Tuesday, 30 June 2015

10 memories I want my sons to have of their childhood

  1. BBQs in the sun with all the family around and water fights in the garden
  2. Snuggling up to our dog, watching a movie with snacks on the sofa
  3. Huge family Christmas's with an even bigger tree
  4. Fun trips on holiday in the UK; there's nothing better than fish and chips on the beach
  5. Mum and Dad being very much in love (so much so they make gagging noises!)
  6. Quality time spent playing, baking, riding bikes - whatever
  7. Mum and Dad working hard, so they get the work ethic
  8. Snowball fights.  Epic ones.
  9. Making dens from cushions, chairs and sheets
  10. A loving family no matter what


What things do you want your kids to remember about their childhood?

Linking Up With....

A Cornish Mum
The List

Monday, 29 June 2015

Our Home - Seth's Room

We're now two weeks into the big move to Nottingham and the first room is finished!  Hurrah!  I need this, given the rest of the house is bomb site. As we go along our journey of decorating our new home, and renovating in places, I'll be sharing the interior design we chose.

Welcome to Seths Room
We very recently decorated Seth's room in our old house as he went from cot to bed so we had most of the bits and pieces we needed to make his room his own.  Given the rate at which he changes his mind we went for accessories to a plain room rather than wallpaper or paint.  Like most young boys, his taste lies firmly with superheros, with the odd cowboy, tractor and car thrown in.  With this in mind, we went for a colour scheme rather than a theme or a typical red, white and blue room.  There is no before shot here - just imagine a plain white box with not a jot of furniture or personality, and you're about there.

This 'Brave Knight Sleeping' sign was bought from a small shop in Knutsford, Cheshire, when he as first born and I adore it.  Seth's room is downstairs, off the main hallway, and this is the only thing I'll allow on the outside.


I've had to give you a close up of these fabulous hand painted letters from The Wooden Letter Company; the detail is incredible!  But if you decide to buy bear in mind that the hook on the back for hanging are at different heights on each letter, making getting these letters level extremely hard.  That said, our son thinks these are the Dogs Danglies so we'd buy them again, even knowing this.

We've gone for it on the accessories as mentioned and another favourite is this light, which looks as though Captain America himself has flung it across the room, to impale itself just at the right height for a bedside light, clever man that he is.  Seth hasn't seen this yet and I can't WAIT to see his face when he gets home.

The solider is a height chart from his first birthday, marking each year.  It's is made out of wood and can be moved when you move room or house.  Given our indecisive nature, this works perfectly for us.

The keepsake box, from Not On The High Street has all his bits from his first year; I adore it, it's beautifully well made and even when he grows out of it and wants it our of his room, it'll wear fantastically ready for him to open when he is an adult.

All the teddies and cushions on and by his bed all have meaning; all bought by family when he was born.  He won't go to sleep Without Tommy, Maxie and Tiger!!  The cushion, also from Not On The High Street, was a gift from his God Mother.

Finally, the tractor painting was a gift from my husband and I when he was born; the animals on the painting are our family cats, such a lovely touch.  This was from an artist who was local to us in Cheshire.



I want to share this Toy Box, hand made by a friend of ours.  It's so well made, and completely individual.  He's a talented carpenter an has only ever made one.  I consider myself incredibly lucky to know someone so talented!

What do you think?  I just need something for above his bed and I'll be done - any ideas?





Linking up with:



Modern Dad PagesHome EtcMyLifeMyLove
Lovely Things

Eggy Puffs

I realise that's not the most tempting of titles, so I welcome all suggestions as to what to call these little crustless quiches (perhaps that's my title?) that are perfect for a snack, picnic or, the reason I made them, for Baby Led Weaning.  I was looking for a way to introduce a little meat without him having to pick up a chunk and gnaw at it - we're not quite there yet - and something to give a nice veggie hit of something he'd not tried before and doesn't work well in a baton.  Enter, spinach.  These perfect little lovies give your perfect little lovies the iron, dairy and protein they need in just one hit - fabulous, and mummy points for you (makes up for the chips you gave them earlier in the week, right?).

These don't take long to whip up and are easily doubled.  They can be eaten warm or cold, but don't taste great straight for the oven; the heat takes away their flavour and squishy texture that my son finds so fun.  And it's this squishy texture that helps the babes as they learn how to grip.  Expect a few pieces of these shooting out of their fists as they squeeze to hard, and get the camera ready for the look of shock when that happens.

One final point.  A silicone cupcake mould is essential here to make sure they don't stick and are easy enough to release from their cooking prison.

Puffy Eggs - Makes 6

Eggy Puffs - Great for Baby Led Weaning
Eggy Puffs - Great for Baby Led Weaning

  • Tsp oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped into thin rounds
  • A good handful of washed spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Knob butter, melted
  • Couple of slices of ham
  • Grated cheese - amount to taste
  1. Heat the oil and fry the onions until soft.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted.  Remove from the heat.
  2. In a jug whisk the eggs, milk and butter until combined and pour evenly between six cups in the silicon mould.
  3. Tip the spinach mixture into the empty jug and chop until quite small with kitchen scissors (you can use a knife on a chopping board but this way is so much easier and not at all messy).
  4. Add the ham, torn into small pieces.
  5. Divide the spinach and ham mixture between the cups of egg
  6. Top with a good smattering of grated cheese (to taste - I add loads!)
Linking Up With.... Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Domesticated Momster

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Liebster Award

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by the ever friendly, lovely Clare over at Sons, Sand and Sauvignon.  She, like me, is a relatively newbie blogger (but like me, has a blogger past in a different form) and has some fabulous posts - head on over and check her out.
Liebster AwardFor those of you who don't know (such as me until I was nominated), the Liebster Award is kind of like a chain mail for new bloggers, with the aim of getting know each other and our blogs.
And so for the Rules:
  1. Acknowledge & Thank the person that nominated you
  2. Use an award image to add to the post
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  4. Nominate up to 11 blogs - Don’t forget to let them know!
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer
So off we go with the questions given to me. Thinking cap on - Thanks Clare!

  1. Why did you start blogging?  I was sat with the mums in a new Rugby Tots group and one of them, who I knew in a past life, had taken the plunge and started her own business as a high end bag designer and manufacturer.  I was in awe of her bravery and jealous of her doing something she loved.  I had a blog before children and adored it so was inspired to pick it up again.
  2. Which of your posts is your favourite? And why? Hard question.  Probably the rant about the bitch that gave me a dirty look when Woods was bawling his eyes out in town; as I wrote the post I had a true revelation about what she, and in turn, my children meant to me.
  3. Sweet or Savoury?  Blimey - you're killing me!  I can't answer this.  Both?  Food in general?  It just depends on my mood.  Right now I'm scoffing fudge, but some nights it'll be cheese and grapes.  
  4. Tea or Coffee?  Erm, erm, erm..... Tea.  No, coffee!  There's nothing like a good cuppa when you really fancy it, or with a hangover, but I do love great coffee and can spot a bad one a mile off.  I'm a bit of a coffee snob.
  5. Which is your favourite room in your house?  We've only been here a week and a half so hard to tell.  Right now it's my double height sitting room that, because it's been designated as adults only, barely gets used.  So probably the playroom; I can shut the door on all the crap at night once they're in bed.  My favourite room in any house is the kitchen - and I have big plans for mine (providing we get a cash injection!!)
  6. If you could meet one person past or present who would it be?  My father-in-law.  He passed away before I met my husband.
  7. Are you a working parent or SAHM/D?  Both - I'm on maternity leave but will be going back to work in January.  Gawd only knows how I'll manage everything at that point.
  8. If there was one piece of advice you could give your 18 year old self, what would it be?  Take risks.  Don't fall into the trappings of wealth.  That's two.  So how about 'don;t follow the rules!'
  9. Do you have any regrets?  Nope.
  10. ‘When I grow up I want to be…’ What did you want to be?  A journalist/writer.
  11. Do you have a secret talent?  Ha!  That's rude!  Oh, I see, sorry.  I can dislocate my leg out of my pelvis.
My 11 questions are...
  1. Whats's your signature dish?
  2. What was the first thing you cooked for your current/last partner?
  3. What song do you want at your funeral?
  4. Why do you Blog?
  5. If you could delete your blog and start again, what would you do differently?
  6. What's your party piece?
  7. It's date night (night without the kids) - where will you go?
  8. Where's your dream holiday destination and why?
  9. Who is your guilty crush?
  10. Who inspires you?
  11. If you had £1m, you had to buy four things (no more, no less) and you couldn't have any change, what would they be?
And I nominate the following:
  1. BrummyMummyof2
  2. KnottBumpAndUs
  3. Mumaontheedge
  4. Helen at All The Beautiful Things
  5. Rachel at Life of My Family And Me
I'm new to parenting blogging so only know a few names - hope you join in and humour me ladies!  Thanks :)

Silent Sunday - 28th June 2015

Emett Clock 


 

Friday, 26 June 2015

I can't speak French, so I'll let my 3 year old do the talking....

When my son came home from nursery today, we did as we do; ate our tea, chatted about our day (read: I ask him questions, I get one word replies - except when there's a drama; oh to be three), had a little play and watched a bit of TV before bed.  He then turns to me, mid Night Garden.

'Pappion'.

'Bonjour'

'Tata Barbara'

And then turns back to Iggle Piggle.  With a smile, and remembering that, at his new nursery they have a French lesson on a Thursday morning, I asked him what he said and what it meant.

'I said Bonjour mummy.  We say it at nursery'.  Back to his yogurt, back to the TV.

Now, I really embarrassed to say I have no idea what the first word he was trying to say was, but the Bonjour was pretty clear.  Clever boy.  But Tata Barbara?  That impressed me.  Seth has an Auntie Barbara who is French and lives in Paris with Uncle Dave.  On her last visit in January, Barbara taught him that Tata is French for Auntie.  We've said it a few times since, but I'm normally met with a blank stare.

He remembered.  From January.  Not only did he remember, but he retrieved it from that part of his brain and read the tag that says 'this is a French word too' and associated it with the French words he learnt at nursery.  I'm pretty sure Tata Barbara isn't the next word on the learning list after Bonjour!

Tata Barbara

Now, as much as I'd love to believe my boy is a linguistic genius I'm pretty sure this little episode just serves to prove how receptive young minds are, how open they are to picking up language.  I'm always ashamed when we see Tata Barbara; her language skills are incredible and her English puts my husbands to shame (not mine - I speak perfect England).  Add to that her stunning good looks, Parisian style and business mind and you'd be forgiven for not liking her very much at all.  I adore her - all this is a post for another day.

I digress.

Having English as a second language is natural for her; essential for her in fact, to achieve in business.  She picked it up from TV, music and films from a young age and she was taught it in school from Day 1.  Not just an hour a week starting at senior school, as was my linguistic education, but proper lessons, ingrained in every day education.  The fact I was so surprised, pleased and smug that Seth had learnt some French actually speaks volumes.  Why shouldn't he be bi-lingual at three?  Barbara's sister married an Irish man and their three children speak both English and French fluently, with the youngest mixing up her French and English words in sentences as though they were the same language.

For a three year old to be bi-lingual is not exceptional anywhere other than in the UK; as proud as I am of Seth, and rightly so, I need to bear in mind that what he's achieved is done the world over every day.  So I'll support him, and greet him with a cheery 'Bonjour' in the morning, hoping this new found word sticks and enthusiasm bounds... and I may be Skyping Tata Barbara for some tips and more words to teach him....

Au Revoir...


Linking up with....


This Week I've LovedMummascribblesBest of Worst

Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Captured Moment - Before selfies were cool

Tomorrow is nine years to the day that I met my husband.  NINE YEARS! I appreciate that to a lot of people that's not a huge amount, like my parents who have been married for 38 years, but they haven't been with my husband!  Joke of course.  I was 24 when we met, with my whole life ahead of me, never wanted to get married, never wanted children.  Now here we are, married seven years in November with two beautiful children... Any they said it would never last....

And here we are, young and spritely on one of our first dates (read; drunken work night out in Manchester... hence the branded cap) taken by myself on my own camera (not camera phone!) before selfies had a name and were deemed cool...



Running in Lavender

Ultimate English Fudge - A Review

Suffice to say, life has been super hectic of late; moving house, to another county with a rambunctious child, a whiny I-don't-want-to-sleep baby (what's up with him is anyone's guess) a bouncy dog and two desperate-to-escape cats is NOT recommended.  So it's taken me a while to sit down get social (Hi, Twitter, I'm still here!) and write a post or two.

Ultimate English Totally Luxurious Vanilla and Clotted Cream Fudge
Totally Luxurious Vanilla and Clotted Cream Fudge
Luckily, the folks over at Ultimate English sent me some delicious fudge to try which has given me a much needed sugar boost to get me through the last few days of moving, unpacking, building flat pack, going to the tip and cleaning, each activity interspersed with the popping of a piece of soft, sweet rich sugary milky goodness (pop! another piece just found its way in).

I was sent four treats to try.

The Totally Luxurious Vanilla and Clotted Cream Fudge, my favourite and currently sat in front of me, is flecked with vanilla seeds and has a pleasingly grainy texture of the fudge I remember eating back in the day. It's also the richest of the four, meaning it's lasted the longest in this household

Ultimate English Awesomely Smooth Salted Caramel Fudge
Awesomely Smooth Salted Caramel Fudge
Up next is the Awesomely Smooth Salted Caramel Fudge which, true to its name, is awesomely smooth in texture with the slightest hint of salt that doesn't totally overwhelm.  My mum, a salt hater actually said this was alright; my husband, a salt lover, said it was 'Amazing', only just understood through the mouthful of fudge.  


Ultimate English Simply Marvellous All Butter Fudge
Simply Marvellous All Butter Fudge
The last fudge, thSimply Marvellous All Butter Fudge is so buttery you could spread it on toast.  I wasn't over keen on the texture; somewhere between the grainy Vanilla and Clotted Cream and the smooth Salted Caramel varieties, I needed it to get off the texture-fence.  Having said that, the sweet buttery taste, made with 16% pure butter no less, made it a hit with the three year old.

Finally, a non-fudge contender, the Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice.  I remember making and tasting coconut ice at school.  Urgh.  The manky texture, like chewing on blocks of damp sand, overly sweet, not at all coconutty -  happily, not at all what you'll find here.  I've not had coconut ice since that incident school put me off for life so I'm probably not the best person to review thanks to lack of comparison, but after eating all that fudge, the not-too-sweet coconut flavour and texture really hit the spot.  The pink squares were not so pink you worry about what it could do to your stomach lining, just pink enough to make you wonder if that colour would look nice in your downstairs loo (that's a complement, by the way!).  I'll buy Coconut Ice again, but only Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice.

Ultimate English Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice
Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice
The Ultimate English range scored the most points when I looked at the Best Before Date.  November.  This year.  Brilliant.  I bought some fudge not so long ago that went off in over three years.  This stuff is meant to contain butter and condensed milk FGS; if it lasts that long, it can't be good for you.  If I'm going to be bad and eat loads of sweets, they'd better be natural and not full of E-numbers.  Sure enough, the 'I'll last forever and screw your brain' fudge ingredient list started with an E; this fudge?  Starts with Sugar, ends with Pure Vanilla extract (with more yummy stuff in between and nothing I don't recognise).

Where can you buy it, and how much for?
You won't find these treats in large chain stores, no siree; these beauties are the preserve of local delis, cafes, farm shops and independent retailers in and around Yorkshire, with over 300 outlets - head to The Ultimate English Website to find your nearest stockist, with prices at £3.99 RRP for a 180g box.  Sadly, I couldn't find where to buy it online.  Gutted that I scoffed the lot so quickly now that I can't replenish my stores.  However, with the brand being only one year old, The Serious Sweet Company are rolling out a plan of sales support for premium independents at venues across the North West for Summer 2015 - so watch this space for your local stockist - Sorry, Londoners!

Share with me - what's your favourite English sweet treat?

*Ultimate English sent these treats for me to ry and review.  All views are my own (and my family's).

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Wicked Wednesday - Who invented the tea-towel holder again?

There are a few disadvantages to having a glass floor in an upstairs room....


Meet Barney's arse.  #wickedwednesday
brummymummyof2

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Keeping Your Pets Safe This Summer

My husband can be romantic... when he wants to be, and the day he came with a beautiful bunch of flowers with three gorgeous Lilly's poking out the top, I was thrilled.  It was not long after we got our cat, Monty, and he immediately stuck his nose in for a good poke around.  Now, they say curiosity killed the cat and in this instance that saying was so very nearly true.  I came downstairs the next morning to find the bladdy cat had nibbled away at my gorgeous flowers.  After a tantrum from me (can't I have ANYTHING now!?), I noticed that Monty was looking under the weather; his nose had gone pale, he was listless and he begun to heave and wail.

We rushed him to the vet who asked us if he'd eaten anything suspect... the flowers.  Damn.

Little did we know that Lilly's are highly poisonous to cats and in this instance we were very, very lucky that our little cat wasn't one of the 10% of cats who eat this stuff that die every year- my highly paranoid self saved our cat, but had we have left it a bit longer it'd have been bye bye kitty.  We didn't have insurance either, so it was bye bye £2000.  Ouch all round.

The furry friends we'll be protecting from poisons in our garden


Charlie Dimmocks Dangerous Garden for Pets
Charlie Dimmocks Dangerous Garden for Pets
We learnt our lesson; not only do all three of our pets have insurance, but we learnt what we can and can't have in our garden and house.  As we head into the summer, our furry friends will be spending more time outside just as flowers and plants begin to bloom and it's important we know what's what. MORE TH>N have launched their Pet Safe Campaign, raising awareness of the issue of cats and dogs being poisoned by common household plants and flowers, with Charlie Dimmock designing the worlds most dangerous garden to cats and dogs to highlight the dangers.  Surprisingly, it's not the exotic you'll find here.  Think the humble daff, the glorious tulip and the beautiful hydrangea, plants even the most novice of gardeners can keep.  And mind your veg patch; tomatoes, onions and garlic are all highly toxic to cats and dogs.  A full list can be found below- keep this to hand this summer and if you see your pet in distress and one of these culprits is near by, call your vet, pronto.

As we come to do our own garden, that right now is just a large square of grass, I've turned to the campaign to decide what, and more importantly what not to plant.  Even with all this knowledge, you should still teach your animals not to eat plants (as far as you can - have you ever tried to train a cat?).  You can't stop others planting these and you may already have them in your garden yourself.  MORE TH<N have simply worked to make everyone aware of what can harm your pets and how to spot the signs they've been poisoned.  They're also directly campaigning for plant producers, manufacturers of garden products and retailers to provide clearer labeling to help pet owners easily identify if items are safe or harmful to cats and dog.  For more information on the campaign petition visit www.morethan.com/pet-insurance/news/most-poisonous-garden.

Pet owners can also win free pet friendly flower seeds via MORE TH>N’s social channels on Facebook and Twitter so head on over.

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PLANT NAME
POISONOUS FOR CATS
POISONOUS FOR DOGS
ALOE VERA
AMARYLLIS (BULBS)
ANGELS TRUMPET (BRUGMANSIA)
APPLE (SEEDS)
APRICOTS (KERNELS)
ASPARAGUS FERN
AVOCADO (FRUIT, PITH, LEAVES)
AZALEA (ALL PARTS)
Rare
BABY’S BREATH
BEGONIA
BIRD OF PARADISE (PODS)
BISHOP’S WEED
BLEEDING HEART (DICENTRA FORMOSA)
BLUEBELL
BUXUS / BOX (ALL PARTS, MOSTLY LEAVES)
CARNATION
CLEMATIS (ALL PARTS)
CORDYLINE (GRASS PALM)
CROCUS (ALL)
CHRYSANTHEMUM (ALL PARTS)
CYCLAMEN (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS, STEMS)
DAFFODIL (ALL PARTS)
DAISY
DAHLIA
DAPHNE (BERRIES, BARK, LEAVES)
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE
DELPHINIUM (ALL PARTS ESPECIALLY THE SPROUTS)
ELEPHANTS EARS (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
ELDERBERRY (LEAVES, BARK, ROOTS AND BUDS)
EUCALYPTUS (ALL PARTS)
FOXGLOVE / DIGITALIS (LEAVES, STEMS, FLOWERS, SEEDS)
GARLIC
GARDENIA
GERANIUM (ALL PARTS)
GLADIOLA (BULBS)
GRAPE PLANT/VINE
N/a
HELLEBORE
HIBISCUS
HOLLY (LEAVES, BERRIES & STEMS)
Rare
HOSTA
Rare
HYACINTH (BULBS, LEAVES, FLOWERS)
HYDRANGEA (ALL PARTS)
IRIS (BULBS)
IVY (ALL SPECIES – LEAVES, BERRIES)
Rare
JAPANESE YEW (NEEDLES, SEEDS, BARK)
Rare
LABURNUM (LEAVES AND SEEDS)
LARKSPUR (ALL PARTS)
LILLIES (ALL PARTS)
N/a
LIME
LILY OF THE VALLEY (ALL PARTS)
LEOPARD LILY
N/a
LOBELIA
LUPIN (ALL PARTS)
Rare
Rare
MALLOW
MARIGOLD (NEW LEAVES, STEMS)
MISTLETOE
MONKSHOOD/ ACONITE (ROOTS, FOLIAGE, SEEDS)
MORNING GLORY (ALL PARTS)
NARCISSUS (ALL PARTS) (DAFFODIL)
OAK - ACORNS (ALL PARTS) 
OLEANDER (ALL PARTS)
ONION (ALL PARTS)
PERIWINKLE (ALL PARTS)
PEONY (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS)
PHILODENDRON (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
PINKS
POINSETTIA
PRIMROSE (ALL PARTS)
PRIVET
PRUNUS ROTUNDIFOLIA LAUREL
POPPY (ALL PARTS)
POTATO (SPROUTS, VINES, UNRIPE TUBERS)
N/a
PRIVET
RANUNCULUS  (BUTTERCUP)
 
 
RAGWORT (ALL PARTS ABOVE GROUND)
  
  
RHODODENDRON (LEAVES)
RHUBARB LEAVES
SNOWDROPS (ALL PARTS)
SWEET PEA (ALL PARTS)
SWEET WILLIAM
TOBACCO PLANT
TOMATO PLANT (FOLIAGE, VINES, GREEN FRUIT)
TULIP (BULBS)
VERBENA (FOLIAGE AND FLOWERS)
WEEPING FIG (INDIAN RUBBER)
WILD CHERRY TREE
WISTERIA (SEEDS AND PODS)
YARROW
YEW
YUCCA



*Collaborative post with MORE TH>N Pet Insurance
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