10 May 2017

10 things you should know about being a parent

Yes, the baby days. Those care free days when you have to worry about packing baby bags, bottle or breast and how long do they sleep. Honestly those days feel hard but the real stuff hits as your child gets older. The things they don't mention in the baby books include...

1. Fussy eating will continue to be a source of worry like when you weaned them. You will more than likely think you have done something wrong. Mostly you are not other than offering something they will like or you will need them to eat. But you will reach a point where actually spending time creating wonderful dinners to wow your families will leave you more stressed. Instead you will find creative dinners to serve with sausages, fish fingers or chicken nuggets (sticky sausage bake, fish fingers and cousous, crispy chicken wraps)- as mostly you can't be bothered to have the argument.

2. Getting ready for school will be more of a battle than trying to get a toddler dressed. You will shout random items of clothing, threaten you will take them to school in the pajamas and listen to the chorus of its not fair as they took so long to get dressed there is no chance of a cheeky Netflix watch before school. Occasionally the child will surprise you by getting ready at the speed of light and you think boom I got this. This is just a false sense of security and it will return to normality.

3. Personal hygiene, which was always easier when the baby would happily be dunked in the water or not have any teeth to cause concern for teeth brushing. Instead you will have to militant watching the brushing with a timer, and be filled with so much guilt when you get told the teeth need to be removed. You will stand in a door frame and insist your child who has been at school, then various after school activities etc needs a wash. They will protest. You will disagree. You will likely get annoyed. There may be tears.

4. Relaxing weekends with the baby which would include a stroll around the park or a quick trip to the shops or friends. This will now include packing up bags for football, swimming, parties, Kung fu. The car will always be full or toys, magazines, books and pens. Empty water bottles and they will also require snacks. You will spend so much time taking them in and out the car.

5. Sure as they get older they sleep longer at night. However now you have the bedtime battle - I need water, i'm reading, mummy can you answer questions. When the light gets turned off and now they are bigger when they have nightmares or sore tummies it will likely involve climbing up and laying in a bunk bed rather than a cot. They are also heavier when needing to move them into the correct beds!


6. The cute baby clothes and vests soon move into the kids growing so quickly that you reach the half term or summer holiday - realise they have grown 3 inches and the jeans that fitted them weeks ago are now finishing around their ankles. And you don't own enough "civilian" clothes to dress them for weeks on end. You make a mad dash to primark and then own so much you can't shut the drawer. Standard. This also applies to school socks. 

7. The baby stage is great at watching them learn to walk, talk and eat. Then you reach the stage where education kicks in. You are now at the mercy of the teachers, who talk to you about ways to do long multiplication, you look crossed eyed at maths puzzles and have to google phonic words that have the sound Sph-. They bypass the reading levels and you have to listen to stories of Kip and Biff before they can move to the elusive free reader level.

8. There was a point when that baby was at your side, in your eye line. As they get older they have more independence - you don't need to be at their side in the toilet, they can wait in the car while you drop their siblings off at school, can you sit and drink coffee while at soft play. There are obvious great advantages of this stage. But then you get clouded the worry with stranger danger, are they behaving, what are they saying, are they being bullied, are they being mean to another child.... The whirring thoughts of worry will continue. Am I worrying too much, not enough - back and forth.

9. When babies learn to talk this is so sweet, the mamma the dadda. Then the older stages this will been the babbling in the car on the drive to school about Pokemon cards, fidget spinners, why the fact the flash runs so quick. This also paves the way for the bickering about who is the winner, who picks what song, who wants to ask a question first. Their vocabulary is all of a sudden very wide.

10. That as much of the baby years you are learning as you go, thinking on your feet and finding a way through being a mum. The older years are much the same. Things are consistently changing. I have to learn about the latest craze, the TV programmes, which youtube channels are safe to watch, what reading level should he be at, the fact they loose coats and jumpers at an alarming rate (and when do I push full responsibility onto him) Raising boys (from my experience so far) is never dull, often busy and overwhelming but full of love and cuddles and giggles.


18 Apr 2017

March 2017 // Weddings, Mothers Day and fancy dress

Read

I have found my reading rhythm this month and have been clocking through books at speed. I completed 3 books this month and all of them were fantastic. I particularly enjoyed in a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. It was gripping and I felt the need to just keep reading to find out the answers - I would really recommend. The Last Anniversary was a great story with plenty of humor, and sadness - especially around the post natal depression element. James Patterson delivers fast paced, popcorn crime stories, I loved the main character Alex Cross. I'm spending my lunch breaks browsing charity shops now for more in the series

Watched

We have been gripped with the return of Broadchurch on ITV. (and having just watched the finale last night) it did not disappoint. The story was well pieced together, well followed through and the characters were believable. We would sit in silence and devour the hour. A brilliant British drama

Heard

Yes we caved and bought the great Ed Sheeran new album Divide. The boys adore this album and we have been having to listen to it on repeat. Maxwell favorite being Galloway Girl, Natty loving The Shape of You and I have a little love for Barcelona. It is great finding something we can all listen to. 

Ate

Where we live in Croydon there is plenty to do - and with the opening of Box Park there has been even more places to eat. We headed up here for my mums birthday this month and was impressed with the choices. The eldest had chips, the youngest noodles, my dad a hot dog, my mum pad Thai and me and K had Indian. Followed by frozen yogurt and crepes. Lots of diverse things to try and sample. We shall be heading back soon.


Wore 

I love getting dressed up for a wedding or a christening. If we are heading to a family gathering I will get my dress and heels on. We had all been invited to a friends Wedding and I got this rather beaut of a dress from my inlaws as a present. Its from Very and I did have to go a size up (to fit the ample curves I have been graced with in) to give a bit more room as not much stretch on the dress. I felt pretty in this full dress - and now planning when can I wear it next.

Made
My crafting time seems to have disappeared but I started a corner to corner crochet rainbow blanket for a friend at work expecting a darling rainbow baby later this year. I will finish it I will finish it.

And also - seeing as the kids broke up early I also had a hand in an Easter Bonnet for school. Yay for seasonal crafting, glue guns and goofy smiles.

Baked
A choclate tray bake - which was a success. My husband arranged a play date with some of his friends and their kids - and this was the prefect tea time treat for them all. With a fudgy topping, sprinkles and buttons. This Tray bake tin from Lakeland is fantastic!!

And scones - we got a new oven fitted this month as my old one died a death. These were successful and tasted yum - pleased with the impressive rise I got on them too.

Rest of best

Yes these boys still at times sleep in our bed. Yes it is cramped. Yes it uncomfortable at time. But man they make my heart feel full.

Book week fun at nursery for this dude - the Gruffalo (firm fave) and Harry potter - which he adores.
A kung fu grading for the biggest - moving up levels and still showing commitment. Little man not wanting to miss out on the action.
Mothers day - full of coffee, cuddles and cards. What more can you ask for?

March was pretty lovely, with the weather on the turn and sunny days on the horizon.

12 Apr 2017

Quick Easter Cupcakes

Easter holidays are in full swing here - and the sun has been shining which has made it fell like summer. We have filled our days with days out, picnics and letting the kids run free. With Easter days approaching my mind wanders to thoughts of chocolate fueled baking and mini eggs - because why not. I made a quick a quick batch of cupcakes. 



These were not the prettiest cakes by no means. I used a 3 egg mixture (weighing the eggs, and using the same amount in self raising flour, butter, caster sugar and a tsp of baking powder - mixed all in one and spooned into the cases. Baked on 180 for around 20 mins)

I gathered my decorating supplies. These were nothing bought especially to make the cakes - all bits and pieces in the cupboards. The left over packets of sweets or little treat bags left at the bottom of box.
I made the decorating even easier - by using this tub of vanilla icing. I try and keep a tub or two of these in the cupboards. They have a long shelf life, a good sticky consistency (perfect for cake pops). The decorations I found on my cupboard scavenger hunt - a small treat size bag of malteasers & mini eggs, a small box of mini smarties, some Easter themed jelly sweets, some ready made flower decorations and the must have sprinkle mix. These simple selection of sweeties can be used to make a super quick batch of cupcakes.
The simplest combinations created some cute spring themed cakes. By sticking to a theme of decoration I created a pleasing tray of little cakes for my little ones. I must confess I truly dislike piping cake decorations - I am not that neat and it hurts my wrist. Any time I can bypass this by spooning and swirling with a knife I will do. 

My top tip when add sprinkles (to save them skittering all about the place) is spoon the mixture on and dip them into a ramekin with the sprinkles in. You get a good covering of sprinkles and a nice even finish.

While on my hunt in the cupboards I found these green sprinkles which work well as "grass" on the cake tops. The chocolate topped ones were a firm fave with the boys. I simplified the icing process even further and with cakes that have cooled I melted a line of a large bar of chocolate in the microwave (yes I am a chocolate melting heathen!!) and spoon the melted chocolate directly onto the cake to make a shiny topping ready to be adorned with a mini egg or some smarties.

Making a tray of pretty Easter treats does not need to be time consuming and can be just as pretty as others. I baked these cakes on the small side also (as my kids usually eat the icing and ditch the cake, but baking a smaller cake means they eat it!) There little hands have been sneaking cakes since they were baked - and they taste pretty yummy with a cup of tea!