Friday, 31 January 2014

Saturday is caption day

Our son got his hands on our camera.  Why on earth he took a picture of his Dad at this particular angle, I have no idea!

Linking up with Mammasaurus for this #SatCap post.


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Teething - WotW

Why does growing teeth have to hurt so much?  And why does it have to always hurt in the middle of the night?  We've all had enough of teething in our house this week, especially our dribbly, uncomfortable, bright-red-cheeked baby girl.

Linking up with The Reading Residence for my word of the week.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Win a Chicco Quattro Sit 'n' Ride Car [now closed]

I’m delighted to be hosting another fab competition from Chicco.  To celebrate Chicco’s sponsorship of The Baby Show at Excel in London from 21-23 February, Chicco and I are giving away a Chicco Quattro Sit ‘n’ Ride car.

This brilliant toy has four play modes to grow with your child – rocker, push ‘n’ go, push ‘n’ walk and sit ‘n’ ride.  It also comes with a great electronic activity centre which can also be removed for separate play.  It’s suitable from nine months to around three years. 

As baby girl and I are Chicco Happiness Testers and know how great Chicco toys and products are, I am certain that any child would love this prize!  You can read my fellow Happiness Tester Anna’s review of Quattro Sit 'n' Ride car here.


Entry is really simple via the Rafflecopter widget.  Don’t forget you can tweet every day for even more entries.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 12.30pm on 28th January 2014 until 23:59 on 14th February 2014.
  • Entry is via one (mandatory) and more (optional) of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is a Chicco Quattro Sit ‘n’ Ride toy in orange , RRP £69.99.  There is no alternative.
  • Winner(s) will be contacted by email by 16th February and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Chicco and I will do our utmost to get the prize to the winner within 21 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • Judge’s decision is final. 

Win competitions at

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Apple playset review

We love this simple but engaging toy from the world of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Baby girl was lucky enough to be given it for Christmas, and it's been a consistent hit with her ever since.

There are six, small soft toys that live in, and can be taken out of a large red apple. 

The apple itself has a clear window in the side and opening lid, so baby girl can see what's in there.  There's a brightly coloured pocket on the outside of the apple which fits one toy in.  There's a small hole on the other side of the apple which the caterpillar can be poked or pulled through.

The six toys are all different and make a range of sounds to stimulate senses:
  • The orange crinkles
  • The pear squeaks
  • The blue plum has a small bell inside
  • The strawberry squeaks
  • The red apple crinkles
  • The caterpillar crinkles, has different fabrics and a cute face!
Baby girl loves to open the velcro lid of the large apple and take all the toys out, and then put them back again.  The green leaves and stalks on top of the toys really help her get hold of them and develop her fine motor skills.  She also LOVES to pull the caterpillar through the hole in the apple - it simply can't stay poking out!

I love how brightly coloured and simple this toy is.  It's lovely for a boy or girl and I'm sure will be played with for many hours.   Baby girl reaches for this most days, and I'm sure she recognises it from the book too.

You can get this Hungry Caterpillar apple playset from the usual outlets including Amazon and Tesco.  It retails for around £17.  Well worth it in our opinion.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Mascara - WotW

It's amazing what a difference a bit of mascara makes to how you feel.  In just one 'keeping in touch' day, I went from being a busy, tired SAHM, to me the confident marketing professional.  Mostly because of a bit of make up.  Ah, the power of mascara (and Touche Eclat!).

Linking up with The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Platform five

I was standing there again, alone.  Platform five.  Waiting for you.  I watched the snow quietly fall at my feet.

The train approached.  Your train.  I looked up as I heard the doors open.  Searching.  Willing to see your face.

People rushed by.  I stood still.  Searching, still.  Please let me find you. Please be here.

Minutes later and I was alone again. 

I knew, of course, you wouldn't be there.  Couldn't possibly be there.  But still, I had to look.

I was saddened by my grief.  You.  By the loss of you. 

I realised, finally.  You were never coming home. 

I took a breath. 


Linking up with mum turned mom for this post.  Thank you for the inspiration for my very short story.


Easy slow cooker tapas - patatas bravas

The delicious Spanish tapas dish patatas bravas is really simple to make in the slow cooker.  We have it with a simple salad, or for hungry days with griddled steak or chicken.

The potatoes take a while to cook, so it's perfect for the slow cooker and smells delicious when you get home from work.  I make a decent size batch, and reheat what's not used the next day for an even easier meal.

Easy Spanish slow cooker patatas bravas

Serves 4-6
I use my standard sized slow cooker for this dish.

  • One large white onion, cut into quarters and then sliced (I always used frozen)
  • 1kg bag of new potatoes (I like Charlotte, but any will do), cut in half or decent bite sized chunks
  • 3 tsp dried chilli flakes (we like it with a kick - scale down if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp hot or smoked paprika
  • 2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Handful of chopped parsley if you have it (I didn't)

Put everything in the slow cooker, apart from the parsley, and give it a good stir.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 5-6 hours.  Stir every now and then if you can.

When you're ready, remove from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon to drain off some of the tomato juice and serve.  Sprinkle with parsley if you have it.


I'd love to hear if you make this recipe.  Did it work for you?

Linking up with A Mummy Too for this recipe.

Link up your recipe of the week

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Saturday is caption day

Our son LOVES his bike, and never needs persuading to go out on it.  I have no idea why he has such a 'holier than thou' expression on his face in this picture though!

Linking up with Mammasaurus and Mummy Alarm for #SatCap this week.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Time - WotW


I'm clock watching for various reasons.  Sometimes it goes fast, sometimes it's slow.  There's been both too much, and not enough of it this week.  For various reasons.

Linking up with The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Guilt to motherhood

I sometimes struggle for inspiration for more creative blog posts that stretch my writing.  So I think the wonderful MumturnedMom blog's new weekly 'The Prompt' is a fab idea.  She posts a prompt to inspire posts from other bloggers every week, and creates a linky for everyone to share.

This week's prompt is a quote, and is followed by my response to it.

Guilt to motherhood is like grapes to wine. Fay Weldon

Well, if it is, then it shouldn't be.

This is 2014.  Women work.  Men work.  None of us are perfect.  Life, is life.  And we have to make the best of it.

Are we doing the best we can for our children?  Yes, we are.

Do we love them?  Yes, we do. [in how many ways?]

Do our children love us?  Yes, they do.

Are they cared for, nourished and nurtured by people who you and they trust?  Yes, they are.

So, if you do feel guilty, then STOP.  Now.  I mean it.  You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Chicco Snappy stroller review

Chicco's Snappy stroller is a fantastic pushchair.  It's absolutely perfect for taking on holiday or zipping around town.  Ours came in 'green wave', with vibrant green fabric and a black frame.

I keep ours in the back of my car all the time, and it gets used when we're out and about visiting friends or at the shops.  Because it's so compact, we recently took it to Center Parcs too, where it stood up really well to a variety of pathways, surfaces and the weather!

I love how lightweight and portable it is.  It's fantastic to push too - the wheels zip around freely and it's super easy to steer round corners or through tight shop aisles.  The brake is excellent on it too - and in fact is one of the best buggy brakes I've used.

It comes as standard with a rain cover, and we've accessorised it with Tesco's universal footmuff in black (it's an almost perfect fit).  I think it looks great; I love the contrast of the vibrant green with the black frame and footmuff.

The seat is padded and comfortable, and it has one recline position.  Baby girl has been known to fall asleep for an hour in it, which proves to me it's comfy!

For a brilliant, lightweight, portable 'about town' stroller, you can't go wrong with this.  I think it's fantastic value and baby girl loves it too.

You can buy the Chicco Snappy stroller from all the usual outlets including Amazon and Tesco.  It retails for around £70.  Our black footmuff is Tesco brand, and cost £20.

Baby girl and I were lucky enough to test this buggy for Chicco's Tested for Happiness site.  You can see our full review here.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A moment to remember

After our son got home from school this afternoon I watched him playing properly with baby girl for what I think was the first time.

Our son had a squeaker and was moving it toward baby girl while squeaking it.  Baby girl looked at the toy, and then at her brother and belly laughed at him.

This went on for a couple of minutes.

I sat back and watched them. Brother and sister enjoying each other's company, and loving each other.

I love those moments.

Relief the holidays are over

Our Christmas holidays have been enjoyable but exhausting. Our son is back at school today after two weeks and a day, and I think we're all relieved (mostly him!).

He gets bored in the holidays and although we try our best with swimming, walks, visiting friends and family, his behaviour gets more challenging as time goes on. Sometimes it gets bewildering.

Baby girl is napping right now, and I'm enjoying the first time I've had quiet since our son's school broke up for the holidays in December. I can feel my batteries recharging.

It's a relief to have an hour to myself.  Anyone else feel the same?

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Saturday is caption day

I should point out that although this picture looks like it could be serious, it's actually baby girl fast asleep on the baby change table in the changing rooms of Center Parcs' swimming pool.

We knew she was tired after a busy morning and swimming for a while... but this happened within 30 seconds of her being dressed.  Wish I could sleep anywhere like this!

Linking up with #SatCap over at the gorgeous Mammasaurus blog for this post.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Word of the week

The gorgeous blog The Reading Residence is hosting a weekly word of the week. I think it's a lovely idea, and hope to join in every week. It's quite a challenge thinking of a single word to sum up seven days though!

After much deliberation, my word this week is:



The end of our holiday - the start of a new year - Christmas decorations down - husband back at work - school back on the horizon. Transition seems to fit well.

The Reading Residence

Out and about at Center Parcs

We were lucky enough to go to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest between Christmas and New Year.

Our son loves to get out in the fresh air, and we found the short break really filled those few days when you don't quite know what to do with yourself after Christmas.  It tired both kids out too - perfect.

There's loads to do at Center Parcs, but this year we found ourselves really enjoying taking time out just to be outside in the fresh air.  The weather was chilly but dry, and the forest looked great. We set out quite early on a Sunday morning.  The light around the village looked great.

Despite it being the end of December, there were signs of life everywhere in the forest.  The ferns looked really vibrant and didn't mind the cold.

We also saw loads of grey squirrels searching for their breakfast.  Taking a picture of one was a bit tricky!  Baby girl was fascinated to watch them running up and down trees, and all around the forest floor.

The Christmas decorations around the village centre looked great too.  They were magical in twilight.

We loved the walk and it was great to talk to the kids about animals, plants and trees for a while. It was a perfect antidote to too much chocolate and brightly coloured plastic on Christmas day!

Linking up with Coombe Mill's Country Kids for this post.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall