29 Apr 2013

Bento for beginners

On a couple of brilliant blogs recently I've seen the mention of Bento and now thanks to Capture by Lucy and My two mums I'm now hooked. It's all about the Japanese art of preparing food all in one box that gives a balanced meal and is eye catching and cute, often crafted into animals or themes within the box. There should be a mix of fruit, vegetables, grain and protein and attractiveness is the key. There are all sorts of accessories to compliment your creation and lots of places recommend using silicone muffin cases and seeing as I've got some mini ones I decided to give it a go and my first attempt is below (I'm starting small). Elephant toast, pink salmon and carrot ribbons in one side and a mixture of fruit in the other, I'm hoping to up my game and create more interesting boxes as I get used to it but the elephant toast was a big hit already.

I've started following some Bento specific blogs where mums literally post pictures of every lunchtime meal they prepare for their children. Some of these are really breathtaking and brilliantly executed and inspired me to have a go myself. I'm only starting small and I have already amassed a collection of cookie cutters in various animal shapes (much to my husbands annoyance) because I've always quite liked trying to make Bubba's meals eye catching and given her small portions of lots of different things in one sitting. My child has always eaten with her eyes and prefers things that look nice - for instance she won't eat a normal sandwich made by me but if I cut it into the shape of an elephant she will devour it. So this Bento lark is right up my street and it's really addictive.

I've bought myself a gorgeous book on how to make Bento boxes up and giving ideas of how to make some of the animals and read Lucy's blog extensively as she gives brilliant advice too. I'm so excited at the prospect of compiling innovative lunches for Bubba and if I'm honest myself too because who doesn't love the idea of a perfectly eye pleasing packed lunch.

It's also making me think more about what I'm feeding Bubba and myself for lunch and trying to think outside of sandwiches.

What I normally do at dinner time


25 Apr 2013

This is motherhood

This right here is my baby, she will always be my baby. When she has left on her life adventures, it will be this I miss, the small baby arms wrapped around me as her little warm body rises and falls with sleep.

It's a wonderful treat now when she falls asleep on me. I don't care how uncomfortable it feels and how my legs or arms go dead. It's totally worth it and my heart is literally so full it may burst. Every instinct to love and keep safe this wonder of innocence and fun is bubbling to the surface. If I'm ever feeling ungrateful them this memory alone will bouy me up, it's the best feeling in the world.

This was accidental sleep, she woke from an hours nap unsettled so I cuddled her and this happened. Trouble is I don't want to let go of my baby. It's just the tonic after last weeks outburst when I wasn't having a good week and then Bubba got chicken pox.

This feeling, I'd like to bottle it please because it makes me feel like I'm king of the world right now. Bliss


22 Apr 2013

No Mess For Me

Messy play, or as hubby says "well that's just playing with water/paint/sand etc..." Well it's not really my thing. I like the idea of crafting with Bubba and painting but in reality I'm too highly strung for the mess involved.

This week with the onslaught of a mild case of chicken pox Bubba and I found ourselves at home. So we got the sand put out in the garden and she got to work and made a mess. Her passion at the moment is money and she will unashamedly ask anyone and everyone for pounds and monies. I was surprised how many people oblige (& let me tell you all those two's and one's add up), she has amassed quite a collection now. Well that all went in the sand and I found myself hours later still digging out money.

We then washed her money the next morning, gritty money puts my teeth on edge. She went on to spend half the morning washing play fruit and veg in her little play kitchen sink. I found myself trying to control the situation with such comments as "no we shouldn't put the material fruit in the water, oh you just did!", "erm lets not lift the sink out because you'll...oh you just covered your socks in water".

I suddenly realised, it's just water! (I know I got to that realisation a little late). It will dry and she was having a lot of fun, I was still anxious and a little annoyed if I'm honest that it wasn't a more structured thing...but she's two so I'm not sure what I expected really.

I really don't like painting because it gets everywhere and I have to have wipes to hand. Afterwards I have to sit in a darkened room to recover, mess just doesn't do it for me!


20 Apr 2013

How it feels - Waiting to meet baby

Flash back 25.02.2011
Last night out...a very pregnant me

This is the most grown up thing I've ever done, yet I feel more like a needy child than ever, it's like staring down the barrel of a gun! There is no escape now, not that I want there to be but still the choice isn't mine.

I'm told the wriggling and the sudden, sometimes painful, lunges at my inside is my baby. Our baby, created by us, for us and unable to make it without my help. Not much pressure there then! I feel so helpless and silly, so many women, more than I can contemplate have trodden this path before me. Did they have this mixture of fear and awe wave over them? My one desire is that I birth this baby well and give it the best possible start in life. I want to protect this unknown being with every ounce of my body and mind. Yet it's still an enigma that doesn't really exist yet.

How will it change me, change us? I often get the urge to go back to a time before we made this decision. I want to apologise to my husband, who can only watch on as my body and mind changes drastically and with unstoppable speed. We both know that I'll never be the woman I was before, I'm already different, my body given over to take care of another and now this will never change.

I will forever look over my shoulder and look inside my heart and find it inexplicably linked to another. I wish I was braver and able to see the bigger picture but I'm scared I won't do things right. One week away from when I'm told my baby is 'due', I want to hide away and cry for all the things that will change. Yet just as suddenly I want to meet this little person and marvel at how they got the best bits of two people who love each other. I know this journey will be fun, exhausting, scary and painful as we all grow up and grow together.


18 Apr 2013

Looking Back - Advice I'd give

When you are pregnant people love to come up to you and tell you all their horror stories or that someone around the corner had a ten pound baby. You rub your bump and pray that it isn't going to be your future, below are my top suggestions for anyone expecting and I promise there are no scare stories involved.

I think every pregnant woman should know these ten rules

Once you've got past the birth and very newborn stage you need to remember who's the boss

Some things that should work but don't work - or at least didn't work for us

Teething is tough - there is nothing else I can add to that

It's all a learning curve and you learn on the job

I wouldn't change a thing though, it's fun, it's exhausting and it's constantly changing.


16 Apr 2013

Nobody told me...

I was sitting in Sainsbury's cafe today with Bubba and suddenly I must of almost thrown my full cup of coffee (I seriously don't know what I did) and it went everywhere, all over the booth we were sat at, over the shopping, over Bubba and the new spiderman colouring book I'd got for her.

After I'd flagged down one of the cashiers and they sent for the cleaner (we had to move tables, that's how epic my spill was), I cried. Really cried and I just couldn't stop, the lovely cleaner lady who came to clear the table asked if I was ok and I said yes it was just one of those days. I couldn't tell her why I was really crying, crying for my old life, wondering how I'd got here. The worst thing is that Bubba was being such a good girl, a little pickle but easy going which hasn't been the case recently.

Nobody ever told me that I'd feel like this, when pregnant you get told how your life will change beyond measure, you will never have time to yourself again but they don't say that you will no longer recognise yourself. I sometimes mourn my old life, I would never be without Bubba and if I have the choice to go somewhere alone or take her (not that I often get that choice), I will always take her, If I don't it feels like a part of me is missing - like someone who chopped my arm off.

But I mourn the girl I used to be, the carefree woman who would accept a glass of wine and have a chat in the pub without worrying about the time. Now I get anxious about going out, I don't like showing too much flesh when I do (what's that all about), I question my choices all the time and seem to apologise to everyone daily 'sorry we got in your way' 'oops, sorry but can you just hold on whilst I sort Bubba out'...sorry, sorry, sorry. I came to motherhood later (36) and so I had plenty of time doing exactly what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted. We'd eat out a lot, holiday in lovely places and generally enjoy ourselves, when I got pregnant there wasn't anything I wished I'd done so I'm not sure why I feel like this.

I'm no longer the confident woman that I should be, I miss working in London (something I never thought I'd say) and I'm most content when I've got a load of washing drying in the sunshine outside (again, what's that all about). I am the servant to a two year old, I have to bow to her superiority and will most of the time and negotiate on all things. I used to spend my money how I liked and didn't think twice about buying clothes I liked, now I wonder if I really need new things, can I afford them and on top of that my body has changed beyond recognition. Nobody told me the baby classes we attend are like school all over again, gaggles of women sit together and gossip, I sit wondering how they all became friends, why no-one talks to me and knowing I'm not in the 'in crowd'. I do talk to a few of the woman fleetingly but that's it.I'm not looking forward to the school gates situation but I've got a while to worry about that.

Nobody told me that I'd disappear and be replaced by 'mummy' and as yet I'm not sure how I become me again. This has been a bit of a brain dump, so sorry for that, sometimes you just have to let it out.

15 Apr 2013

Five Things - Silly things we do

After spending yet another day following my toddlers crazy demands I started to think about the strange and silly things we do without question. Below are my top five things I often stop and wonder why I'm doing it.

Dance to music like a loon on a small mat next to the back door. The song is always the theme tune from Toy Story and whoever is in the house has to dance on the mat. It gets crowded but I think Bubba does it so that she can see herself in the shiny blackness of the fridge.

This is three of us on the mat
Put on silly voices for her toys. I'm guessing this is a more standard parent silliness but it doesn't make it any less cringe worthy sometimes.  I now sometimes resort to getting Buzz Lightyear to tell her to go upstairs for her bath, it works for now so I'm sticking with it.

Sit it her playhouse in the garden. She makes me crawl into the playhouse whilst shouting "common mumma, now", now recently this has been a no go area for me with a bad back. Not silly in the least but as soon as I'm in she will often get out and go off and play somewhere else so I'm left sitting in there and because I've made so much effort to get in I stay put. It must look odd to the neighbours!

Wear silly masks. This in itself is an easy one, I don't mind watching television in my mask or doing a puzzle. What gets me is that I often find that I'm still wearing my mask long after Bubba and Hubby have removed theirs, I feel so daft because no one told me and I don't always notice its on.

Treating her hobby horse as if its real. I can often be found at the moment sitting stoking the hobby horses head, I can also trot up and down the living room on it to make Bubba laugh. If out and we have taken the horse with us, I invariably end up carrying it under my shoulder and can also make it neigh, don't judge me till you try it!!


12 Apr 2013

London Life

Yesterday after weeks of a bad back (me), I'm talking crawling from room to room bad back, and ill health from my immediate family (serious ill health) but on the mend type thing, Bubba and I took a trip to London.

It was a well timed and very needed journey to meet Hubby for lunch (before he starts a new job) and see some of his lovely colleagues. I was nervous because my back took another turn for the worse a few days ago and I wasn't sure if I'd manage it but we did and this is what we saw.

We waited for Hubby on Southwark bridge and then had a walk in Borough Market and I managed to buy cake as well as some Chipotle sauce. It was nice to be amongst the throngs of tourists and seeing London life through their eyes. I really miss working in London on days like this and I'm sure the shine would wear off quickly but for a brief few minutes I was able to pretend I was a free spirit again.

A lovely lunch in Zizzi followed where Bubba was so tired that she only ate a bread stick and then tried to go to sleep on me which was a little hard as the chairs aren't that roomy.

The Hubby and I had a cheeky glass of fizz to celebrate me getting there in one piece and his new job. Straight after lunch Bubba fell asleep and we had a nice sit on a bench watching the world go by.

We then got the river boat back down to Greenwich which was amazing (at first we thought it was a little pricey but once on the boat it was worth every penny). Bubba loved it and sat enchanted on daddy's lap which gave me a nice rest as well.

After the boat trip we then got the DLR and then a train home. We didn't really do anything out of the ordinary but Bubba enjoyed herself (as did Hubby and myself), it felt like a real break from the norm and we are planning similar trips in the future.

6 Apr 2013

Memory Book Moments - 25 Months

She can say dog and puppy but insists on calling dogs 'huff huff'

Knows all her colours really well and can say them. Only one she says a really weird word for is red...she calls it mauve.

Says 'ok' at the end of sentence all the time. Both myself and hubby say this a lot.

Obsessed with toy story 3, we watch most or parts of it daily. We also now watch the other two films and listen to the toy story song on the Disney cd. Likes the Disney castle and says 'go there now, yeah, ok?'

Looses her cool more and more now. The slightest thing can start a mini tantrum. she also asks for dodo a lot (dummy).

Goes into the kitchen in the morning and asks for 'choc tik' (chocolate) but we don't keep any in the house so this causes a meltdown 

Likes drinking out of cup with juice in it. Then likes to dip her fingers in it - last night I caught her dipping a potato croquet in it and then eating it.

As soon as my phone comes out she is on it and wanting to play with the apps (or watch you tube videos of toy story).

Saying 'no not me' if she doesn't want to do something. Also squeals if she doesn't get her own way and tries to escape.

Makes up cute nonsense songs now, usually about Gargie and nanna.

Likes pretending she's going to the shops, takes a bag and asks for money. Then walks off to the kitchen to get whatever you've asked for,

She doesn't mind nursery as much because she now has a little friend called Bella. If you ask her about Bella she will go all coy and smiles.

Loves putting boxes on her head and then saying 'in space mumma', 'bouncy space mumma' and walking around bumping into things.

4 Apr 2013

How it feels - when she won't eat

There is a smile plastered across my face, I know it's false and to be fair so does Bubba. I'm trying to look unaffected but again, we both know I'm fooling no one. The spoon in my hand is positioned ready for when she stops chewing and I desperately want to get just one spoonful of goodness into her. She is concentrating on eating one of the bread sticks I put on the side to hopefully deflect her attention. I know she likes this dinner, she always used to eat it and even now once she gets going she'll eat most of it, that's of course if she is in the right mood or isn't teething or feeling unwell or just doesn't feel like eating it!

She shakes her head and in that moment I feel my shoulders slump. She pushes at the plate and tries to get up, this always gets my heckles up. She knows this. I try again 'do you want some magic sauce, mmmm this looks lovely'. My voice sounds slightly shrill even to me, she looks up and back at the plate and frowns. I reach for the ketchup and drizzle some across her food. I always promised myself I'd never resort to using sauce but its the only thing that worked and now it's my crutch.

Suddenly I seize my moment, her mouth is open, she isn't chewing. I swiftly deposit some cottage pie (lovingly made by me) into her mouth. She clamps it shut, fixes a steely gaze on me and starts to chew. I feel anxious and euphoric all at once, I know she likes it but I'm not sure it'll stay in her mouth very long. It goes in and stays in, notchalantly I try for another but this time it goes in and she lets it dribble off her chin back out again. She then pushes the plate away again 'no mama NO' I am crushed, she will not take another mouthful. She refuses to pick up the spoon or fork and won't even look at the food, it's as if she believes I have poisoned her. I've hit the point of no return, her interest is lost and whatever I offer (unless it's a yoghurt or some fruit) won't get eaten.

The worst bit is that I know as soon as I reach the kitchen that I'll stuff the rest of the uneaten goodness into my mouth and that's not good for my waist line!

Another food battle lost, I'll try it all over again tomorrow.


1 Apr 2013

Mummy Matters - Real Mum Share Advice

This month Jennifer from Jennifers Little World had given some brilliant insight into how she deals with motherhood

Name: Jennifer

Bubba Name: Harry (4), Mia (21 months)

How has motherhood changed you?

I have become much better at multi-tasking. I have  also become very good at spotting windows of opportunity and getting things done in those rare, tiny gaps when both children are happily occupied. I have become less anxious about social situations because I know that with a child in tow I will always have someone to talk to.

What items are in your handbag (baby related)?

I always carry a spare nappy, baby wipes, some kind of snack and a toy car or two! If we're going out for longer then there will also be a drink in there. I often rely on my iPhone to entertain the little ones, my daughter particularly loves looking through all the photos and videos on there.

What things could you not live without? 

I would find it very difficult to cope without my parents. They are brilliant at coming down to visit and taking the children away for a short time, or even babysitting for longer periods. Recently they looked after my daughter for a whole weekend so that we could take my son up to London for a short break, which was lovely.

Since I stopped working a few months back due to redundancy, I find that I spend a lot of time on social media. Sometimes online contact is the only real contact that I have with other adults during the day, and I find it reassuring to know that there are other people out there facing the same challenges as I am. My blog is also very important to me, it gives me a focus and something to think about that is just for me.

I have a couple of friendly baby groups that I visit regularly, and even if I don't get to talk to anyone for very long, it's so nice for us all to get out of the house and for the children to have different toys to play with.

In terms of baby equipment, our baby swing saved us when my second baby was born. It was the only way that she settled in the evenings, and it meant that we could put my older son to bed and have a couple of hours to relax before putting her down for the night, instead of pacing up and down the corridors with a screaming baby.

Any good advice you received (or could give)?

Don't believe everything that people tell you about their children. It wasn't until I discovered Twitter that I found out other people were suffering the same sleepless nights as us. People on social media are much more honest, people in real life tend to embellish the truth.

In my opinion the best thing that we did was to establish a bedtime for the children of around 7.30pm. there were many nights, especially in the early days with each baby, when this didn't go to plan, but there were many more when it did, and it saved our sanity to have a few hours of the evening to ourselves. My children have both been poor night time sleepers so I hesitate to give sleep advice, but having those few precious child free hours every evening helps us to get through it.

Do you use any good books or websites that you'd like to share?

I've found the NHS Direct website very helpful in the past when looking up children's symptoms and diagnoses. You do have to be very careful when looking up medical information online though as it can just make you worry more!

When I'm looking for crafts and activities to do with the children I absolutely love Pinterest. There are so many fantastic ideas out there, you can never be stuck for something to do.

Describe you life now in one word:



If you would like to be involved and share the things you've found useful then please do send me an email at: Kaz@bubbababble.com
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