28 Jan 2016

A love like no other...

Looking at my watch I know I won't make it home for bedtime, for either of my babies.

I've known it all day as I sat at a conference and I'm now sitting on a train. My baby boy will be in bed now and hopefully in a happy slumber. My big girl will be heading up to read books and ask lots of questions any minute.

I feel like weeping, I've only missed bedtime a handful of times and I don't like it. It feels the most unnatural thing in the world and if I could have one wish, any wish, it's to be home right now stroking my baby girls hair and kissing the top of her head.

When I'm at home and do the bedtime routine every night I sometimes feel like it's Groundhog Day. I sigh and think of all those people still out and enjoying their evenings or wanting to mix it up every now and again.

But the truth is, it's the best bit of my day. I get to make sure my little people are safe and happy, tiredly tucked up tight in bed.

I'm lucky to feel their heavy little limbs drape around me as I cuddle them. They try to resist the tiredness but don't quite manage it.

It's not a forever thing, I'm very aware that one day I won't have to carry them to bed, tuck them in and read a story. It's one of those bittersweet parenting moments.

You spend your whole time waiting and watching for them to grow up...then they do it without you realising and the things you took for granted like cuddles and bottles of milk and bedtime stories suddenly disappear.

I want to be at home and hushing my baby girl as she over excitedly talks. Trying to calm her active mind whilst reminding her that her baby brother is asleep.

I want to hear about the school playground squabbles and to get her uniform ready for tomorrow. I need to remind her to clean her teeth and pick a book.

I wonder what book she'll pick tonight?

For now I'm on a fast train whizzing through the dark and the first thing I'll do when I get home?

Creep into their rooms and quietly apologise to their little snoring bodies.

"Sorry mummy didn't make it home for bedtime. I missed you. I promise that I'll be here when you wake up"

25 Jan 2016

....Why? ......

I used to moan about the 'why?' after every conversation but now I have an almost 5 year old it's really grating. I mean it's fab that she is inquisitive and asks lots of questions but the ones that get to me are:

Me: "Please don't stand on that moving toy car"

Bubba: "but I like it"

Me: "No, please get off, it will topple over and you'll hurt yourself"

Bubba: "why?"

Me: "because it'll move and you'll fall off"

Bubba: "Why?"

Me: "why will you fall off or why will you hurt yourself?"

Bubba: "why?"

Me: "just trust me, I've asked you a couple of times so please get off!"

Bubba: "why?"

*at this point I raise my voice and off she gets

The most annoying bit is when I really haven't got a clue why or I want to stop the 'why' so I just use the universal mum code...

"Because I said so..."

The funniest 'why' was at 4am when bubba turned up in our bed and needed to know

"How do worms poo?"

Me: "well like us, our their bum"

Bubba: "why haven't I seen it!"

And sleep...


20 Jan 2016

This is forty...

You know when you were young and if an older person (who to you, seemed to be middle aged but probably still feeling in their prime) couldn't remember their age, you'd have been aghast!

Seriously who doesn't know how old they are?

It's easy when you are under 21 to remember how many birthdays you've had but between 35-60 it all gets a bit hazy and they blend into one. It doesn't mean they are any less exciting but life just helps smudge the edges for you.

Well for me, this is Fourty!

I don't feel like a grown up yet, although I have a husband, two children, a part time job and I'm an entrepreneur. I juggle life on a weekly basic, question my heel height before buying new shoes and never go out of an evening without a coat (unless it's summer and even then I'll take a light cardy in case it gets breezy).

My family means everything to me and I truly don't think I could continue without them. I appreciate my close friends more and more as the years pass as the wheat separates from the chaff.

I'm proud to have grown up with two lovely ladies who know me as I know them. Inside out and back to front...then spinning around again. We have been through the best, the worst and somewhere in between.

Time is bitter sweet and I understand my parents more and the youth of today less. I raise an eyebrow towards the girls in tiny shorts and boys who are too sure of themselves. I appreciate a good cup of tea and the simplest pursuits now, home is definitely where the heart is.

Wild days live in my memory and make good stories with my friends to reminisce over. Practicalities and less spontaneity is what I'm about, I love dreaming but now I'm a realist.

Every now and again, I'll put those sky high heels on, dance like no one is watching and be that girl with big dreams, no responsibility and a smile in her eyes but I'll still come home to my loves.

I still have big dreams but they've evolved. I still dance like nobody's watching (but it's in the kitchen with the kids whilst chanting "follow the leader, leader, leader; follow the leader" and we are all giggling). You know, I never want to be the girl without responsibility because sitting at my birthday celebration dinner, I looked at my husband who has evolved and grown on this journey with me and I felt so lucky and grateful to be sharing this life and raising our children together.

Naughty Forty...I know you are going to rock. I'm ready for ya and excited to be on this voyage...Bring it On.


18 Jan 2016

Ten Things I've Learnt in Motherhood

Motherhood is a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences and just when you think you have the measure of it, it changes yet again. So I've learnt a lot of things as my babies grow up but these are the pressing ones at the moment...

1) Just when you think someone swapped your child for the demon.... they go and absolve themselves by saying something cute at the precise moment you are ready to chuck in the towel "I love you mummy" goes a long way

2) Every day is a new day - this sounds pretty obvious but it's remembering not to take any stress from the previous day into the next one. Or in our instance at the moment, a really bad nights sleep can't impend on how the next day transpires.

3) Even on the worst day, I'd still have more kids. Seriously when they've been little rotters all day and I'm at the end of my tether...I would still have another baby and do it all over again.

4) Every child looks angelic in their sleep and I will stare at my two in wonderment at the loveliness I created. Then I panic as they stir and think sh*t now I'm going to have to commando roll out of the room, hitting the creakiest floor board in the world.

5)When your baby starts growing up (& you know it's the last one for you) you really mourn the loss. Giving away baby clothes and weaning books takes on a whole different slant, before you'd tuck it away in the loft to be dusted off and used again. Now it's just a reminder of a past.

6) Reading a story at bedtime is my favourite part of the day, it's lovely to relax and its easy to enjoy the moment. I enjoy acting out the characters and it's no surprise that I get the most requests to read above and beyond the husband.

7) When the children are bad...they belong to my husband and the conversation goes "You'll never guess what YOUR child did today". When they have done something outstanding, I take all the credit and feel immensely proud of myself...I mean them!

8) Fake it until you make it - I don't know a lot of things but the good thing is that my two small people don't know that I'm winging it. They think I'm super mum and I won't be setting them straight any time soon - requests of 'make the sea out of this paper mummy' or 'can we drive to the moon?' are met with a resounding yes I can.

9) It's the easiest and hardest gig I've ever had and that can be true of minute to minute let alone hour to hour or day to day. No two days are the same

10) I revel in the mundane - it's the little things that you remember, the silly faces and giggles at dinner, the running around in the garden fun, the fight to get on and stay on mummy's lap first for cuddles.

14 Jan 2016

Green Toys Tugboat review - An update

****This tugboat is still going strong two years later and is played with every bathtime by both children, It's lasted and is clean inside. Highly recommend still*****

When I sent Hubby to collect a parcel from two doors down (I thought it was something he'd ordered) I had no idea what was in the box. I got rather excited when I opened the Tugboat sent from Learning Resources as it is vibrant and colourful, I wanted to play with it, let alone letting Bubba loose with it.

It's a green toy and 100% recycled with no BPAs or harmful stuff. Over the years I've come to hate the bright plastic cheap feeling toys (which are hard to escape!). This feels different, it's sturdy without feeling clumsy and that makes it a quality product. The cardboard packaging is great too, it's not covered in tags, ties and bits of plastic. Bubba even uses the packaging as a dogs bed now.

Bubba was already in bed when I unpacked the TugBoat so I had to wait until the morning before she saw it. The first thing she did was use it as a boat for her dogs (she is obsessed with dogs) and her only complaint seemed to be that she couldn't pull the top off and get her dogs inside the boat. Teasingly you can see a little seat, wheel and detailed front panel. The detail involved adds a nice touch and allows for more imaginative play.

Since then we've used it in the bath and it pours really well and floats (I've been amazed in the past, buying 'bath toys' that then don't float...what's that all about). We use it for the dreaded hair wash and the novelty has kept the tears at bay and because it has a large spout, it gets rid of the soap suds quickly too. It's also going to make it out into the paddling pool if the weather gets better again (we have rain here today).

I would recommend this toy wholeheartedly and think it would make a great present for a little one. Even better is that Learning Resources are doing free delivery until 31st December 2013 when you use the discount code: BLOGGER13 at checkout.

I was sent a tugboat for review but all opinions are my own

12 Jan 2016

Party Planning - The Party bag

We are getting closer and closer to Bubba's 5th birthday. She has lots of ideas on where to go and who with. I've started thinking about the particulars like invites. I've seen these great colour your own...

Traditionally after a party my daughter would be shouting and asking for her party bag. My tired and highly wound up on sugar and fun little girl couldn't wait to empty the contents on the way home.

She would fine some plastic instrument to torture me with whilst restling the piece of cake out of the napkin and kindly smearing it over the car seats in her excitement.

But party bags are getting a make over in our neck of the woods. Lots of mums are preferring to make their own (or buy in) sweetie cones. 

Following a thread on my local mums FB group, lots of people suggested balloons for each child, one mum even did themed balloons.

My lovely friend makes her own cupcakes to give to the departing children.

But even more mums suggested a book as a gift. This is the ultimate bring away gift because it lasts long after the party. You can add a bookmark or pack of sweets if you feel you need to have created something.

For these party bags I got an Usborne box set for £34.99

So it works out 88p per book plus a pack of sweets from a multipack from a pound shop. Not bad for something that'll last and be read again and again.

books and invites found at www.Babblebooks.co.uk

What do you do for party bags?

11 Jan 2016

Watching my boy - Review Baby Monitor

****oh look at my wonderful boy, so little!  I wanted to share this again as we still use this monitor and wouldn't be without it****

We've been parents to a newborn for four weeks now. That's four weeks with even less sleep than I got whilst pregnant...I'm exhausted!

With Bubba we started a sleep routine very early and she became a great sleeper...until she hit toddler status and decided sleep was for wimps and she didn't have to do it if she didn't want to.

Fast forward to now and in a fit of I don't know what, on Monday I decided it was the day to start. So I bathed the boy and hubby set up our new monitor in the bedroom. 7pm and the little man was settled in his Moses basket upstairs, I was a jibbering wreck downstairs!

We are road testing the BT Digital Baby Monitor 1000. First time around we didn't use a video monitor with Bubba but I couldn't have put the boy upstairs without it.

As monitors go, it's easy to set up and the manual is easy to use. At one point I thought we had a broken unit because I couldn't hear any sound and it kept coming on and going off. I decided to read the manual and realised it only comes on when he makes a noise. As it's early days I like to hear the noise all around the room, I find it comforting. So I turned up the sensitivity levels and I can hear the white noise in the room.

The 'parent' unit is slim and has a great picture. Hubby was impressed with the quality of the picture and you can zoom in or out but can't move the monitor (unless it's manually). It plays some melodies and you can also talk through the unit to the child's unit...we tested this out when I thought it wasn't working and hubby went up and waved at the screen and I hissed down the microphone that I could see and hear him and he'd better not wake up baby.

It has a colour screen that then changes to infra red at night time. The parent unit is nice and compact and I've mainly been sitting with it next to me and I try not to look at it that often. It's given me peace of mind and helped make the transition from having baby near me to moving him (admittedly not that far but still...it's only four weeks!). I can't find fault with this monitor and we are so glad we are using it - although as I type the boy doesn't seem to want to go to sleep tonight!

If you are interested in getting a monitor then check out this baby monitor from Asda...

This is a collaborative post

8 Jan 2016

Easy Meals - Diet coke ham - Slimming World Style

**this is one of my best read posts and it's still a fave in our house**

Slimming World Diet Coke Ham Joint

Last week I posted the below picture on Instagram and got lots and lots of likes within minutes so thought I'd note down the recipes. I had never tried this before but after eating it on Sunday night, I will be cooking this again.

The list of ingredients seems a lot when you first look but it is a simple recipe once you put it all in.

Meat (we chose a ham joint but chicken is another popular one)
Peppers (we used one green, one yellow)
1 Onion (chopped)
Garlic clove
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1tbsp Soy Sauce
4 tbsp Tomato puree
8 tbsp Passata
Can Diet Coke
200ml stock (I used beef Stock Pot)
1tsp dried herbs
1tsp Cayenne (this is optional but gives a great kick)

You can do this recipe on the hob but we chose to slow cook ours (all instructions can be found on Slimming World website). I just put it all in the slow cooker and turned it on high and left it until we were ready to eat.
We decided on having home-made spicy wedges and home-made coleslaw with ours to maximise the super free foods. We were also left with a huge quantity of meat and sauce which we had in a stir fry the following evening.


4 Jan 2016

First Day Nerves - Starting School

I wrote this back when my baby was just about to start school and now, one term in and sending her back to school as an almost seasoned pro, I can't believe how quickly she has adapted and how my little girl is growing up.

"The blue PE bag is packed, the book bag is slumped in the corner by the front door and her uniform is hanging all pristine on the back of her door.

I checked Facebook earlier and had a 'on this day' pop up, it took me to a photo of my baby sitting up unaided for the first time at five months old. How can it be that she is now ready to go to school.

Tiny black shoes that haven't a crease on them sit next to a pair of white frilly sock. I have worries and misgivings about letting my little girl go. She'll have to choose her own lunches and I know she's not the most decisive of children and what if she doesn't end up eating anything.

It's strange, I know she's more than ready, can handle the situations and will do really well....it's just...letting her go is admitting that she's growing up."

The different now is that although the thought of letting her go back to school means I will miss her, I also know it's a great place for her to be and she loves school (once the bullying issues have subsided). Now at almost five, she can read quite a few words easily and also her writing is coming on brilliantly - for Christmas she wrote in each and every one of her class cards - her name and theirs. It's amazing how much she now knows and how much more she thinks she knows!

I for one, will be happily waving her off on the first day back at school and eagerly anticipating seeing her at home time and finding out what new and interesting things she has to say to me.

2 Jan 2016

Easy Meals - Spicy Mexican Baked Eggs

Most weeks we have eggs for dinner one night, normally a Tuesday because that's Slimming World night so I need something quick and easy.

I like to try out different recipes and this is a lovely winter warmer.

50g Chorizo
4 Eggs
1 tin chopped tomatoes 
1 onion
1 pepper
Spinach (optional)
1tsp Cayene
1tsp Paprika (smoked)
1tsp tomato purée
1tsp garlic salt
1tsp onion granules
Grated cheese

Fry the onions and chorizo (cubed) and add pepper to soften slightly. Add the tomato purée and spices and fry for few seconds. Add the tomatoes and let it simmer gently and reduce down. Add spinach and leave to wilt.

Once it's fairly thick, add the eggs and put in the oven to bake. I go and check every now and again to get them the best consistency.

Once you are happy the eggs are cooked, remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

You can also use beans into this to make it extra hearty and serve with crusty bread but we went wedges so left out the beans. This would make great the evening after the night before meal when you need something filling but quick (and not many pans used in the making of it).

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