Autumn Must Haves

I’m back! After and extended break – really for no other reason than I had a terrible case of writers block! I just couldn’t be bothereditis – horrid but true. Its cleared away and now I’m raring to go again!

I thought I’d start with a few things that have crept in to my wardrobe (or are due for delivery…..) – I’m calling them Autumn Must Haves!

This little number from All Saints – its been popping up on fellow bloggers lust lists and I have to say – it hits the mark for a thin knit (its cotton) with layers – I struggle with things under fitted leather jackets so this I think will be the answer….

Tilda Jumper – £88 – All Saints 


Whilst we are browsing the All Saints site – take a look at their leather jackets.  Totally loving this one.   The Laced Hawks Biker Jacket – £398 – All Saints



Sticking with the jacket theme.  This totally caught my eye (and the fact that it was 20% off at the time!).  I haven’t gone for green as with Boden things and women of a certain age, and living in the countryside….we can all look a bit the samey!!!  So I have ordered the grey, the fit looks superb and it will go with trousers and skirts.

Ledbury Pea Coat – £169 – Boden



This dress made me fall in love!  I can’t wait to try it on.  A perfect worky dress or just as a change from my uniform of jeans and a top – chuck on a biker jacket and you are good to go!

Scarlett Ibis Print Dress – £69 – & Other Stories



I saw this on a fellow bloggers page and ordered one straight away.  I’m usually a bit averse to tassel skirts especially now I have hit my forties but the price swung it for me and I will wear with boots, opaques and a black turtle neck….

Sally Suedette Fringed Eyelet Skirt – £20 – Boohoo



Finally shoes……or boots……I have had SO much trouble since having my daughter.  My feet grew a proper half a size, got wider (and never went back) and now I have sore big toes (chiropody fees are killing me!).  I’ve sold the majority of my shoes on ebay and now I am starting afresh.  Bye bye expensive pre kids shoes……hello Clarks (yup, you hear me right!).  I will report back when these arrive, but I like them – and considering I have to replace my entire shoe collection…..I’m going to have to be careful with the old spendage!

Dalhart Salsa – £80 – Clarks




WIN an Omniface facelift in your lunch break!

Half Face Lift

What I love about my blog is that it gives me opportunities to try new things that interest me.  When I was approached by Medisico Clinics, which operates as Body Face Couture and asked if I wanted to try their 1/2 face lift facial I jumped at the chance.  They describe their aesthetics as a “range of highly advanced and amazingly effective aesthetic treatments, clinically designed to take a combined and non surgical approach to anti-ageing and body shape”.  I took myself off to Harmony Health & Beauty Clinic in Stratford upon Avon for my treatment and was seen by a hugely knowledgeably clinician called Rachel.  I think thats important – being knowledgeable, able to answer all my questions and making me feel very comfortable – especially when my face is involved!

New age facials – the future of our skin.  These facials are a million miles away from the swirly whirly massagey facials we are used to – these are hard grafting, results driven facials – they go deeper that the surface but they don’t require surgery, pain killers or ‘down time’.

The machine which is used is what they call The Omniface radio frequency (RF) energy treatment is a non-surgical, non-invasive aesthetic technique for improving skin tightness and reducing wrinkles and loose or sagging skin.  The Omniface gently heats the sub dermal tissue and this then activates a natural healing mechanism that forms new collagen.  A single treatment activates these mechanisms and the results can be seen for months – over these months new collagen is produced (the stuff that plumps our skin) and forms and helps to fill out the appearance of fine line.

I found this great clip via The Evergreen Clinic which is one of the participating clinics.

In a nutshell, if botox and fillers aren’t your bag or you are looking for something to have before you consider the costly and invasive surgery that goes alongside a traditional facelift then this really is worth a go.  As you will see from the before and after photographs there is definitely a change after 3 days.

These photos are TERRIBLE and nothing has been retouched.  I really wanted you (and myself) to see what was happening to my skin.

Tuesday 12th May – before treatment.  I had decided on the lower half of my face for my half face lift – particular areas are those FRIGHTFUL wrinkles on my cheeks.



Tuesday 12th May immediately after my treatment – as you can see my skin is red (it feels like sunburn).



Wednesday 13th May – things feel a little tight and I definitely don’t want to put makeup on it… I am using my favourite product Dermalogica Barrier Repair Cream



Thursday 14th May – things are on the up!  Some of my skin is beginning to peel a bit but LOOOK!!!!!  Look at my cheek wrinkles.  Is that me wishing or are they looking much improved?  It is very early days and the results will show over the next couple of weeks so I will be doing another post to show you, but so far I’m enthused and pleased with my treatment.


What I want to point out is that I have chosen to be makeup free.  Today I could definitely have worn foundation and EVERY day I could have worn eye makeup and lipstick (working from home = lazy bones!) but don’t have this treatment 2 days before your hot date/childs wedding/going on holidays – you need to give it between a couple of days – probably up to a week recover totally – but thats a couple of days versus a couple of weeks up to a month to recover from surgery!

Medisico Clinics is launching their social media at the moment and as an introduction they are giving away 5 individual treatments worth £179 at their clinics throughout the UK.  See below for details and how to enter or head over to their Facebook page to enter.

I’ll do another photo session in a couple of weeks to show more improvements.  This treatment gets a BIG tick from me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chinos to love…..

All I want is a pair of chinos to love. I don’t know about you but I have always had a love hate relationship with chinos.  Chinos always seem to look great on other people….just not me….they bag around the bum, go funny at the knees…over the course of ten years, I have tried and tried to get them to work for me, but they haven’t.

This year, like most other years, I saw a pair I liked and kind of assumed that they would be the same as the other years…..BUT……I love them!  I love them so much I have featured them twice now!  This time I am also showing you the lovely wearing hers as her style is quite different to mine, but she looks FAB and now I want them in the raspberry colour as well!

Why are they different.  I has to be the fit – quite snug but also with lycra that doesn’t loose its shape.  Thats where the secret lies.  They still look great after a whole day.

So here am I in my navy ones (and yes ALL the clothing in the pictures is/was available at Woodie and Morris)




The turnups are really lovely as well…..



Here is Miss-SJ in hers…..







And because I ALWAYS mention it……you must must must ‘like’ Woodie and Morris on FB because quite often their really popular stuff doesn’t even make it to the website……you are GUARANTEED not to miss out on some of the gems….

Varicose Veins and Dr Haroun Gajraj

Before you read on.  If you don’t like bruises, a bit of ewwwww and watching procedures, then this might not be the blog to read!

I posted a picture of my leg on Instagram a few weeks ago when I was about to under go a procedure to remove some unsightly and quite uncomfortable varicose veins in my left leg.  I had several private messages from blog readers saying that they to suffered from varicose veins but they were unsure what to do and scared because they had heard stories of ‘leg stripping’.


About 15 years ago, I have what is called a lateral and bi lateral leg stripping as I had legs that looked like spaghetti junction.  Holy COW.  It was up there with childbirth in terms of pain and the recovery process was slow (even for a fit 20 something).  It was painful enough to not want to ever have it done again, so when I reached my late 30′s and became pregnant, one of the very unwelcome side effects of being pregnant seemed to be a recurrence of my varicose veins.  I kind of hoped that once I had had my babies, things would calm down….but 2 pregnancies in 2 years took its toll and my left leg was beginning to resemble spaghetti junction again.

With the power of the internet well and truly behind me and my voracious appetite for research (thanks Dad, who has always told me the famous quote – ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’) I began to look in to what could be done.  Holy SMOKE.  Getting your veins done is like getting your teeth whitened – EVERYONE does it or claims that they can.  That scared me.  Really scared me.  How can so many people claim to be specialists?

Last year sometime The Husband returned from London with an article in Metro on advances in vascular technology and an interesting article on a Dr who had set up in Dorset (yup. really practical!).  I’d looked him up at the time and then had kind of forgotten about the whole thing. Until the power of the internet reconnected me with him.  Dr Haroun Gajraj.  If you want to learn a little more about him, here is a little google clip I found.



So, heres the lowdown.  I called, explained I lived in Oxfordshire – coming to Dorset several times (scans, the procedure and 6 week afterwards for follow up) wasn’t really practical – not a problem because he works out of Transform down near Bristol and a couple of other places as well.

I went for my consultation and was told that I would need Radiofrequency Abalation (VNUS Closure) with Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy and Multiple Phlebectomy  sounds pretty gahhhhh to me!

So lets get some pictures in to show you how things were…This is my leg on the 2nd April



How things looked on the day of the procedure….


What things looked like after


And here is a little vein for you to look at *dry heaves*



Leg 24 hrs later




This is my leg on 24th April



The discolouration is completely normal and I was warned about it.  I’m pretty chuffed that things look this good in less than a month.  The bruising is nearly gone – a couple of areas feel a bit more sensitive than others, but that is to be expected.

So there you go – you can now all rush off and get your veins dealt with and not worry about it any more!  And if you feel really brave, you can take a look at a very similar procedure being done on Dr Gajraj himself – if its good enough for him……

Please quote ‘strawberriesandfacecream’ when you call to get £25 off an initial consultation.

Jeans & tops to put a spring in your step….

The sun is out and I have a spring in my step.  For the SECOND time this week.  If that doesn’t make you want to break out and buy some new clothes, I don’t know what will! Luckily, my fave boutique Woodie & Morris cunningly put together a ‘sunshine’ parcel for me which arrived today full of jeans and tops.  These are the ones that I will be adding to my wardrobe!

Jeans.  I can never have enough.  They are my staple – and I hate buying them because I’m curvy and a lot of jeans look completely ‘MEH’ on my shape…take a look at my previous blog on jeans.  These however, I am really chuffed with.  They have good stretch and what I mean by good stretch is that they keep their shape meaning you won’t be walking round with a baggy bum or baggy knees after wearing them for a day.

Normally I would point you to their lovely website, but these clothes are flying out the shop so quick that if you like what you see, why don’t you call them on 01428 641 771 and you’ll get some great customer service.  If you fancy liking them on Facebook, you can!


top Maison Scotch jeans five units

I haven’t got any ripped up jeans so I was so chuffed that these fit me and they were really flattering on my bum.  They are mid rise – so high enough to catch most of any muffin action but not too high.  I’m wearing a size 28.

Jeans - 5 units

The t-shirt, I wouldn’t have picked out at all if I had been in the shop – never in a month of Sundays, but with a bit of colour (or a spray tan), I think this will be really useful.  A ‘smart’ tshirt you can wear day or night.  Maison Scotch – £47.50  Apologies for the dreadful picture with all the gubbins behind….we are about to move house AGAIN so this blog had to be done in a bit of a rush!

top - maison scotch

I can’t tell you how super chuffed with this shirt I am.  Its going to be worn a lot.  I will go from Cotswolds to Ibiza and back.  I love the detailing on it. (also available in powder blue) and it looks fresh and you definitely won’t see loads of people wearing the same.  Saint Tropez – £34.99

IMG_5080 IMG_5088


This next blue top is really hard to photograph.  Looks like quite a dull blue top hey?  But is NOT!  The detailing is fab – a kind of twist, faux cross over type shape.  It looks great on.  Colour is closer to the top picture (i.e. dark) – I had to play with the light to get the detail to show. Its by St Tropez and retails at £44.99






Last – but NEVER least.  A stripe.  This one is a stripe with more than just a stripe because you get a vest top (shown) and a lovely gold necklace as well.  3 for 1 that’s my top half sorted!   This is Maison Scotch – £69.95


IMG_5095 IMG_5093

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Ok, ok I know these don’t sound like the bomb…..but they ARE. Oats, cottage cheese and banana protein pancakes! Quite frankly if I could get off my lazy bum and make these most mornings, I would! Even The Toddler thinks they are ‘amazing’….and they are quick and easy to make.  They are freezable as well – but I never seem to make a big enough batch!

Why are they good (apart from being tasty)? – Because they are full of protein meaning that they will fill you up nicely.  The oats act as a slow release carbohydrate and the banana acts as a sweetener so you don’t need to smother in maple syrup (thats totally your choice though) and the cinnamon can curb sweet cravings later in the day.  If you add a handful of blueberries, you’ll be getting a nice superfood boost of vitamins C as well.

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes


1/2 cup gluten free old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 medium banana

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites (or just 1 large egg)

1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese

Add ins – blueberries, chocolate chips…..

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes


Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Place all the ingredients in to a blender – I used my Nutribullet.  Blend for 30 seconds until completely smooth.  Lightly coat a large skillet or griddle with Lucy Bee Coconut Oil and heat over a medium/low heat.  Measure each pancake as about 1/4 cup of mixture and drop batter into skillet.  If you are adding blueberries or chocolate chips, add them now.  You want the batter to start bubbling.  Flip them over and cook until they are light brown on both sides.  This will make enough for about 4 biggish pancakes so if you want to make a stack, just double the ingredients!

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Enjoy your pancake day whilst not worrying about treats!

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes


Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

I’m drooling just thinking about these!  Guess whats for breakfast tomorrow!

The one where I learn how to snack!


This blog is aptly named ‘the one where I learn how to snack’.  Someone once said to me ‘I don’t really understand why mini Mars bars are called fun size, when there really is nothing fun about having a small Mars bar’.  Snacks to me are things that people squirrel away when no one is looking, naughty treats and the reason why we get fat.  With this in mind ‘fun size’ anything is going to be easier to shove in your gob than a ‘king size’.  I think that probably goes for anything in this world.  But – Fun isn’t King.

So, imagine my surprise when Mark (my personal trainer) told me that I needed to ‘snack’ and that would help with my sugar dips and ultimately help with my weight loss.  Ooooooooh kaaaaaaaay.  Super bag of FUN everything going in my mental shopping trolley…..I kind of lost him at that part of the conversation only to be rudely bought back to reality when I heard him utter those hideous words.  Carrot.sticks.and.hummus.  Urgh.  Look, I like hummus, its great.  It has a place in the world and thats fine – but WHY do I want to be ‘snacking’ on that every day?  There is nothing fun or Fun Size about that at all!  I probably need to clarify – Mark didn’t use the words ‘snack’ but it was sort of what he meant.

So, why do we need to be fuelling up frequently?  In a nutshell, eating the right foods and snacks at regular intervals is going to keep energy levels constant so that you can function well without cravings – or dips when your blood sugar drops – that lead you to eating something sugary for the ‘high’ that is associated with it.

Based on a normal day if you were eating breakfast at 8am, you would introduce a ‘snack’ or mini meal or whatever you want to call it between 10-11am.  After eating a lunch which combines protein, complex carbohydrates and vegetables, you would then top up at 4pm – (unfortunately a cup of sugary tea and a large slice of cake are not what’s recommended) – and that will take you through until your supper at 7pm ish.  Sounds so easy doesn’t it – and yet I have really struggled with it!

For me, food seems to be produced all the time in this house, leaving me little interest in feeding myself.  I have a 2.5 year old who needs feeding a lot (he seems to have the snack thing totally sorted as well!).  A husband that hovers in the kitchen at specific times of the day, a 6 month old that is being weened – an endless stream of hungry tummies waiting a bit like baby birds with their mouths open for me to fly in to the nest and drop nice worms and bugs into their mouths (yes, husband would probably say some of my cooking resembled bugs and worms). Then once the carnage of each meal time is cleared away….I simply can’t be arsed to feed myself…….then my blood sugar drops……then I get tired…..yada yada yada.

I have found with eating a sensible breakfast (so not a handful of dry shreddies as I walk the dogs and push the pushchair) – the only thing that works for me is PREPARATION.  Thats making things the night before or a couple of days before.  Then all I have to do is grab it out of the fridge and eat it.  No prep, no excuses, no going hungry. To see whether this really works, I am going to prepare and photograph some snacks for my next blog post and let you know how I got on.  I feel exhausted thinking about it, but once the kids are in bed I will be able to focus – and as my first ever manager at work used to say EVERY day (yes he was a prat!) …. Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

Mars Funsize 252g or 14pcs

Post Pregnancy Diet & Fitness – Part 2

Finally I have got round to taking more photos of myself (its not the kind of thing I wake up thinking….yippee, lets pop on a bikini and take selfies!) but I needed to to be able to show you my Post Pregnancy Diet & Fitness – Part 2.  I know I promised pictures before Christmas, but I just ran out of steam.  I kind of regret it now as well as I was doing really well – then Christmas got in the way and although I didn’t eat too badly, I didn’t get to the gym as much as I wanted to.  Anyway, without further ado……here I am 5 months post pregnancy.  I’ve lost inches which is good 3.5 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my waist and 1.5 inches off my boobs so things are going in the right direction and as Mark my personal trainer keeps reminding me, I’m not on a diet.  This is a lifestyle change so dramatic weight loss isn’t the goal although ultimately I will lost the weight that I have put on.

Now that I have concentrated on my core fitness, its time to start upping the pressure and I am going to be running a couple of times a week.  I am not a ‘natural’ runner, so this should be interesting – I hold my breath when I run for the bus…….- but I’d definitely attempt a run over doing a Zumba class which fills me with fear! I am going to do 10km ‘fun’ run with obstacles and wotnot in March.  I must be bonkers!  Anyone want to join, the details are here.









Kick Start Juicing January

My personal trainer has ‘suggested’ (which means I have to do it!) that I do a 5 day juice restart.  Luckily we both sing of the same page when it comes to “detox”.  I think its a word that has been overhyped.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are definite merits in redressing the balance and helping your body – but I wouldn’t call it detoxing. I found this article regarding detoxing and thought it was very sensible – take a peek.

I’m not in to starving or drinking just juices.  With a 5 month old who doesn’t sleep a whole lot, I need my food.  I am also going to the gym 3 x a week and I couldn’t even contemplate that on no food!

So who is with me?  This is a 5 day kick start to get rid of the bad habits you’ve probably got over Christmas *hides the chocolate orange*.

Green curly kale

Kick Start Juicing January

Day 1-3

3 x juices

2 pieces of fruit

3 servings of raw or steamed vegetables

2-3 servings of protein (fish, chicken, eggs, pulses)

Herbal tea or hot water with lemon.


Days 4-5

2 juices

2 pieces of fruit

3 servings of raw or steamed vegetables

2-3 servings of protein (fish, chicken, eggs, pulses)

Dairy – only milk or natural yoghurt


What is on the NO GO list for the 5 days unless stated is


Red Meat





Any processed food

Starchy carbs like potato, rice and pasta

No ham, bacon or processed meats

Once you get to day 5, start to reintroduce the NO GO list back in to your diet, 1 at a time.  Avoid processed food.  Drink 1-2 juices a day varying the combination of vegetable and fruit.  Always have a ratio of 80% vegetable 20% fruit.  There are literally HUNDREDS of juice ideas on Pinterest but take a look at my Pinterest Board for some ideas on Veggie Juices.


How to make the juices (you will need a juicer!)

1 x apple or pear

2 x large carrots

1 slice lemon with rind on

1/4 yellow pepper

3 inches of cucumber

1 celery stick

2 inches broccoli stem

2 inches of beetroot

1 inch of ginger root

1 x large handful or spinach or kale

These juices will keep in the fridge for 12 hours with a little ice thrown in.







Clean Eating Chicken, red rice & roast tomatoes

I love love love love love this!  Its pretty easy to make and tastes really good. Chicken, red rice and tomatoes then add some herbs, cook slowly and you get a wonderful dish which is balanced and delicious as well.

If you haven’t tried red rice then give it a whirl.  Its lovely and nutty and takes less time to cook than brown rice.  It also has a low GI rating.



75g (2 1/2oz) red rice

juice 1 lemon

4 small chicken thigh fillets

1-2 tablespoons dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of Lucy Bee’s coconut oil (or if you don’t have, use olive oil)

1 small onion

2 garlic cloves

4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1 glug of white wine (for the dish, not for you!)

300ml (1/2 pint) chicken or vegetable stock cube

4 medium size tomatoes cut into 1/4′s or a packet of cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Fresh sprigs of marjoram or coriander



Put the red rice in a saucepan and cover with cold water to soak whilst you prepare the chicken.

Lay the chicken thighs out flat and make some superficial criss crosses on the meat (like a lattice) – then rub 1/2 the lemon juice in, sprinkle 1/2 the oregano and season with pepper

Turn the thighs over and repeat on the other side with the criss cross, lemon and oregano.  Now leave them to marinade for at least 15 minutes but a couple of hours would be better.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the onion and cook over a low heat.  Add the ginger and heat gently for a few seconds.  Add the chicken pieces (and more coconut oil if you need) and gently brown the chicken on both sides.  Pour in the white wine and let it bubble, then add the stock, the drained rice and the coriander seeds.  Bring to the boil and turn the heat down and cover.  Simmer gently for 30-35 minutes until the rice is plump and soft.

About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, put your tomatoes into a preheated oven 180degrees/350 farenheit/gas mark 4 in a small baking dish.  Drizzle with coconut oil and season with black pepper.  Roast for 10-15 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the tomatoes placed on the top.