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I’ve come out of blogging hybernation to wish my bestest friend in the world a huge Happy Birthday! We are now old farts in the world together 😀 I love you like a fat kid loves birthday cake, amooot feeeeech :**

P.S I’ll be back to blogging soon, just kinda lost all passion for it at the moment, you can find me on twitter. Oh and I deleted the forum, it MAY be back in the New Year, it just depends how I feel.

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I love this little guy! Here he is sleeping next to me in bed snoring his little head off! He does the cutest little things. Right now, if I say to him “Love you” he runs up to me, jumps on me and wiggles his nose on my hand

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West Coast Rapper Warren G (step brother of Dr. Dre) best known for his song Regulate is back on the scene with his latest self produced album “The G Files” which is out on September 29th. He is back collaborating with Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg who helped make him famous in the first place.

I got hold of his album & am sharing 2 of my favourite tracks off of it which I’ve been playing on repeat most of the day:

Cupcakes! Who doesn’t love cupcakes? They cheer you up when you’re down, give you a sugar rush when you need it most & are addictive as hell! These cupcakes are no exception, in fact they are so addictive you can’t just have one!

Cupcake Ingredients:
60g soft unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons white vinegar
Cupcake Tray filled with paper cases

Cupcake Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put the butter and the sugar in a bowl and use a hand held electric whisk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well mixed.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added.

3. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

4. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top. This recipe makes approx 20 cupcakes.

Frosting Ingredients:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g soft unsalted butter
125g cream soft cheese

Frosting Method:
1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a bowl using a hand held electric whisk on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is well mixed. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy making sure you don’t over beat it

2. Frost your cupcakes with a knife or an icing bag and then top with extra toppings of your choice. I topped it with 5 different things: sprinkles, crushed oreo’s, cake crumbs, pink sugar flakes & icing balls & bunny rabbit.

A while ago I was sent a pair of Skechers Shape-Up to review by Fuel My Blog. While taking Shape-Ups out of the box, I noticed that not only did it include a pair of white & baby blue trainers (which just so happen to be my favourite color!) but also included a booklet & DVD on how to walk & make the most out of them.

Before wearing the Shape-Ups, I flicked through the booklet which highlighted that they are designed to promote weight loss & tone muscles in various areas in your body without having to step inside a gym (yaay to that!), not to mention:

    1. Strengthen the back
    2. Firm calf and buttock muscles
    3. Reduce cellulite and tone your thighs
    4. Increase cardiovascular health
    5. Improve posture
    6. Reduce stress on knee and ankle joints

Designed to improve your life by changing the way you walk, Shape-Ups feature a unique soft kinetic wedge insert and dynamic rolling bottom to simulate walking barefoot on a giving surface that gives such as sand. With the comfort of Shape Ups, you will feel your heel sink to the ground as you step, roll forward as your weight shifts to its center, and push off with your toes. This movement will result in stronger leg, buttock, back and abdominal muscles as you stabilize your steps

Source: Skechers Shape-Ups booklet

Putting them on my feet for the first time they felt extremely weird, I couldn’t get my balance positioned correctly on them, it felt I was walking on 4 inch heels and going to fall over. It took a while to get used to them because you basically have to train yourself to walk in a different way because they are totally unlike normal trainers and the soles are designed to have a rocking effect which sinks your heel into the ground then roll you forward before pushing your weight off your toes. It took around 5 minutes before I could start walking in them properly which at first seemed a little crazy but the more I walked around on them in the house the more it felt like I was walking on air, or clouds or a sponge and are unbelievably comfortable which makes a change for trainers which I usually detest, in fact the pair I own (also Skechers) I haven’t worn in over 2 years.

It has been a while since I started wearing them and I honestly love them, not only me but my mom has started wearing them at times as well (the downfall of having the same size feet?) and she has remarked that they are very comfortable and even helped reduce the muscle pain in her knees due to arthritis which make wearing normal flat shoes very sore for her. I’ve noticed that while wearing them, my posture changed by becoming straighter while walking, something which I’ve been trying to fix for years. After hurting my lower spine, and getting a rather nasty spinal injection, I attended 6 months of physiotherapy at Inspire Health, which helped immensely! The muscles in my legs felt like they were stronger while walking Doggy Dog in the park and one thing that made me fall in love with these trainers was when I was out shopping all day wearing my normal ballet pump shoes and my feet were killing me, in particular the heels of my feet. I then got home, put on the Shape-Ups and the pain virtually went away, I couldn’t feel the pain in my heels anymore. I put this down to the special kinetic wedge insert which raises the heel of your foot slightly.

Overall, they are an amazing pair of trainers which I will be wearing time and time again while walking doggy dog (or running errands as my mom does when she steals them off me!) and would recommend them to anyone who asks. I’ve already had people on Twitter ask me about them and told whoever asks that they are amazing. Do they help you loose weight? Well I’m already on a diet loosing 2 stone (13kg) for far without any gym time and with any exercise it needs your own willpower and effort, you can’t put the trainers on and suddenly start loosing weight (otherwise they will be surgically attached to my feet!) but because they are so comfortable, they make you walk for longer periods which in turn helps you loose weight.

Available in various colors, they are approx £90 and worth every single penny!

A while ago Jackie & I thought about starting our own blog design business because of the amount of requests we get to design for people. So, we thought why not & have now set up JAM Dish. Our little business based in the UK, Kuwait & New York.

Why JAM Dish? Well J & M are our initials so it was an easy choice, the Dish part came from trying to pic something that fitted with JAM. In the end we chose Dish because we dish out design creations all over the interwebz 😀

We have already completed our first client which was a customized website & forum for Kuwait Crohn’s. A website which acts as an information point & support group for suffers of Crohn’s Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Kuwait.

Our own website has not been completed yet as we are building up our portfolio some more before launching our website in full but in the meantime you can go to JAM Dish & register your interest in the site which will subscribe you to all news when the site is live.

You can also join our Facebook Page to see what we are up to or you can good ol’ fashion email us at: jam[at]jamdish.com.

Ingredients:
115g unsalted softened butter
50g granulated white sugar
1 large egg
140g all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
100g of your choice of nuts, finely chopped (I used a mini food processor to finely chop them into pieces)
A jar of your favourite flavour of jam (I choose Strawberry)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180°c. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk (separate yolk from the white) and beat until combined.

3. Siv the flour into the bowl (so there are no lumps) with the mix and a pinch of salt beating until mixed thoroughly into a dough.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy and place your choice of chopped nuts on a plate. In your hands, roll the dough into small balls. Taking one ball of the dough at a time, dip into the egg white and then roll into the nuts coating it completely. Place each ball on the baking tray and using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball filling the indents with 1/2 a teaspoon of jam.

5. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown. Once ready, remove from oven and cool down before eating. These little cookies are golden brown on out outside & taste like buttery shortbread inside, perfect with a glass of chilled milk 😀

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While out looking at flooring for the house renovations the other week, the car tyre on my mom’s car went flat.

No biggie right?

Well wrong! The nut bolts were too tight so we couldn’t get them off to change it. Mom then calls her insurance company as she has breakdown service with them to get them to come out to us.

This is when the problems start!

Unknowingly, my mom’s europe wide breakdown coverage was canceled in 2008 without prior knowledge. It is supposed to carry on automatically yearly, but now they are saying its void. Mom was so pissed off, we were stuck in a shopping car park in the pouring rain and a flat tyre! Mom shouted down the phone and said once her motor trade insurance was up in October, she’ll be looking elsewhere!

We then call my brother & ask him to come rescue us, which he does 30 mins later. In the meantime while waiting, mom calls up The AA breakdown service which she pays for but on my brother’s car. She explains the situation to them and they quickly change the breakdown coverage into joint names (paying extra) so that it can be used on any car and they organized someone to be out within the hour.

My brother then arrives and manages to get the nuts off after several attempts, jacks the car up, takes off the flat tyre, puts the spare tyre on the car, tightens it all back up…. Then The AA guy turns up lol! The AA guy then checks to see if the nuts are tight enough and pumps the tyre with some air and after signing paperwork sets us on our way…. To a garage to buy new tyres!

Moral of the story?

Yay to brothers who can change tyre’s
Yay to The AA for coming out fast
Boo to Norwich Union Insurance Company! Make sure you choose another one, click here to compare rates, should be even cheaper, I bet.

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Ingredients:
1 Lemon Cut into Quarters
2 Tbsp Runny Honey
50ml White Wine (or White Grape Juice)
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
Handful of Chopped Fresh Parsley
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
8 Small Chicken Thighs
500g Baby New Potatoes
1 Red Onion, Halved & Sliced
Low Fat Cooking Spray

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°c. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a large bowl and add the squeezed out lemon into the bowl as well. Stir in the honey, wine, tomato puree, basil and parsley. Season well and add the chicken stirring to coat. Set aside to marinate.

2. Half the baby new potatoes and add then into a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and cool under running water. Then place them in a large casserole dish. Scatter the onion on top, season well and mist with low fat spray.

3. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and drizzle with the marinade. Roast for 1 hour turning the chicken over every now & then until cooked.

4. Plate up & enjoy with added vegetables if you want. I used whole baby carrots ^_^

This recipe takes approx 5 minutes to prepare & 1.5 hrs to cook. Serving 4, it has 372 calories per serving or 5.5 Weight Watchers Points

Ingredients for Curry Paste:
4 Shallots chopped roughly
4 Garlic Cloves chopped roughly
3 Green Chillies chopped roughly
2 inch piece of Fresh Ginger grated
3 Lemon Grass Stems sliced (or use 3 tsps of a jar of lemon grass already mushed up)
Zest & Juice of 1 Lime
4 tsp Water
Handful of Coriander

Method:
Place all the ingredients into a mini blender and whizz it all up until all slushy 😀

Ingredients for Curry:
Low Fat Cooking Spray
400g Peeled Butternut Squash cut into chunks
1 Small Aubergine cut into chunks
Curry Paste (all of what you made above)
400ml can of Light Coconut Milk
200ml of Chicken or Vegetable Stock made from 1/2 a stock cube
400g Skinned Chicken Breast cut into strips
100g of Green Beans halved
1 tbsp of Whole Peppercorns
Handful of Coriander

Method:
1. Heat a large pan and spray some low fat spray adding the squash along with a generous splash of water. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add the aubergine adding more water if necessary. This is to prevent the vegetables sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for a further 3 minutes, then turn down the heat stirring in the curry paste you made previously.

2. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes more stirring, then gradually add in the Coconut Milk and then the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the chicken and beans simmering for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the peppercorns and scatter the Coriander on top.

3. Add cooked white rice onto your plate, add your Thai Green Curry and enjoy 😀

This recipe takes approx 15 minutes to prepare & 30 minutes to cook. Serving 4, it has 497 calories per serving or 7.5 Weight Watchers Points