To the overwhelmed Mumma

To the overwhelmed Mumma ,

I see you exhausted and falling asleep on the sofa with two toddlers sprawled across you , watching the 30th episode of Peppa pig it’s 8.30am but you’ve already been up 3 hours.

Mumma I see you filling up when your toddler has thrown the mother of all tantrums in the supermarket and you can’t take anymore. Everyone is staring , tutting and judging. Hold your head high , you are amazing.

I see you feeling the dreaded mummy guilt because you have given them beige food from the freezer with a side of tinned sweetcorn guilt for lunch and tea that day. I get that you just can’t face thinking of what to cook and chances are it will end up on the floor anyway.

I see you day dreaming of life pre babies when your Friday night decisions consisted of what to drink vodka or gin ? Now they are going to bed when the kids do or staying up and fall asleep five minutes later on the sofa?

I see you mutter the words piss off under your breath when your hubby asks how your day has been. I get that you are jealous that he got a break when he went to work from the terrible two’s and tantrums

I see you saying because “I said so” at the top of your lungs because you have been asked for the 3578 time “why can’t I have chocolate” you can’t take one more question being fired at you.

I see you going up to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet with a hot coffee and snickers and shouting down nothing when you hear “mummy what you eating”

To the Mumma wondering how her toddler could cause so much chaos just in the short three minutes she was having a shower. The window has now been decorated with a  whole tub of Sudocrem and the play room is trashed. But hey you managed to wash your hair , your winning.

For any Mum thinking am I cut out for this? You so are ! All of these are just the signs of the daily mummy struggle and that of an overwhelmed Mumma. Relax have some bubbles and cake because you rock this Mumma.

Love

Another overwhelmed Mumma xx

 

Day camping at Coed Cefn Bluebell Wood Crickhowell

We have seen so many beautiful pictures on social media of all the Bluebell woods now the season has kicked in. We were inspired by a blog post Abergavenny kids shared on their Facebook of local bluebell woods in the Brecon area. We liked the look of Cefn Coed Bluebell Woods in Crickhowell so decided to go there.

Archie and Frankie saw something on C Beebies about a family going camping and ever since Archie has asked if we can go. This was a perfect chance to set up a little day camp to give them their first experience.

We have no camping equipment and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it. I bought the camp stove from B&M bargains for £9.99 an also the enamel plates 99p , a toaster £2.99 and the cooking pan was £1.99. I then headed to Poundland and saw some lovely tin mugs they had a few designs but I bought the ones that said “a little bit of dirt never hurt anyone” they had loads of fab ones. I bought some super cute ladybird paper plates and cups from Tiger for £1 each.

   

I also took some wooden spoons , a tablecloth from home , blankets and a pop up tent. We bought some egg , bread and sausages and beans in a tin which made a lovely little lunch. We then had toasted marshmallows which the ankle biters loved doing and mummy loved eating! I do need to invest in a new flask as a cuppa would have been lovely.

  

 

The woods were easy to find and had parking space enough for around four cars. It really was magical in the woods and was full of bluebell carpets. There were loads of lovely spots to set up a camp stove or picnic.

After lunch we did a full circle around the forest. The littles loved exploring and playing in the leaves and bluebells. They also loved looking at all the holes in the trees and were convinced there were owls in them. I love their little imaginations at this age. It took about an hour to look around and explore so it made a lovely afternoon out.

I would really recommend going and having an explore and taking some pictures. We have some beautiful ones which we are now going to print on to canvas. The colours were amazing and it was so peaceful just listening to the bird song.

 

Learning our ABC’s with Melissa and Doug

I have recently become an ambassador for Magic Fairy Wings. They are an online business selling craft materials , toys , children’s dress up , outdoor clothing and hair/fashion accessories. As part of our role we will be reviewing some goods from the site each month over the next few months.

We have recently been learning the alphabet,  both tots have been doing it for a while but we are now going more in-depth with it. I love the idea of fridge magnet letters but always worry as the magnets are small that are attached to the back.

I decided to choose the Melissa and Doug magnetic wooden letters this month  , these retail at £9.99. These are fab as each letter is a whole magnet there are no little magnets attached. They are a lovely bright colour and wooden so really sturdy. They also come with lower and upper case.

We have had so much fun with the letters. We are trying to teach them to put the letters in order. Archie is three so he is able to do this with the first few. Frankie being two she is trying but she is happily singing her ABC song. Archie is also learning to spell his name out so these are fab for getting him to do that and put the letters in the right order. Every time they come out to the kitchen they go straight to the fridge which is fab. They have been a big hit here.

    

There are loads of other educational toys and much more over at the magic fairy wings website , they also have a fab Facebook page. You can also find them on twitter.

 

 

 

I’m going back to school

Yes you heard it I’m going back to school , well online school. I was so excited when NCC home learning offered me the opportunity to review one of their courses.

There is so much to choose from on their website from childcare , counselling , nutrition and even creative writing. The choice is honestly amazing.

I studied Business at university and gained my degree in this subject. I then went on to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education to enable me to become a teacher. I taught in secondary education for ten years before I had the littles. My last role was Head of Sixth Form. It’s something I definitely plan to go back to when both Archie and Frankie are in full-time school. I would like to branch out and offer other subjects so am always looking for further routes of study.

I’ve always had a passion for Criminal Psychology I find it fascinating.  I love watching any crime documentary , films or series and I get hooked. I was so excited when I saw that this was one of the courses that NCC home learning offered. So of course jumped at the chance to study this.

When I had registered for the course I was sent a unique log on and password. Logging on is easy and my course is in a  saved area. All the course reading materials and assignments/exams are all there in one place. Everything is super easy to navigate and so convenient.

The thing I love about this is that I can complete it in my own time and around having the littles.

At the moment NCC home learning also have 25% off all courses and even have payment plans to help spread the cost of your learning too. Go and take a look at their website to see what you fancy , I guarantee they have something for you.

I was offered to study a course with NCC home learning in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

My American dream

I am America obsessed and always have been from a young age. I just love everything American.

I’m a little in love with American movies and sitcoms. Friends is built-in to my daily routine I have to watch at least two episodes a day or it just doesn’t feel right. I’m a sucker for the American pie movies and all the nineties movies like scream , the craft , I know what you did last summer, save the last dance, 10 things I hate about you. The list is endless.
 
When I first watched Home Alone 2 I remember saying to my Mum I am going to go there one day. And I did when I was about 24 I went to New York on a university trip whilst I was doing my teaching course. I was amazed , it was only for five short days but I could have stayed there.
 
For five days I wandered round the city all day and night and took in every bit of culture. I hardly slept as there was so much to do and I didn’t want to miss one second of it.
 
My breakfasts were in diners, lunches were hot dogs from a stand on the corner. I went to the statue of liberty and fell in love with wall street and the financial district. I spent a few hours one morning just in a book store looking at all the books and drinking coffee. I wish I could have spoken to my younger self then with the perspective I have now. I would have said stay there for a bit longer and do your thing.
My big American dream involves emigrating to upstate New York . I have my sights set on Vermont but anywhere in New England will also do!  I also want a summer-house in the Hampton’s. Really not asking for much am I ?
I would love to have one of those houses you see in the movies on an Avenue with the trees either side of the street. A big outside porch with a swing sofa. I can just see myself cocktail in hand and chilling after the ankle biters have gone to bed. I love the American suburbs way of life where everyone knows each other. Like when you have just moved in everyone bakes you a pie or a cake and the street put on a BBQ for you to say hi or hey as they say it.
 
We would wander down the street to the village stores and buy fresh lemonade and groceries then carry it all back in one of those brown paper bags. Archie and Frankie would be riding off in front of me each on a red trike with ribbons coming out of the handles and a bell. This really is just a dream I have but if it could be reality I would be there in a flash.

Our visit to St Mary’s Vale magical forest Abergavenny

After reading Abergavenny kids post on magical forests we decided to go on an adventure to the St Mary’s Vale forest at the foot of the Sugar Loaf mountain in Abergavenny. Please see Abergavenny kids blog post for directions and a map.
We drove to Crickhowell first to Askews bakery to get some rolls and cakes for a picnic. It all looked so yummy and they have so many cakes ! They even had a dairy free cake for Frankie.
It can be a bit tricky to find but there is a little car park and once you are there it’s really easy to find after that. Just take a left out of the car park. Stay on the left hand side and go down a little hill with a house on the right until you come to a big black gate which you open and go through.
You will then hear the stream and see it on the left. You then come to little stepping stone bridge which as you immediately cross there is a field on the left.  Climb over the stile and walk up the bank. We had our picnic here, it was so peaceful and loads of room for the kids to run around and pick flowers.
After the picnic we made our way back down to the stream which was quite shallow and safe enough for the tots to play in under supervision . Although it did go quite fast in places and I can imagine when it has rained it will be deeper.
The ankle biters played for a good hour in the stream with sticks and throwing rocks. They had the best time. On the way back to the car they found loads of thick mud to jump and play in which they loved!
        
They then found the mountains of leaves on the bank. There were loads still from the autumn fall , can’t imagine what it’s like in autumn. We spent around half an hour just playing in leaves and using our imaginations – it was fantastic !
We then made our way back to the car. The tots were exhausted so it was home for a midweek chicken roast , bath and bed. They were asleep practically as their heads hit the pillows. If you’re looking for a fab and free day out and love adventures this one is for you.

Young mum love – because you deserve it

I’m not a young Mum myself as I had our first Archie when I was 31. My Mum was a young Mum she had me at 19 and also my Nan had my Mum at 18. As a Mum you make so many sacrifices and put things on hold until your little ones grow up. My Mum was training to be a nurse when she fell pregnant with me but gave it up in a heartbeat to have me and be a stay at home Mum.

I’m writing this post as I’m seeing a lot of young Mum’s being stereotyped within the media with people mostly hating on them and using generalisations. I think they definitely deserve some love and respect.

Being a Mum is hard and the challenges we face can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I get that feeling a lot if I’m having a bad day or week. I second guess myself and question everything I’m doing. Imagine having this feeling but also having other people also second guessing , questioning your Mummy skills and judging you.

I know a lot of young Mum’s doing an amazing job at bringing their little ones up and some at age 18/19 with two tots like me.  They are coping , bringing up amazing little beings and giving them the best start in life. Not out drinking every night , hanging around on street corners and neglecting their babies. This is what the media would have you sometimes believe or how some judgemental people imagine all young Mum’s are.

Being a young Mum does not automatically mean you are less capable than an older Mum. At the end of a day you are a Mum with the same motherly instincts and know the needs of your baby. A lot of young Mum’s I speak to have mentioned how they feel criticized for their decisions by family members and also complete strangers. This really does need to stop your baby your way no matter how old you are.

I think about what I would have had to give up at 18 to have a baby. University , nights out , festivals and my dream of being a teacher. I just don’t think I could have done that, on top of all the new things you have to learn and do as a parent. I would have been totally overwhelmed and completely crapping it. I could barely remember what time my lectures were and when my essays had to be handed in. I can’t imagine having to remember when my babies next feed was due , making decisions about where to send my toddler to nursery or managing my money for myself and a child.

I think back to my Mum being pregnant at 18 with me in the 60’s and fear of telling her parents , facing all the gossip over the fact she wasn’t married to my Dad , giving up her career and also not having a home of her own. My Mum with the support of my Dad faced all of these obstacles and created a family home for me and then my sister. She has done an amazing job as we have both turned out fab.  We are proof that being a young Mum isn’t always as the media would have you believe. I will always be eternally grateful for this.

To all the young Mum’s reading this I salute you and totally think you are rocking motherhood.

 

Keeping them busy with Phoenix Trading crafts

We were very lucky to receive a lovely package from Phoenix Trading. Just perfect for us as we love arts and crafts and they are built-in to our daily activities.

The package included 24 colour in finger puppets , paper dolls bunting , little woodland animals colour in card and fabulous funny faces sticker set. Archie and Frankie were beyond excited when we opened the package. So with a new packet of felts and coloured pencils we got stuck in.

Colour in finger puppets

These were Archie and Frankie’s favourites  , they enjoyed colouring them in and the fact they were a farmyard design was fab. They included farm-yard animals , tractors , farmers and land rovers. They provided hours of fun as we have been having puppet shows with them. The tots were really using their imaginations whilst playing with them which was amazing to watch.

      

Paper dolls bunting

These are so cute and you get loads of little paper dolls to colour in so hours of fun to be had. Both tots loved colouring these in and drawing faces and clothes on to the dolls. There were various different designs both boys and girls. They also come with ribbon and pre punched holes so they can be threaded and hung up. We have them on proud display in the playroom.

       

Little woodland animals colour in card

This was very cute and had the loveliest Easter design with bunnies and bunting. Frankie really enjoyed colouring this in and has decided to give it to Nanny and Bampy for Easter. This is great for children of all ages and ability.

Fabulous funny faces sticker set

This set is really good for keeping the littles entertained. The board with the faces on is strong and durable. This is fab for indoor use and for taking out and about and on journeys. Archie and Frankie loved this and found the faces they were making hilarious. The stickers are reusable and there are loads to choose from to make the funny faces such as hats , glasses , beards. This did bring so much fun and giggles to a rainy afternoon.

    

I was sent this package in return for a honest review. All thought and opinions are my own.

 

Our alternative Easter gift to the babies – their very own Star

I was over the moon to be offered to name a star from the Star Name Registry. I jumped at the chance as always been interested in doing this. I decided to name the star “siblinglove” to represent the ankle biters amazing bond.

You get to chose a special date so I went with the 13.1.14 this is Archie’s date of birth , I chose this to represent the day we first became parents. I chose Pegasus  for the constellation.

The package was delivered really quickly in fact it was the day after I was asked to review the star . It came in a lovely silver gift box with some pretty tissue paper and some lovely red roses. It was packaged really well and bubble wrapped to ensure that the frame did not get damaged.

I was sent the Extra Bright Star gift set , the package included –

  • Entry into the Registry
  • A4 Star Name Deed
  • The Sky Atlas star maps
  • Confirmation letter
  • Free Stelarium software download
  • Gift Explained Extra Bright Star
  • A4 Silver Certificate Frame with Deed

The gift set retails at £44.99 , there are various options on the website with a variety of prices.

The star deed tells you exactly where the star is located and you can go and check it out online. Archie and Frankie’s favourite nursery rhyme is twinkle twinkle little star. We often talk about and look at the stars. I cant wait to give them this as part of their Easter gift as they get far too much chocolate. We can then show them online exactly where the star is. It’s also amazing for them to keep for their memory boxes and to look back on whenever they want.

The sky atlas that comes with the gift set is a really handy go to guide to look at the constellations and learn a bit more about the stars.

If you are looking for a gift which is a bit different and has that wow factor then definitely go and check these out.

For a chance to win your own extra bright star worth 24.99 just enter here – leave a comment on the blog saying who you would give the star to and why. The competition closes at midnight on the 17.4.17.

I was sent the Extra Bright Star gift package in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Cooking dairy free with Oatly and getting my sleep back

Frankie has cows milk protein allergy and she is also lactose intolerant so we cook dairy free and Frankie also has to have dairy free milk. Up until the age of two Frankie was prescribed Neocate milk. When Frankie was approaching two we had to make the decision of what milk to move her on to. There are so many alternatives soya , almond , oat milk the list is endless.

We decided to try her on Oatly which is an oat based milk. There are many varieties of the drink but we decided to go with the enriched with calcium and vitamins (D, Riboflavin, B12) one. It is free from lactose, milk protein and soya which is fab.

Frankie was never a good sleeper and still up until 20 months she was waking for milk in the night and she had only slept through a handful of times. She took to the Oatly really quickly it took two nights of fusing and refusing until she realised she did actually like the milk. I have tried it myself and it does taste like milk and has a really pleasant taste to it.

After about a week of having her sippy  cup of Oatly to take to bed Frankie started to sleep through and not wake for milk. After a few months of being on Oatly she now sleeps and I am eternally grateful to Oatly ! We sleep ! I think it may be the fact that it is Oat based and the relaxing nature of oats also maybe it fills her up more than the formula did. It has also given her a better appetite which I am thrilled with. When Frankie was on formula she would pick at her breakfast and lunch but now she is happy to have her breakfast when she wakes up and enjoys it.

There is so much you can do with Oatly , one of our favourite ways of using it in cooking it to make a fish pie. Here is the recipe for you to try.

Ingredients

  • 400ml of Oatly
  • 500g fish pie mix
  • 40g of Vitalite dairy free spread
  • 40g of plain flour
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g of grated Vio life cheese

For the topping

  • 800g of medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 40g of vitalite dairy free spread

Method

  • Arrange the fish and prawns in to an oven dish
  • To make the sauce for the pie melt the Vitalite in a pan then add the flour and whisk until it forms a paste , slowly add small amounts of Oatly bit by bit and keep stirring until a thick sauce forms. Add the Vio life to the sauce.

            

  • Pour the sauce over the fish in the oven dish add some salt and pepper.

  • To make the mash for the topping. Half fill a large saucepan with cold water. Add the potatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Drain the potatoes and put them back in to the pan. Mash with the Vitalite until a mash is formed.

  • Cook in a preheated on 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 25 mins until golden brown on top

There will be a competition live soon over at my facebook page with8 a chance to win some Oatly vouchers and start creating some yummy diary free creations.