Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Recipe - Slimming World Chicken Katsu Curry (Wagamama)

I truly believe that there is no dish in this world that you cannot make a Slimming World version of. Sometimes it's about capturing the right flavour combinations while other times the focus is more on textures. Using low fat healthy ingredients is a good place to start and the end goal is something super delicious and as close to the real thing as possible.

It doesn't always work out perfectly. For example, I love this Slimming World White Chocolate And Raspberry Cheesecake but would I prefer the real thing? Of course I would! It does the job very well though and is a great substitute. 

The recipe below is in a league of it's own though. Sometimes a beautiful thing happens in this life and a Slimming World meal is almost better than the real dish it is striving to emulate. This is exactly what happened here. 

At first I didn't really see what all the fuss was about when people declared their love for Wagamama's Chicken Katsu Curry. I was a noodle girl and I just didn't really get it. Sure wasn't it only a normal curry sauce you could get in any Chinese take away? Served with some rice, salad and fried chicken? A bit weird if you ask me. Tasty yes but not something I would be willing to order. 

That was until I did. This dish just has something. I think it's the myriad of different textures. Crispy chicken, silky smooth sauce, fluffy rice and cool crisp salad. It just works. It's full of flavour and just totally hits the spot. 

When The Naked Meat Company started making high fibre breaded chicken Marylands I immediately started to get recipe inspiration. I was always a huge fan of the Mayflower Curry Sauce (which they also stock) and one day it just came to me. Why couldn't I make my own version of the Wagamama Chicken Katsu Curry using these two products?

So I did. It was a roaring success and I genuinely feel excited about how well it turned out. I love when a little idea turns in to reality. 

I am really close to getting my 3.5 stone award at Slimming World and I truly believe that it is adaptions and recipes like these that have made this plan long term live able for me. 


Serves 2
You Will Need

- One Packet Of High-Fibre Breaded Chicken Maryland From The Naked Meat Company (HexB)
- 55g Of Mayflower Curry sauce (8 syns so 4 syns per person. 28g is 4 syns)
   I personally prefer the medium one as the hot version is a little too spicy for my taste. 
- Boiled Basmati Rice
- Salad Of Your Choice 


1. Lightly fry the chicken Maryland in a pan with Frylight or in the airfryer until crispy on the outside and cooked perfectly on the inside. I did mine in the Airfryer on a medium heat for about ten minutes.

2. Make the 60g of Mayflower Curry Sauce as directed. 

3. Make two portions of rice according to packet instructions. Use a little bowl to mould the rice in to a fancy dome shape on your plate. This is so easy. Simply fill the little bowl with the cooked rice and cover with a plate. Then flip the plate and slowly remove the bowl which will leave a nice mountain of fluffy rice. It's easy on the eye and similar to the way Wagamama serve it. 

4. Dice your veggies and prepare a salad of your choice as your one third speed food on the plate. 

Each portion is only 4 syns but you could definitely use less sauce and reduce it. The one in Wagamama would set you back 25-30 syns! 



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our Netflix Summer Binges

You may have read my post about the trip to London I went on a couple of weeks ago. Netflix treated us to a really special experience where we ate great food, watched great TV and did everything from crafting to randomly drinking Prosecco and eating indulgent chocolates in a little library. Want to hear more about it? Read this post. 

The trip served as a great way of learning about the great summer ahead with Netflix. There are literally so many new shows and I have never been so excited to sift through them all.

I tend to break down my Netflix preferences in to categories. First there are the things I like to watch by myself... when I am ironing. I recently decided that I had to do something to make the dreaded task more bearable. I've made no secret of the fact that I just hate ironing. 99% of our clothes don't get ironed but there are a couple of things that I can't really get away with. In some crazy twist of fate I now find myself actually looking forward to ironing because I know it's an opportunity for me to binge on my favourite Netflix shows. I lose myself in the shows and before I know it I have a lovely little pile of freshly ironed clothes and a happy little heart. 

I am loving Gilmore Girls. Like seriously, could a show depict my formative years any more? I adored this show when I was a kid and I basically wanted to be Rory. She represented the kind of sarcasm and shyness that I could in no way relate to. I was pretty much the opposite of Rory but liked to think that I could someway relate to her. I also fancied the pants off Chad Michael Murray (which was further cemented by his character in A Cinderella Story). 

Gilmore Girls is the ultimate escape for me. Transporting me back in time and taking me away from dirty dishes and meal planning. 

Couple Time Binge is a bit trickier in our house. Myself and Peter tend to disagree on all things TV. I'm very fussy about what I watch and tend to steer clear of anything too violent or sad. It's my way of protecting myself from the emotions I suppose. Even Peaky Blinders is a bit too much for me. I will however take one for the team to appreciate Cillian Murphy's beautiful eyes and cheekbones. Isn't he a sight to behold? Peter on the other hand will watch just about anything. He is a total TV buff and just jumps from series to series. Finding something we can watch together is never straightforward. 

We have finally found something to watch together this summer though. When I was in London we got to preview an episode of Netflix' new original show Stranger Things. Since then it has been making a huge noise on the Internet. Everyone is loving it and we are no different. It's totally unlike anything I have ever watched before and it has served to show me that maybe I need to open my mind a bit more when it comes to what I "allow" myself to watch. Stranger Things stars Winona Ryder and centres around the story of a missing boy. I won't give much away but let's just say it reminds me of ET (but is not appropriate for children) and is brilliantly shot. The music is fantastic and the 80's period touches are just brilliant. I really recommend this show. We are just a couple of episodes in but I'm really enjoying it. Watch the trailer here.

Kids Stuff is pretty self explanatory but is very important. Netflix affords us little pockets of time to make the dinner, do a quick clean up or just sit on our bums for a few minutes. Having constant access to shows Billy enjoys is fundamental to day to day survival. OK so that might sound dramatic but it's true. Anyone with a toddler will know what I'm harping on about here. The age old favourite would be Fireman Sam. Billy is obsessed with this show and it's borderline unhealthy at this stage but sure look nobody is perfect. I recently discovered that Fireman Sam is on Netflix and this was music to my ears. I no longer have to trawl through Youtube or show him the same shoes over and over again. 

We are also really excited about Word Party which is a Jim Henson Company production. It focused on vocabulary building and has adorable dancing baby animals. Who wouldn't love that? You can watch the trailer here

Thursday, July 21, 2016

WIN - Full Collection Of Freddy Buttons Children's Books

After my glowing review of the Freddy Buttons collection of books I have teamed up with Tumbledown Media and Freddy Buttons to give one lucky person a free set of these gorgeous books. 

To Enter

Like Love Of Living On Instagram (traceysblog)
Like Freddy Buttons On Facebook
Leave a comment under my Instagram photo tagging one friend who would also love to win.

I will pick a winner on Friday 29th July and winner will be notified by email.

Tumbledown Media will be responsible for sending the prize to the winner. This competition is open worldwide. Part of this competition mentions Facebook but is in no way endorsed or connected to Facebook in any way. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Netflix Stream Team Event In London

What a whirlwind. I have just returned from a quick overnight visit to London that was jam packed with fun, adventure and inspiration. It was one of those pinch-me experiences where I sort of had to step back from it all, take a breath and really embrace how lucky I was to be afforded this absolute treat.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team here in Ireland. That basically means that I keep you all up to date with Netflix news and what we are enjoying. In return Netflix give me a free subscription to the service and some quirky gifts and opportunities along the way. This was one of those. A very unexpected offer came my way and thankfully I could make it happen largely due to my mother being able to re-structure her work week so she could mind Billy at different times that usual. Mammies always save the day don't they?

I was one of five Irish bloggers on this trip. Where Wishes Come From, Confessions Of An Irish Mammy, One Yummy Mummy and Saucepan Kids. Jolene from One Yummy Mummy travelled on a later flight but the rest of us met in Dublin Airport for our adventure. As nice as the airport is, and as wonderful as the company was, we didn't quite plan to spend the entire day in Terminal 2. Our flight was delayed by three hours and it was a bit of a pain in the bum because it shortened a trip that was already short by nature. We were in the care of the very lovely Nicola Watkins PR. She is a PR Guru and looks after the Netflix PR in Ireland.


We eventually took off and it was a very enjoyable flight. Prosecco was had, laughs were in abundance and it was clear that this was going to be a really great experience. There is a lot to be said for great company isn't there? I had been in touch with all of the girls on some level before but didn't quite know any of them very well until this trip. At about 10pm we arrived at The Mondrian Hotel which is situation on The Thames. Holy Mother Of Holy Saint Hotels. This is the nicest hotel I have ever been in. I couldn't believe that I would actually be laying my head upon a pillow here. The lobby felt like something out of a movie. Lanterns everywhere with Jo Malone scents sifting through the air. People coming and going as hotel workers wore cleaner crisper shirts than I had ever seen in all my life. It was a definitely case of "who am I?" and how did I get so lucky to end up here. We checked in to our rooms and it was a mad dash to dinner in the hotel. The Sea Containers restaurant was fancy, expensive and a truly amazing culinary experience. I have never tasted Lamb as beautiful. It was like butter. Total melt in the mouth and just cooked to perfection. I was a little bit disappointed by the dessert but he glass of crisp white wine distracted me immediately. It was a real experience and I'll remember it fondly.


It was about midnight when we made our way back to our rooms. Naturally I had to partake in some selfie taking. I'm not even sorry. The room was full to the brim with good lighting opportunities. I was actually raging I didn't think to bring my video camera to record a Youtube video with the stunning backdrop of the hotel room. I may have come across a little tipsy on camera so it was probably for the best.

The next morning began with a breakfast fit for a queen. It was sublime. I've never been at a breakfast buffer that had sourdough. I'm acutely aware of the fact that my relationship with sourdough bread has reached new levels of obsession. Toasted sourdough, real butter and silky smooth scrambled eggs. Like would you actually be able?

Then came the real fun. The Netflix event was kicking off at 10am and was just a ten minute stroll from the hotel. We pottered along the banks of The Thames and watched the various locals, business people and tourists pass by. It was supreme people watching. One of my favourite things to do. The weather was beautiful as I always recall it being in London. We passed the studio where This Morning is filmed and I had visions of telling Holly Willoughby how fabulous she looked. Or handing her a nice morning coffee? Yeah, that never happened.

We arrived at the event location and it was an immediate sense of excitement as the big red door opened. The location was a renovated Violin Factory that actually featured on Grand Designs. The architect in question actually lived in the house and it was a sight to behold. It was out of this world. The house that kept on giving. Such an interesting shape where walls would suddenly become doors in to hidden rooms. Light was in abundance and it was incredibly modern yet still had a homely feel. The kitchen was incredible and I dreamt about filming recipe videos in this amazing space. We were greeted with Netflix inspired coffees, pastries and introductions to the Netflix team from the UK, Paris/Italy and everything in between. Everyone could not have been nicer. These people work hard and they are the most down to earth and welcoming bunch you could ever hope to meet. They talked to us about their favourite shows, our children and London Life. It was a casual morning of chats and previews of Netflix content.


In terms of content I found myself being most excited by the kids stuff. There is Netflix Original Series on it's way this August. They have secured the rights to The Beatles Music and the characters involve a host of very famous voices. Beat Bugs will come our way in and it has the most incredible myriad of animation, music and voice-overs. This is really going to appeal to the entire family.

A close second was Wordparty. A show aimed at Pre-Schoolers. Educational, bright and a Jim Henson creation. Billy is going to love this one.

We watched a new episode of Stranger Things and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I can be a real pain to watch TV with because I generally steer clear from anything too violent or sad. It just triggers my anxiety. This is something I would have typically avoided and yet I found myself really enjoying the episode and wanting to watch another. Netflix gave me food for thought about the little boxes we put ourselves in. It has made me feel a bit more open minded about the content I am going to start watching. I definitely recommend this one.

Then came the afternoon's activities and oh my God where do I start. After a delicious lunch we were split up in to different groups and took turns experiencing different "rooms". Every room had a theme connected to a Netflix show and an activity for us to do. We made bunting in the Wordparty craft room, created Terrariums (like a little garden in a jar, so adorable) in the Beat Bug garden and drank Champagne and ate indulgent chocolates in the Me-Time room. The highlight for me was lying on a hammock on this incredible London rooftop garden sipping champagne. Another pinch-me moment for sure.


Netflix really know how to spoil a girl. The food, company and day's activities just left me speechless. It was one of the most adventurous and inspiring days of my adult life and it gave me the excitement and sense of fun that resembled my childhood. I'm really grateful for this.

Netflix is bigger and better than ever. It is now in 190 countries and churning out original content to meet the demand associated. It is an honour to be part of the stream team and I look forward to the journey.

Thank you Netflix for one of the best experiences of my career and my personal life. See you soon!


Monday, July 11, 2016

My Top Picks For A/W At Primark/Penneys

I am a Penneys girl through and through. Who isn't says you. I'm absolutely no fashionista but I like when one shop has everything that I need. That is Penneys in a nutshell. Since becoming a mother and moving in to my own home it is even more convenient. Any one trip can mean picking up bits and pieces for myself, my partner, my son and my home. There is nothing quite like the feeling of strutting down Henry street with an overflowing Penneys bag. Like a bag of treasure. Trawling through the bag when you get home and no doubt finding several items that must have "fallen" in to the bag. That is the beauty of Penneys. It doesn't break the bank so shopping is a lot more carefree and fun. 

I recently attended the Penneys Autumn/Winter launch and was seriously impressed by the items of clothing, footwear and home ware that are about to hit shelves. I think Penneys have really taken it up a notch in recent times and are now considered as stylish as any of the more expensive high-street stores. 

Here are my top picks for Autumn/Winter at Penneys. Do any of these take your fancy? Let me know in the comments below. 

For Her 

I particularly adore the white blouse. Wouldn't it be gorgeous with skinny jeans on a summers day? There is something about a crisp white top. I'm assuming I'll look as unreal as this model yeah?

For Him 


I could see Peter looking very dapper in all of the above. I might just have to make that a reality. These are similar to items he has in the past bought from River Island and Burton. 

For The Kids

When you have a little boy it's all about comfortable basics. These tracksuit bottoms are a favourite of ours already. They are a happy medium between tracksuit bottoms and leggings. I love that they come in at the bottom and they are super stretchy which makes them extremely comfortable for active little boys. They also wash very well! You can never have enough long sleeved tops to pair with these bottoms or with jeans so these colourful tops are just perfect. I am a bit obsessed with Avengers themed clothes on Billy so this grey jumper is a must. It is light enough to be a top in it's own right but warm for a cooler day. The denim/tracksuit top is something I could never say no to. It's absolutely gorgeous!

I'm not used to buying for a girl but I know these items would be adorable on my three year old cousin and on my best friend's little girl. In fact, my friend did have a very similar pink jacket for her toddler and it came all the way from Japan. She will be delighted to know that she can pick one up in Penneys. I can never say no to cute hats and footwear either. So pretty! 

For Your Home
There is a marble and rose gold theme here. How cool is the marble pillow? I also adore the soft colours of the other pillows. And it's true - the snuggle is real. 


Since going freelance and working for myself I have become even more obsessed with stationary. My kitchen table generally has about ten notebooks on it. Seeing pretty notebooks makes me feel inspired and organized. I have noticed a bit of a pileup of paper and magazines though. This stand alone organizer will be perfect to house the recent editions of Easy Parenting that my articles appear in. 

So there we have it - my favourite pics for Autumn/Winter at Penneys. What items do you like the best? I'm seriously impressed. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Last Feed - The End Of An Era

I'll probably never be ready to write this post but I want to capture the feelings of now. The raw emotions that fill every inch of your heart the moment you realize your breastfeeding journey has ended. 

I'll start by saying I never wanted to start breastfeeding. I saw breastfeeding as one of two ways I could feed my baby. I chose the other way and was happy with that. Deep down there was always a little niggling feeling though. A curiosity. It was the part of me that hates to miss out on something. It was, for the most part, ignited by things my mam would say to me. I had changed my mind a million times but always came back to the not breastfeeding. I had never seen someone breastfeed so it was something alien to me. I had no emotional connection to it whatsoever. I literally couldn't imagine one single time that I saw a baby being breastfed in person, in a magazine or in a movie. Now I see it every day.

I was struggling from the beginning. Billy wouldn't latch and I think I felt a bit rejected. You can read more about that here. I swiftly gave up and welcomed the idea of formula and bottles. I had tried, right? I didn't feel overly emotional about it. I had been lead to think that if I continued to breastfeed my child would be starving. A combination of factors really. I wasn't prepared and the midwife didn't have the time to help me among various other things. 

That niggle persisted. I formula fed and Billy rejected it from the beginning. He was refluxy, gasy and very unsettled. Deep down I knew that it was linked to the formula. I tried on and off but he just wouldn't latch on. I had become so engorged that I had to pump to ease the discomfort.

Something happened when I saw milk. My body had produced milk for MY baby. It was cathartic. I just knew I had a little more fight in me and I knew I wanted it to work. I felt really really sad that it hadn't. 

And then we found nipple shields. Another suggestion from my Mam. The moment I put the shield on Billy fed beautifully. It was day five. That was the beginning of our breastfeeding relationship. The first chapter of many to come.

And so we fed. Sometimes all night long. The "he couldn't be feeding again" comments came flooding in and I slowly began to build confidence about the subject. Soon I could tell people that everything that was happening was normal. That it shouldn't be compared to bottle feeding as it was so different. I was feeding on demand and that was exactly the right thing to do. Sometimes he fed for five hours in a row. Those are some of my fondest memories when I look back now. 

From the moment he was born he was happy being close to me. I'll never forget the moment he lay upon my chest. A bond that could never be broken. It felt like I was re-born. That I had so much more to give this world. Proud that I had given the universe this wonderful human being. Shocked that I was allowed to call him mine. It was the greatest love I had ever felt and immediately my greatest achievement. 

And so we fed. We fed on aeroplanes, in restaurants, on holiday, by the beach and in the car. We fed when he was hungry. Never had anything felt so natural in all my life. I had connected so much with the idea of feeding my baby that it just made me feel like a happier person. I can't explain it. Every single feed felt precious. I felt lucky. After four months the nipple shields were a thing of the past. The first time he latched on without them I sobbed. It was a beautiful moment.

And then he got bigger. Teeth came along. He crawled and then walked. As he learned a new skill I felt so very proud. These milestones were never a reason to stop breastfeeding though. Why would they be? It was easy. It was beautiful. It was our thing. People would ask if I was "still" breastfeeding. Said with a tone that implied that I was undergoing some kind of sentence. Never had it occurred to me to stop. I couldn't even entertain the thought. It would have felt forced and unkind. He wasn't ready and neither was I. We were happy.

He had suddenly become so independent. The word "no" was used in abundance. The tantrums began and the world sometimes frustrated him. At the end of the day though? That was our time. We were down to one feed. It had been a gradual gentle process where the world had become more exciting and feeds had dropped one by one.  There was food to eat, people to see and things to destroy. That feed was our moment to connect at the end of the day. It sent him off to sleep and for that special couple of minutes he was my baby again. 


Daddy played a huge part in all of this. A supportive partner is paramount. He was always beside me - cheering us on. He loved that I was breastfeeding and he supported me in every way possible. Himself and Billy had and continue to have the most wonderful relationship. Best friends. Partners in crime. An unshakable bond. From the get-go Peter has been an equal parent and a hands on father. He does it all. Their relationship is beautiful and a testament to the fact that breastfeeding has nothing to do with "depriving the father of the opportunity to feed the baby". I heard that one many times. Breastfeeding is just the way our bodies are supposed to feed our babies. Bath-time, cuddles, lullabies and naps together - that's where the magic happens. 

I'll be forever grateful for Peter's support throughout our journey. It made all the difference.


And here we are. Two years on. Exactly one month since the light of my life turned two. 

It's probably for the best that I didn't know that last Thursday would be our last feed. The anticipation would have had me in knots. There is no particular reason why we have arrived here. No big moment or sudden requirement to stop. I just woke up on Friday morning and had the strongest clear-as-day feeling that this might be the gentlest time to begin to wean him. To introduce the idea. I tried to escape it but it kept coming to the surface. I did not want to stop at all. I could have fed him forever. It had in no way become overwhelming, strange or different. It was an instinctive thing I think. I'll never be able to explain it. 

And so it happened. Just like that. I am lucky in the sense that he also loves bottles these days. He would happily guzzle one if I was not around at bed time. He asked for "yay yays" and I simply offered him a bottle. Some might find that strange. To fight so hard to breastfeed my baby and it all comes down to saying no and offering a bottle two years later. For me it doesn't feel that way though. I breastfed my baby for two years. He likes bottles the same way he likes his soother and Cheerios. It does not take from our journey. 

As the days went on he is asking less and less. There is lots of cuddling, skin to skin contact and a fair bit of discomfort on my end but we are here and we will stick with it. It feels right and none of this has felt forced. It has been incredibly gentle on the both of us. I'm really grateful for that. Perhaps it wouldn't be so gentle in several months or years. 

It has also been unbelievably emotional. I have shed so many tears and scrolled through so many photographs remembering the journey behind us. The breastfeeding journey that became so much of my identity as a mother. The journey that shaped me. That changed me. 

I was the girl who never wanted to breastfeed. The girl who eventually, reluctantly "agreed" to feed for "six weeks max". The girl who would "never be one of those hippies who feeds a one year old". The girl who had no idea of the joy, the magic and the bond. The girl who suffers from anxiety and who was forced to sit down and be present every time my baby was hungry. The girl who used to despise her body but who now loves it for all that it can do.

The end of an era. Another chapter closed. But what a chapter it was. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sharing The Joy Of Reading With Billy - Freddy Buttons

We live in a strange old time where quite frankly there will always be something interesting to see on the Internet. It has evolved in such a way that it would be impossible to stay completely on top of the topics that interest you. Stories go viral in seconds and disappear in to dust once the next big story emerges. It is a time where you have to consciously switch off, forget the Internet and do other things like reading a book. Reading is always something I have adored and unfortunately it has taken a back seat with the nature of the work I am doing and the way digital marketing and social media have changed. I really don't want my son to think that all good things come to us via a screen though. 

I've recently developed a love for Snapchat. I use it for daily vlogging (talking to my phone about what I am eating) and I love how personal it is. There are about twenty other accounts that I follow religiously. They are all super active accounts and at any time of the day I will have interested content to watch. It's the magic of the everyday really isn't it? I thoroughly enjoy the snaps of someone baking healthy cookies with their toddler and in the next breath gushing at the extravagant life that a model is leading. I think we are all a bit nosy and Snapchat kind of feeds that. It also unites us all. We may be sitting in different kitchens around the globe but the world suddenly feels like a tiny place. I love that intimacy. You can find me there at traceyquinn89. 

One of the lovely accounts I began to follow last year was that of Fiona Dillon (HuntersLodge on Snapchat). She was recommend by another Snapchatter that I followed (as is often the way this social media platform works) and I immediately loved her. She has a fabulously calming voice first and foremost. I really have a thing about voices and Fiona's is lovely. Then there is her garden. She will casually introduce you to her Goose Mahatma Gander and show you the beautiful herbs and vegetables that are growing in her garden. She is a mother and business and business woman who is passionate about self sufficiency. Her message is about growing your own food, knowing where it comes from and living the good life. I recently attended one of her Dream It Do It events in Airfield Estate and it was an inspirational day where Fiona's story really touched me. A long and meandering road has lead her to the wonderful character of Freddy Buttons. 

Freddy Buttons is Fiona's original children's book series and it is simply beautiful. Everything from the style, size and layout of the books right down to the illustrations, themes and tales themselves. They are beautiful books and I have simply adored sharing them with my son. When I sit down to read Billy one of these books I am living in the present. Something I am not so good at. I am sharing a special moment with my son and showing him two of my favourite things in the world. Reading and food. My two passions in life. I studied English Literature in UCD and went on to do an MA in Drama And Performance. I am all about the story-telling, the drama and the colourful world of make-believe. I am also extremely passionate about food, where it comes from and how to enjoy it the most. 

I've recently written a lot about my weight loss journey. I have changed the way I think about food and it is really important to me that Billy has a positive relationship with it. These books inspire that kind of thing. He is learning about where honey comes from, how apples grow and the beautiful journey from earth to our plates. It is truly wonderful. 

More than anything I love that these books are Irish. We need to support the businesses that put our little island on the map. Buying the Freddy Buttons series is going to mean sharing relevant local information and tales with your children while at the same time supporting a local family business. 

You can pick up your own set of books on the Freddy Buttons Website. I am confident that you will love them as much as we do. 

Disclaimer - I was very kindly sent a collection of these books. However I was under no instruction or obligation to write or talk about them. All words and thoughts here are completely my own.