23 Sep 2016

Fabulous Friday - After School Clubs & Birthdays

Its been another busy school week and although we are getting back in the swing of the school run, I've still had moments of panic that I'll be late for drop off or pick up. Nothing changes!



What I've learnt this week?

That my children CAN both sleep through the night on the same night...twice in a row. It was amazing and I felt so rested. The first night they even both slept until 7.30am the next morning. Obviously it didn't last and Bubba was back to waking at least once a night but it was a start.

What we've achieved?

Two birthday party's on two consecutive nights...my two nieces were 13 and 10 respectively and we enjoyed celebrating with them. It was a mission getting two super tired kids back home but we managed it with minimal meltdowns. I asked my brother if he felt old and he said no but he did feel like time was slipping away at an alarming rate. I hear you!

Bubba also made it through her first two school clubs and although she didn't want to go back to either of them I feel she is thawing and enjoyed both more than she'll admit. It's definitely a work in progress for us.


Who's rocking the world this week?

I went to watch Bad Moms at the cinema this week, we are slightly behind the rest of the country but it was such a good film. The actresses really rock the film and there are lots of nod along moments. Incredibly funny and moving all at the same time.

Fabulous product of the week:

 I'm a very lucky lady...this week I entered a FB competition asking if you wanted to test some new Heck sausages. I was one of the first 30 to enter and got sent this amazing hamper of Christmas treats. We were so pleased and have tried the chicken baubles so far and they are amazing. A review will follow.

What I want to take into next week?

Being organised more, making sure I've got the kids stuff ready and them out the door on time because when we get it right it's a lovely relaxed and happy home.

Friday thought...

I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.
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20 Sep 2016

After School Clubs - Year One - Are they worth it?

Bubba has just started in Year 1 and it has been a slightly rocky start for her, she is finding the transition from reception harder than I thought she would (isn't that always the way!). We have tears every morning before school now and although she goes in, it's with a slight push and false smiles from me and her dad, she isn't taking well to the less play/more work balance.

So I was unsure whether to sign her up for after school clubs but when I got the letter I got really excited as gymnastics was on the list - she loves anything to do with leaping around, balancing and dancing...so for me it was a natural fit (plus the fact that she has such poise and a ram rod straight back...I could see us all off to the Olympics in years to come...tiger mom...me...nooooo!).

I also signed her up for ballet in the lunch time - she has also been having problems in the playground with her little friends, they are finding it hard muddling through as a three and often one of them gets left to play on her own (usually Bubba). So I thought getting her out of that situation one lunch time a week would be good for her and going back to the prancing and dancing aspect - this is a good fit again.

All was well...except Bubba hasn't bought in to my 'let's do some clubs' vibe and although initially happy for gymnastics she then changed her mind the night before to a definable 'NO'. With some slight coaxing and the promise of a cuddly toy thingy when she returned home having done the class, she relented. It was for an hour after school in the school gym and for myself and cub it was bliss...we didn't have to rush and do the calamity of the school run and for an extra hour there was no fight for tv rights, something to eat, general moaning at me...it was stress free. I did clock watch and miss all of the above (isn't that always the way!) and went a little early to pick her up, she came out with a big smile - I think mainly due to the fact she was getting a cuddly toy but I asked if she'd had fun - I got a big yes and asked if she wanted to go again next week?

"It was fun mummy but no thank you, I don't want to go again"

"But honey you said it was fun...sure you don't want to learn more?"

"No mummy, you said if I tried it and decided I didn't want to go back then I didn't have to!"

So that's where we are at, I'm not sure whether to push her to go one more time or leave her be and not try again. We've still got the ballet class to overcome and I'm sure I'll have a fight on my hands for that one too as she wasn't even keen on doing it.

My main worry is...is it worth pursuing or should I leave her happily without going to clubs, does it make any difference to how she grows up? I'm worried if she stops going and then suddenly decides she wants to go...we've missed the boat and she'll have to wait ages (there are lots of waiting lists at local gymnastics classes). Will she become to insular and introspective...very like me!

I hated going to clubs when I was a child and didn't go to any without a fight but I have memories for Brownies and Lamp lighters that are good and as an adult I'm glad I had those experiences...although my mum often had to cajole me into going.

So the really big question for me is...who am I doing it for? For me to have some peace and to feel smug that she is learning something new. For her to broaden her horizons and potentially meet new people.

Does any of that really matter? Should I leave it this year and try again next year?

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19 Sep 2016

Easy Meal - Sausage Meatball Bake

 ***Update - we still love this recipe now ***


I've been a bit slack on cooking different meals for Bubba recently. I put together a meal plan and as she eats at nursery twice a week she only has a snack on those evenings so for the rest I've been resorting to old favourites. She is still a bit picky in that if it doesn't look right then she doesn't attempt to eat it (I usually end up feeding her by hand).

Today I was feeling brave and decided to try her on something different (the same meal as us) sausage meatball bake.

Ingredient:
1/2 sausage
1/4 Courgette
2 Mushrooms
1/4 Onion
A few tablespoon passata
Handful Pasta
A handful cheese

(All measurements are estimates because Toddler appetites vary)

Oven: 160 fan assisted for 25 mins

Method:
Remove skin on sausage and make it into tiny balls and shallow fry then put to one side.

In another pan cook the pasta of choice until its still got some bite to it and then set this aside.

Fry the onion, courgette and mushroom until soft (you can add garlic but I didn't). Add enough passata to cover the vegetables and gently simmer. On this occasion I whizzed the sauce so Bubba didn't have issues with the lumps. I then added the pasta and sauce together, mixed in the meatballs and put into a dish. Sprinkled with cheese and bake in oven until the cheese is all melty.


Then sit back and let your toddler enjoy (or in my case play with the pasta).







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16 Sep 2016

Fabulous Friday - Back to the grind of the school run

Well we are one week into the school season and back to the grind of making sure we get to school on time and trying to entertain two small people after school who are tired and hungry. The summer holidays already feel like a distant memory but it's silly season for me at work now what with all the great events happening over the next few months. I love a bit of autumn.




What I've learnt this week?

Well more I've been reminded of my daughters resilience...Bubba has for the last few weeks been very scared of dogs after one without an owner present, jumped up and licked her face and nearly knocked her over. It shocked her so much and before that she was a dog lover and wanted to go say hello to every dog - which then turned to screaming in fear even if a dog was on a lead and she was in the car going past.

But we had a break through at a pub in the same park, the two biggest dogs ever where happily sat under a table. At first she freaked and then she calmed down and said she wanted to stroke them, so we asked and it was fine...her love is stronger than her fear again. I'm so proud that she did it and I'm glad she pushed through a fear.

What we've achieved?

A more patient mother - it hasn't worked all the time but I have tried to remember they are only little and this time is precious. There have been some very early starts at our house so I've been downstairs with both kids from 5.30am (that's after resisting leaving my warm bed for some time before we got downstairs!). Previously I have got worried and wondered why and how I can change it and gosh I'm tired! This week I've taken it for what it is and I'm patiently waiting for it to change again...oh it has to change!


Who's rocking the world this week?

Royal Greenwich Tall Ship Festival, we went and watched last year as the ships made their way to Greenwich and there were spectacular. Dozens of tall-masted sailing ships will grace the east end of the Thames with their presence for this five-day festival (14th - 18th Sept 16)

Fabulous product of the week:

I had to include this wonderful paper based product, its the Ultimate Success Planner and I cannot wait to get my hands on one. I'm hoping it'll help me organise my life a little more.

Natalie Rickman on Etsy

What I want to take into next week?


Looking after myself more: I'm good at looking after other people but I've neglected myself recently and so I'm going to start exercising more and going to bed earlier. I also want to read more too and I'm getting hooked on 'Girl on a train' at the moment. I want to be back to my bright eye and bushy tailed best.

Friday thought: (a fabulous affirmation)

My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil
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14 Sep 2016

One of those days - Motherhood

Do you ever have one of those days where you question everything. Wondering if you are doing the right thing, catering to your child's needs as best you can?

Do you ever have one of those days where you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders? Mummy guilt round every corner you turn.

Do you ever have one of those days you wistfully dream of a different life, a different path?

I wonder why I'm finding it difficult, if I'm going to ruin my babies lives with my choices. Will there be a time I get enough sleep am able to concentrate on things again.

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Do you ever have one of those days you feel like you are on fire...everything goes right?

Do you ever have one of those days when even super mum doesn't feel like a fitting title?

Do you ever have one of those days where it feels like all you've done is laugh together all day? Everyone is on top form and nothing has stood in your way.

On these days I wonder who the woman is that is struggling so much and know I could never ruin their lives with my choices because I've got their best interests at heart.

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It's the rollercoaster of days that run into weeks and years so quickly yet that one day where life isn't going to plan and it seems like the longest day you have ever had.

It's the changing emotions and needs of little people that can switch so quickly and easily that you are left trying to catch your breath and understand what.just.happened!!!!!

It's the love only a mother can have for her children, the intuitive understanding of what they want and need.

It's the never all looking in the same direction at the same time....that's motherhood and it's all just one of those days.....

 
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12 Sep 2016

Our visit to Bath 2016

I've been to Bath before and stayed at the University whilst studying for my Open University Degree. I've always been keen to go back so this year we decided to go for a short break.

I found this chocolate box, picture perfect place to stay.

At the end of the garden there were pigmy goats and chickens which delighted the children.


I can't fault the School house at all, it was attached to a B&B so if you had extra guests then they could stay there. It was simply beautiful, the garden was immaculate and we arrived to some essential food and a cake...I'm anyone's for a cake!


We weren't particularly close to any amenities but close enough by car. Central Bath was only a 20 min car journey.

It reminded me of Brighton where there are lanes and very interesting independent shops to visit. We had a lovely relaxed lunch with these two munchkins.




Prior Park Landscape Garden 

Another day we managed to visit the National Trust gardens of Prior Park Landscape gardens. We aren't members and this was definitely worth paying for.
Rolling landscapes where the kids could run wild. Down winding paths there were things to see or do..such as this giant swing.

We had a gorgeous afternoon tea, warm scones, clotted cream and hot coffee...

The kids had ice creams and then played on the outside playground and den building area

As you can see, it wore them out a bit...



Beach 

We went on a sunny but windy day so didn't really get to relax much (I refused to go in the water or take off my jumper). The kids paddled and the beach was sandy, we had fish & chips for lunch.


If you would like to stay at this wonderful cottage then visit their website, I promise you won't be disappointed:   www.schoolcottages.co.uk


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9 Sep 2016

Fabulous Friday - New Beginnings

Well welcome to my new Friday series, where I intend to share all things fabulous. As a mother of two I spend so much time doing the nitty gritty of life and I rarely look back (or forward) or really appreciate what we have right now.

So from this day forward I will write down my fabulous Friday musings...


What I've learnt this week?

Well even though I spent most of the six weeks holiday missing our routine and wanting things to get back to normal. Today I cried my eyes out watching my 5yr old walk into school and year1...she seems so young yet so grown up at the same time.

What we've achieved?

An easy transition into a new school year, bubba makes me proud when she takes life in her stride. Things that I find daunting she seemingly just works her way through.

My little man is fairly relaxed as it is and revels in his sisters company and its nice to see them reunited after school. He chats to me properly now and we can both understand each other.

Who's rocking the world this week?

I'm always looking for role models for my kids and seeing as the Olympics have just been and gone, we are still watching clips of Simone Biles. She is simply amazing and powerful and we are looking forward to the Paralympics as I'm sure we will find quite a few more people to admire.

Fabulous product of the week:

These rainbow post it notes, honestly these would make anyone happy. I would never use them...just stare!

From the Daydreaming Doodler

What I want to take into next week?


Patience really, my babies won't be babies forever and I need to be patient and remember it's all a learning curve. I find myself moaning back at my daughter when she moans at me...we get into a tit for tat type argument and I sound worse than she does.

Friday thought: (a fabulous affirmation)

"I am surrounded by love, all is well" Louise Hay
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7 Sep 2016

Glasses

This is a post I was sure whether to write or not, more due to my reaction to the situation.

My beautiful girl is now a glasses wearer and she wears them well. She chose them herself and she has been so good about wearing them.


It wasn't in my 'plan' for my girl, it's not something I had even considered. So when it happened I did shed some tears that she had to wear glasses all the time. I'm a glasses wearer (well I should wear them more) for reading and driving as I'm long sighted. So it's not a dislike of glasses just of her situation.

We only had her eyes tested in February this year and given the all clear that her eyesight was fantastic. In May her teacher mentioned that bubba sometimes squinted in lessons and her eye kind of wandered inwards.

We asked bubba and she said she was doing it to make the boys laugh. So for the next few days I crossly told her to stop whenever I saw her do it. But something made me book an appointment at the opticians (& they also told me she wasn't due for another eye test - seeing as the last was only three months prior). I persisted and in early June we had her appointment, which the optician again announced her eye sight was good. Her eye happened to wander at the very end of the appointment and the optician was brilliant and scurried off to get some special lenses. Bubba found they made things less fuzzy, it also corrected her gaze and we were suddenly the proud owners of two pairs of glasses.

We also had to see a specialist up at St Thomas' hospital to find out why her eye was trying to adjust its focus and going crossed. I was nervous she may need an eye patch and desperately hoped not. 

At the moment she doesn't, we just have to make sure she wears her glasses all day, every day until she's about 12...at that point they will see if she needs them long term but the likelyhood is that she will.

Glasses aren't that bad but being only five and not understanding fully why she needs them is challenging. It's also restrictive in everyday life, when it's all about discovering the world around you.
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5 Sep 2016

Our visit to Longleat - review

For our holiday this year we decided to spend some time near Bath and stayed in a wonderful little cottage (more on that in another post).

Whilst there we decided to visit Longleat for the day. So I used our Tesco club card points to get us as a family of four in for £45.


We got there about 30 mins after opening and had to queue for about five minutes and then we were in.

Our first stop was to see the giraffes and it was busy but on my insistence we queued for about five minutes to feed the giraffe. By this time it was almost 11am and the feeding was tailing off (having started at 10am). I'm so glad we waited, getting so close to them was amazing and feeding them branches of leaves was magical.

After the excitement we wandered across the road and saw the lemar and tortoises and got a coffee for the car journey. By this time everyone else had moved on to the safari and it all felt a little more relaxed.

We got back in the car and carried on, we had decided to swerve the Monkey enclosure as we didn't want our car damaged. There was a long queue to reach it and if we'd realised sooner we would have gone in the other lane (which took you to the bypass). So if you go and don't want your car trashed by monkeys then take the right hand lane (which was empty!).

It's also a good idea to take your own food because the only stop on the safari route was the giraffes and there is a cafe there but nothing for the rest of the time. Having two narly little people meant we had constant requests for food so having a packed lunch saved us from total meltdown.


It also gets busy when you get to the lions and tigers and people pullover and block access so it all got a bit slow at those points. We were lucky that they were all lounging about but we didn't get to see any cheetah or elephants on the day so it's useful to remember this and prepare children beforehand that it sometimes doesn't happen.


We loved the animals we did see and it was lovely to see the children witnessing wild animals up close.

After the safari we parked at the house and went on some of the rides.

We saw animals in the smaller zoo and Bunba was taken by the bat enclosure where we saw them fly above our heads. We saw penguins and meerkats up close and it's great that it's all very interactive.

We would recommend the boat ride (although we had to queue for quite a while) so be prepared. We saw sea lions, gorillas on an island and hippos swimming.

We didn't go on any other rides as it was getting late, the kids just wanted a toy each and were hungry. We got some hotdogs, ice creams and chips (not all in that order) and it was all fairly reasonable in cost.


All in all we had such a great day and if recommend a visit to anyone. It's all well thought out and keeps the attention of the children (well it did our 5yr old and 2yr old). Now is a great time to go as its Longleats 50th anniversary this year.

We even managed a cheeky selfie too...look at that little face that got in on the action!


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3 Sep 2016

Food for the little monkey

*** update: An easy treat we still make now***

A great treat which we all love is banana bread and its so easy to make. Bubba literally inhales the lot and its good because I know its a bit more fruit going in (not that she needs an excuse to eat fruit). The best bit is that it uses up all those manky old bananas that are hanging around looking sad.



We use a basic Sainsbury recipe:

2 medium really ripe banana's
1tsp Vanilla extract (don't use flavouring as it isn't the same thing)
80g butter
180g light brown sugar
1 egg
225g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder

Mash the bananas in a bowl, add butter and vanilla extract (mix again). Don't worry it is not meant to go smooth. Add the sugar and the egg and mix them in. Add the baking powder to the flour and sift into the bowl and fold into the banana mixture. Grease a loaf tin and add the mixture. Bake in oven for roughly 40 minutes until it is cooked through ( I often have to cover before this point so that it doesn't burn but think that could just be my oven).

I usually cut into slices and freeze (well we usually eat a few slices before this point!) and take out when I want to use it.


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