From a Mama in the know to Mamas on the go!

Do you have a wall of chocolate eggs in your house too? Well, we do and there is a limit to how much sweetness one person can take!

Do you have a wall of chocolate eggs in your house too? Well, we do and there is a limit to how much sweetness one person can take!

Are you sick of eating Easter eggs yet? Well, neither am I, but I am sick of my usual healthy eating taking such a a pounding (she says as she demolishes a box of luxury chocolate canapés) so I thought I would write down a few of the ways you can use up some of those chocolate eggs from friends and family!

White chocolate Baba Ghannouj Dip -

Smooth dip that uses mainly aubergines, great for dipping flatbreads or crudités for younger kids, it’s yummy and really easy to make.

Baba Ghanouj from saveur.com - ideal for dipping flat breads and a delicious smooth recipe for younger kids to dip carrot sticks etc in.

Baba Ghanouj from saveur.com – ideal for dipping flat breads and a delicious smooth recipe for younger kids to dip carrot sticks etc in.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 medium aubergines, sliced in half lengthwise
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup tahini – health food stores generally have this and some supermarkets have even got a hold of it.
  • 4 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp. paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • Toasted pita bread, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven broiler on high. Place garlic and eggplants, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil until tender and charred all over, about 20 minutes for garlic, and about 40 minutes for eggplant. Peel garlic and peel, seed eggplants, and scoop out flesh from eggplant; transfer to a food processor with juice, tahini, chocolate, half the parsley, the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper; puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining parsley and pomegranate seeds; serve with pita on the side for dipping.

Dark Chocolate Chilli Con Carne

Chocolate chilli con carne is devine, I promise you won't ever want to go back to the old way.

Chocolate chilli con carne is devine, I promise you won’t ever want to go back to the old way. Taken from bbcgoodfood.com

Did Great Aunt Bessie send over a dark chocolate egg for your 8 month old this year? Well the chances are you won’t be feeding it to them and unless you have a hankering for eating a pile of dark chocolate yourself you will no doubt need to find a recipe for it. Well this is my new favourite way to do Chilli Con Carne. Its amazing – you will never go backwards!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve
  1. Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.
  2. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  4. Making the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can) and add these as well. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram and 1 tsp sugar, if using (see tip at the bottom), and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt inabout 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  5. Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  6. Bring on the beans. Drain and rinse 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can) in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.
  7. Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

Dark Chocolate Classic Mexican Chicken Mole

Again taken from the fabulous bbcgoodfood.com and a favourite in my house. I usually get a 'set' of eggs if I get chocolate, and there is always that one dark chocolate egg that I wouldn't let the kids eat whole as it is too rich. Perfect for using in a Mexican Mole.

Again taken from the fabulous bbcgoodfood.com and a favourite in my house. I usually get a ‘set’ of eggs if I get chocolate, and there is always that one dark chocolate egg that I wouldn’t let the kids eat whole as it is too rich. Perfect for using in a Mexican Mole.

A classic mexican dish that uses up the rest of that dark chocolate, this would be the ideal opportunity to try out a cultural evening with your kids (maybe lay off the chillies a bit if you are doing so though).

Ingredients:

  • 2 chillies
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed (in my family we tend to stick with breasts, you can substitute if you wish).
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 50g raisins
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 25g dark chocolate (look for one with at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • juice 1 lime, plus wedges to serve (optional)
  • 150ml pot soured cream
  1. Put the chillies in a bowl and add enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soften for 20 mins. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish, season the chicken, then brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the dish. Remove to a plate. Add the onions to the dish and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the spices and cook for 1 min until aromatic.
  2. Remove the chillies from their soaking liquid, reserving the liquid, and discard the stalks and seeds. Put in a food processor with 4 tbsp of the soaking liquid, the garlic and raisins. Whizz to a paste, then tip into the dish. Add the peanut butter, chipotle paste, tomatoes and 400ml water (fill up the tomato can and swirl to get all the tomato bits out). Return the chicken to the dish and season. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hr.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Using 2 forks, shred the meat and discard the bones. Return the chicken to the sauce, add the chocolate and continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 mins more. If the sauce looks like it’s getting a little too thick, add some of the chilli soaking liquid or some water.

Milk Chocolate Peanut sauce for Chicken Satay skewers

Chicken satay skewers are such a favourite in our house and this dip is great! Taken from dcdrecipes.com

Chicken satay skewers are such a favourite in our house and this dip is great! Taken from dcdrecipes.com

My boys love satay chicken skewers, and since we have no nut allergies in our family I like to do a satay sauce every so often. Its ideal for dipping the chicken in and will use up some of that wall of milk chocolate eggs you now have in your kitchen!

Ingredients:

For the chicken skewers:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ rub

 For the sauce:

  • 1 lime, divided
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (rice wine or white)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon asian chili sauce
  • 1 oz (1/2 bar) Milk Chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 package wooden satay sticks/skewers

1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken with soy sauce, BBQ Rub and the juice from ½ of a lime. Marinate for 20-30 minutes.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, juice from remaining lime, water, vinegar, soy sauce and chili sauce. Heat at 20-second intervals, stirring in between until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in Milk Chocolate, and reserve.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Insert skewers into cooked chicken, transfer to plates, and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

The incredible book eating boy has inspired Reuben to try and eat books when he thinks I'm not looking... not so great, but a super fun book.

The incredible book eating boy has inspired Reuben to try and eat books when he thinks I’m not looking… not so great, but a super fun book.

Now that Roo is getting a little bit older he is enjoying books more and more and quite often will settle himself next to me (while I work on the laptop – feeling like the mothering example of the month) with a book and just sit and look at the pictures and words.

We will sit for ages and talk about what kind of things we can see in the books, what that means, what that word is etc. Its great, but it has made me realise that some of the books we have aren’t the best illustrated, and I wanted to find something that was beautifully written but also beautifully illustrated.

Enter Oliver Jeffers range of books. Oh they are so lovely!

Would you have a moose as a pet?

Would you have a moose as a pet?

Huey is one of Oliver Jeffers most fun characters - so cute!

Huey is one of Oliver Jeffers most fun characters – so cute!

The day the crayons quit - so much fun, and my slightly rotten child laughs like a maniac when I tell him the crayons are crying (worrying I know!).

The day the crayons quit – so much fun, and my slightly rotten child laughs like a maniac when I tell him the crayons are crying (worrying I know!).

Each story just jumps off the page and keeps your little one entertained for hours, they are so brilliantly imaginative and just filled with magic. I love them, and after a recent trip to our local library, it would appear Roo does too.

You can visit the Oliver Jeffers world here.

Harriet x

This is the kit that I was given for Toby's baby clothes at my baby shower. We had an absolute blast and I ended up using so many more over time.

This is the kit that I was given for Toby’s baby clothes at my baby shower. We had an absolute blast and I ended up using so many more over time.

I love the lettering from Julia Rothman - its not babyish or too grown up, but it is fun and vibrant.

I love the lettering from Julia Rothman – its not babyish or too grown up, but it is fun and vibrant.

Gamago have such fun designs, I love the owl with the glasses!

Gamago have such fun designs, I love the owl with the glasses!

Sukie are one of the best know transfer designers, and for good reason.

Sukie are one of the best know transfer designers, and for good reason.

Another one of Julia Rothman's beautiful designs.

Another one of Julia Rothman’s beautiful designs.

Gamago racoons are sure to be a fun treat for any young person.

Gamago racoons are sure to be a fun treat for any young person.

With over 80 designs at around £10 you really can't go wrong, there is so much you can do and older kids can join in too.

With over 80 designs at around £10 you really can’t go wrong, there is so much you can do and older kids can join in too.

Since my best friend Kate came up with the fantastic idea of having all the guests at my baby shower ‘make’ a onesie for me for Toby (which you can read about here), I have been obsessed with all these wonderful iron on transfer books.

You can literally decorate anything, from adorable little body suits for babies to canvas bags for your shopping – the list is endless.

My absolute favourites are Julia Rothman, Sukie and Gamago, they aren’t expensive to buy and with an iron the sky is the limit! The best thing is they aren’t twee or babyish, they are a vibrant burst of colour and fun, and the transfers wash and wear really well.

You can find all of these transfer books and many more via amazon.

Harriet x

Taken at the Bubble London, this picture just doesn't do these beautiful blankets justice.

Taken at the Bubble London, this picture just doesn’t do these beautiful blankets justice.

Do you ever feel that the blankets you come across are just not living up to the standards that you would want for that wonderfully soft, absolutely perfect new born skin that your little bundle has?

Well, Ama london is a stunning new brand of bedtime products, including blankets, bedding and sleep wear. Their first design collection is a range of exquisite blankets that are made from the finest merino wool from Italy in the oldest Scottish mills, renowned for their high quality production.

Everything about this brand screams contemporary, tasteful and effortlessly chic. The blankets are truly timeless heirlooms that would be a wonderful gift for any parents to be.

I have especially fallen in love with their Birthdate blanket, a signature style that allows you to personalise with the child’s birthdate, making the blanket something to be treasured not only as a practical item for those precious snuggles now, but as a sweet reminder of childhood for your child to hold in their hearts in years to come.

Ama will be launching their website and products in July, so keep checking for them!

Harriet x

Worlds first hydrostatic cleanse - and its amazing!

Worlds first hydrostatic cleanse – and its amazing!

You may remember that at the beginning of the year I wrote about juicing and some of the positive effects ( you can read the posts here and here and an especially useful juicing cold remedy during pregnancy/breastfeeding here).

Well, if you are anything like me you will probably have stuffed your face on chocolate (your children’s chocolate as well!) and treats over the Easter weekend and could do with getting all those toxins out of your system!

The lovely people over at Soulmate foods sent me one of their brilliant Perfect Juice Cleanses to try out. It was fantastic! The cleanse is the first hydrostatic juice cleanse that can be delivered straight to your door, with absolutely no fuss from you. It is the perfect way to put all the necessary nutrients and vitamins back into your body, while hydrating it and restoring a natural balance.

The cleanse program is so easy to follow and especially for a busy, hardworking Mama - I don't even have to stop to eat, I can do it on the go!

The cleanse program is so easy to follow and especially for a busy, hardworking Mama – I don’t even have to stop to eat, I can do it on the go!

You can choose from 3 or 5 days for your cleanse, and not only will you feel great but the results you will see will be phenomenal. Whether you are looking for a bit of help returning to your post pregnancy figure or looking to re-balance your body and make a fresh start with a new healthier lifestyle, this is for you.

Soulmate Foods also provide the most wonderful meal plans, aimed at helping you achieve your goals in a healthy and effect way, so you stay the person you want to be. Sound great to you? It did to me too, along with celebrity mamas such as Una Healy and Rochelle Humes!

You can get more information on the perfect juice cleanse here or the meal plans here.

Harriet x

Pizza is so easy to make and often tastes its best when it is made at home with loved ones!

Pizza is so easy to make and often tastes its best when it is made at home with loved ones!

I love special family nights together and one of my favourite is our weekly pizza night. We make the pizza dough in the afternoon after Roo gets home from preschool, sometimes he will make it with me, and other times he will just play whilst I make it (checking every so often to make sure I’m doing it right of course!).

Then when it gets to about 4pm, we grate the cheese (which the boys eat, so I have to grate it again), slice up the mozzarella and anything else we want to go on top of the pizza. Once its done we sit down as a family and share out all of the slices, watch a disney film and snuggle. Its so much fun!

Because I love this little ritual so much, I wanted to share with you my perfect pizza dough recipe, so here it is, I hope you give it a go.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast, or 1 packet of dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of warm water (hand touch warm)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

In a bowl mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water and leave to activate for 10-12 minutes. Once the yeast has activated the water will be frothy/bubbly. Mix the flour, salt and butter together in a separate bowl and add the yeast mixture. Mix really well until this forms a dough.

Leave the dough to rise in a warm place (approximately 1 hour), punch down to knock the air out (highly satisfying if you have had a bad day!) and leave to rise again for another hour – you can skip the last rise if you are really rushed for time, or shorten the time to 30mins, but the dough is best if it is double risen. During the second rise (or first if you are skipping the second rise) pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/7.

Roll out the dough over a well floured surface to form approximately 3 large pizzas, or 6 smaller ones. We always do 3 large pizzas for our family (3 adults and 2 children) this feeds everyone with plenty left over. With a fork prick the dough all over leaving an inch or so around the edge to form a crust – this stops the dough rising up in the oven if you prick it. Bake for 10-15 minutes until turning golden.

Add whatever topping you are planning on using: garlic spread, tomato base, cheese, ham, mushrooms, pepperoni, chicken etc etc. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until the cheese is completely melted.

At the moment, we really love spicy chicken with peppers, pepperoni, ham and mushroom and four cheese pizzas. I try to get the boys trying different flavours so we change them up whenever we fancy it, but the cheesy pizza is alway a favourite!

Harriet x

 

The love the pattern of the birds bumper - so sweet and perfectly neutral to mix with other designs.

The love the pattern of the birds bumper – so sweet and perfectly neutral to mix with other designs.

For the wild child and super stylish nursery!

For the wild child and super stylish nursery!

These bumpers are ever so sweet!

Made from 100% organic cotton percale, they are super soft and luxurious. The bumpers are designed to fit the standard cot (60 x 120cm) and wrap all of the way around with a firm foam filling so they are less likely to droop down. I just can’t get enough of the patterns on the bumpers they are so beautiful with wild animals and birds, and the pastel azure and rosy pink are the perfect bumper for complimenting any bedding set.

You can find out more about the Garbo & Friends range here.

Harriet x

My pregnancy test at the beginning of this pregnancy.

My pregnancy test at the beginning of this pregnancy.

I try to keep sad or negative things off this blog, I want this to be a place for people to come and find the things that will bring them pleasure, be it a new toy for their child, or a beautiful dress for themselves. Sadly, life isn’t alway filled with happiness or beauty, sometimes it’s sad. Really sad.

I wanted to share this for all of the women who have had an early pregnancy miscarriage, I know there are thousands of you out there, I’ve smiled sympathetically at you in the past, I’ve offered you words of solace. I’ve also never really known what you are going through. I’ve been the girl who has had two perfectly healthy, happy pregnancies with two perfect little boys as end results. I’ll admit I’ve never been cavalier enough to tell a pregnant woman that their miscarriage was irrelevant because they weren’t really carrying a baby, but the beginnings of one, but I’ve had friends who’ve expressed that opinion to me and I’ve never really thought much to it.

Last week I announced to everyone that I was pregnant, 6 weeks pregnant to be exact. I was so happy and filled with excitement to be taking this wonderful journey again, I kept checking all of the pregnancy books in stores, falling more in love with the little being that was growing inside me each day, even if it did look like a tadpole or science experiment. I’ve shared pictures of what size my baby is, my little lentil and then my little blueberry, and at the beginning of this week, two days ago, I began to feel the little flutters that you usually feel around 17 weeks in your first pregnancy, although with third (or more) pregnancies you can feel right from 6/7 weeks when babies heart starts to beat.

A few days ago came the bleeding. Only light at first, I thought it was the normal pink discharge that you get when baby is ‘bedding’ in – that’s what the midwife told me anyway, ‘ Don’t worry, don’t panic. It’s all normal, baby is settling in and you are fine. If you have any period style bleeding, go straight to A & E.’ Of course when the afternoon came, I realised I was bleeding heavier and rushed through to A & E, where I was given a scan appointment at the EPADs (Early Pregnancy Assesment Day) clinic the following morning. I went to bed with cramps and heavier bleeding, all the while telling myself if I ignored the symptoms then they weren’t really there. Every time I told my husband I was pretty sure I was having a miscarriage he would stop me and say, ‘ You aren’t a doctor, let’s wait and see’. I think that not knowing makes it worse – I’ve often been told that hope is the most dangerous emotion in the emotional spectrum, because without hope we can grieve and move on but with that little bit of hope we have something to cling to and it puts us in an emotional limbo. As of right now, I’m not a big fan of hope – it can keep it’s false promises and it’s misleading attitude.

So the following morning came the blood clots and passing of what I believe to be the little life that had been growing inside me, snuffed out. Again, let’s wait, let’s hope.

The doctors at the EPADs clinic were ever so kind, talking me through everything that was happening and all that they were going to do to find out what was going on with my pregnancy, my little blueberry. The scan was inconclusive, there was no foetus in the pregnancy sack and I know I could feel something that isn’t there now. The urine sample was positive. The blood test was positive. Everything pointing to an early pregnancy miscarriage in the process but without any hard evidence, we remain inconclusive. There’s that hope again.

I know in my heart I’ve had a miscarriage. I feel empty and alone. I’m so sad, there really is no other word for it, I’m just so sad. I had just started to wrap my head around the pregnancy and I was so excited. There have been no signs of trouble, no illness, no pain and then everything went wrong. I feel like my body is betraying me, like it is an enemy that I am stuck with but can’t fight off. A silent, secret enemy that I have placed all my trust in and is now callously ignoring my pleas to just help me out and hold on and protect my little blueberry that I have fallen so in love with already. My head hurts and my heart feels tight and achy.

I know that it is better to miscarry now than further along, I also know (on a logical level) that this is probably natures way of telling me there was something wrong with this little blueberry and that it is all for the best. I don’t care. I don’t care. All I can think is why me? This kind of thing shouldn’t happen to me, I’ve had two perfectly healthy pregnancies and I’ve never miscarried. Realistically though, why not me? I’m no different to those other thousands of women I’ve offered my words of solace to or smiled at sympathetically.

So ladies, smile on back, I’m right there with you this time.

The Bravado body silk seamless nursing bra is possibly the most comfortable thing I will ever wear. I'm only taking it off for washing... and that I'm doing grudgingly!

The Bravado body silk seamless nursing bra is possibly the most comfortable thing I will ever wear. I’m only taking it off for washing… and that I’m doing grudgingly!

Don’t you ever lust for a bra that is totally second skin? No frills, no extras, just a second skin – totally soft, smooth and ultra comfortable.

Well I feel like I have found that bra ladies, and it comes from Bravado and is called the BodySilk Seamless Nursing bra. The wonderful people over at Bravado sent this over to me and I just can’t make myself take it off – it’s so comfy! I can’t express how truly delightful it is to wear. It moulds to your shape perfectly and has moulded foam cups that give you the best shape and hide breast pads or nipples.

This is the colour that I have been using, it is so fresh and sunny and perfect for blending in with the fashion forward colours of the spring season.

This is the colour that I have been using, it is so fresh and sunny and perfect for blending in with the fashion forward colours of the spring season.

I love the fact that this bra comes in a variety of neutral and ‘normal’ colours for everyday use but also comes in seasonal delights that are so much fun!

For when I want something that feels a little bit flirty or sexy, I have fallen for the Sublime Nursing Bra. It is super feminine and so elegant – the perfect bra for those occasions hen you want comfort and style to combine. This is another treat sent over from Bravado and I love it, having the set makes it an opportunity to have something pretty and romantic in my arsenal for those date nights!

The perfect bra for when you want something that makes you feel a little bit more sexy or feminine. I have been wearing mine for our date nights (and then dropping off in the car on the way home - romance is alive and well people!)

The perfect bra for when you want something that makes you feel a little bit more sexy or feminine. I have been wearing mine for our date nights (and then dropping off in the car on the way home – romance is alive and well people!)

A few things I love about the Bravado brand:

  • The B-clip for nursing has one handed access and can hold 60lbs in weight. I think that is so important because larger breasted ladies don’t want to find that their clip snaps of the fabric around it frays half way through their first few weeks of nursing.
  • The b-clip converter – allows you to take your nursing bra from a nursing bra to a normal bra. Ingenious. After I finished nursing Toby I found going back to ‘normal’ bras really difficult and it was quite uncomfortable for a time, this way I wouldn’t have to do that, I could enjoy the super comfortable and fantastic support that I have been enjoying all through nursing.
  • The bliss bra extender – This is a brilliant concept that allows you to wear a nursing bra or maternity bra throughout the entirety of your pregnancy. The extender clips to the back of your bra to expand it so as your bump grows the band width of the bra grows with it. This is sure to save an awful lot of women an absolute fortune!

Bravado was designed by two mums sat around a kitchen table with the determination to develop a maternity and nursing bra that fitted all of their style and comfort needs. Not only did they do that, they managed to fit mine in their too!

You can choose your own style over at the Bravado website here.

Harriet x

Poppy dresses are imaginative and stunning. Who wouldn't want to wear a story?

Poppy dresses are imaginative and stunning. Who wouldn’t want to wear a story?

With Easter just around the corner some of you may be dashing around trying to organised an outfit for your daughter (or even yourself) for Easter Sunday when you will no doubt be visiting family and getting in lots of photo opportunities.

Springtime style from Poppy.

Springtime style from Poppy.

Beautiful dresses for Mama too.

Beautiful dresses for Mama too.

Luxurious fabric and beautiful prints.

Luxurious fabric and beautiful prints.

Well, if this is the case then you really don’t have to look any further than Poppy and their wonderful range of spring and summer dresses for girls and their mamas. Poppy, named so after the illustrations of the company founder’s daughter, prides itself on designing beautiful pieces with their classic border style print. The prints always have a story behind them and each dress comes with a beautifully illustrated story so you don’t only read the story, you can wear it too!

In 2010 they launched their womenswear line, which means that you can now have dresses that are just as lovely as your daughters.

To view the full range from SS14, visit the site here.

Harriet x

The wonderful range from the Natural Birthing Company - something for every stage of pregnancy.

The wonderful range from the Natural Birthing Company – something for every stage of pregnancy.

I have been a fan of the natural birthing company for ages – their products are great – so when they launched their new range of pregnancy and new mum products and offered me the chance to review for them I was over the moon!

The products are all made using natural oils and are designed by midwives so they know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to how to soothe those pregnancy problems. At the moment, during the early stages of my pregnancy I am trying out the Cool it Mama face and body spritz and it is wonderful! I remember having a similar discontinued product (that they briefly launched to test the market) back when I was pregnant with Roo and I loved it!

I couldn’t recommend this spritz enough for all those moments when you are hot and bothered, or your feel a bit dizzy and overtired, especially as your get heavier and bump grows. The addition of method and grapefruit oil really refreshes you, whist the orange blossom ylang ylang soothes the mind and helps you to relax.

The other thing that this is the perfect solution to is those hot flashes during labour – get your birth partner to spritz you with this and you will instantly feel ready to go… ok, that’s a lie, you’re in labour, you will feel like you are in labour, but it will help keep you cool and calms the nerves.

You can find out more about the product or order some to help get your through your pregnancy here.

Harriet x

The gratitude of lacking Nothing.

The gratitude of lacking Nothing.

I the love the concept behind these beautiful necklaces by Mary Steratore, a former archeologist, who gave up her career to pursue her love of fine art.

‘B.U’ stands for be you – something that I think is so important for all young girls and women to understand and own. As any regular reader will know, I only have boys, but if I had a daughter I would make it my mission to impress upon her that she is beautiful and wonderful in her own way and that she needs to be herself and not change for boyfriends, friends or anything else (of course I do this for the boys, but I think young girls are subjected to more peer and media pressure).

Be the change.

Be the change.

Dream

Dream

Leave a trail.

Leave a trail.

Each delicate piece is designed in Rome, Italy and has a personal symbolic meaning that is detailed on a message card in the designer gift box that comes with it. Messages such as ‘Be the change’ are not only inspirational but sentimental between two loved ones. The jewellery is handcrafted from sterling silver and features gemstones and gold highlight.

To see more about this stunning range, or to order one for your daughter, visit the Sheva Jewellery site here.

Harriet x

 

One of the cleverest products I have come across in a while. Aquaponics for the home is something truly awe inspiring!

One of the cleverest products I have come across in a while. Aquaponics for the home is something truly awe inspiring!

This is a truly incredible product and something that I honestly believe should replace EVERY fish tank in every preschool or school to encourage children to learn about ecosystems and the importance of growing our own food.

When our kids are little most of us feel that it is really important for them to get in the garden and learn about planting and growing their own food (see my post about the wonderful in the koop if you are interested in growing food with your tinkers) but as they get older this desire to encourage them to grow themselves seems to dwindle off as we focus on helping them through school, exams and into potential careers as they grow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PskE16URt9E

Well, this product is just the ticket for all ages. The double decker design means that the plants purify the water for the fish to live in whilst the fish offers nutrition for the plants via its waste. Older children will learn about the fertilisation of the plants from the fish and how that works as an ecosystem (something they will cover in biology and science at school), younger children will enjoy planting and growing the herbs and plants such as basil,  and everyone loves to look at fish! Whats more – if you aren’t a fan of cleaning out the fish tank – you don’t have to with this one – it’s self cleaning because of the plants.

Its inspiring right? You can find out more here.

Harriet x

Roooar! Lion booties.

Roooar! Lion booties.

Um, how cute?

Sometimes cute can be a bit cliché but not here, oh no, these are just down right cute. These little booties made from eco-friendly felted wool by Kyrgyz artisans, are exclusive to uncommon goods.com and are the idea gift for a new baby or for a mama to be.

Pandas - who doesn't love pandas?!

Pandas – who doesn’t love pandas?!

Possibly my favourite. Not only are they bright and funky but they are parrots. For your feet. Que squeals of delight!

Possibly my favourite. Not only are they bright and funky but they are parrots. For your feet. Que squeals of delight!

Toot toot cute.

Toot toot cute.

There are different styles to suit all tastes and the natural wool is dyed, spun and felted before being stitched – all completely by hand!

All I can say is I will be needing a pair for baby when he/she arrives!

You can read more about them here.

Harriet x

Stylish but funky enough to please little ones too - and not a Disney character in sight!

Stylish but funky enough to please little ones too – and not a Disney character in sight!

Sometimes it can seem like everything in your home has gone from being stylish and cool to being a haven for a Disney fanatics convention – nothing wrong with that, but it is nice to retain some of your previous style, even when it comes down to something as simple as table wear.

Lässig offer unisex and gender specific sets to please everyone!

Lässig offer unisex and gender specific sets to please everyone!

Each fork and spoon set has an animal that matches up when you put them together.

Each fork and spoon set has an animal that matches up when you put them together.

I think that Lässig 4kids dish sets combine the best of both worlds. They have fun and brightly coloured patterns and characters that will make even the hardest to please kids smile, however they have been done so stylishly that Mama will be happy too.

You can check out the full range here.

Harriet x

P.s – they do some lovely bags too!

This is such a brilliant idea for Easter, so much fun for everyone!

This is such a brilliant idea for Easter, so much fun for everyone!

I love this idea – what a great alternative to chocolate and sweets this Easter, after all the kids are going to get enough chocolate from Grandparents and other family members! I’m always looking for things that I can add to the boys Easter baskets without having to spend a fortune, and if I can make them – all the better!

So here’s what you will need:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 2 packages of unsweetened Orange Kool-Aid (or orange colouring)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Plastic cone shaped bags – these are usually used for icing and you can get them in any food store or cake shop.
  • Green curling ribbon to tie.

So mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar with the orange Kool-Aid (this will give it a wonderful scent of oranges, but if you don’t have any or can’t get any near you, then use the food colouring) together in a saucepan, then add the water and oil stiring together over a medium heat to form a dough. Once that is done, let it cool down a bit until you can knead it, then knead until totally smooth.

Add the now orange playdoh to the plastic bags, this forms the main part of your ‘carrot’. Tie with green curling ribbon.

Voila!

I hope you enjoy making these, they are really easy to do and look great!

Harriet x

 

He loves his book and has been asking me if I remember when he went to China with his friend from preschool to look at the lanterns.

He loves his book and has been asking me if I remember when he went to China with his friend from preschool to look at the lanterns.

Every child loves stories, and they all love to hear about themselves in stories don’t they? So when I came across the fantastic personalised books from Unique Editions I jumped at the chance to get a book for Reuben.

There range is wonderful, the books are just so well illustrated and absolutely lovely. With such a wide range I really struggled to choose a book for Roo, but I did eventually settle on Travel the World… with Reuben by Estelle Rose – I just loved the idea of Reuben travelling around the world from page to page and sitting reading the book with him teaching him about all the places he is visiting.

The ordering process for these books is so thorough too. They make sure that you get the very best picture and that you are happy with your selection before anything goes to print – something a lot of companies don’t do.

Safari time!

Safari time!

We spent ages talking about the huskies pulling his cart. Each page has an informative and educational bit about the country we are 'visiting'.

We spent ages talking about the huskies pulling his cart. Each page has an informative and educational bit about the country we are ‘visiting’.

Not only can you have singular books but you can choose from baby books, family books and friend/siblings books. You can even choose from different languages or opt for an e-book. I will be ordering a book for Toby in a few months time when he is really more into sitting down and looking at books without trying to pull the pages. I am also considering ordering a few books for Roo in French and who knows maybe we’ll go for something as a family?!

You can check out Unique Editions and their wonderful range of personalised books, including their personalised gifts section, here.

Harriet x

During my pregnancy with Toby we went over so many names, it was crazy.

During my pregnancy with Toby we went over so many names, it was crazy.

This is a really interesting topic for me, especially now we are hitting the name books and trying to decide what to call our third child. It’s no easy feat to decide your child’s name – we spent hours upon hours discussing (arguing) about it, and we only came to a decision once the boys were born.

I was sent an article by my mother in law (you can read it here) about the impact that names can have on a child’s future and I didn’t find it surprising to know that over the last 70 years researchers have been trying to gauge how names have impacted the careers, social experiences and lives in general of the bearer. What I did find surprising was that just about everything seemed to be influenced by name, from children with A/B names grading higher in exams than those with D/E names (statistically relevant or just coincidence?) or that employers in the US, according to a study undertaken in 2003, have been more likely to employ someone if they have a traditionally ‘white’ name as opposed to a traditionally ‘black’ name… isn’t a name just a name?

I have come up against this name prejudice myself, certain names I have liked I have been told by friends or even family, wouldn’t suit my baby because they are ‘black’ names, ‘too common’, ‘too random’ or even ‘it’s a bit posh/wet/wimpy/flouncy’. Where do we get off as a society judging people by a name – don’t we preach to our kids not to judge a book by the cover? And isn’t a name like the cover of a book, it’s the person behind it that matters?

I can understand name associations – we all have associations, and when we are discussing (arguing about) names I always thank my lucky stars neither of us are teachers. It’s normal to say things like, ‘I’m not keen on that name because it reminds me of a child who bullied me at school’ or ‘It’s an ex partners name and I have bad memories’. To me, that is a plausible reason to not want to use a particular name, but did you know that a study conducted at Oxford university between 2008 – 2013 showed that the correlation of the first names between students in attendance and the general population of the same age bracket didn’t match up. Girls with the name Eleanor, Anna or Katherine were far more likely to attend than girls named Stacey, Kayleigh or Jade, and for boys Peter, Simon and Richard were in high attendance in comparison to Connor, Reece or Shane. The conclusion was that Eleanor is a more popular name amongst the higher classes of society than Jade, and that the opportunities that were presented to those different classes were not equal – but I find it upsetting that names are associated with class as well as everything else. I wondered what position does Reuben or Tobias lie in – maybe we should try to mimic classic names that are associated with higher social standings in order to secure a foot in the door for our kids? Scary huh?

I also read in the article that we are starting to value individualism as a society more, meaning that we are trying to choose names that aren’t so popular, I’ve been guilty of this too, but does it show that we are more focused on what other people name their children than we should be?

So what do you think, is a name everything? Would you think differently about a child if they were called Blasé as opposed to George? Do you think that some parents are down right cruel with their kids names or is it simply a matter of taste?

Harriet x

Bright colours and adorable little characters make spring and summer so much fun!

Bright colours and adorable little characters make spring and summer so much fun!

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I love the fact that my boys could wear these jumpers and they could be passed onto a future daughter or female friend. Unisex is great for clothes, who wants to always be in pink or blue?

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The classic Tootsa Macginty fox makes an appearance in this collection of course!

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Long sleeve tees are so practical during cooler days in spring/summer.

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Classic denim shorts and little vests are so cute!

Let’s be honest here in not-so-sunny England the spring and summer collections are often a little ambitious, sadly the changing of the seasons over here doesn’t mean that we can just ditch the cardigans and jumpers in favour of spaghetti straps and shorts.

This is what I love about Tootsa Macginty, it is practical fashion for all year round. There are jumpers and cardigans in the range are thinner than in winter but still warm enough to ward off those chilly breezes later on in the evening, as well as shorts and vest tops for hotter days. I love the collection – the bright, fun unisex colours and the funky patterns that makes even the glummest spring day seem bright!

You can kick start your children’s spring/summer wardrobes by getting hold of some of the brilliant Tootsa Macginty range here.

Harriet x

The Ruched Cami is an absolute must for every maternity wardrobe and teamed with this Salina Jacket for SS14 it is just so stylish and elegant.

The Ruched Cami is an absolute must for every maternity wardrobe and teamed with this Salina Jacket for SS14 it is just so stylish and elegant.

As a newly pregnant woman, my mind is already beginning to turn towards maternity clothes and I won’t lie, I get very excited at the thought of purchasing a new wardrobe and pieces that will compliment my new shape. That being said, it is also a little bit daunting – after years of dressing your body and knowing what suits and what doesn’t, your body is suddenly different and totally foreign to you in a matter of months!

Enter the new eStylist service from the brilliant Isabella Oliver.

With over 10 years experience in dressing pregnant women these are the guys who know what they are talking about. Their stylists are on hand to discuss all of your pregnancy wardrobe worries and can help you with everything from what pieces will suit your lifestyle and give you comfort throughout your pregnancy, how to style for an occasion (something I desperately needed when I was pregnant with Toby because we had several big occasions and I hate to admit I managed to style myself as more bloated whale than blossoming mother to be more than once!), they can even help you with choosing a wardrobe for comfortable and easy nursing to help you look and feel stylish post baby.

The Libby Maternity Tunic reminds me of a shirt I wore during my pregnancy with Toby - it was one of my staples, and I eventually had to let it go when Reuben spilt curry down the front of it!!

The Libby Maternity Tunic reminds me of a shirt I wore during my pregnancy with Toby – it was one of my staples, and I eventually had to let it go when Reuben spilt curry down the front of it!!

Adding a bit of colour and pattern to your wardrobe this summer with the Silvi print maternity top is the perfect way to brighten up any outfit.

Adding a bit of colour and pattern to your wardrobe this summer with the Silvi print maternity top is the perfect way to brighten up any outfit.

Sometimes you have an event to attend during your pregnancy and it calls for that wow factor dress. The Florence dress is just that - wow!

Sometimes you have an event to attend during your pregnancy and it calls for that wow factor dress. The Florence dress is just that – wow!

I love the fact that the service is totally catered to your needs, if you would like to have a video call with a stylist that is available, or if it would suit your needs more to work via email with questions and worries that need answers, such as ‘What top would suit me for breastfeeding as I am quite large chested but don’t like low neck lines’ or ‘How can I hide my post baby belly and nurse comfortably (that would be my question!)’ – Isabella Oliver is on hand to help. You can even make appointments between 10am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday.

The best thing about this fabulous service? It’s free.

If you want to get yourself some advice about your pregnancy and post baby wardrobe then you can visit them Isabella Oliver site here.

Harriet x

P.s – there is never a better time to make an appointment with the wonderful new SS14 line from Isabella Oliver on sale now. You can check out the full new range here.