Monthly Archives: December 2019

Christmas past, present and future

So if you follow me on Instagram you will know that recently we went to watch Jack and the beanstalk in pantomime.

Alfie has been a couple of times now and yet again he was mesmerised. 

It wasn’t until the evening where I was reflecting on the day where I thought about Christmas traditions and old fashioned Christmases.

Christmases Past 

Like most children I absolutely loved the magic of Christmas when I was younger. I loved our family traditions and I loved  being with my family and the whole busyness of Christmas. 

I think I have said this before in a blog previously but I honestly only have one wish now for Alfie at Christmas and that is to help him have a Christmases he will never forget. I want him to look back on childhood and think “my childhood christmases were magical.”

My Mum is one of three and I have/had great Aunties and Uncles, we used to all go to my Grandma and Grandad’s for Christmas Dinner, we had games that we played every year and basically just a lot of fun laughter, chat and Christmas fun. My cousins and I dished out any presents that dad been left there as well. On average there was about 15of us and I absolutely loved it. 

It was busy, festive, loud and fabulous.

I also worked in a pantomime for a few years and my gosh that was Christmassy!

Christmas Present

Christmas has definitely changed now. For so many reasons.

Firstly because I now have children so Christmas revolves around them. There nothing I love more than watching their faces light up on Christmas Day. It’s just pure magic and makes all the stress worth it. Then there’s the build up, taking them to see santo, going to pantomime, decorating the tree, going to local garden centres, making Christmas cookies, mince pies, Christmas market and much more more. 

However, as much as I love seeing the magic on Alfie’s face it’s also still painful for me. It doesn’t hurt quite as much it did the first year without Ethan but it still hurts. I still miss him every year, he’s still our missing piece of our family at the table on Christmas Day. He’s Always in our hearts but it will also always hurt. 

I also miss the things I used to be able to do with my family that are now just a bit too difficult. Like walking aimlessly around garden centres and going to Christmas markets. 

I miss being able to spend hours in the kitchen baking, I miss having work colleagues and putting the tree up at work and going on Christmas do’s.

Christmases of Futures to come 

 Now obviously I can’t predict the future! If I could I would be one very rich woman!

So as I can’t tell you what my future Christmases hold, here’s what I hope they will be like.

I hope that I can always make my family happy and give them magical Christmases. 

I hope that my family are well and happy to enjoy Christmas and all the festivities 

I hope that I never disappoint anyone over the festive period.

So that’s it, those are my past present and future Christmases.

I would love to know about your past, present and future Christmases. 

Much Love Emma

Loaded carb fest!

If you haven’t guessed already I love carbs and I love to make meals that are quick, easy and fuss free! There are two reasons for this, first is because I am a Mummy and if you too are a parent we all know if that child is hungry they are not going to wait lol! Secondly because of my FND I can’t stand in the kitchen for long.

I’ve probably written a similar version of this but hey ho it’s nice so here is another version!

For this I used;

Large potato

Frozen red onions

Pre  sliced mushrooms

Red pepper


Mozzarella cheese

Firstly you need to get those chips cooking, so slice that potato into wedges, spray with fry light, cook in the oven for 3 minutes 30 seconds. When this is done, spray a tray with fry light add the wedges (separate them from each other), add sea salt if you wish and pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180. You will need to shake them around every so often to stop them sticking.

Half way through the chips being cooked, grab a frying pan and add some of you onions, chopped mushrooms, chopped pepper and bacon.

Once everything is done scoop your chips into a heap and add the veg mix on top, top with grated mozzarella cheese then stick it back in the oven to melt the cheese.

Once your cheese has melted, plate up and enjoy your healthier carb fest comfort food!!

As ever if you re-create this, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at @mrs_shep_unplugged.

Much love


Festive fun or festive flop?

There’s lot of pressure on adults at Christmas and dare I say it, women. (Not meant to be sexist, just an observation from how my family works) 

From buying cards and presents to organising Christmas activities and everything in between. 

Over the years, Christmas has evolved and just keeps getting bigger. I mean when our eldest was little, there was no Christmas Eve box and Santa’s elves didn’t come to visit either. 

There’s lots of cooking as well, from Christmas cakes and Christmas biscuits to a full Christmas dinner. 

Even if your not a baker there’s the planning and the buying everything. 

Choosing the perfect gift, wrapping the perfect gift. 

Trying to rest as well. (Let’s face it does this ever actually happen ha ha!)

Organising other people’s gifts for your little ones / helping with ideas. 

Trying to fit in seeing everyone and keeping everyone happy.

This year there’s been poorly family members and so many broken household appliances that I have lost count. It’s rained more times than I can count which puts a damper on any outside Christmas activities. My FND has flared up so badly.

I love Christmas more than any other holiday through the year. I love making the family happy and organising Christmas activities, baking and watching Christmas films. I think there is so much pressure around enjoying Christmas that we forget to just relax and have fun.

However I also believe that as adults we expect to feel the same as what we did when we were young and the truth is we will never feel like that again. Our job now is to make sure our children have that feeling now for as long as possible. I guess what I am trying to say is that as adults we tend to have festive moments rather than a festive month. So it’s neither a festive fun or a festive flop. Merely somewhere in between among the flour and cookie dough and wrapping paper.

Sometimes I think I put so many other people before myself (not always a bad thing), that I forget to put myself first and end up feeling more of a festive fail than a bag festive fun. 

Don’t forget to enjoy your Christmas as well as making it fun for your family. 

Chicken fried rice

So today’s foodie blog is a quick and easy one.

Chicken fried rice.

If you haven’t made it yet then my friend you are missing out! If you are vegetarian then swap the chicken for quorn chicken pieces.

For this you will need;

Chicken breast



Spring onions


Light soy sauce

First things is first, unless you have microwave rice then get your rice in the pan and cooking.

Next you need to cut your chicken into small pieces and put in a large frying pan with fry light or oil. Brown the chicken and once this is done, remove and set aside.

Next, crack an egg into the pan and scrambled with a whisk, then add peas and spring onions, cook a little longer – you must keep stirring.

Now you can add the chicken back to the pan, leave for a moment while you drain the rice and add to the frying. If you need to add a little oil or water to the pan while this gets stirred through. Once it’s all mixed up, add some soy sauce to your taste, let it heat through and then serve.

As ever if you re-create this I would love to know so come and find me on Instagram and tag me in your creation. I’m @mrs_shep_unplugged.

Much love


Not good enough for Christmas?

Just before December hit, I felt a wave of panic.

Like I wasn’t good enough………. Suddenly there were Christmas blogs, vlogs and posts everywhere and I had nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I love and good Christmas vlog and everything else that comes with it. I have a fabulous watch list on my youtube!

However, I suddenly got that Mum guilt. The guilt, that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t doing enough as everyone else.

This time last year (2018) I had not long been out of hospital and Christmas was organized for me / around me.

This year I feel like I have got to prove something. Like I can still do it all, which is ridiculous because I can’t.

Social media is great and I love it. I really have found a great community on my Instagram account. I follow some amazing people with wonderful homes and ideas.

So why am I so god damn guilty of feeling like I am not good enough?! Before I answer why I think this is so let me share this with you….

I asked a few question on my Instagram stories and these were the questions and results…….

“Do you feel like social media constantly tells you it’s just about making memories”

63% of you said yes!

So then I asked………”yet you still feel like your not doing enough?” An incredible 92% of you said YES!!

I also asked:

1) “Do you feel like you are meant to have the picture perfect Christmas?”

2)”Do you feel a certain amount of pressure for Christmas?”

3) “Do you feel like you should have it all and do it all?”

Lots of you said yes, a few people said no and some gave more detailed answers which consisted of;

Feeling like everything should match, co-ordinated outfits, colour co-ordinated decorations and everything homemade.

Instagram is OTT about Christmas this year.

In real life no but for social media yes.

Feeling like family are out-doing you for your kids.

Keeping both parents happy.

Pressure to make it perfect for the children.

Now if social media keeps telling us it’s just about the memories then why do so many of us feel like we aren’t doing enough at Christmas?! Well here’s my thoughts……..

Despite the efforts that we all make as bloggers / vloggers / influencers to be real. I do think there is still an element of wanting to show perfection. I mean who wants to show a half done Christmas job? If you can’t manage a tree or a finished tree are you really going to be telling everyone than illness suddenly struck you down and this is what you have? Or that everyone argued on how to decorate it and you gave up? No! You want to be the one that influences someone else and have someone else copy what you have done. You want to feel loved and liked for all your efforts. 

Another reason is, we watch one person and they’ve done elf in the shelf with great ideas. Then we watch someone else and they’ve done incredible advent calendar ideas all homemade. Then you see someone else who’s baking from scratch. 

Now then, each of these is wonderful, however are each of these also doing the other things as well? Or are they just doing that one as best as they can? 

Why do we insist on trying to do all these three at 210% and not just do one at the usual 100%? I’ll tell you why! It’s because you don’t want your child to be the only one that missed out on not having an elf, or not having the best activities planned or the best food served on the table. 

I am 34 now and my only hope is that Alfie and William look back on their childhood with nothing but fond memories. 

I remember Christmas when I was a

Child and I absolutely loved it. There was no elf on the shelf, no fight for the best tree, no competing for the best and most exiting activities!!! It was just me, the family and some mega fun Christmas games! In fact the Christmas games are what sticks out the most in my memories from being a child at Christmas. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that, I know your putting pressure on yourself. You went your child to have the best presents, food, activities and the best elf.

However the truth is, as long as they are happy don’t worry. They really won’t remember the details, they will just remember that every year you always watch that film on that day with those treats.

Or that you always pick a new decoration after decorating the tree.

Or that you play those yearly Christmas games that you all love. 

So stop comparing yourself to everyone else. It’s not all what it seems. So what if you having got matching pjs?! My hubby prefers loungewear and my step son is 14, they aren’t going to want to be  in matching pjs so why should I bother wasting my money! 

So here’s my motto;

You are good enough.

You do not need to prove anything to anyone.

Your Christmas is yours as well.

Memories are really all that matters in the end.

Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. They might be feeling the same and just not showing it. 

That being said, if you do want it all and you can have it all easily. The matching pjs, matching decorations, every room looking like Christmas and the homemade cooking and baked goods then go for it! The rest of us are only jealous that’s all ha ha

Until next time

Much love