As you may remember from my recent post about lamb kebabs, I am on something of a lamb based journey over the next few months – a meaty pilgrimage if you will – to showcase the ‘Lamb. Try it. Love it.‘ campaign. I’m exploring different cuts of lamb and creating tasty recipes that show that cooking with lamb doesn’t have to be difficult OR expensive.

Today’s recipe ticks both of these boxes – it’s a very simple ‘all in one pan’ dish, that I reckon you can have on the table in 40 minutes. It uses lamb neck fillets, which I have to say is something I would NEVER have thought to buy before, and is easily scalable depending on how many people you’re cooking for. It would work well as a special dinner for two, or scale up the ingredients, add loads of vegetables on the side, and turn it into a feast for family and friends.

The lamb is cooked with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, lemon and honey, and the lemon slices make it look super pretty when it comes out of the oven. This lamb dish would be lovely as a simple supper over Christmas – loads of flavour and style but with minimum effort.

roast lamb neck fillet recipe

How to cook with lamb neck fillets

First things first, you need to buy your neck fillets. I’m sure this is something you could get from the butchers, but I went for these from Tesco. Going by the nutritional information per serving, I would say this would be two generous portions, so that’s what the rest of my measurements are based on. You can be flexible though, depending on how much meat you like, your budget and what side dishes you add in, so take my recipe as a loose guide. View Post

Losing a loved one is never easy, you will experience emotions you’ve never felt before and grief may look like sadness, tears, or even anger and frustration. In order to make the grieving process less stressful, it’s a good idea to ensure you are prepared for the loss of a loved one. Whilst this is a topic we all tend to shy away from, hiding it won’t make it go away and it certainly will not make life any easier for you. There are a few steps to take in order to ensure you are prepared for when the worst happens.

Arrange a Will

It’s best to make a will early on in life, as life itself can be extremely unpredictable and you never know what’s around the corner. It’s also important that your will is made whilst you’re in good health, and it can always be rewritten later on if you change your mind or need to add something to it. Having a will in place makes life much easier when your loved one passes on, as there will be less financial decisions to make and it will also fast-track the process of dividing up any assets or estate. Your loved one can make a will online in as little as ten minutes, so don’t delay.

Spend Time with Your Loved One

Although you may find it hard, if your loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness it’s important to make the most of your remaining time together. Reminisce on your favourite memories, dig out of the old photo albums, talk to each other, create new memories together and don’t forget to say I love you. Don’t hold back from your emotions and feel that you need to put on a brave face, tell them how you feel, as you might not get a second chance to.

Take Care of Yourself

When dealing with sorrow and grief, it’s important that you still practice self-care despite the overwhelming rush of emotions and sadness you will be feeling. Eat wholesome meals, take walks, communicate with close ones and try to relax. It’s important that you don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself, your physical and mental health is important and it’s vital to maintain it. Try not to hide away, as this could cause a negative impact on your emotional health.

Plan the Funeral

Planning a funeral can be an emotional time, but there are people out there who can help with this process so don’t be afraid to seek it. If your loved one is terminally ill, you may decide to start putting together plans for when the worst happens. As morbid as it sounds, this will make the process easier and enable you to grieve instead of researching the cost of a funeral. Speak to a funeral planner and discuss the options available and which packages will best suit your needs. In this case, it’s better to face this head on rather than ignore it, as it will only cause you more stress in the long run.

If you’re a woman who wants to have a baby someday yet isn’t quite ready to start a family, freezing your eggs for future use can be an excellent option. Formally referred to as oocyte cryopreservation, egg freezing enables women to build their careers and create a sound financial footing for themselves before making the huge commitments demanded by motherhood.

Reasons for Egg Freezing

There are several advantages to freezing your eggs. The following are among the most commonly reported reasons for doing so:

• Because you’re simply not ready. If you haven’t met the right person yet or simply want to travel and have other life experiences first, freezing your eggs provides the option of having children when you are older without the constant pressure of a ticking biological clock to contend with.

• To focus on a career. If you have ambitious professional aspirations, starting a family later in life can better help you to achieve them. Further, waiting until you are older to conceive should leave you in a better financial position to support your child and possibly even enable you to purchase a home.

• When you have medical problems. Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can have a significant effect on your fertility. Freezing your eggs before treatment will allow you to have a healthy baby after you are finished, even if you must use a surrogate.

• When you are facing divorce or job loss. Financial uncertainty can make you reconsider becoming a parent. But when your life situation improves, you’ll know you’ll be able to depend on your frozen eggs, even if a few years have passed and you haven’t met a new partner.

Considerations

Before you freeze your eggs, however, there are a few other factors to consider:

• The process is expensive. If you need to have eggs extracted more than once, and many women do, the costs can quickly add up. You will also have to pay for the actual storage of the eggs. This can run into hundreds of dollars every year. If you’re struggling financially, egg freezing may well be out of reach for you.

• Some eggs will be lost. Even if you have your eggs harvested numerous times, it’s likely that some of them will not be usable in the future. The reasons for this include not freezing, thawing or fertilizing properly, as well as not being implanted at the right stage. The birth rate for frozen eggs is currently only about 18 percent.

• The eggs may not result in a pregnancy. Generally, the younger you are when you have your eggs harvested the better, but that’s no guarantee of having a baby later on. Your age, your health, and the sperm used all play a role in a successful pregnancy.

• A pregnancy may be high risk. If you’re over age 38 when you decide to become pregnant, your pregnancy is likely to be more complicated and carry more risks, even if your eggs were harvested in your 20s. This is something you will need to discuss with your doctor.

• You may never use the eggs. There are many reasons for this, including aging, life circumstances, a spontaneous pregnancy or simply changing your mind about having children. In this potential scenario, you will have spent a great deal of money for nothing.

Freezing your eggs is a big, important decision. You must consider your life and work situation, your finances, whether you want a partner or would prefer to raise your child alone. Speaking with a health professional and thoroughly researching nearby fertility clinics and egg freezing facilities will help you to make the right choices about your potential future family.

Choosing the right bra size can be more an art than a science. Anyone who has ever bought the wrong size knows how uncomfortable a poorly fitted bra can be. The best way to choose a bra that fits well is to take proper measurements.

While there are different systems for measuring, the best one takes into account the body’s movements so that you have the right amount of support no matter what activities you choose. These tips help take the guesswork out of bra sizing so you can focus on comfort and style.

  1. A Basic Measurement

A basic measurement uses a soft tape measure to get numbers for the underbust and the fullest part of the bust. This is the method most store fittings will offer, and it suffices to get close to the right fit.

However, this simple way of calculating size doesn’t always lead to the best fit. Nobody stands up straight in the same position all day long, and that method of sizing does not account for movements.

  1. A More Comprehensive Measurement

To get a more comprehensive size calculation, measure the under bust at different tension levels. You can do this by taking three under bust measurements at various levels of tension using a soft tape measure. Take a loose measurement, a snug one, and then pull the tape as tight as you can for a tight measurement. Keep track of each measurement. By having more than one measurement, you get an average.

Next, take bust measurements in three different positions: standing, leaning over, and lying down. Plug your numbers into a sizing calculator to get a recommendation. Many people who use this system for the first time find that it recommends a larger cup and smaller band than what they’re used to wearing. That’s not a bad thing.

Many people spend years wearing the wrong size, and notice a drastic difference when they put on a correctly sized bra for the first time.

  1. A Method to Check Band Comfort

To check for band fit only, try on a bra with the cups at the back. This makes it easier to tell whether the band itself is comfortable. If it digs into your skin, try the next size up. It should fit snugly without being too loose or too tight.

A comfortable fitting band is absolutely crucial. If it’s too tight or loose, it is not the right size. Because band sizes only come in whole sizes, it may be necessary to choose a size larger or a size smaller. Be aware that choosing a smaller band may require going with a larger cup.

Also, be aware that when you’re buying different brands, you might need to get familiar with sister sizing in order to get the size you want in a brand that doesn’t carry your size. At its most basic, this means going up a cup size if you go down a band size and vice versa.

  1. Sports Bra Band Sizing

Always choose the smallest fitting band size when purchasing a sports bra. Choosing a looser band for highly physical activities can lead to injuries. For larger breasts, underwire offers additional support and is generally recommended. People with less volume can generally do without it.

  1. Consider the Straps

Most bras have straps that can be adjusted to fit any size shoulders. They need to be set so that they are neither loose nor so tight that they dig into the skin. If the bra does not have adjustable straps, it is important that it fits well initially.

Sports bras come in as many different styles as other types of bras, so if you have a hard time getting a good fit in one that does not have adjustable straps, you may need to find one you can adjust.

Finding your correct bra size can be done at home using a soft tape measure and a calculating tool. While it may be tempting to just buy the size you’ve always gotten, it’s never a bad idea to check again. Bodies change over time, and having a good fit means being comfortable, supported, and uplifted.

With the daylight barely lasting until 5pm these days, it can be difficult to imagine that just a few months ago we were sat outside in the balmy summer air at 10pm with a light jacket. The cold weather and long nights can be really depressing, even with the Christmas spirit pouring in thick and fast as we make our way through December.

It’s never too early to start thinking about a summer holiday, and even though Christmas is expensive, with teletext cheap holidays starting deposits from just £49 what’s stopping you spending your cosy evenings indoors planning the perfect affordable summer holiday?

I’ve been having a look online for some inspiration of places to visit. If you fancy it, start a little Pinterest board of cool and fun places you’d like to go so you definitely remember them for the summer. Here are some of my favourite destinations at the moment.

Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona before, but there’s so much to see and do there that you always need more time than you think you will. A lot of people travelling go to Barcelona for a day trip while visiting other parts of Spain, but I’d fancy turning it into a holiday in itself. If you love the beaches more than anything you could go for an all inclusive resort and spend most of your time relaxing, or if soaking up culture is more your thing then you could head into the city and try loads of local restaurants. Maybe I could put into practice those weeks I spent learning Spanish to go on a date?

holidays in barcelona View Post

Winter is coming, and as temperatures plummet your energy usage is more likely to be going in the opposite direction – but that doesn’t mean you have to spend the next few months fretting about your bills. Let’s identify some of the ways in which you can cut down your energy bills not just in winter, but all year round.

Kitchen

Next time you boil the kettle, make sure you only boil as much water as you need to. Filling and boiling a full load every time is costing you extra money, as is any build-up of limescale on the inside of the kettle. Try to descale it on a regular basis, or else you’ll end up using more energy to boil the same amount of water. As an added bonus you can spend the money you’ve saved here on a special energy-efficient kettle!

Another easy way to cut down on your energy bills here is to make sure you only fully load the washing machine, rather than doing half or even quarter-full washes. The higher the temperature of the wash the more energy you’ll be using, so try to wash clothes at a maximum of 30ºC, only increasing the temperature for heavily stained clothes. Doing this will save you around £9 a year, which may not seem like much on its own, but it’s all about the cumulative effect of these little savings.

Lastly, there are plenty of savings to be had by using your fridge and freezer more efficiently. Did you know, for instance, that your fridge has to expend more energy to cool hot food that is placed in there? By letting it cool down on the side beforehand you can save yourself even more money.

Bathroom & Lounge

According to the Energy Saving Trust, if everyone in a family of four replaced one bath a week with a five-minute shower, they would save up to £20 a year. And after you’ve stepped out of the shower, you can ensure you don’t waste up to six litres of water a minute by not leaving the tap running whilst brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face. For another £10 yearly saving, all you have to do is cut a minute off your time in the shower. These small savings are really starting to add up, right?

The amount of electrical items that eat up energy whilst left on standby might surprise you. It’s worth checking all of the plug sockets around your house and getting into the habit of switching things off at the mains, rather than just putting them on standby. And whilst your kitchen and bathroom appliances are often left on standby, the worst offenders are likely to be found in your lounge or bedroom. TVs are probably the best-known energy-drainers in this area, but games consoles use just as much energy in idle mode as they do when you’re using them, whilst leaving your mobile phone on charge overnight is also a big no-no in the world of energy saving.

By simply changing a few of your daily habits you can make a series of small energy savings that really add up to big long-term savings. Good luck!