Author Archives: admin

About admin

I am Emma, mum of 3 boys. I suffer for FND and I also have dyslexia and dyspraxia. I am also an ex NHS employee.

Meal Plan Number 1.

Welcome back to another edition of Emma’s bites!

 

I don’t know anything you but I’m still going through the phase of homely warm cooked meals. You know the comfort food, slow cooker type meals. It’s just so cold!

So I planned 5 meals. For this week. The only ones I didn’t plan where Friday night as we where going to Wales to drop the eldest off at his Grandparents for half term. I also didn’t plan for Sunday which is today! We love roast dinners in our house but man the washing up is a pain afterwards! 

I was actually chatting to @daddy.hew about this last week. His roast dinners are mega and always look amazing, however even he agreed that the washing up after is just painful!!!

Anyway. Less chat and more meal panning eh! 

I’ll tell you what was planned and what we had and what we all thought!

Monday

Something we hadn’t had in a really long time was sweedish meatballs. I’ve tried many a time making my own but they always fall apart. I had a trip to Iceland’s food store the other week for some slimming world supplies and I picked some meatballs up. I wan the d to do something different so I googled slimming world sweedish meatball recipe and gave that a go. It was quite nice actually but probably needed more gravy / sauce.

Tuesday 

Fish chips and peas. 

Now growing up I hated fish. It was a constant battle with my Mum about having fish. I eventually refused to eat and said I would rather starve than ever eat fish lol! If you had told 10 year old me that when I had my own house I would voluntarily buy fish for myself I would have called you a liar! 

Anyway, I had the slimming world Thai fish cakes with SlimmingWorld sweet potato chips and peas. I’ll be honest. It looked awful and my taste has been off all week with my FND being bad. 

However it was really really delicious! Alfie has fish fingers and Ste had a lemon basa fish from Aldi. She didn’t like the chips but everything else was enjoyed. 

Wednesday 

Alfie has swimming lessons on a Wednesday so I try and plan something that is pretty much instant to put on the table. So we had leek and potato soup with sandwiches. I won’t lie I really love this meal. It’s so yummy, warming and just feels like proper wintery comfort food. 

If you want to recipe for my soup, check out the Emma’s Bites section of my blog.

Thursday 

Now I had planned sausage egg and chips but someone……(Ste! Aka the husband). Got two sausages out not the whole pack. So instead we had quorn nuggets with egg and chips and honest, it was bloody gorgeous!!! I love home cooked food but sometimes you just can’t beat something to shove in the oven. 

Friday

No evening meal planned for today, however Ste was off work and so I decided to make us the ultimate Valentine’s lunch! Steak sandwich with chips and salad! You honestly can’t beat a steak sandwich! Well we can’t anyway!

 

Saturday 

Curry is another firm favourite in our house. So we had a chicken curry with rice and homemade slimming world friendly onion bahjis! Exgrnely tasty however a little bit too hot for my liking.

Sunday

So that just leaves today! After not knowing what we wanted I decided I did want a roast dinner today, I just didn’t want to cook it! So with that we are going to my parents for tea today! Perfect answer if you ask me. The roast without the mess ha ha! 

I do hope this gave you some inspiration to try some different dishes! 

I am making something tomorrow that’s a mixture of a recipe I have found and a bit of my own flare. So I can’t wait to share that with you next week!

Take care and enjoy whatever meals you make this week.

Much love 💕 

Emma xx

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover is one of my favourite sayings. 

You never know what someone is having to deal with. You don’t know what’s going on inside.

I remember the early days after I had lost Ethan, looking around and thinking that everyone who had a baby where lucky. That they had everything they wanted and they where lucky. 

The truth was I had no idea if they had suffered before like me. If they’d lost a baby, struggled for years to get one or adopted because they couldn’t have one.

That parent in a shop who’s battling with her child yet again, who’s probably close to tears. Look a little harder. It might not be a naughty child, may be there’s underlying problems they aren’t discussing with anyone yet. 

Maybe they are battling a long term health condition. Maybe a loved one died. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe they are struggling in ways you can’t imagine. 

Never judge a book by its cover. You never really know what’s going on inside. 

Emma’s Bites – Beef Wellington

So a few weeks back we cooked beef wellington and I have to say it was amazing!

So being the wonderful person I am, I thought I would share it with you!!!

So for this you will need;

Beef roasting joint

Pancake mix: flour, eggs milk.

Spinach – 2 frozen blocks

Mushrooms  – 283 g

Shallots – 6

Tarragon – 1 tsp

Parsley – 1 tsp

Salt

Pepper

Ready Rolled Puff pastry (depending on the size of your beef you may need two sheets of (pastry)

Egg – 1

Now we seared our beef first in a pan but you don’t have to. We also found that due to the size of the beef that part cooking our beef first probably would have been better. Once it’s almost cooked (I would say take out 30 mins before the end) take it out and place it in the fridge to cool. You can leave it on the side but we found it quicker this way.

Then pop your mushrooms through a blender and the shallots. Add the herbs and season and fry them off in a pan. Set aside and leave to cool.

Next you need to make your pancake mixture. (Trust me with this you will not regret it!) Make your pancake mix as usual or buy pre made if you can’t make them or even buy pre made if you don’t want the hassle. Before you make your pancakes you need to add your spinach. Now we used frozen and defrosted in the microwave and once defrosted we added to the pancake batter and blended thoroughly. We told our youngest it was a Hulk pancake and he loved it!!! When your mixture is made, get your pancakes going and set aside. You may only need about 3.

Now this is where the fun bits start!!!!

Get your pancakes on a flat surface making sure they overlap. Place your beef joint on top of the pancakes. Get your mushroom mixture and cover the beef with it. Then you need to wrap the beef with your pancake. The next tricky bit is to wrap this in cling film and let this rest for about half an hour.

Once the time is up you then need to wrap this in your pastry. Place it on a baking tray and brush with the egg. If I need to tell you at this point to be cracking your egg and whisking before attempting to brush the pastry with your egg well then my friend I don’t think making Beef Wellington is where you should be started your cooking experience!!!!!

Place your beef in the oven for about 30 mins on 180 fan until your pastry is cooked and browned.

Once this is done you should have an amazing beef wellington that should wow any guest!! Serve with whatever you fancy and enjoy.

As ever if you re-create any of these meals I share I would love for you to tag me on Instagram!!!

You can find me at @mrs_shep_unplugged

Much Love

Emma

Anyone seen my mojo?

I’ve lost my writing mojo since we arrived in 2020. 

Last year I had a plan and wanted to do a blog a week so I made myself find things to write about. I pretty much achieved it too. 

Then I changed my name and blog account and since then, I’ve worried that people haven’t been reading or been as interested. Which is silly really as I have always written for myself and just to share my experiences with others and hoping someone finds something I wrote about helpful to them.

I have been wondering where to go this year and what to focus on with my blog, what new and interesting things I can share with you all. However for some reason I have found myself worrying that I’m not enough or not interesting enough. 

Anyway, there’s not much point to this other than I’m sorry if you have missed my writing. Hopefully now January is almost over I can finally get out of this slum and get back to creating content that I love, and that hopefully you love too.

I’ve got a few blog ideas so hopefully I’ll get my flow back soon! 

Much love 

Emma xx

New year new me?

2019 is over and 2020 has well and truly started. Last year saw the loss of a few things in my life but I have also gained as well. 

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My aim at the start of last year was to get over 300 followers on Instagram and now I’m eager to get to 1,000 which feels almost within reach. 

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Regardless of numbers I also wanted to try extra hard from my blog. I really love blogging, sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences with you. In the hope that I can help someone else through the same experiences as I have had. 

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You won’t be seeing any new year resolutions from me, or new year new starts, or even hoping for a better year. It just isn’t me, the next year still sees the same luck as last year. Resolutions are quickly broken and it’s never going to be a new me lol! 

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I’m proud of things I have achieved for 2019 and no matter what 2020 throws at me I do know this…….I’ll always try my best and I’ll always be a fighter. So bring it in 2020 because I’m here to fight anything you through at me. 

However, between us as a family we have decided to write a list of things we want to do this year. These include various things from both me, Ste and the boys. Such as; have more than 2 date nights this year. Visit Thorpe Park. Go to Legoland, films we want to see at the cinema, trips to various places and having more games nights as a family. I’m also hoping I can replace a broken unit in the hall this year but I’ve been hoping for that for a while now lol.

So as you can see, the things I / we want to do this year don’t consist of things that will change me as a person. I’ve had enough life experiences to change me as a person. They are merely things I would like to do this year.

I would love to know if you have any resolutions this year, how your getting on with them or even just your opinion.

I wish you the best of luck with anything you want to achieve in 2020.

Much love and happy new year.

Emma xx

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

Bacon

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

Emma

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

Egg

Peas

Spring onions

Rice

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

Emma

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

Emma