Welcome to my first ever entry for The Sibling Project run by Lucy at Dear Beautiful

Sibling Project Simply Stacey

The Sibling Project is run monthly and encourages you to take photos of your children together. I love seeing these each month and have the entries have really inspired myself to take part. I originally wanted my new camera for vlogging, but have recently found myself wanting to try and improve my photography skills.

I originally was planning a photoshoot outside last Saturday doing a fun family filled activity. But thanks to Rowan having a cold, we were struck down by his germs and have been full of cold all of the weekend. Sunday night, I was finally feeling a little better and decided to have a go at trying to take some photos and I am so glad I did. Josie has been desperate to be twinning with Rowan and was over the moon when I found these tops in H&M.

I loved the idea behind The Sibling Project as it makes you take the time out of busy schedules and come together to make happy memories and documenting this. We done our photoshoot in the comfort of our home and trying out mummy’s new photography lights and the kids absolutely loved this. You can see by the photos above that Rowan kept getting the giggles. The only issue during our shoot is Josie is so tall considering she is only eight years old. So trying to get a picture of them together can be tricky.

My Favourite Photo

Below is my favourite photo from the shoot. Funnily enough it wasn’t even going to be a main picture. It was one of those where you go click happy and hope for the best. I love the lighting especially in this photo and the kids look absolutely adorable Even though Rowan is looking away in the picture, this is certainly my most favourite picture.

Simply Stacey Siblings Project

I am glad I have took part in The Siblings Project and encourage you too. It makes you take those photos that you have been meaning to take. I am already looking forward to the next one.

Stacey

 

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful
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As soon as I had seen the trailer I knew I was going to love this film. If you are looking for a film to see at the cinema then I highly recommend seeing the 20th Century Fox musical about P.T.Barnum….. The Greatest Showman

Greatest Showman

Originally we went to see Ferdinand last week for a cinema treat on that awkward week between Christmas and New Year. You know the week, where you can’t think what day it is and full up on turkey and cheese. I went with Josie who loves watching films and is a real little film buff. We sat through the trailers of Early Man, The Isle of Dogs (if you loved Fantastic Mr Fox with taxidermy looking animals then this film is for you) and then came The Greatest Showman. The trailer instantly made me want to see the film, not just because Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron was eye candy and my favourite actors but the story, the song used in the trailer also drew me in. I loved the feel of the song and found this complimented the trailer perfectly.

The Greatest Showman is directed by Michael Gracey and wrote by Bill Condon and Jenny Bicks. This is actually Michael’s directing debut and what an impressive first film. The Greatest Showman is a period musical inspired by the story of the talented P.T.Barnum and his star attractions. The story shows how P.T.Barnum rose from being nothing to a worldwide sensation. In real lift I was interested to learn The Barnum & Bailey Circus was brought by Ringling Bros. and the circus closed on May 21st 2017 after 146 years in operation, due to low attendance and high costs.

The film boasts a large array of well known and talented actors such as Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson. I felt they all play the parts so well, Hugh Jackman really brings his character to life and has such energy during the film you can tell he really loved making the movie. Zac Efron and Zendaya have an explosive chemistry that is beautiful to watch. As I have been obsessing over the film since I saw it, I have watched many behind the scene videos and interviews and how they all got on is great to see. You can tell they all loved making this film. I was astounded at the trapeze skills from Zendaya. During the scene for Rewrite The Stars, the work Zac and Zendaya put into this is out of this world.

I won’t got to in depth about the film as I don’t want to share any spoilers. One thing I loved is how much warmth you feel to the starts of the Barnum Circus. To see how they suffer from people not accepting any abnormalities really makes you feel for the characters. This film is great for showing that everyone no matter how different they are all are important and have feelings. You really get a sense of unity during the film, I loved this as it doesn’t focus on the characters abnormalities but shows how they come together and how they overcome small minded peoples views.

Greatest Showman

So the soundtrack (at time of writing this post) is currently number No.1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart, and oh my days the soundtrack is nothing short of awesome! I have had this on loop, i am not even being dramatic here….I have had this constantly playing on my spotify. I even brought the CD for the car. Myself and Josie are obsessed with the songs. I like all of the songs and the more you listen to the words the more the songs have real meanings. My favourites have to be the Golden Globes 2018 Best Original ‘This Is Me’ performed by the talented Keala Settle. Make sure you look on YouTube for a video of Keala singing in rehearsals, the energy and emotion is outstanding. I read a review of autotune and CGI heavily used and makes this not believable. When you see the rehearsal videos of Keala and Hugh Jackman then you will see how talented these people are.

From Now On performed by Hugh Jackman is so catchy. This is on par in my favourite alongside with This Is Me. The part in the film is beautifully done and the dancers are amazing. They should be shown more as they are so talented. The dancers with the white hair, albino looking really stood out for me and you are bound to notice their talents in the film. The Greatest Show has also grown on me the more I have listened, such a catchy feel good tune. I could carry on but you can guess I totally love this soundtrack. For me not even skipping any songs as each one is excellent really shows that the songwriters have done such an excellent job and each song used in the film portrays each scene perfectly.

It is no secret I loved The Greatest Showman and everything about it. The songs, the acting, the story, the costumes …. for me everything was spot on and concludes to produce an excellent film. We have already seen this twice and I have preordered the DVD. I am planning to go again with Antony over my birthday as he even said it looks good from the trailer and me harping on about it. I haven’t been this excited about a film since the last years Beauty and The Beast which we have the movie poster framed in the living room, which we have ordered the same for The Greatest Showman.

I would love to hear if you also have enjoyed the film? Or are you planning to go and watch soon?

Stacey

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I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and New Year. I am entering 2018 with a mission….to make 2018 My Year

My Year 2018

As soon as January rolls round everyone starts creating New Year’s Resolutions. This year I am going to be no different to most of the population on Earth. I want to start 2018 as a new canvas for myself and my blogging, and New Years Resolutions seems an excellent time to put this in effect. The difference from the other years goals is I WILL try my hardest to accomplish this years goals. Since rebranding my blog, I have had a huge boost to make this a success. I really want to take my blog and push it as much as I possibly can.

I received a fabulous Blog Planner by Dot Creates from Antony for Christmas, I have already started using this and it has helped so much for me to be organised. I will be showing more of this in an upcoming post. I have a new separate planner for personal use. Using both simultaneously has made it much easier for me to plan like a pro. I am going to try and keep to a schedule as much as I possibly can whilst being a working mummy.

SimplyStacey

I am trying to join more of the blogging community and entering some regular linkies on my blog and YouTube channel. I am going to try and do more photography and these will be included in the linkies I am joining. I got a new camera for Christmas from my awesome mum, which I wanted for vlogging originally. But playing with it I have really enjoyed taking photos and want to improve my non existent skills.

This week I have teamed up with my best friend Estelle at Estellosaurus and we have launched our idea which has been in the pipeline for a while. We have discussed a few times setting up our own group and finally 2018 we have launched The Blog Network. We hope to grow a collective blogging community group and help promote bloggers and make some new friends along the way. With my marketing experience and Estelle’s excellent writing skills and creativity I am positive this will be a success. Be sure to join us on Twitter every last Wednesday of the month for a monthly chat.

The Blog nETWORK

I also have finally launched my YouTube Channel. This is a goal I have wanted to do for a while but have not had the confidence, I still don’t entirely but I have pushed myself to do this. I uploaded my first vlog with a post ‘Get To Know Me’ and now I have uploaded my face chatting away to the world, I feel pretty damn proud of myself. I worry about how I look and am not confident about myself but I am trying to get past this. Now I have done an upload and received some lovely messages of support from fellow bloggers, I am already feeling my confidence slowly being boosted. I really enjoy being creative and making family memories and I know I will enjoy making YouTube videos. I know with my hectic schedule this is the one I wont be able to do as often as I like, but hopefully I will work a way of achieving a successful channel.

The most used New Years Resolution of ‘Go On A Diet’ is as always on my list. This time I really need to do this, for my own health and confidence. I feel like doing this and I determined to be a yummy mummy. I also want to be fitter and healthier and am looking in to the most achievable and affordable ways to help me. I am really interested to try yoga, I have never tried it before nor been interested but for some reason recently I have really fancied to have a go. I also want to do more self help for myself this year. I don’t take enough time for me, I am constantly putting everyone else first. I actually took the day off work to myself today and this has totally rejuvenated my morale. I also want to take more time for pampering, wether a facial or massage, having my hair done today has made me feel so relaxed and like I have made an effort with myself. I have been suffering with my anxiety rearing it’s ugly head again and this causes me to go in overdrive worrying. Estelle has been super awesome listening to me rant on. This year I am determined to put this at bay and stand up for myself more.

I am determined to make 2018 a productive and positive year. Have you any plans for 2018?

Stacey

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I was challenged by Panasonic to do a post showing food prep tips and how we save money with our food shopping. For this challenge I chose to shop at Aldi. Read on for some of the meals we managed to make last week. See here for an excellent range of Panasonic microwave oven. I particularly like the look of the ovens that boast Turbo Steam.

 

Aldi Food Haul

Normally I will do our weekly food shops online using Tesco, mainly as I get clubcard points and it is easy to plan and not go over budget. For this challenge I decided on going to Aldi. We have a newish store about 15 minutes away which I popped in recently for a top up shop and was so impressed at the quality and prices. This occasion I didn’t have a plan of dinners and went freestyle as I went round the store. I also done some stocking up for Christmas and Half Term in addition to food for meals. This came to a total of £77.07 and has lasted us 2 weeks for dinner as a family of four point two children.

I try to make ingredients go into different meals to be cost effective and less waste. Some tips and examples of ingredients I can make go further and use on multiple meals. I try to plan this when food planning. This is the base of me deciding which meals we will have for the week. Chicken I find extremely versatile and can be made to go in so many meals.

  • Sweet Potatoes: Chips, Wedges, Sweet Potato Dahl, Soup, Jacket Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Mash, Crisps
  • Chicken: Chicken Nuggets, Chicken and Leek Puff Slices, Chicken and Stuffing Sandwiches, Chicken Curry, Risotto, Casserole
  • Bacon: Risotto, Chicken wrapped in bacon, Macaroni Cheese, Omelette, Quiche, Carbonara

These ingredients are in most of my weekly shops as they are so versatile and can make so many meals. A good tip of making meals go further is go on a health kick, pack it out with salad. This way you use less main meal which means the meal will go further. If possible I try to do leftover boxes, wether these are for lunch or for freezing for another day. Again this eliminates the waste and makes more meals. If I am using white potatoes and have a few left I will make a mash for a lunch or one of the kids in the freezer. One of my favourites is to add tinned tuna and salad cream to the mash.

 

On working days with work and picking up children for childcare we are commuting for a good hour until we arrive home. Then is the rush of walking the dog, homework, spellings, bathtime, children in bed and cooking dinner so we tend to have quicker meals on days we are both working. Rowan goes to nursery and Josie goes to after school club which they have a tea meal and a cooked school/nursery lunch so both tend to just have a snack when home.

Non working weekdays I have found it easier to sit the kids down earlier for their dinner and we will have ours when Antony is home or after the kids are in bed. Then we make sure to eat as a family weekends. Below I have listed some of the meals we had from this shop:

Thai Chicken Stirfry

As we don’t normally go to Aldi we went for some different meals than I would normally plan as a treat. First up we had Thai Chicken Stirfry (£2.99). The Stirfry kit contained chicken and vegetables plus a Thai sauce. The chicken was quite big chunks which to make go further I cut these smaller. Then I served with Microwave Rice which I had in the cupboard. This meal took me under 10 minutes to prep and cook and was so filling and went down well with the hubby.

Aldi Thai Chicken

Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Chops, Parmentier Potatoes and Asparagus in Bacon

Next I done Lamb Chops in Rosemary and Garlic (£3.49) with Parmentier Potatoes (£0.90) with a side of Asparagus (£1.35) wrapped in Streaky Bacon (£1.39). I only used a few rashers of bacon and the rest went into more meals. Considering I done this on a worknight, again it only took 25-30 mins from prep to finish. This was no doubt my favourite meal. The lamb was done to perfection. I chose to oven cook these rather than grill and smoke out the house.

Chicken Wrapped in Bacon, Double Cooked Roast Potatoes and Sweetcorn

Another meal which was on a non working day was one of our favourites as a family. Chicken (£5.35) wrapped in Bacon. This was the same streaky bacon used previously. The extra chicken we used to make chicken nuggets. With this meal we had roast potatoes and sweetcorn, the kids had homemade chips and beans. For the childrens dinner I cooked their chicken first. Josie wanted bacon on her chicken like us. Rowan has trouble chewing so I just done him chicken, he shares his chicken with Bibi the dog and Pickles the cat as they are huge sized chicken breasts. The potatoes I used for the chips went on to make our roast potatoes and the rest went on for a tuna mash for the following day.

I cooked ours for Antony coming home whilst the kids ate their dinner. I had previously parboiled the potatoes which I forgot to set a timer and ended up over parboiling. So being a clever housewife, I still roasted them then a few minutes before serving I cut them up and sautéed them with some Parmesan. Another quick dinner trick, cook frozen roast potatoes and do the same as above once cooked. You can really spruce them up to make a scrumptious accompaniment to your meal.

We also have planned Sweet Potato Dahl and a hard boiled egg side which makes enough for dinner, lunch and a frozen couple of batches. Gammon Steaks with homemade sweet potato chips/wedges and fried egg. We will also have Risotto which is brilliant for left overs, I always use Parmesan and will use the last of the bacon and frozen leeks from the freezer. I also brought soup mix which I pack out with red lentils also used in the Sweet Potato Dahl to make this go further. Overall I was very impressed with Aldi and will certainly be going again.

I enjoyed trying different meals and was amazed at the price difference. The quality of the fruit and vegetables was amazing. This was a plus from online ordering as you can choose the ones you like the look of. As with Primark and Homesense, Aldi is on my Wishlist for sites that I wish done deliveries.

Do you plan your meals? Have you any tips for meal prepping like a pro?

Stacey

 

*** Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All words and pictures are my own.
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