Sunday, 29 June 2014

My Sunday Photo

Baby girl thought it was hilarious to empty the washing basket contents everywhere and then pull the basket on her.  We played peekaboo and she was rolling around in it laughing her head off for ages!

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo.


Friday, 27 June 2014

Outsource #WotW

This feels slightly like a confessional....

Forgive me Internet, for I have sinned.  This week I couldn't face the mountain of ironing.  The sun was shining, what can I say?  So for once, I outsourced it.  I am sorry for giving into temptation.  For taking the easy route.  For paying someone else to stand inside with a hot iron, while I was outside because the weather was nice.

What am I on about?!  It was totally worth it, and got me three hours back this week that I would otherwise have spent looking at crumpled clothes.  And I supported a small business.  So take that Internet :-)

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this word of the week.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Blog read of the week - All at Sea

The very lovely Helen @EllieAllAtSea, blogs at All at Sea Scotland.  As well as being a brilliant designer (she designed the lovely blog header you can see above these words), she's also a hugely talented writer. 

On the last day of Britmums, she read some wonderful words about her husband.  It was so beautiful and heartfelt, that I cried proper wet, fat tears throughout.

I urge you to read it on her blog:

Gorgeous, isn't it?  I'd love to know what your favourite blog read of the week is, please leave a comment.

all at sea logo

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Easy homemade vanilla clotted cream fudge recipe

Make this clotted cream vanilla fudge recipe and you might want to invest in a padlock for the storage jar.  It's easy, delicious and doesn't even take very long.  I love, love, love it with a strong cup of tea in the evening, when the kids are in bed.

If you can possibly resist not eating it, it would be a perfect gift in a nice bag (with a padlock on!) for someone special.

This recipe is based on the Rodda's cream recipe here - I adjusted quantities and ingredients to suit what I had in the cupboard and it worked perfectly!

Vanilla clotted cream fudge
Makes 24 very good sized pieces that should probably be cut in half :-)

80g golden syrup
250g golden caster sugar
200g clotted cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Put everything in a saucepan, give it a good stir and then put the heat on low.  Give it a regular stir.

Once the sugar's dissolved (you'll feel the mixture go smooth on the back of the spoon).  Turn the heat up and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, keep stirring the mixture.  After three or four minutes you'll see it go slightly darker and start to come away from the sides of the pan.  Nearly there!

Test it's ready by putting some cold water into a small bowl and dropping a small amount of fudge into the water.  If it forms a ball, you're there.  If not, continue to boil and stir for another 30 seconds and test again.  Be patient - it can take up to seven or eight minutes.

Once ready, take it off the heat and leave to stand for a minute.  Careful because it will be hot!

Pour into a silicon or non stick chocolate mould.  I used a silicon one from Lakeland.  Smooth over the tops as best you can, but don't worry too much.

Put on a flat surface and chill until set.

Turn out and cut in half if you want to be good.  It'd be rude not to test a piece or two at this stage!

I store all the fudge in an airtight container.  I keep ours in the fridge, but it never lasts long enough to know how long it's good for!  Resist if you can; our son can't:

"Muuuuummmmm, pleaaase can I have another piece?".


Linking up with A Mummy Too for this recipe post.

Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 22 June 2014

You are amazing..

I listened closely over the last couple of days at BritMums.  There were hundreds of people there - mostly women, mostly bloggers.

I lost count of the number of times I heard someone apologise.  Especially on stage. 

"Sorry, I'm wearing a tiara"
"Sorry for being emotional"
"Sorry, I'm rubbish at public speaking"
"Sorry to ask you all to be quiet"
"Sorry, I'm just a Mummy blogger"

Why do we feel the need to apologise?  Why should we?  Is it in built in women to feel inferior, not worthy, like we're being judged?

All the talk of feminism - it's not women, it's men.  The system needs to change, working conditions need to change, everything needs to change.

Surely the most important change of all, is the one that's within all of us. 

Acceptance of our thoughts, of our capabilities and most importantly, of the fact that we're all unique and brilliant.

Every single person I have spoken to, or heard speak over the last couple of days was amazing.  From the famous people on stage, to the not so famous nervous voices.  From the loud questioning types, to the people who went to the stage with an off the record question.  The quiet people sitting on their own, the groups drinking wine (loudly).  All of them.  You.

You are all strong, talented women.  You have a voice, and it counts.  The doubts, the anxiety, the lack of confidence is within you.  Just because it's there, doesn't mean it's real.

You are absolutely.  Unconditionally.  Amazing.


My Sunday Photo

I know, I know, this is a weird photo.  I took it today while we were out shopping.  But do you notice anything different about it?

Our son did - straight away.

"Mum, why is that wheel different?"

Linking up with the award winning (congratulations!) One Dad 3 Girls for this post.


Friday, 20 June 2014

BritMums #WotW

I am so excited and a teeny bit nervous to be off to BritMums Live this weekend.  I'll be wearing a few metaphorical hats - blogging, Mum, and my day job (and default hat) - marketing.

If you're there, please say hi, I would love to meet you!

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Family life is...

Filling the boot of an estate car, just to go away for one night.

(this was about half the stuff we needed!)

Sunday, 15 June 2014

My Sunday Photo

Here's our son's beloved Ted.  He's been at his side with him, literally, through thick and thin for the last five and a bit years, since he was just a tiny baby.

He's a bit smelly, but I love him too.  Sometimes, like this week, he sits on my radio and keeps me company while I'm working from home.  I think he quite likes it.

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Time passing by..

Every time you fall asleep on me,
I wonder if it will be the last
Every time you smile or clap
I wonder how my baby girl grew so fast.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Sleep #WotW

Like most parents, I'm pretty tired.  Lately though, it's been a bit of a drag and I was wondering why I was quite so tired all the time.  So I started using a gadget which monitors sleep, and quickly realised why... it's not anaemia, or diet, or anything other than the fact that I simply don't get enough sleep.  In fact, I'm under-sleeping by around one night a week.  Ouch.

So this week, if you feel tired all the time like me, switch off your phone and TV just half an hour earlier.  Try and get to bed half an hour before you normally do most nights.  Even, try and get an early night once or twice.  Rest.

Hopefully it'll work and we'll both feel much better for it.

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Win a fab Chicco Urban Stroller with two colour packs, inc World Cup #ChiccoHappiness [now closed]

How would you like to win one of the smartest strollers around?

To celebrate Chicco being shortlisted in 20 categories in the Loved by Parent awards, and baby girl and I being Chicco Happiness Testers, one of you lucky blog readers will win the very fab Chicco Urban stroller with a special edition World Cup colour pack, and one other colour pack of your choice. How good is that?

This brilliant prize is perfect for the football season and is worth around £450 - wow!

The Chicco Urban stroller is a top-notch stroller that's lightweight and versatile. It's suitable from birth until around three years of age; the seat converts into a pram so there's no need to store large parts when not in use. The seat can be forward or parent facing and has different recline positions for baby's comfort. The large basket underneath is practical too. Brilliant!

The colour packs available for this stroller are special edition World Cup (at the moment), cherry, red, anthracite, emerald and natural and they include the hood, the pram apron/legcover, soft seat reducer and safety harness pads.  All this means you can easily change the look of the stroller to suit your mood.  Perfect!

To enter this competition, please complete the Rafflecopter options below; don't forget to tweet every day for even more entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although it's not part of this competition, if you have minute to vote for Chicco in the Loved by Parents awards, it would be hugely appreciated - think of it as a thank you for the competition!  You can view the full shortlist on the Loved By Parents website here - I voted for Chicco Urban in the Travel/Best Stroller category, Chicco Music Band Table in the Playtime/best activity toy 1-3 years category and Next2Me in the Nursery and Accessories/Best Sleep Solution.  Thanks :-)

  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 11th June 2014 until 23:59 on 26th June 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more 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 one Chicco Urban stroller with World Cup colour pack and one other colour pack of winner's choice.  Chicco may substitute for product of equal or greater value in the very unlikely event the prize is unavailable.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 30th June 2014 and asked to confirm their colour pack choice and delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Winner's details will be passed to Chicco's marketing and PR team, so the prize can be shipped.
  • We'll do our utmost to get the prize to the winner within 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Easy store cupboard sweet and sour-ish stir fry sauce

Once you've had stir fry with this easy store cupboard ingredient sauce, I promise you'll never buy one of those expensive, gloopy sachets again!  This has a good sweet and sour taste, and you can adjust it to make it just how you like.

Easy sweet and sour-ish stir fry sauce
  • Makes enough sauce for a stir fry serving for 2-3 hungry people

  • Two good sized tablespoons of light/thin soy sauce (I like Lee Kum Kee best of all, but any will do)
  • Two good sized tablespoons Thai sweet chilli sauce

Start cooking the stir fry, and then put the sauce ingredients in small bowl or mug, and give it a really good stir.  If you prefer a sour sweet and sour, add another teaspoon of soy sauce.  If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add another teaspoon of Thai sweet chilli sauce.  Simples!

A couple of minutes before your stir fry is cooked, pour on the sauce, and give it a good mix round in the pan.  Let it bubble for a minute or so.

Serve, eat and enjoy!  

I'd love to know if this works for you.. did you adjust the quantities?
Linking up with A Mummy Too for this recipe post.

Link up your recipe of the week

Monday, 9 June 2014

Love this: Chicco Next2Me crib

Every now and again you see a baby product that makes you wonder how you ever managed without one.  I saw the Chicco Next2Me crib at The Baby Show a week or two ago and loved it.

Chicco Next2Me is a crib that sits at bed height, right next to your bed.  It has adjustable height to fit most beds and the feet move, so it even works with divan beds - how great is that?  Baby sleeps in the crib right next to you while you're (hopefully asleep)

 in your own bed.  This can only help with feeding, worry and keeping baby safe.  It's a great solution if you're not comfortable with co-sleeping but want baby very close.

Here's two on show at The Baby Show, NEC.  There were lots of people looking at them whenever I looked at the Chicco stand.  I couldn't help wonder why this hadn't been invented sooner!

The crib can be packed away into a storage bag which makes it great for use at home or away.  It has a hooking system to attach to parents' bed and all four sides can be used, or just three as needed.

The feature I loved and would've been great particularly for our son, is that one side can be slightly raised - perfect for babies who need their head above their feet to help with congestion or reflux.  Our son was a winter baby and had a perma-cold.  This would've helped a lot!

I so wish I'd had one of these when our son and baby girl were small babies.  It would've been a MUCH better solution to the moses basket on the floor option we took! 

It's suitable from birth until around six months and at around £149.99, I think this is really great value.  Let's face it, any extra sleep you can possibly get in the first few months of having a baby is priceless!

Baby girl loved it too!


Id love to know what you think of the Chicco Next2Me crib - did you find it helpful?

Disclaimer: Baby girl and I are lucky enough to be Chicco Happiness Testers, but this is not a sponsored post and we were not asked to write it.  Press photos belong to Chicco and were provided to me on request.  We love this and wanted to share!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

My Sunday Photo

We spent the weekend at the kids' grandparents, and it was so lovely to go to a local park in the sunshine.  Our son loved taking his Uncle's old remote controlled monster truck and driving it everywhere, and baby girl really enjoyed the climbing frame and swings.  I wonder what she was looking at here?

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The 10p jar - reward system for a five year old

Our son has boundless energy, bright eyes and a thirst for knowledge.  He's always interested in doing, learning, talking, jumping, reading, anything..... he's a good lad, but every now and again he gets stubborn, bored and pretty defiant.  We like to reward his good behaviour rather than nag him about bad....

In step the 10p jar.

Our son will do practically anything for ice cream.  And cars.  Especially cars.

So his reward system goes like this:

On a Saturday he starts with 10, 10p coins in his jar.  His jar is on his table, so he sees it every meal time.

Throughout the week, good behaviour earns him 10p.  Bad behaviour loses him 10p.  By Friday, if he still has at least 10, 10p coins, he's earned himself an ice-cream.  20 or more 10ps and he gets to look in the 'car star' box, which contains two or three little cars for him to choose one from.

Any more than 20 coins, and he saves the balance to go to the toy shop every now and again and choose something big for himself.

This reward system is the only thing that's really worked for us.  Stickers, crayons and stars just didn't cut it with him.  We think it makes a difference, and he is always proud of himself when he 'earns' a 10p.  It's good for his maths skills too!

I'd love to hear about your reward system - what works for you?

Sunday, 1 June 2014

My Sunday Photo

Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words.  I can't even begin to describe how much I love this photo.