Last week I bumped into a friend who I haven’t seen for ages during a little jaunt into town with Edie who was having a serious case of nap avoidance. After cooing over Edie and asking about each other’s families/lives we got to chatting about Instagram. I am allll about that Instagram right now and Lisa is an Instagram superstar with over 16,000 followers to her name. Why does she have this many? Because she is a total inspiration to thousands of men and women wanting to lose weight and get into a healthier lifestyle with over 9 stone (126lbs for our American friends) of weight lost altogether. How did she do it?
So when we were chatting she told me to try out a slimming world dessert recipe and see for myself how amazing the lifestyle was, and she would share it with all her followers if I tagged her. So, never one to shy from a challenge, I did just that. I took to Pinterest with the enthusiasm that one can only get from typing the words “delicious desserts” into a laptop and began to drool. Around an hour later I was withdrawing what can only be described as heaven on a plate out of the oven. I did share a snapshot of the Bailey’s Cheescake on social, and I have since had soooo many requests for the recipe it is unreal. So, without further mutterings from me, I present you with a slimming world approved baileys Cheescake that you need to make. Now.
What you need:
- Low calorie cooking spray to grease the tin
- 10 gingernut biscuits
- 3 egg whites
- 4 tsp powdered gelatine
- 450g quark
- 500g fat free natural fromage frais, plus 4 tbsp, sweetened to taste, to serve
- 4 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
- 3-4 tbsp sweetener
- 25g chocolate curls, to decorate (or use grated milk chocolate)
First things first, Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5 and grease your cake tine (I used a 20cm springform tin) with the low calorie cooking spray and line with baking parchment.
Put your biscuits in a polythene bag (try not to take a bite out of any of them!) and crush with a rolling pin – or your could blitz them in a blender if you wanted. Whisk up 1 egg white and add the biscuit crumbs making sure to mix everything together so you don’t get any egg left showing. Spread over the base of your tin and bake for 15 mins, setting aside to cool whilst you do the filling.
Dissolve your gelatine powder in 4 tablespoons of boiling water.
Mix the quark with the fromage frais, liqueur and sweetener and set aside while you whisk the remaining egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the quark mixture along with the gelatine. Make sure the biscuit base is cool enough to touch and then pour the filling over, smooth the top to make it look pretty and chill for at least 3 hours or until set.
Once set, release it from it’s tin and grate over some chocolate or add the chocolate curls. Devour piece by piece…
Syns: 4 per slice, makes 8-10 slices.
Last week we had a parents evening for Reuben, just so we could catch up with his teacher and see how he was getting on. Turns out he’s doing fab, we is so lovely to hear after writing my post about his preschool experience a week or so ago.
The only area that we need to start working on a bit more is writing. Did you know that by the end of reception, children are expected to be writing a sentence with a full stop? That’s a lot for a 4-5 year old, don’t you think? It’s not that they get into trouble if they can’t, not by any stretch of the imagination, but that is what the government thinks is appropriate for their age. Turns out, it’s one of the things that Roo isn’t a fan of – putting pen to paper. It’s not that he can’t do it, more he doesn’t want to. He’s never been a huge colouring fan, nor does he really enjoy writing his letters. So I thought I’d take to good ole Pinterest and work out some ideas for helping develop hand writing at reception or preschool age.
Drawing and Handwriting books
Roo was given a pack of “Draw it yourself books” at Christmas by his Godparents and they are fab for helping kiddos to learn how to use their pens correctly, learn how to draw shapes and, ultimately, help their writing. Roo was especially captivated by the transport ones as he loves vehicles and planes so he spent ages on a Sunday afternoon drawing step by step objects and telling us what shapes he was making, ie. oval, circle, square.
Wipeable character boards
This is one of my favourites, and something that I actually have hanging around the house already in the form of lightening McQueen and his crew. I’m going to get Roo to use a wipeable pen to write his letters and eventually sentences about the character in question. He will enjoy it far more than just writing something that he’s not into.
Chalk board and water writing
Why have I not thought of this??? Excellent idea. So you write a word, then get your little one to hold the brush like a pen and go over your writing, effectively erasing your word. Water is involved, chalk is involved – all is good with this suggestion am I right?
Paint in a bag (pat mat)
Love this idea for helping encourage children’s handwriting skills. Fill a freezer bag with paint, put a sheet of paper in to act as a backing, then using a blunt object, trace out your letters. This is great for mess free pictures, the ultimate mess free activities for preschoolers too!
I can’t wait to try these out with Roo, certainly my favourite activities for learning handwriting skills on Pinterest. I saw an awful lot of phonics suggestions too so we will be working on that as we go.
Do you have any suggestions?
I’ve been a long time fan of uncommongoods.com, especially for those extra special little things that you just won’t find anywhere else. The products they sell are truly unique and exciting and I absolutely love their range, so when they got in touch and asked me if I would like to pick my fave baby and child gift ideas from their site I was over the moon. In addition to having the super stylish range they do, they have a wonderful company policy that really tries to bring you the best sustainable products, supporting the planet as well as helping you and your family stay on trend and unique.
They have to be one of the best places to do your baby shower gift shopping, those precious gifts for new baby or maybe even just a unique gift for a child’s birthday. Even better you can do any of it braless from your sofa, with a glass of wine and chocolates (that technically belong to the kids, but who cares right?) after the kids are in bed to complete the experience.
I’ve put together a little list of my favourite gifts for baby and gifts for children from Uncommon Goods for you to check out, here it is.
- Little Patient £40.83 – Great little doll for helping to teach children about anatomy and their own bodies.
- Fresh Organic Fruit Basket – How cute are these? Made from 100% organic cotton, the sweetest little gift for a new baby or first birthday.
- Magnetic Putty – Since we made our slime the other week the boys have a thing for putty and this really jumped out at me as Roo has been learning about magnets at school.
- Adorable Strawberry Booties – Um, hello, cuteness personified. I need a pair of these for Edith!
- Edison Circuit Building Kit – Brilliant gift ideas for budding scientists! Download the app to go along with it and get a new task to try out each week.
- Three Little Pigs Toy House – This is my favourite pick, purely because Toby is so obsessed with this story. I love that this is like a 3D puzzle, easy to put together and blow down.
- Scratch Travel Journal – Brilliant travel journal to help document and plan holidays/travels for the kids, made totally unique by the scratch globe feature!
- Edible Nail Polish – Well, you know I love non-toxic kids nail polish, but this is brilliant! Made from plant extracts kids can lick it or wash it off.
- Luxe Lion Coat – This is handmade and truly adorable. I love it.
- Stop Motion Claymation kit – Any Wallace and Gromit fans in the house? Well, clay animation doesn’t need to be a dying art with this kit that combines the best of technology and crafting.
So there you have it, my top picks! What about you?
I have never really been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, in fact, Adam and I rarely bother nowadays, we still get each other a gift and try to maybe go for a meal but we don’t do cards and we don’t bother if we can’t get out together. It’s just another day really… unless you look at it as an excuse to dress your kids in the cutest outfits and make sweet treats in the shape of hearts – now you can colour me interested!
I am super excited for the Valentine’s Day style and fashions this year, for two reasons. One I am looking forward to putting Edie in something pink, red or frilly – or a combination of it all – and watching people coo at her all day. I know, I know, it shouldn’t matter about gender and I do practice what I preach, but being a woman who likes what society terms ‘girly’ I’m in my element over here. The second reason is Reuben has a Valentine’s Day disco to attend! His first ever!! Super excited for that and considering dressing him in red velvet, combing his hair to a 50’s style and bow ties, but instead I’m going to subdue the side of me that wants to do that to him and rely on some of my favourite fashion brands to provide me with some inspiration!
- Rose Cashmere Cardigan from Oliver Baby & Kids £55
- Patent Red Crib Shoes from Bloch £21.70 (sale)
- Heart Ballet Pumps from Bloch £37.20 (sale)
- Heart Party Dress from Rachel Riley London £26.70 (sale)
- Burgundy Chino trousers with Dino keychain from BillyBandit £21.70 (sale)
- Red Cord trousers from Gant £31.50 (sale)
- Dehli Flamingo Dress in Pink from Milk on the Rocks £43.88
- Cupid’s Heart Tutu Dress from Tutu Du Monde $144.38
- Red Cashmere Jumper from Ralph Lauren £66.00 (sale)
- Pink Tulle Heart dress from H&M £14.99
- Alex Eagle x Elfie Reversable Red Dungarees from Elfie £54.00
- “Spread A Little Love” Charity Tee from Doodle Do £17.50
So there you have it, something for everyone!
I have to wonder, are some children just naturally predisposed to shyness? It’s something that has been playing on mind lately because Edith appears to be a shy child, despite her brother’s being naturally outgoing. Is it a nature thing or has her nurture been different? It makes for an interesting nature vs nurture debate right?
I suppose it’s a bit like a post I read on Babyccino Kids a few weeks ago about naughtiness in children, where Courtney asked if people felt some children were naturally naughtier than others or if it was a case of them being given more leeway. I’m genuinely not sure whether Edie is naturally shy or if it is her clinginess to me that makes her so, and if so, is that because my parenting has been to allow her to cling to me, to give in to here more?
What really started me thinking is the way that Edie is with relatives that she doesn’t see all the time, or for that matter friends who she sees every so often. The boys were always very forward, unless they were feeling especially grumpy and clingy, anyone could pick them up and give them a cuddle. They really weren’t fussed, and even now they are confident and certainly not cautious of strangers or acquaintances, which can be a bit of a double edged sword. Edith is a different kettle of fish. She is very timid around friends, family and even sometimes family members she lives with. The only people who haven’t been recipients of her shyness are me and Reuben. Even Daddy gets the cold shoulder from time to time and her little hands are reaching out for me, seeking for reassurance and affection.
I do feel that I have allowed Edith to get away with far more than the boys, if she cries I pick her up, if she wants reassurance she gets it and I’m far more likely to indulge her if she doesn’t want to go to other people. We come up against this most when my in laws or her godparents want to hold her, and she just doesn’t want it, for no reason other than she needs time to adjust to them being there and decide whether she wants to have a cuddle or not. We had a rather amusing moment when my father in law picked her up from behind and she was all smiles until she realised that it was him and not her Daddy. Her face was a picture and she immediately pushed herself down.
It isn’t that she doesn’t know them, she sees them a couple of times a month (there or thereabouts) so what is it that makes her timid and shy? Is it a natural thing for some children?
I find her natural shyness endearing, and the coyness that goes alongside it. She looks up under her eyelashes and sweetly smiles in a timid way. I love it! After a short while she comes around and will join in the fun with everyone else. As far as nature goes, I am naturally shy, I don’t especially like social situations and I’ve had to force myself to overcome this over time. Despite being a social media butterfly and blogger by trade, in not into social situations and really do get quite nervous before hand. I would be at my happiest alone, in a library or cafe with a book, coffee and cake. Especially cake. Put me in a room full of people I don’t know and I have to work hard to cope with it all and relax. Interestingly this is the total opposite to Adam, who is an absolute social animal, taking anything in his stride and relishing social situations. Ever since I have known him, he has delighted in meeting new people, started new jobs without so much as a trickle of sweat and really enjoyed the challenge of making new friends.
So, are you naturally shy or do you think it’s nurture? What about kids?
There really isn’t a love like the one you feel for your child, is there? Some moments I’m overcome with it.
When I’m holding Edith’s little hand, and I look at those perfect little fingers.
When she reaches out to me for a cuddle and grips my arms as I lift her up.
When she looks up at me, with such trust and love, as I feed her.
When Reuben is physically bouncing with excitement to show me his latest achievement as I collect him from school.
When he nuzzles into me after a bad dream. Or when he holds my face in his still pudgy little hands and says “You know something mummy? I love you!”
When Toby leans against me, as I cuddle up and we look at his books.
Or when he’s shouting carry just so he can be close.
All these things, they fill you with a love that is transcendent, that is beyond this mortal plane if there is such a thing. You know you would do anything to protect them, anything to keep them out of harms way. Does anyone else feel like this from time to time? Just totally overcome with the emotion that you feel for your kids? I mean, it’s not all fun and games is it? It can be tiring and demoralising, like when they turn around and shout “ohhh YOU came, I wanted Daddy!” Or “not you, I want Maw Maw to read to me.” It’s hard isn’t it? The way that they hold your heart in their little fingers. And yet they give you a strength you never knew your possessed.
Our children are the very foundation of our being, they become the very center of who we are, though they don’t become all we are. It’s like being a Phoenix when you have a child, you get chucked into the fire and reborn… You’re still a mythical bird but now there’s something different. (Can you tell I’m writing these parenthood ramblings at 2am during Edith’s third wake up of the night? Friggin’ mythical bird?!?)
I guess I just wanted to share with you all the thoughts going through my head and my love for my children. I spend a tonne of time writing honestly about parenting and that frequently includes the less pleasant side, and I think sometimes it can be easier to focus purely on the bad side of things, as opposed to seeing the full picture.
Being a mother is one of the most wonderful and fulfilling things anyone could ever do. It’s hard and it’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly for me and I feel blessed to have the love in my life that these wonderful human beings bring.
I have an intense fear of blindness. My eyes are somewhat of a booby trap for me and as someone with an extremely high pain threshold I turn to mush when I get an eyelash in there. I mean, I’ve had Noro virus at 6/8 weeks post partum and given birth to two children without any pain relief and I’d do both of those things ten times over in exchange for avoiding any eye pain ever again. I’m telling you this because, and I apologise if you know this from following me on social media, but I’ve been suffering from an eye laceration over the last few days. And it was murder. Utter unbearable pain.
Ahh, agony, thy name is a baby with scratchy fingers and an eyeball. Seriously, ladies and gents, I was hospitalised by Edith Rose at the end of last week. We were stood in the kitchen just after dinner having a little play when a very excited Edith suddenly started flapping her arms up and down, only to catch me with one of her nails in my eye. I’ll be honest, it was instantly super painful, but not unbearable. I got the kids out of the shower, shouted at Daddy for spending too long sat on the toilet and playing on his game when he was meant to be washing the kids (not just watching them squirt water at each other), grumbled about my sore eye and put the baby to bed.
20 minutes later I was sat in my local A & E laughing and joking about how daft it was that the baby had managed to beat me up. An hour later I was headed to York Hospital as my eye had started to swell and the pain had become totally unbearable. To put it into perspective, I’m talking established labour in the eye, with each attempt at blinking the “big one” contraction.
We spent the full night at A & E, arriving home with ibuprofen, because I couldn’t take the extremely strong pain killers the doctor wanted to give me due to breastfeeding, and instructions to stay in a darkened room until I could open the eye without screaming. So off to bed I went, leaving Edie to the capable hands of my poor mum and Adam, who had both been up all night too. The kids went to school and then off to their grandparents for a (thankfully) pre organised Friday night stop over. Upstairs in the dark and silence, I was torn between imagining myself as Peeta from The Hunger Games being tortured by the Capitol, and praying for a quick death. I’m not being a diva, it was that bad.
Finally on Saturday morning at 5am I managed to open my eyes without screaming, just an irritating stinging and banging head ache. Which brings us to this point. I’m booked in to have an eye appointment later on in the week to make sure I don’t need surgery (!) but hopefully I am over the worst of it all.
So why am I telling you?
Well, first of all, I have nothing better to do than watch Harry Potter movies back to back, snooze and write and it’s always nice to have a little moan isn’t it? Secondly, and probably more importantly to you guys, I’m hoping that if your baby catches you in the eye you will feel compelled to go to hospital, or at the very least, the doctors.
Eye lacerations can be extremely dangerous and apparently one of the most common causes is from a baby getting over excited and smacking a parent in the face. Go figure. Other causes include grit, sand and glass in the eye but all of them must be seen to within hours of happening or they can cause blindness easily.
So, in short, put scratch mitts on one year olds and view them as dangerous viper like creatures when excited.
When I was pregnant with Reuben and I was searching for “what to buy” I always came across Muslin squares. Constantly. They seemed to be the mummy go to for everything, and since having my own brood I totally get why. Thing is, they never seemed to be especially gorgeous like they are nowadays. Honestly they were just boring white with the occasional appliqué… But now. Wow.
I’m crushing on a new Instagram account I found a few months ago called Spearmint Baby. The account is owned by a fellow mam blogger, who designs the most stunning, absolutely divine baby blankets, Muslins and socks. I can’t get enough of her account, seriously, it is excruciatingly adorable.
One of the things I can’t help but admire is her collection of Muslin blankets and squares. OMG they are so beautiful, and nothing like the ones I had when I was pregnant for the first time. I only wish I’d come across this before Edith because I would be all up in that shop spending my hard earned pennies like never before.
So, in short, this is something that all parents agree you need. This is something that you will want to gladly waste your day staring at with loving eyes because it is so damned pretty, and that’s before you bundle a baby up in it.
You really have no excuse not to have one now huh?
Sundays. Ohhh they are my favourite time of week, I just love Sundays. I never used to because I would have to get up and head out to my retail job, leaving my little ones behind and the warmth of home. Now I’m freelance, I can enjoy those blessed Sundays as much as I like.
Generally it’s my one day to have a cheeky lie in, the day starts with a bang, or rather a stretch and a doze whilst I lie in bed and listen to Daddy downstairs with the kids… What was that he said about being at home with the kids was easy? Once I’m up and ready at the obscenely late hour of 8.30/9am, I slink my way downstairs to the one thing that calls softly to me like nothing else can: my cafetière! Something that my mum bought me for my birthday, with Adam and beautiful friend Kate buying me some luxury coffee to enjoy, it’s my little treat to me to kick start my favourite day (which is already looking pretty awesome with my lie in remember?).
I’ve been given another treat guys, and I’m so frikkin’ excited.
I’m teaming up with the fabulous Beanies Flavoured Coffee, who I worked with just before Xmas, to sample their new Coconut instant coffee AND to try out their ground coffee, which I never had the chance to try before. With me trying to shift a bit of that Xmas excessive (ahem, 14lbs – how!?!?) I’m delighted with this coffee because, unlike syrup, it is super low in calories and isn’t going to buck my diet, but tastes aaaaamazing. Truly. The coconut tastes *just* like a calypso coffee (google it, make it, love it) and I can drink it first thing in the morning with my family staging an intervention. For the win!!
I’m indulging in the English toffee and Chocolate Cherry, which are just delicious. I still can’t get enough of the Irish cream and I even managed to convince Adam to test out the chocolate cherry, which reminds me of a drink Adam sometimes makes me of cherry brandy, advocaat and coffee with cream (nom!!). The English toffee is sweet enough for someone who takes sugar in their coffee to indulge in without the sugar – it’s a little on the sweet side for me, but because of that I like to save it for an after lunch or dinner coffee.
I’m not just trying to make you jealous – nope, I’m telling you all of this for two reasons, 1.) so you can join me in my Beanies Flavoured coffee obsession and 2.) because …. Drum roll please…. I’m doing ANOTHER coffee giveaway!!
After the amazing success of the last competition, beanies coffee have decided that they would like to give away another stashbox of your choosing – that’s 9 flavours of coffee to choose from, and to indulge in at your leisure. It’s instant relief from a hard day and a deeeelicious treat without the guilt. I can’t tell you how much I love it.
If you want to enter the competition, do so here a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am loving being self employed for the most part, it’s amazing the sense of satisfaction that I get when I know that I have been doing work for myself, that my achievements are for me, for my family. I love that I can arrange my work and time around the kids or my (nonexistent) social life. It’s truly liberating.
That being said, there are also a few bits of being self employed that suck. Massively. Anyone who has been self employed will know this, and boy is it frustrating.
Thinking of going self employed or becoming a pro blogger/freelancer? Well here’s 7 things you should know before you go self employed.
1.) Think of the hours per week worked in terms of dog years.
You know how hours per week are set and you get a wage for them? Full time is 37 1/2 hours a week, part time is often 16 hours a week, right? Yeah, when your self employed take that literal translation, screw it up and chuck it out the window. Officially you might work 16 hours a week, but we need to apply the ‘dog years’ principal here. For every ‘human year’ a dog ages by the equivalent of 7 years (or so the story goes), so Spot is actually 70 years old not 10. Well, let’s apply that to your self employed hours of work shall we? 16 hours is roughly about 112 hours a week. And I’m being generous. Plus, you’ll have the fun of hearing, “Gosh, it’s so easy for you, you work for yourself” at least 200 times a day.
2.) Sending an invoice will not guarantee payment
What is this you say? My invoice does not descend into your inbox with the sound of birds tweeting and a cash register ringing? Apparently not. You will find that some people have no respect for the fact that you have done the work, they can’t be arsed to pay right now, but they’ll get to you ok? Then there are company policies that have about 500 people who have to authorise your cheque first. Kindly explain to the bank manager that the money will be coming, along with Christmas and the Easter bunny.
3.) No I don’t want to do it for free.
This might be more applicable to self employed bloggers or freelancers but my god it has to be the most frustrating of all. No, I don’t want to work for you for free. It won’t work because you have said please or that you love what I do and my readers will thank me for it. The truth is, I wouldn’t ask you to sit at your desk for free all day, so don’t ask me to sit at mine. Oh, wait, your going to give me a shout out on Twitter? NO.
4.) No one respects your schedule.
“Harriet, can you nip this in to the bank after the kids are at school?”, “Babe, did you do that thing I asked you to do?”
Why, yes and yes, I’ll schedule it in between my bikini wax and my lunch date with the girls from that mediation class I attend. NO I’m working. I set myself a Tuesday morning, Thursday and Friday to sit at the laptop, then the rest of the week I will work on social or write lots on my phone/tablet. I can’t do errands if I’m working. This is not something people understand. Nope.
5.) You will be harder on yourself than any boss you’ve had before.
Ugh. I’ve always known I am my own worst enemy but geez, who knew I was such a task master. I have deadlines a-plenty, monthly goals and if I don’t meet them I spend a good few hours in a grump with myself and trying to rectify my utter balls up. I find I really struggle to switch off and enjoy “me time” because I’m always conscious of what more I could do… If I could just stay up 24/7 and work around the kids constantly it would be fine… Who needs down time?
6.) That’ll be a table for one please.
If you’re employing people then, this won’t count for you, but most people who are looking at things they need to know before they become self employed are likely not going to be employers just yet. So, truth is, it can get kind of lonely at times. I’ve spent a tonne of time working in retail, and before that in a bar, so you can’t get much more social than that. Now I’m self employed, I’m alone (with a small baby, because I work from home!) and my social interactions include Facebook groups, PR emails and the odd Twitter chit chat. That’s it. It can get lonely… But hey, at least you don’t have to worry about getting stuck for the day with the douchebag at work that no one likes!
7.) Being a self employed woman means I’m a stay at home mum with a cute hobby yeah?
The amount of times I’ve been called (by friends who really know better) a stay at home mum, is laughable. I have three kids under the age of five so I can forgive people somewhat for their assumption, but I am NOT a stay at home mum. I’m working extremely hard and earning a living for it, so in short, screws that. I was on a course a few months ago and it was assumed, purely, based on the fact that I had a baby, that I was currently a stay at home mum, despite the fact that I spent the previous 2 hours chatting about my work.
Still want to be self employed? You should, but maybe without the rose tinted glasses and just a couple of glasses of rosé instead.
Breastfeeding. I’m still doing it! We’re 12 months in now and Edie isn’t showing any signs of wanting to give up her boobie just yet, which I’m totally fine with. I have the milk, and because I work from home, it’s no issue to me. I’ve written a few times about breastfeeding; how to maintain or boost milk supply, how to cope with mastitis and public perceptions, but I’ve never been lucky enough to try a breastfeeding specific treat, like lactation cookie, despite promising myself I would write and post a lactation cookie recipe at some point.
Well, that’s all changed. A few weeks ago I received a message via Instagram from Katie over at Boobbix asking me if I would like to give their lactation cookies a try. Readers, I’m not going to lie, as a blogger I get offered quite a lot of stuff and from time to time, it’s food, more specially, chocolate or sweet treat food, and I DO NOT turn these offers down. So this was ticking all my boxes and I jumped at the chance to try these unique boobie biscuits (as Toby has taken to calling them). My options were cranberry and almond, milk chocolate chip, oatmeal and rasin, date and ginger and lastly, peanut butter chocolate chip. If you’re a regular reader you probably know that I went for peanut butter chocolate chip (just search chocolate in the search bar, it’ll likely crash your computer with my obsession, go on I dare you!).
They. Were. Delicious!!
Right off the bat I’m going to tell you they aren’t like “normal” cookies. You can definitely taste an undercurrent of cinnamon, a certain yeasty-ness and they have an oaty texture. That’s where the differences stop. They are moist, chunky, packed with chocolate and peanut butter and totally scrummy just like any self-respecting cookie should be. Honestly these far exceeded my expectations, and apparently Edith’s too as she seemed to delight in taking one off me every time I indulged.
As if that wasn’t enough I can definitely feel a difference in my milk supply. I’m always trying to remember to drink more water and I haven’t adjusted my eating habits but suddenly I have more milk than before. I can only imagine that’s because of these cookies.
How they work:
Flaxseed, oats and Brewers yeast are known to help women boost their milk supply during lactation, they aren’t going to make you magically produce milk in abundance, but combined with lots of water and a good diet they really do help. The problem is, on their own those things don’t taste great, but combined with unrefined sugar, chocolate and peanut butter they are delicious, which is true for almost everything really isn’t it?
The cookies each come individually wrapped so they are super fresh and tasty, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them all in one sitting of you want because, what is it the kids say? YOLO. These really are everything you want from a cookie, with the added benefit for breastfeeding mums and, after all, guilt free indulgence is my favourite type.
P.s – Boobbix have just had a price drop too, and altered their postage to offer customers a better deal, check out their site right now!!
You know, I always said I wanted 5 kids. At least. No, I’m not joking, I’m not clinically insane and I’m deadly serious. I wanted 5 kids. It sounds incredibly mean to say it but lately that feeling has ebbed to being practically non-existent, and the reason is quite simple: Edith.
I adore my daughter, I idolise her and I wouldn’t change her for the world. She is a shining light that has been gifted to us, and I thank my lucky stars that I was blessed with her. Alongside all of the, but not negating it, she is hard work. She still doesn’t sleep and has days where physical contact is a stipulation of every waking second. Days when I can’t go into the kitchen without having to put her on the breast to sooth her. She has most nights with at least 4 wake ups, all of which take a toll on me. She is headstrong, and I struggle with that.
If I’m totally honest, I’m afraid I’d have another child like Edith. There, I said it. I’m scared that I couldn’t cope because, God knows, I haven’t coped well with this child a lot of the time and I’ve always been a mother that struggled to understand why other women had more and more children when they had suffered something like postnatal depression or didn’t enjoy their experience with their child. Aren’t you afraid that it would happen again?
Then comes the ache. That dull, overbearing ache at the thought of never having another baby. At never holding life within me again, sharing my body and watching my bump grow. At never giving life, nurturing a new life. At never watching my children fall in love with a new sibling or my husband give himself over to another child the way he has the children we have now.
That ache is difficult to describe in words. The chances are if you have decided not to have any more children you will understand what I mean and you will get the ache too.
Watching Mum’s with their new babies? That fire in their eyes while they look down at them. It doesn’t get any less with their growing, but there is something about a new baby that is so totally the mothers.
I can honestly say now that most days I don’t want any more children. Our family is so happy and in such a beautiful place. I’m finally beginning to feel like I can cope with my life, my children and my work load again. I look forward to each day as opposed to dreading it, which if I’m Frank has been an all too frequent occurrence over the last year. I’m not going to say my family is complete, no one knows what is around the corner, but at the moment I feel like changing things would upset the balancing.
I’m becoming a wife again, a friend, an entrepreneur. All things I felt I was slowly losing to motherhood. Things I felt were slipping through my fingers and out into the world of screaming, temper tantrums and over tiredness. I can feel my relationship with Adam, who for the record doesn’t want more children and only really wanted two, changing and going back to how it used to be. Regaining some of its passion, some of our friendship.
I’m becoming me again, or rather, a me that I actually really like. So in the question of whether or not to have another baby? I’m thinking I may have changed my mind and joined team not, for now at least.
Last week I posted a picture of my kids in a glow in the dark bath and loads of people loved the idea. I had quite a few emails and messages on Facebook from people asking me how on earth I had done it. The truth is, I cheated!! That’s right folks, I didn’t use some fancy pants UV light or chemicals that look fun but might leave the kids slightly tinged. Nope, I used good ole fashioned glow sticks.
The boys had the most amazing bath time and have asked me for a glow in the dark bath each and every night since. Which is lovely because bathing had become a bit of a ball ache in our house. It signifies the end of play and beginning of the bedtime routine so they meet it with grumpy faces and attitudes that most teens would be envious of. By simply adding glow sticks we had a blast.
I also made a little story up for the boys, building up the fun. I ran the bath, then sent them away while I cracked the glow sticks and turned off the lights. As I stepped out into the hall I closed the doors and called the boys over in my oh-my-goodness-look-at-this voice. I told them to get prepared because, as I was running the bath, a couple of electric eels swam up the plug and the whole bath is glowing! They were so excited! Practically bouncing at the door… All for a bath and s £1 packet of glow sticks.
Give it a go with your children, make up a story you think they will like and do it!!
The other ideas for making bath time fun that we’ve tried are:
Bath slime (bought from most toy stores)
Adding snorkels and wearing swim wear
Adding food colouring
Adding lots of fish and giving the kids a bet.
Super simple, fun ideas for bath time.
Every week Reuben gets a school newsletter on a friday to let us know what is going on, what is upcoming and if there are anythings that the school wants parents to do or be aware of.
Last week the newsletter asked parents to make sure that every child had a pair of headphones in school to use with their iPads (yep, each child get’s their own iPad – I want to go back to school!!) to minimise noise levels, help avoid hygiene problems and make sure everyone can get one at the same time.
Now, there wasn’t an indication as to what type of headphones the kids should have, but ear buds (the type that you would use for, say, an iPhone, aren’t recommended for little ones as they can actually hard the ear drum and introduce infection if not properly looked after, which no four year old is going to do over night are they? So, que me and Adam jumping online to try and figure out what children’s headphones to buy for him that ticked these boxes:
- Easy to use – he’s four, let’s be real.
- Inexpensive and hard wearing – he’s four. Nuff said.
- Fun and funky enough that he won’t moan about wearing them.
- Made for children to minimise noise and protect the ear drum.
It wasn’t hard to be honest, there are a tonne of companies that sell the products, and we ended up going with a pair from amazon, but we saw so many that were just genuinely fabulous so I thought I’d share the ones we really liked on the blog with you, so if you find yourself looking for headphones for children, you will be able to find some great ones with ease.
Snug plug and play Kid’s Headphones (various colours)
Comfort fit, designed with children’s heads and ears in mind. Compatible with more or less everything and with a thick cable.
Character style Kid Safe 2
Erm, they are character patterned – coolest ever. We’re talking Frozen, Batman, Ninja Turtles, Avengers, Peppa Pig, My Little Pony – pretty much any of them. But seriously, these minimise noise (so no damaged ear drums) and look super fun for your child.
These have got really good ratings, though they looked a little on the thin side for sitting across a four year olds head to me. Big, soft ear pads and adjustable across the top too. Great for stylista kiddos!
Ideal if your kids aren’t into movie/tv characters. Fun and head wearing, these are pretty cool for younger ones.
So that’s it, they were our favourites. I gave in to lesser judgement and ordered Roo the Kid Safe 2 ones bevies I just know he will be so excited by them, but I really think your best option is the Groov-e GV590PBB headset.
Well, the day has arrived!! Edith Rose turns one year old today. Pass me the tissues, I can’t stop blubbing. How do people just rock past this first birthday without getting emotional.
The last few days I have spent time stopping and looking at her little fingers, into those eyes – that are turning a wonderful Hazel-green-brown combo – and inhaling her scent like she is the best scented rose in the world. Which, of course, she is to me. Sigh. The last year has been a rollercoaster for me. Some days I have LOVED and cherished but more often than not I have felt like a crazed swan, feet going crazy beneath the water to keep me afloat, but unlike everyone else doing the same on the lake, I’m flapping the fuck out of my wings because this shit is hard. I’ve been desperately praying for Edith to get a bit older, get a bit easier and more independent in herself. Sleep better. Play without physical contact to me. All those things and more.
Now it’s here. She’s playing more during the day and is letting me do bits and bobs. She has FINALLY decided that I can put her in her own bed (!!) awake (!!) and walk out of the room with minimal tears, we’re talking maybe a quick shout and whinge, then purely content sleep. She trusts that I won’t abandon her and has grown to understand that concept. She’s ready for me to take her crib down and reclaim the space in my bed. All of these things make me delighted, more than delighted, but at the same time, so very sad and wistful. It’s not that I’m missing the tough times, I’m not, but I’m painfully aware of how fast this childhood thing goes and I don’t want her to keep growing so quick.
Anyway, I’ve put together a few pictures of her past year, purely for the adorable factor. And yes, I blubbed as I did it.
Happy 1st birthday my beautiful, clever, determined and vibrant daughter. I love you more than you will ever know.
Baby sleeping. It’s a minefield at times and everyone does it differently. Everyone.
I’d tell you there is no right or wrong way, but in reality that is just something we say to make ourselves feel better when we are doing it the “wrong way”… like me and Edith, with our unsafe co-sleeping methods. Despite knowing that we aren’t following the “guidelines” for everything, I stand firm in my belief that anything you can do that will give you the opporuntity to get a decent (ish) sleep, is better than succumbing to such over tiredness you start to feel depressed.
I am lucky enough that I have received official training in baby sleep safety, despite the fact that my own parenting has often lead me to disregard half of it and do my own research. So I thought, with all this experience and training, I’d jot down some official and unofficial sleep safety advice.
OFFICIAL advice – this is what the stores will tell you, the midwife will tell you etc.
- DO NOT use quilts (yes even the one’s they sell in the baby section) or duvets for children under 1 year old. Babies over heat too quickly, and can’t kick covers off.
- Optimum room temperature for a baby is (depending on who you ask) between 16C and 20C or 18C and 21C. Essentially you can glean from that that you need to rock in around 18-19C.
- Baby should always sleep on their back.
- No pillows until after the age of 1.
- Bedding wise, you need to be using blankets and/or sheets depending on the temperature OR a sleep bag (if your child weighs enough). This chart is helpful for telling you how many:
- 24°C/75°F – 1 cotton or flannelette sheet only
- 21°C/70°F – 1 cotton or flannelette sheet plus 1 layer of fleece, knitted or cellular blanket
- 18°C/65°F – 1 cotton or flannelette sheet plus 2 layers of fleece, knitted or cellular blanket
- 15°C/60°F – 1 cotton or flannelette sheet plus 3 layers of fleece, knitted or cellular blanket
- Bumpers are a bit of a controversial topic. The general advice is “not after 6 months” because of climbing risks, however evidence shows they can be a smothering risk so if you are set on using something, make it a bumpette (goes around the bars as opposed to the cot) or make sure the sides of the bumper are firmly under the mattress. Personally, I’d give it a miss and so would most people nowadays!
- Moses baskets and cribs are for up to 6 months.
- No co-sleeping, use a up-to-bed crib or cot instead.
Ok so, UNOFFICIAL advice.
- Co-sleeping is NOT unsafe if practised safely (opinion, plus backed up by a variety of studies)
- Safe co-sleeping can be achieved by ditching duvets, pil
I seem to be doing a lot of sensory crafts and recipes at the moment on the blog. It could be because I’m coming up with all these ideas all of a sudden, but I also think it’s partly because I’ve decided that I need to relax a bit more. Of late my life has become all about how to manage the kids around the business, constantly struggling with feelings of guilt over how bored they must be and frustration at the fact that I really can’t “do it all”. I’m not that awesome.
Anyway, the decision has been made that, fuck it, I’m going to start enjoying my kids and my life a little bit more. I started this blog to share with you all the things that I love, all the things that I do and find with the kids, but I’d let it become something about numbers. Do I have a high enough rating? Is this ok? Is that ok? Yeah. I don’t want that. So, Monday is fun day in our house from now on, we’re going to try doing something once a week, which will probably make its way on to the blog, if not on Instagram for sure (anyone else reeeeeally feeling Instagram at the mo? Seriously loving it!)
I shared my post about making slime but I wanted to do something that I felt I could leave Edie to get along with while I took a step back and didn’t have to keep diving in the stop her from taking a bite. I scoured Pinterest for ages, then had a little gander in the cupboard, eventually deciding on jelly. Good ole jelly. I only had red jelly but it would do!
So I made a platter of jelly in a baking pan instead of a jelly mould, and then I mixed up a couple of dinosaurs in amongst the jelly. I set it down in front of the little ones and let them go crazy. They had so much fun! We will try again with jelly, maybe green for a swamp or blue for an ocean.
Here are a few other other ideas for edible sensory play:
- Porridge – dry oats in a bowl with a tray of water for them to mix it in.
- Cous cous – try making it and letting it cool, then burying animals, grapes or small toys.
- Spaghetti – love this idea! Cook it then let them play away. You could add food colouring to the water to colour the pasta.
- Angel delight – draw letters in it, just like you would with shaving foam, but edible!
- Edible finger paints – I wrote about the years ago, and it’s still great fun, though very sticky!!
- Edible water beads – I’ve seen a great recipe for this on Growing a Jewelled Rose, and I can’t wait to give it a go!!
What other edible sensory play ideas could we have? Is it something that you do or something that you steer clear of?
There is little that can rival the crushing sense of failure when you make a parenting cock up, not a little one but something that you think really affects your child. Hearing these little people who are so dependent on us, so needing of our protection and we got it wrong. We let them down. It is one of the things about parenting that really isn’t any fun but something that we will all do at some point.
For us it was sending Ruben to his first preschool. At the time the place had the best reputation in the area, highly sought-after, difficult to get into, what could possibly go wrong? I’m quite a fan of the Montessori style of teaching so it made it even better that it was a Montessori preschool, but unfortunately it was set to be one of the biggest and most prevalent parenting fail is that Adam and I would ever make. Even now Reuben will still spontaneously mention the “horrible preschool” that he used to go to – his words not ours.
I’ve written before about our experience at Reuben’s old preschool but never really about how it makes us feel as parents and how it colours our view of the choices we make. Reuben told us on numerous occasions that he hated that preschool but at the time was too young to articulate why, so we never took much notice until other parents started making comments and eventually the preschool started diagnosing him with everything from ADHD to Aspergers. Reuben will occasionally tell me things now, like he wasn’t allowed to play with the other children because he was a “bad boy” and the other children were told not to talk to him because he was bad, or how he was made to sit inside and work at the age of two when all he really wanted was to play with the trains. Or how he was told he couldn’t have that much milk on his cereal, and couldn’t have a big bowl of cereal, because that was greedy and children don’t eat that much. A part of me thinks it would be fair to say I never knew but in a way we just never believed him and that’s something that we will always regret. I queried the preschool when he came home and said to me that he was a “greedy boy” or that he had had a bad day because he was being naughty. I queried them when they were sending him home covered in poo, but thought it was normal that the reply was “we asked him if he had wiped his bottom and he said yes, so we can’t do anything about that”… until other parents mentioned that their children were often wet or dirty and the reply was the same – it’s only now I understand that actually, yes, they can help a 3 year old wipe his or her bottom, it isn’t against the rules or a (direct quote from the owner here) “violation of the personal space”. As first-time parents when he said he would rather be at home with us and he didn’t like to be at preschool we just thought that was normal, we didn’t listen to the underlying messages he was trying to give us.
As Reuben’s got older I’ve become quite impassioned about listening to him and in the way believing what he has to say rather than questioning it. If I think that he has exaggerated something, or flat out made it up, I will ask him “Is that true?” and most often he will tell me yes or no. This is the same when it comes to school; he might have a tiff with another child in the playground but again I try my hardest to believe him and work through the situation with him to find out what exactly happened and if in doubt I do ask his teachers for more information. I won’t ever again make the mistake of choosing not to believe him.
It’s vitally important that we listen to our children, of course we question them, but that we really listen and try to find out the truth behind what they tell us. Trusting in our own parenting ability to know our child and dig further if not. It’s not even just at school, but applicable at home too. I’ve asked Roo on many an occasion if he is lying to me, and I always get the same “Nooooo” even if he is, but we now have an understanding that whatever he has done that is unacceptable will have consequences, but if he lies about it, the consequences will be far worse.
I felt the need to share this post after a car ride to school with Roo a few days ago. He stopped and looked at me with those big round eyes, “Mummy, why do we have solids, gases and liquids?” I answered him wondering where on earth that came from and then asked him why he asked, his reply was that he used to have to look at them when he was at his old school. He wasn’t allowed to play outside because he was bad and he had to sit and look because he wasn’t allowed to play with the trains during work time. My heart was broken, it’s been over a year since we’ve been to that place, yet here he was, thinking about it.
The power of listening to children is immense, and the power of trusting your instincts can make this kind of feeling I have now totally avoidable.
I have never been one for gender stereotypes, a boy is tough and strong, a girl is weak and in need of protection. Yeah right. I have to be honest and say, while I never believed in that, I also never really thought of the alternative to the stereotype; sensitive boys.
They really have it so much harder than sensitive girls, don’t they? Society is an absolute bastard to them, with the constant “toughen ups” and “big boys don’t cry”. Bahh. It drives me mad, especially when it comes from those closest.
Both my boys seem to be sensitive little things at times (which I’m pretty sure is called being a child, not gender specific at all) but Reuben is very very sensitive. He reminds me a little bit of Ferdinand the bull, do you know that story? Ferdinand lives in Spain and the other bulls he lives with are all so excited and anxious to be chosen as the bull that will be taken to the arena to fight the Matadors, but not Ferdinand, he just wants to sniff the flowers. The other bulls charge about and fight to show off to the matadors, but Ferdinand refuses, until a bee stings him and he goes wild with pain, charging about the arena and getting all the Matadors excited. They choose him for the arena but he refuses to fight, instead preferring to sniff the flowers. It’s a story that is really dear to my heart because my late Grandad used to read it to me, or rather tell me it from his memory, while I sat on his lap.
That’s my Reuben. As big and boisterous as a bull but such a softy and always trying to sniff the flowers. Literally. That boys drags me to the supermarket to buy flowers every chance he gets. He likes to pick them out and every so often I see him gazing at them and giving them a sniff as he takes his transformers by or flies them overhead!
It’s more than just that though, Roo has a sensitive soul too and the world seems destined to meet that sensitivity with distain purely because of his gender. He’s one of those little boys that hates to see others sad, hates to see others in pain and genuinely empathises in the sweetest way. He’s not always given the same courtesy, like when he says he’s afraid of witches, or the pantomime, I’ve heard him told to be big and brave like a boy should be. It’s a shame really, his soul is sensitive and I feel like it’s my job to protect that.
I try so hard with Roo to never minimise his feelings when he is crying, or make him feel ashamed of that. I do tell him to stop and that he is being ridiculous when he is having a temper tantrum, but I’m trying to stop doing that so much. One thing I won’t tolerate is him being made to feel inferior for his sensitivity. My husband was often told as a child by various older family members (as was the norm for that generation) that he shouldn’t be playing with “dolls” (which were his figures like Ninja turtles or He-man, which I had too by the way!) or needed to “be a man, boys don’t cry” if he was upset. It’s not something I can tolerate, not with my own son. I often think that Adam doesn’t ever really show emotion during times of sadness because of this attitude. Maybe it was just a failing of our generation, but I won’t allow it to be a failing of my sons.
With Toby, his sensitive shines through when it comes to his cuddling and soft toys. He has an obsession with his soft toys – no really, his side of the bed looks like a soft toy factory exploded onto it, he can bury himself under them – and loves to snuggle. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, or that it is something I should discourage. If he wants to be a tactile person, who snuggles and has a love of soft fabrics such as cuddly toys, then so be it. That’s just him, and no indication of the kind of man he’ll be.
Are you raising sensitive boys?
I guess you could say we are very lucky with our little family. The boy’s have 3 grandparents (just my dad missing) and still have both Great Grandads, on Adam’s side. They don’t see them terribly often because they live a bit further away and have lives of their own, but they do see them at least a few times a year, and their grandparents pretty often.
Lately Adam’s Grandad on his father’s side, who the boys see relatively frequently because he comes to stay with Adam’s parents, hasn’t been 100%. He’s generally fit and well but I think the winter has taken a toll and he is no spring chicken. This topic crossed up because he sent us a couple of Christmas cards and cheques for the children, explaining that he was very sorry he didn’t have the usual lovely Christmas cards, and that Toby hadn’t received a birthday cheque, but he had been unwell. Of course the material side of things is irrelevant to myself and Adam (the kids are too young to understand it anyway) but it did mean that I mentioned to Adam that his Grandad had put in the note he hadn’t been too good of late, so it might be an idea to take a trip up and see him with his Dad.
All the while I forgot the golden rule of parenting: Little ears listen well.
A voice suddenly sprung up, “Mummy, is my Grandpa poorly? I heard Grandma say he wasn’t very well and he’s forgetting things… is he going to die?” Great. At the moment every time someone is ill, the first question is ‘Are they going to die?’ after another child had a grandparent pass away at school. The truth is, no, Grandpa isn’t going to pass away (we hope) any time soon, but as with most people in his late 80s/early 90s, he is slowing down and (so my mother in law informs us) beginning to suffer with dementia. The boys adore Grandpa, and I think this is a topic that requires a bit of sensitivity. I remember my own Grandparents starting to forget my birthdays or, when my Grandad was in hospital one time, an elderly gentleman next to him, mistaking me for his daughter. It was a really odd thing to happen when I was 13, and I can’t imagine it happening to a child of Reuben’s age or Toby’s age. How do you explain to a child that dementia is often a part of what happens when relatives get older?
Here are a few tips:
- It is NOT taboo.
Never make dementia taboo. Never. It isn’t, it happens, so put your big girl pants on and talk about it. You might want to say to your children something like, ‘Well, Grandma/Grandpa doesn’t remember that because when you get older, your brain has soooooo much information in it, it’s sometimes hard to remember it all.’ Never try to laugh it off, or shush your child’s questions, just answer them as honestly as you can. It just isn’t something to be embarrassed by or ashamed of, and feeling that way only contributes to making others feel the stress.
- Be honest.
There is nothing worse for a child than feeling an atmosphere and thinking its because of something they have done. People worry and stress terribly when an adult develops dementia or even Alzheimer’s, there are so many questions to be answered that we often forget to explain to children what is going on. Why is everyone beginning to worry? They aren’t daft and they will only feel betrayed if they later learn you kept something from them, so for heaven’s sake, be honest. Tell them that the adult in question has been unwell and that it is a condition called XYZ, that they can’t help it, but that they are still the same person that loves them.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh, cry or whatever you think is right to do.
I know that might seem strange to say laugh, but the truth is, if you can find the humour in it, then you will be able to put your child at ease much more. I’m not suggesting laughing AT the person, I’m suggesting that you find the funny in the situations that arise. Does Grandpa call Little Timmy a range of different names, or the same name as the old dog? It’s not as depressing if you see the humour. If that isn’t appropriate and you feel sad, then thats fine. Let your emotions show through and discuss them with your child.
- Break it down, use examples.
“You know how Grandad went to bed with his hat on, that is because he didn’t realise what he was doing!” Is one of the examples given by the Alzheimer’s Society, because it is something that would stand out as odd behaviour, and its ok to talk about that. If the person who has been diagnosed with dementia can talk to the child about it then all the better. It’s also a good time to mention to your children that sometimes they will see Grandpa/Grandma using new puzzles to help combat the effects of dementia, which are often advised by doctors. Encourage them to get involved if they want to.
I hope if you find yourself in a position where you want to get talking to children about dementia this will help you.