Giving myself a kick up the backside

I’ve been struggling a little lately. It happens from time to time I find, being a Stay at Home Mum isn’t always easy and as our children are constantly growing and changing, nothing stays the same for very long and it is oh so easy to suddenly feel a little lost.

It’s hard to explain exactly how I feel but put simply, the house is a tip. I’m frustrated with LM a lot and the TV is almost constantly on. Now I’ve been criticised before for saying that using the tv to entertain your kids makes me feel like a bad mum as of course it doesn’t make you a bad mum. But the truth is that I haven’t been only using the tv while I clean up or do other important things. I’ve been sticking it on as I don’t know what else to do to make LM happy. Then instead of doing some jobs I sit and play on my phone.

That isn’t what being a SAHM is, not to me anyway. I’m not saying that it isn’t ok to do that occasionally but it’s when the balance tipped and that was happening more and more that I knew I was not OK with it. Continue reading

The label of SAHM

Something really interesting happened lately that has prompted quite a bit of discussion in our house. I was tagged by a lovely friend of mine on the following meme, which made me chuckle. 20160725_204520

Not everyone saw the funny side though and the following conversation took place on my Facebook.

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Now I’m not saying either of us is right or wrong and I’m certainly not criticising her for holding her opinion. But it did stay with me a bit and on a recent evening chat with hubs and a good friend I brought it up as part of a discussion about labels.

The trouble with the label of SAHM, or SAHD is that it implies that you stay at home all day, which let’s face it isn’t an accurate description, as just because we don’t work elsewhere doesn’t mean we stay at home all day. It brings with it connotations of laziness and an implication that we don’t do anything which is obviously not the case. As the lady above rightly says though, an alternative would be to be called unemployed, which doesn’t have the best connotations either.

So what would be a better label for a SAHM? My friend suggested full time mum, but then by comparison that suggests that working mums aren’t full time mums when of course they are. Going out to work doesn’t make you any less of a mum.

The conversation continued on and to the distinction of why there is even a label of working mum? You rarely call someone a working dad. A SAHD yes but there’s not label for working dad. My hubs is a dad but he is also a technical director.

The thing is though why do any of these labels matter? Why are we so defined by what we “do?” Generally when you meet someone new it is very common to ask or be asked “What do you do?” but why? Why is it so important to know what someone does so early on in forming an opinion of them. Your job may be a huge part of your character but it also may not. Your job doesn’t necessarily definitely e who you are. It certainly isn’t all that you are.

I’ve always hated being asked what I do, at all parts of my life, when I was a TV producer, when I was an estate agent, when I was a manager in a call centre for a concierge service for high net worth clients and now as a SAHM. Because whatever your answer may be you can see a judgement being made about you. About your wealth and status and honestly I really hate all that rubbish. None of it really matters, in my opinion, and they don’t equal who you are as a person.

I am a SAHM, yes, but that is not all that I am, which I guess is the point of the meme that started this off. I’m also a reader, a novice runner, a wannabe photographer, a lover of rock music. I’ve travelled the world, done a sky dive and a bungy jump and been white water rafting a few times. I have a degree in TV production and have been to Glastonbury 3 times. I love being with my family and right now raising my children is what is important to me and we are fortunate that we are in a position where I am able to do so. But being a SAHM right now shouldn’t have to define all that I am.

In the same way, my husband is a Technical Director. But that’s not all that he is. He is a loving daddy, who is hugely interested in politics and loves whisky. He loves to learn and likes science and experimenting. He is currently learning which red wines he prefers. He is also incredibly lucky to love his job and the business he helped to build, but he also hates when people ask what he does as they form an opinion based on what they think his job is.

This doesn’t just for for the labels for what you do work wise though, it’s all labels really. They pigeonhole us. Gay, straight, black, white, the label may describe a part of us but not all that we are. There is nothing wrong with embracing a label and being proud of it but I do wish it didn’t have to define us.

What do you think? Is is just a label and not something to be worried about, or does the label hold power?

And then the fun began...
Best of Worst

Questioning being a Stay at Home Mum

It’s been a tough time lately. We have all been a bit poorly which never helps. Endless coughing and a lack of sleep does nobody any good. Then, potentially as a result of her poorliness, LM has been incredibly clingy. I know it’s just a phase “separation anxiety” etc…. But boy is it hard work!

She wants to be on me at all times and with me whatever I am doing. I can’t go to the loo without her standing at the gate in the lounge screaming at me. I can’t sit down without her clamouring all over me, pulling my hair and necklace, standing on me and generally wriggling all over the place with her perfect little elbows and knees digging in wherever they land.

I can’t look at my phone without her trying to snatch it off me so she can push buttons or play a baby game. There is screaming galore if I resist and hide my phone because I have had enough of her using it. I can’t have a drink without her clawing at me to have some so I have to hide whatever I am drinking and just grab a sip when I can… Meaning I certainly don’t drink enough at the moment. She wants to be carried by me at times when I can’t carry her resulting in her clinging on my legs and clawing at me while I try and make lunch.

Hiding from a nappy change

Hiding from a nappy change

It is exhausting and I feel like I have zero personal space and zero opportunity to just have a bit of peace. In fact the only times she doesn’t cling to me are when it is time for a nappy change – when she runs away and tries to cram herself behind a chair or something to hide, or when she has spotted some opportunity for mischief making. She throws her meals on the floor and deliberately spills he drink so she can splash and play in it (if anyone can direct me to a genuinely non-spill cup I would be massively grateful) and likes to push the buttons on the side of the TV no matter how much I say no, with a look of absolute glee.

This has been made harder by the fact it is half term. I adore my little boy and I wasn’t dreading half term at all. I don’t want to be a mummy who wishes away the time spent with my children… But I find it so hard to entertain both of them I really do.

I have tried loads of activities but one or the other gets bored. Monday we were due to go to soft play with friends but unfortunately they were poorly. I decided not to worry though and take the opportunity to do some messy play and get cracking with some finger painting in the bath. Great fun for all of 5 minutes until Monkey announced he’d had enough. LM lasted about 5 more minutes and then started crying to go and play with her brother. So it ended up with them both shut up in his bedroom while I cleaned the bathroom. (our stair gate broke so I have to shut them in to keep LM safe). It was so stressful and honestly I ended up wondering why I had bothered. PhotoGrid_1455867923529

We have had some lovely times this week and I have grabbed every opportunity to get outside when the weather has been nice. We have blowed bubbles, chased balls, run down hills and visited the playpark. But every happy time is bookends by whining and moaning. Monkey doesn’t want to go out while LM is chomping at the bit to get outside. LM is crying as she has had enough and is cold (will she wear mittens for more than 5mins? What do you think?) while Monkey is protesting like mad as now he doesn’t want to go home.

Fun outside, bookended by whining and moaning

Fun outside, bookended by whining and moaning

We have been to soft play with friends and both kiddies have had outings individually with the grandparents meaning I have had some nice 1 on 1 time with both of them. But the rest of the time there has been more TV on than I would like and I have been left questioning being a stay home mum. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? It is so so so hard sometimes and weeks like this I really don’t feel happy or fulfilled. So I start thinking about going back to work. But despite how hard it is at the moment I still don’t like the thought of sending LM to nursery. Of someone else doing the things I feel I should be doing with her.

I have utmost respect for working mums and I have no judgement on anyone for sending their child to nursery so they can work. I just can’t seem to extend that to myself for some reason and feel like having made the decision to be a SAHM that I would be failing if stopped now. I think it would be different if I had a job I loved or a career I wanted to further, or if financially I had to work. But I don’t, we are so fortunate that we manage on one salary (we do have to be sensible and a bit careful with money but we do fine) so I guess it just feels wrong to think about going back to work just so I can escape my children!

Its a difficult thing to balance, the needs of me vs. the needs of them. I know that this has been a particularly tough week and I know that when Monkey is back at preschool and everyone is well again things will be different. I hope so and this may juts be a blip… But I am questioning my choice a lot at the moment and wondering whether it is still the right decision for me. In truth I have no idea. And I have no idea what the solution would be as I am so conflicted between wanting something more for me… And wanting to do everything I did for Monkey with LM.

It is such a short time when they are small and yes it is tough but do I want to throw away this opportunity? Surely I have years and years ahead of me where I can do things for me, is it
really too much to focus on their needs for another year or 2? That sounds perfectly reasonable until I have two children fighting over me and my hair being pulled….

I know it doesn’t have to be an either or situation and I could work part time but then it is whether the costs and negative would outweigh the wages I would earn or the perceived benefits. The questioning continues..

Feeling a Sense of Achievement as a SAHM

Hubs and I were sorting some bits out recently and ticking things off our very long to do list. After making a couple of big purchases I was feeling very pleased and Hubs said “you like spending money don’t you?” To which (a little affronted as generally no I don’t like spending money at all) I replied “No, I just like achieving something and doing something we have wanted to for ages.” It got me thinking about that feeling of achievement and the difference between when you are working to when you are a SAHM.

When you are working, obviously depending on what job you do, there are real targets and you are always working towards something and I guess that sense of achievement is either there, or it is what you are striving for. Be it sales targets, personal development goals or just working hard so you know you can afford to do a specific thing, there is a definite sense of achievement for a job well done.

Reward charts for SAHM's? Hmm maybe not!!

Reward charts for SAHM’s? Hmm maybe not!!

As a SAHM, or SAHD for that matter, it is a lot harder to define. I may feel a sense of achievement when I clean something but it never lasts long as I turn around and it looks as though I may as well have not bothered! Then there are the times where I am focussing on the kids. What have I achieved other than building the perfect den or managing to keep the house relatively paint free while the kids are going loopy with finger paints? I guess that is why people often ask “what do you do all day?” It isn’t necessarily quantifiable or describable. It doesn’t sound like it amounts to much and I often feel as if I haven’t achieved anything, like I should have been doing something more worthwhile than playing.

Now I know what I am doing is worthwhile. What I am achieving, or hoping to achieve is well rounded, happy kids. But that isn’t easy to see on a daily, weekly, monthly even yearly basis. The fruits of my labours and sense of achievement will hopefully come as I watch them grow into adults and can think “I did that.”

But I think that can be one of the more challenging aspects of being a stay at home parent. Which I guess is why I love ticking things off our list of jobs. I crave a more definable achievement. I guess that is why many of us blog, it gives us a place to record our achievements, a community to share with. We encourage each other and remind each other why we do it. That’s not the only reason for blogging obviously as otherwise only stay at home parents would blog and that is of course not the case. I also think it is why many of us are constantly trying to come up with bigger and better playtime ideas for our kids, so we can feel like we have accomplished something or done something worthy.

It may also be why many of us struggle and aim to be the “perfect” parent. Perhaps because we need a goal to aim for? I am obviously writing this from the perspective of a SAHM but with working parents who get that sense of achievement from work… how does it work for you guys? Is it easier? As you get a sense of achievement at work do you put less pressure on yourself at home? Or is it worse because you are used to a sense of achievement at work and you put even more pressure on yourself at home?

I also worry about what will happen when I do eventually return to the world of work. I know that I won’t be content at home full time when the kids are at school. I will be bored with cooking and cleaning (domestic goddess I am not) and I know I will need something else. But I also know I will want to be around before and after school and in the holidays, at the very least while they are at primary school, so what will I do then? And how will I react going back to the world of work? I hope I embrace the challenge but I do feel nervous about going back to work after what will be a very long break. Am I up to it? Or will I feel like a failure, so out of the loop after focussing on my children for so long.

I have a few ideas for what I will want to do, and one in particular. It is just an idea and I am not ready to talk about it publicly yet. It is something I am very interested in but have no experience so would take a lot of study and potentially volunteering and I guess that may gradually ease me in to the world of work. But the thought of working full time again in the future does make me nervous. I can’t really put my finger on why other than the vague feeling that I somehow won’t be good enough. How will I adapt back to a focussed achievement driven world of work after living as a stay at home parent for so long? Only time will tell I suppose and hopefully my experiences at home with the children will help me to be successful in the future.

This post has ambled a little and moved away from what I originally thought I was writing but that is just the way my brain went. Are you a stay at home parent? Will you return to work one day? What are your feelings about it? Do you feel a sense of achievement as a stay at home parent?

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Celebrating Life

There is no getting away from the fact that death has featured heavily over the last week. Both in our personal lives with the recent death of hubs’ Grandpa, and in the wider world with the hideous and terrifying acts of terrorism in Paris, Baghdad and Beirut. The consequence of this can be to make things seem rather grey and sad, let alone scary, but instead I am choosing to celebrate life.

I have seen some wonderful things from media across the world this week that remind me that we cannot let the terrorists win by living in fear, hiding away and mistrusting each other. This wonderful daddy had a fantastic lesson for his little boy, and I love this advice from an Australian reporter. Both remind me that focussing on the good is even more important at times like this, so my word of the week, is celebrate. Here is a snapshot of our week, celebrating the little things and the ordinary moments amongst the sadness and usual everyday challenges.

Saturday with the Paris atrocities looming large Hubs and I headed to Cambridge to do our Christmas shopping. We had prearranged for my parents to look after the kids for the day and we very much enjoyed a day spending time just the two of us and getting excited about celebrating Christmas in just over a month! I was also celebrating at the end of the day as apart from a few bits for each other we are basically finished wth Christmas shopping! Hooray, I have never been this prepared before!!

The big event of our week though was the funeral for Hubs’ Grandpa on wednesday and the wake which we hosted at our house. Grandpa Bill was 93 and had a wonderful long life so the line with have given to Monkey is very much that we were celebrating his life, rather than focussing on the fact that he is no longer here. I am not sure how much he understands but I think Monkey just about gets that Grandpa isn’t here anymore. He had been declining for the past year so Monkey hasn’t seen him for a quite a while as we didn’t want him to remember his great Grandpa like that but we know Grandpa was so so proud to have lived to see 2 of his Great Grandchildren.

All went as well as can be for a funeral, obviously with tears and sadness but there was smiles too remembering some of his adventures. Funerals are funny things as they are so sad but they do bring people together too and it was lovely to see some family friends we haven’t seen since our wedding and relatives who live a bit far away to be seen very regularly. The wake was nice though filling the house with people can definitely make it feel a bit small!

I had spent much of the week prior to the wake cleaning and making the house probably cleaner and tidier than it has been in a long while, evidenced by the fact that my Mum almost fainted with shock at the sight of it, and my step-dad asked if we had got a JCB in to do the cleaning – cheek! hehe It was nice seeing it so clean and tidy but there is no way it will last as it took so much effort and I much prefer to spend my time having fun with the kiddies as much as possible!! (I may just be a bit lazy too but the kids are a much better reason not to be tidy all the time than admitting that!)

Other than that it has been a pretty normal week. I am having a bit of a saga with Ikea over the purchase of a new kitchen cupboard but I won’t bore you with any of the details here. The kids and I have had some truly lovely moments and I would like to share some of those with you just to celebrate the happy ordinariness of our week.

Monkey snuggling up in his bed under just about every soft and cuddly toy or blanket he could find! 20151115_090640

LM enjoying playing in the tunnel for the first time. She has shied away from going in any tunnel before but had a whale of a time with her big brother this week.tunnel fun

Mummy and Monkey time while LM was out with my parents fro rhyme time on Tuesday. Lots of painting and chatting and laughter, especially when he decided he must paint my nose! Cheeky thing :)20151117_094522

Monkey copying his sister. She randomly enjoys lying on the floor kicking her legs and this week Monkey decided to join her. It was so cute watching them play together chuckling away doing such a daft thing!20151117_122808

Monkey beng a superhero…. I have adored this, what a cutie.superhero monkey

Monkey taking a break from being a superhero to have snuggles with his Mummy and sister… though LM was less cooperative!snuggles1

LM looking adorable in her dressing gown after bathy. Rubbish quality photos as I have been using an old phone but you get the idea.dressing gown

Other celebrations this week are that my phone is back from being repaired and has a new screen, hurrah, so nice to have good camera back again, and we have a new car. A new second hand car at any rate. Hubs’ car cost us £1500 2 1/2 yrs ago and has done really well for an old banger but lately is more reminiscent of a tractor than a car, making the house shake whenever the engine is on. The radio is falling off and basically it is a heap so it was time to get hubs an upgraded car. His new car is not much newer but an updated model with lots of boys toys and gadgets and we haven’t spet a lot again but it is a nice car and hasn’t done too many miles, so hopefully it will last as well as the previous one.

So there we have it, despite the sadness that threatened to overwhelm the week, there has been lots of things to celebrate too.

What have you celebrated this week?

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Mummy Bloggers

Blogging had been such a help to me since becoming a mum and making the decision to be a SAHM. It has helped me share my experiences and to feel less alone thanks to the wonderful community of parent bloggers out there. There is so much power in blogging and as well as helping each other we can be quite influential.

I was recently sent the following info graphic about the rise and stats of Mummy Bloggers which I find hugely interesting.

Top 50 Mummy Bloggers In UK

Rebateszone.com

Who knew there was quite so many of us out there? I admit to being honoured to be included in the top 50 bloggers on here. I confess to being a little sceptical about this however as there are many fantastic and far more influential bloggers than I who have not made it onto this list. (Never mind the absence of any daddy bloggers…) I wonder whether it is more a chart of those of us that responded rather than a chart of the top mummy bloggers..

Hubs says I should  not worry and enjoy it and I guess though I am not sure I agree I do feel very proud that someone feels that I belong on this chart alongside such wonderful company.

Whether I do belong on this chart or no I do hope that I have helped other mummies as much as other bloggers have helped me. That is all I really care about. Parenting can be so hard at times and so difficult to know if you are doing it ‘right.’ Reading other Mums’ experiences helps me to know I am not alone and that there is no ‘right’ way and that I am doing ok. I hope my blog helps other Mummies to feel the same way.

About Time – a Film Review

Now, I am no film critic and have never attempted a film review before, but somehow I felt compelled to write about this film. True in my uni days I studied film and television but don’t worry this review is not going to worry about the mise en scene or whether this film fits with the directors usual style, blah blah blah. I just wanted to share my thoughts on what is one of my new all time favourite films.

imagesAbout Time is  from Screenwriter/Director Richard Curtis, well-known for classics such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually. Somehow though I feel this film has unjustly slipped under the radar and is not as well-known as it ought to be. But perhaps I am not the best judge of this as I last went to the cinema over 3 years ago and this apparently came out in 2013 – so I clearly behind the times. The fact that it hasn’t come to my attention until now though is why I feel it can’t be anywhere near as widely known as his previous titles, which is odd because in my opinion this film is every bit as good, if not better.

Starring Domhnall Gleeson (you may recognise him as Bill Weasley from Harry Potter, though much to hubs surprise and hilarity I could not place him at all!) and Rachel McAdams in the lead roles, Domhnall’s character, Tim, and his father (played by Bill Nighy) have the ability to travel back in time within their own lifetime. So far so cliché right? But I feel that this film is some of Richard Curtis’ best writing. Full of wonderful British humour and hilarious characters it is so lovely to watch.

Whether he is travelling back in time a few moments to avoid making a prat of himself or travelling back years to try and improve his sister’s happiness the results aren’t always what he expects and much comedy, and at times, sadness ensues. And that is where the writing is so brilliant as interspersed amongst the laugh out loud moments there are some beautiful pearls of wisdom.

I watched this film on a day where I was feeling really mopey and sorry for myself. Fed up of the mundane monotony that is the SAHM life sometimes. What this film did was remind me to see the magic in the mundane. I thought about what I would change if I could go back in time and I don’t think I would change a thing (though being able to stop making a prat of myself would be quite handy). It made me stop being mardy and look around and take pleasure in the moment and recognise how incredibly lucky I am to have my lovely ordinary life.

Yes it sounds cheesy but this film lifted my spirits. Touching, heart warming, tender, sad at times and uproariously funny at others. A real feel-good film, all I can say is watch it, watch it now. It is on netflix so if you have it then there is no excuse.

Family Fever

Relentless…

My word of the week this week is relentless. It hasn’t been entirely bad but in truth it has been pretty hard.

LM’s naps are all messed up and she seems to only wnt one nap a day (at nearly 10 mths old) so I have had to get used to having at least 1 child with me at all times. Plus she is now crawling, climbing, pulling up and standing alone constantly. Which means I need eyes in the back of my head and a lot of falling over too. No break for mummy to blog, get jobs done, relax at all – relentless.

We have been busy every evening this week, Monday we had friends round which was lovely, Tuesday I took some old baby bits round to my friend with a 2 mth old and again it was lovely to see her. Weds Hubs had a work night out and then Thurs was meant to be our first eve this week relaxing together – but LM had other ideas. Since she was just a couple of mths old she has always gone to sleep really easily in the evning, even when she has been poorly it hasn’t taken much to get her to sleep. Last night took hours. Nothing worked, she was so tired but so fidgety and uncomfortable. It took hubs over an hour of rocking and singing before she finally got into a deep enough sleep to stop idgeting and sleep in her bed. By which time hubs was exhausted so there weent our evening. No rest in the daytime or the evenings – relentless.

Then there is toilet training, which is going really, really well. But of course there are sometimes accidents. For Monkey these tend to happen after his nap. He doesn’t need to nap every day and on the days he does he wants to wear pants. Which is fine and he can hold it. But sometimes he wakes up really grotty and that’s when the accidents can happen. So this week we have had a weed on sofa :( and a wet bed. Both manageable, but after the wet bed I tried to get him to do a wee on the toilet. He wanted to stand, which was fine, except he then started pooing on the floor!

Add to this the fact that as LM isn’t napping much she was there and wanting to be involved. She is crawling and climbing everywhere at the moment and just wants to be involved, so as I realised he was pooing and tried to sit him on the toilet, she was crawling through my legs headed right towards the poo! aaaargh!! So imagine the scene, trying to be calm as Monkey is a bit egg-shelly after waking up wet, picking LM up and dumping her in the hall (where she immediately starts heading back to the bathroom) trying to pick up the poo and find antibac wipes to clean up before LM gets there. Like I said. Aaaargh.

Today I am meeting my friends and all our kiddies, it is rare these days tha we all get together and it will be lovely but honestly the arranging of the get together does my head in. One person doesn’t want to go here, one person doesn’t want to pay, one person doesn’t want to drive too far (and we all live in completely different areas). Then we have no idea what the weather is going to do so indoor or outdoor and so many indoor places get so busy now it’s the holidays, and again, aaargh!

I know we will have a nice time all together and I just need to learn not to get too involved with the planning of where we are going and just go with the flow once the decision has been made I think.

Thankfully there has been lovely moments too this week, even if they are a bit difficult to catch amongst the relentlessness of it all, so here are a few pics of lovely times with my kiddies this week.

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a 5 min snuggle watching aladdin before LM woke up

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Crafting with Monkey

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Post poo incident cuddles

 

Giggly kddies beng tickled by mummy on the sofa

Giggly kddies beng tickled by mummy on the sofa

How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

What’s in my changing bag

From time to time I read some great posts from Mums who are quite honestly, far, far more organised than I am, who share their lovely changing bags. They are pristine and organised and kept well stocked. I am a little in awe of these Mums as I doubt they ever manage to go out without nappies (has happened more than once as I haven’t realised I have run out and can’t remember when I last checked) or are ever greeted by this sight when they open their changing bag.

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So, no, sadly I am not one of those Mums, and this isn’t going to be one of those posts! I am more likely to randomly chuck in a few nappies and every now and again. Occasionally I decide to brave taking out all the random stuff that is in there and have a good sort out in the hope I will be more organised next time (let’s face it, never gona happen). This is what I did this week, and this is what I found in my changing bag.

Half a rice cake, covered in sand and bizarrely squished into a suncream lid – yummy.

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Some pine cones which were a ‘present’ from Monkey.

A piece of elastic we randomly found Monkey playing with and decided to remove from his possession.

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Some of LM’s favourite things to play with, including a bit of dried grass (yup, honestly, playing with a blade of grass makes her deliriously happy), a frog castanet, the hose from a duplo fire engine (she LOVES it) and a rattly whistle thing (that actually contains a sweet but shhh our kids haven’t worked that out yet).

Thousands of bits of broken biscuit.

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Random items of ‘spare’ clothing completely coated in the above broken biscuits and crumbs.

Ooh, result, a slightly squished but still sealed mini mars bar. Yum!

A few random nappies that have been squished and mangled so badly that at first glance I am not 100% sure if they are used or not.

It was a good job jobbed, and right now my changing bag is much more organised… but I know in my heart that it won’t last very long!!

What’s in your changing bag? I would love to know if you are reading this in horror or completely relate to my lack or organisation!

MaternityMondaysAnd then the fun began...
Best of Worstbrummymummyof2

Lots of cooking and baking

My word of the week this week is “cooking” as I seem to have spent a lot of time cooking and baking lately! Mainly food for LM as we continue her weaning journey and I am looking for easy freezable finger foods I can take out and about with us or just have readily availble at home so there is not a huge amount of prep at every mealtime.

So, in the last week or so I have tried the following new recipes: salmon croquettes, cheesy flapjacks, carrot muffins (which I made correctly this time after forgetting to add the butter the first time, d’oh!), meatloaf, and an apple oat cake plus the usual things for us to eat like a big batch of carrot and honey soup, sausage carbonara, sweetcorn fritters etc etc. (I have intended to share these recipes on here for some time but never get round to writing the posts!)

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Carrot muffins, cheesy flapjacks and carrot soup, the fruits of one morning’s labours!

 

Most of the new recipes have come from the baby-led weaning cookbook and I am afraid to say that so far I have not been that impressed with them. The exception to this is the salmon croquettes as even I don’t mind those and I am not a big fish fan. The carrot muffins aren’t terrible but the cheesy flapjacks are just odd and I’m not that keen on the oat cake either (Icooked it for 15 mins longer than it says but still is soggy in the middle, is it supposed to be like that?). I suppose the meatloaf wasn’t terrible either but it wasn’t exactly delicious.

Difficult as of course recipes for babies do tend to be a little more bland as they contain much less salt or sugar than we would usually use. Having said that though, the sweetcorn fritters are based on an Annabel Karmel recipe (just with the addition of a few more veggies) and they are lovely, as are many of the other things we have tried from her cookbook so I don’t think that recipes suitable for babies necessarily have to be bland.

It’s a shame to be spending so much time and effort in the kitchen and being disappointed with the results to be honest! Thankfully because at least 50% of the food I have made this week are tried and trusted recipes, they are lovely but it’s a shame none but one (the salmon croquettes) of the new recipes from the weaning book are going to be added to our repertoire I don’t think… I’m not even sure how to tweak them to improve them… as I’m not sure they are worth the effort!

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the slightly soggy centred oat cake

Monkey has enjoyed helping me cook and bake though so it is always nice to have him in the kitchen with me helping weigh out and mix ingredients. The low point though was when trying to do some with LM awake and eating/playing in her high chair in the kitchen with us. She wasn’t having any of it so I ended up holding her in one arm & balancing her on my hip, while hastily whizzing some fruit, greasing a pan, stirring the mixture (with Monkey’s help), filling the pan and putting it in the oven. It is blimmin amazing the things you can accomplish with one hand when you have to, but my goodness it makes it hard work!!

The kids are enjoying the oat cake and it is full of goodness so I may not like it but at least they are!

WP_20150603_001The over-riding success of the week actually comes in the form of not a recipe exactly, but more of a cheat. I love Paprika Chicken at restaurants but we have never been able to recretae it at home, none of the recipes I have tried seem to have the right balance of seasoning. So when I saw some funky new pre-seasoned papers that you wrap the chicken in, I thought they had to be worth a try. And they were great!

This isn’t a sponsored post and I didn’t get them free to review, but we thought they were lovely, and so so easy.You wrap the chicken in the paper, and fry it in the pan. It’s that straightforward. The chicken was juicy and the flavour was yummy. So hooray for a success, I needed one!

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