scraped a lucky loss this week! A loss I don't deserve but I am pleased it was a loss. I have done my meal plan for this week, so I can't fall off the wagon. I really do think the meal planning helps as I am never stood in front of the fridge thinking what can I have to eat.
I am planning a full week 100% on plan with minimal syns and even a couple of speed day thrown in. I grabbed the new magazine from group last night and there are some fab new recipes in there that I want to give a try.
Start Weight - 20 stone 5lbs
Current Weight - 17st 11.5lbs
Target Weight - 16 stone (interim target)
This Weeks Result - 1.5lbs loss
Total Weight Loss - 2 stone 7.5lbs
This Weeks Goal -  3lbs loss
Sim's Life

Pet Parade Play Garden Review

Towards the end of last year we reviewed the Pets Parade Playset, the children loved it and still play with it lots today. The range has now been extended and we have now been sent the Play Garden set for review. Pet Parade is a range of cute and realistic puppy & kitten breeds with a series of accessories and playsets – perfect for pet-loving children to collect and interact with. When attached to their special lead, or using the joystick button on their back, each puppy/kitten can then be made to walk realistically, with moving eyes, wagging tails and even picking up their wool ball! You can customise your pet's name tag and if that’s not enough, there’s even an online Pet Club that they can join.
The Pet Parade Play Garden retails at £25. It allows you to train your kitten to go through the cat flap, chase the mice and pounce at the bird. Your little kitty can then have some fun rummaging through the bins and let your kitten watch the fish! You can feed your kitten after a busy day playing, then put them on their bed where they can take a nap. 
The set required minimal setup, so it's ready to play with almost immediately. My initial thought are you don't get much for your money. It's quite a small set for £25, but having already got some of the range I can vouch for the fact its extremely well made. Our puppy set has been bashed about and still looks good as new still. What I love about the sets is that there are no stickers on them, the branding is all permanent, my children are terrible for peeling stickers off things.
Mr C who is a big fan of our puppy set was overjoyed when he saw the kitten garden playset. He found the set really easy to play with. All the activities for the kitty are operated by magnets on the end of the pet's nose and on the activity you want kitty to do. Its a great little set for some imaginative and interactive play and Mr C played with it for a good while before he got bored, it then came  into the hands of Miss S who took a shine to the Kitty.
It's a lovely set but I do think its highly priced for what it is, but as I said it is of exceptional quality which may balance the cost for you. It's made a nice addition to our Pets Parade collection and will be well played with. We made a video for our YouTube channel which you can see below.

If you go over to the Pets Parade Youtube Channel you can see the first 4 webisodes in the Pets Parade adventures.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*I was sent the playset for the purpose of an honest review.
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