Happy Easter!

At Easter we think of all things chocolate and I was keen to find a healthy chocolate chip brownies recipe.
Healthy Chocolate Chip Brownies

Healthy chocolate chip brownies recipe

I can highly recommend this one from  popular blogger Madeline Shaw and Linwoods , the leading producer of natural and organic milled superfoods, seeds and nuts.

Chocolate Chip and Flaxseed Blondie Brownies

 2 medium organic eggs

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp of cinnamon

175g of almond butter

120g coconut sugar

1 tsp baking soda

100g of good quality dark chocolate, ( brand -om bar)

2 tbsp of Linwoods milled flax seeds 

 

Preheat oven 160°C and line a 20cm baking tray with baking paper.

 

Mix the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, almond butter, coconut sugar, baking soda and a pinch of salt until smooth.

 

Break 50g of the chocolate into small pieces. Mix the chocolate and flax seeds in with the mixture.

 

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes, then leave to cool.

 

Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the cooled brownies.

 

Cut into 16 pieces and enjoy.

 

These will keep for 3 days in an airtight container (but they will probably last 1 minute!)

 

It will be a very Happy New Year for bloggers in 2012 thanks to a major new blogging platform, Olympic Blogger.

If you thought blogging was fun before, it is just about to get a whole lot better.

Here are some of the new developments revealed here exclusively.

1. When you start a blog, you will have the option of signing up for a tool that will promote it automatically on major social networks, women’s magazines, parenting networks and national newspapers.

2. Smellibloggism will be an option enabling visitors to breathe in tantalising smells of your cookery, recipes or fragrance-related reviews.

3. When people leave a comment on your blog, they will be colour-coded from “very heartfelt comment” to “just being nice” to “positively hostile”.

4. Tastybloggism will allow visitors to taste your food or mouthwatering product reviews.

5. Every Olympic Blogger will be allocated one exclusive meme developped by social media experts that with development will lead to a huge increase in pageviews and unique visitors. All memes will have the potential to be monetised leading to new income streams for bloggers.

6. TouchyFeelybloggism will allow visitors to reach out and give you a cuddle when you need it, to give you a pat on the back when earned and to touch your crafts, review products and so on.

7. Every Olympic blogger will be allocated an experienced mentor so that they will be informed about all the useful tools straightaway rather than having to learn them over a period of weeks, months or years.

8. Olympic Blogger will provide daily prompts for those days when you are too bloggered to blog.

9. Olympic Blogger will hold regional events enabling information, training, motivation, networking and access to public relations people to take place outside London. All Olympic Blogger events will have childcare available for all ages up to 16 or pay expenses for the same. There will also be a travel fares pool enabling better off bloggers who are kind-hearted enough to do so to support cash-strapped bloggers.

10. Olympic Blogger will hold an Awards Ceremony for bloggers ever year. All Olympic bloggers will receive an award recognising their individual talents thus removing any negative in-fighting between bloggers when, frankly, there are bigger battles in the world to fight.

Olympic Blogger membership costs £100 per annum. The first 200 bloggers to sign up get free membership.

With 4 weeks to the official launch of Olympic Blogger, developments can be tweaked or added to. Comments are, therefore, welcomed.

Christmas this year feels weird. I still do not know exactly where I will be spending it or who will be there.

Last year, my brother came and told me that I did not give him a warm enough welcome. Now let me see. Myself and Him Indoors were just on the putting ourselves back together again after a rocky patch. Him Indoors worked Christmas Eve and I wanted him home so we could do all those last minute jobs. You know the ones like insisting on finding the last jar of cranberry sauce in the shops even though the chances of anyone wanting it are minimal.

I had spent ages putting up cards, cleaning and decorating the house, planning menus and so on. Was it enough for brother dearest? Hell no!

My daugher had said she wanted to surprise her Uncle and had decorated his room. She had a 6 year old creative’s concept of decoration and white polysterhene balls featured as snow. My darling brother hit the roof about this upsetting both her and me. He made a big song and dance about trying to remove every vestige of them from his room saying he had certain standards and would not compromise on them.

Meanwhile, the children were excited as children are supposed to be on Christmas Eve.

I remember sending fuming emails to Him Indoors asking when he would be home to contribute to family life.

I mean, how much actual work ever gets done in offices on Christmas Eve?

Anyway, at one point, I actually contemplated spending Christmas upstairs with the children. You see, we are in a complex scenario where this is my Dad’s house so I could hardly ask my brother to leave.

My friend L was in touch with me and I swear contributed hugely to me maintaining my sanity that day. Thank you L.

In the end The Snowman film on television saved the day for me. I sat down with the children, cuddled up and let the festive spirit wash over me.

Christmas came and working as a team, myself and Him Indoors produced a fantastic Christmas meal. My brother contributed nothing despite being far better off than we are.

I resolved then and there never to spend another Christmas with my brother. I hoped he would not come this year but he plans to. I have spoken to my Dad about how I feel but I can see he thinks I am over-reacting. I have said I would prefer to go away if my brother is coming but still I have no clarity on whether he will turn up or not.

Do I want to drag my husband and children to a cottage for a couple of days? Not particularly. I want Christmas at home but without my brother.

If I ask my brother not to come, he will spin it and my Dad will fall out with me. I don’t want that to happen as we have such a happy scenario here with us all living together with my Dad.

I have located two holiday cottages that can take us if needs be. However, with only three weeks to go, I would like to know what is happening. There is also the financial element of course as to why we should have to pay out inflated Christmas holiday prices just because my brother is a blankety-blank. Plus I do want my children to spend Christmas with their Grandad so that is another pressure in the situation.

I imagine I will get comments saying that I should stick it for just one day but my mental health will just not stand it and I am not having my children’s Christmas ruined.

Maybe I should just book a cottage now?

All I want for Christmas is to spend it with my family and, for me, that means to people who I love and respect and who return the favour.

This afternoon, we all trooped off for the school Christmas Fair.

It was the usual mix of tombola, bottle stall, white elephant, books and cakes.

We had a letter from school a week or so ago telling us to make a Christmas decoration as there would be a competition. I felt great this morning as I had actually taken the time to sit down with the children and make things. We took 3 decorations with us. Could we find the place to hang them? Not a bit of it. In the end, Him Indoors took them back to the car.

I wandered round having a go on most things. I hit a name the teddy bear stall. Hearing that the woman on a stall had a Scottish accent, I looked for a relevant name. Harris was there so I paid my pound and wrote my name next to it. “How did you know?” said the woman. There was a pregnant pause and then she revealed that Harris was her son’s name. My luck is definitely not in as it was not the name of the bloody teddy bear.
Don’t I get a prize for superb intellect?

Along came another stall with a teddy bear. I scanned the list of names and chose Ant because it seemed topical what with I’m a Celebrity and all that. Was I right? Nope, whoever chose the bloody name was clearly stuck in the Seventies as the winning name was Hughie. Opportunity Knocks but not for me it seems.

Towards the end of the fair, I finally found where you could enter the decoration competition. Him Indoors was dispatched and I handed over our creative endeavours. Later, my little girl said “Mummy, we won a prize”. At last thinks I but nope, it turns out there were so few entries that everybody got a prize.

On the way home, we saw the most beautiful rainbow, a full semi-circle with clearly defined colours. I did consider trying to find the end of it to locate that elusive crock of gold but after the day’s events, thought better of it.

Guess who won’t be buying a lottery ticket tonight?

I think I might be pre-menstrual as I am very tempted to stamp and cry out “It’s not Christmas Fair!”

And yes, I do know that is very childish.

What are my reasons to be cheerful this week?

We have had a week from Sunday until now full of a tummy bug circulating round the family. It only lasts 1-2 days but it is quite debilitating.

I also had email contact with one of my step-daughters and my half-sister (who I have never met) which resulted in some angst-type feelings.

I am, however, still smiling.

1. I was very ill on Tuesday. Now last Tuesday I was at the “We Will Rock You” musical and next Tuesday, I am due at my daughter’s first arena singing performance so if I am to be ill on a Tuesday, thank goodness it was this week. How is that for a positive spin?

2. I have got some paperwork in order and yes, it does include an application for a driving licence. I am working up the courage to actually post it and then move on to real lessons. I don’t have any belief I can learn to drive but I know it would make such a difference if I could.

3. I am target for the weight I hope to be by the New Year.

4. I am deluttering and it feels good, especially throwing out the larger sized clothing.

5. I have a tiny lead on some paid work. It may come to nothing but it provides a glimmer of hope.

6. I have made one minor decision about my blogging which will become apparent in the New Year and two pretty major ones that I am going to give some further thought to before revealing all.

7. I was Netmums Blogger of the Week for my Just A Woman and Proud post. They used the piece to launch their new section on all things stylish. Which would make people who know me laugh out loud I am sure. However, I am pleased that the piece clearly touched a nerve with other mums out there. Those are the posts I like best.

That’s all this week as I have hardly left the house either having my own head in a bucket or a child’s.

Here’s to a healthier week ahead.

Now pop over and see some people who are happy, knowing it and clapping their hands with http://beckywilloughby.blogspot.com/