Dairy Free Valentines baking with Auntie Mo’s

I was recently asked if I would like to try a new range of dairy and egg free cookie and brownie mixes by a new business called Auntie Mo’s. We love to get our bake on so I gladly agreed.

Auntie Mo’s are a Sunderland based business who produce dairy and egg free cookie mixes , brownie mixes and pancake mixes which are also suitable for vegans. Maria (Auntie Mo) makes these mixes dairy free as her nephew Alex had a severe milk and egg allergy.

I was so excited about this as we find it really hard to find cookie or cake mixes that are dairy free for Frankie as she has cows milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance. We were sent a lovely package with soft and gooey double chocolate brownie mix , chocolate chip cookie mix and oat and raisin cookie mix.

The packaging is so classy and perfect for a gift , you can either get a jar with the mix in which makes a fab gift ,  or the other option is a brown kraft pouch.

We decided to bake the mixes for Valentines day as a surprise for Daddy and so we could all have a taste of course.

Gooey double chocolate chip brownies –

                               

These were actually amazing , so easy to make too. We just had to mix 125ml water and 125ml of oil and whisk until it emulsified then add to the brownie mix and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins. The house smelt so good whilst these were cooking.

So time was up ,  the brownies were cooled and they definitely got our seal of approval. They had a lovely gooey centre with a perfectly crisp top.  You would never think they didn’t contain dairy or eggs , they had a beautifully rich taste.  We all enjoyed these and what a treat they were.

     

Chocolate chip cookies / oat and raisin cookies

These were a massive hit with the ankle biters. It was the first time Frankie had ever tried a cookie. With her being cows milk protein allergic and lactose intolerant there are no cookies / mixes out there you can buy from the supermarket that she can actually have. Being a busy mum of two toddlers its fab to have the mixes already made up. Such a fantastic rainy day activity or when we just fancy treat to open the cupboard and have freshly baked cookies within 20 minutes.

Again super easy to make just add vegetable spread (we used Vitalite) and water and mix until it was emulsified. We then stired in the mix until it formed a dough . We used a table-spoon and scooped out balls of the mix on to greaseproof paper. We made sure we left a big enough gap between them to have room to grow as they cooked.

        

Within 15 minutes we had cookies. The ankle biters were so excited they could hardly wait for them to cool down! These definitely have our seal of approval. Frankie kept saying mmm delicious after every mouthful. James and I loved the oat and raisin and the tots loved the chocolate being the choco addicts they are, both mixes were equally yum. Now Frankie keeps asking me for “more cookies mummy”

            

The website has a wide variety of cookie and brownie mixes and have now introduced pancakes mixes which we will definitely be purchasing in time for pancake day. You can also find Aunite Mo’s on Facebook and Twitter. They are now our go to cookie mix fav’s.

I was sent these cookie and brownie mixes in return for an honest review , all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

My online mummy squad

Over three and a half years ago I joined a baby centre January 2014 birth group. Little did I know the ladies I met on this group would be such a huge and influential part of my life. These ladies are my motherhood sisters. I have been through two pregnancies , births and every developmental milestone that my babies have gone through. We have celebrated three years of our gorgeous babies birthdays together and the younger siblings that have followed.

I speak to these ladies every day in some shape or form. We share our highs and lows without judgement.  They are my go to ladies with just about everything. There is always one of us there day or night to help celebrate or a shoulder to cry on or talk things over.

If one of us is hurt or upset we all are and we are on the hunt for who has caused it , a big group of angry mummies on the warpath – scary. We never get bored of listening to each others problems and someone always has a solution to almost every problem shared. I have learnt so much about being a mum from these women and they have made me the mummy I am today. These special ladies always rally around when someone is in need or going through a mummy meltdown.

We are all going through the same thing whether it be terrible twos ,  the threenager stage , potty training , sleep deprivation – you name it we’ve been there.

I always feel any negatives I have about being a mummy are made normal by these gorgeous women.  I love this as if I didn’t have them to talk things over I would just sit here thinking what an awful mum I was for not enjoying weaning or feel pathetic for crying because my three year old wont stop screaming at me every time I say no to something. Instead one of you will say yeah my little one is being a complete demon child today or man I hate potty training.

You ladies were there with me during my labour step by step with both babies from the moment my waters went. Some of us were in labour together , spurring each other on and had babies born just hours apart. You were number one on Facebook to see the precious first pictures of my babies. I came to you as soon as I got that positive test with Frankie ,  of course everyone else had to wait till the 12 week scan to find out but you knew as soon as I did.

We share everything , no such thing as over sharing in this group. We know each other inside out and can read each other like a book. If someone is down we know , if someone is pregnant we know. Nothing gets past us.

During the early days of motherhood the mummies kept me going through night feeds , winding and poonamis. Always there for a chat at 3am , 4,30 am and to share a coffee with at 8am. Some days when I was finding it impossible to get through on 2 hours sleep I had my own personal cheerleaders cheering me on to get to that finish line called bedtime and wine.

You will always be a part of my life no matter how big our babies get. I know I can always be 100 percent raw and honest with you ladies , with no judgement just kindness. You are and always will be my first port of call for support and encouragement. Thank you for being my motherhood sisters ,  always and loving me and my babies the way you do my online mummy squad.

Lianne xx

 

Organyc – Organic cotton mother and baby range

Organyc Mother and Baby organic range

I was asked to review the Organyc mother and baby range which included baby wipes , organic cotton squares and menstrual pads. As me and the tots all have eczema prone and sensitive skin I’m always on the look our for organic and natural products for us all to try and see if they agree with us.

Organyc is a range of organic and natural feminine and baby care from sanitary and maternity wear to beauty and baby care. All products are made using organic cotton wool to give softness, comfort and breathable products. Organyc products do not contain parabens, synthetic ingredients, perfumes, or SAP.

Organyc baby cotton wipes

Organyc baby cotton wipes these were a pack of 60 organic baby wipes. They are dermatologically tested , Ethyl and Alcohol free and free of chlorine , parabens and SLS. This was fab as we all have sensitive skin and tend to have an eczema flare up with some baby wipes. I used the wipes on both tots and also myself to remove make up , there was no skin irritation or flare up. The wipes were soft but also durable enough to give the tots hands a good scrub after eating. I would defiantly use these in the future.

Organyc baby organic cotton squares

The Organyc baby organic cotton squares were a fab size and really soft. I tend to still use cotton wool squares to give the tots a face wash in the morning and to get the sleepy dust out of their eyes. They had a cute teddy and hippo embossed design which they loved. I also used some to take my make up off and found them so soft and loved the size , as some cotton wool pads can be small and you end up using loads.

Organyc menstrual pads

The Organyc menstrual pads are made with organic cotton. You can really feel the difference they are really soft. They were also well packaged. They didn’t have any plastic or synthetic materials in them which I find myself allergic to usually. They were still very absorbent and ultra thin. I will be switching to this brand as I really could feel a difference with the 100 percent organic cotton.

I received these products in return for an honest review all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Getting our craft on with Children’s Art Galleries

 

 

I was recently asked to review Children’s art galleries. Children’s art galleries is an online subscription where you have access to a website to upload your children’s art work.

I think this idea is just fab , we have so much art work dotted around the house and in folders as we just cant bare to part with it. Archie started nursery 3 weeks ago and we have around 30 pieces of art already ! The galleries are also open so Nanny , Bampy and Auntie Lou Lou can look at the ankle biters master pieces.

Archie and Frankie were sent a lovely arts and crafts “get busy” box each to help with their creations. It contained paper , pens , paint markers , glue , chalk and loads of lovely crafty bits. They were thrilled with them. There were some instructions to help with their first piece of artwork which was “this is how I feel today”

We took the boxes on holiday with us to Bluestone National Park they were perfect for a rainy afternoon. Both Archie and Frankie said they felt happy as they were having fun on holiday so the theme for their art work was happy.

Frankie’s “Happy” art work on the website  

Archie’s “Happy” art work on the website

The website is very user friendly and you can also share your children’s art work across social media. Soon there is going to be an added option of printing all work in to a book to purchase and keep. There are unlimited uploads and you own the copyright of the children’s art work. Prices start from £3 for the year which is so reasonable. The site is totally safe as there is no option for anyone to make contact with the children though the site.

I was given a subscription to Children’s art galleries in return for an honest review. All  thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

bakerdays letterbox cake

I was recently asked to review a bakerdays letterbox cake , how incredible a whole cake that fits through your letter box , who was I to refuse?

The cake came in a box that did actually fit through my letterbox , I wasn’t in at the time so it as a lovely surprise to come home to. When I opened up the cake it was so well packaged and all in tact. It came in a lovely little tin which it fitted in to securely , a card and a cute little packet of love hearts.

I chose the dairy free cake so Frankie could have some , even though it was for James. Lets face it we are not getting past the ankle biters with cake they can smell it a mile off.

The cakes come in a wide variety of flavours which include –

  • Vanilla Sponge
  • Dairy free
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit cake
  • Red velvet
  • Gluten and wheat free

There really is something for everyone.

I chose the cute Nutella I’m nuts about you design personalised with James’s name on it There were so many designs to choose from and for so many occasions.

The cake was only 5″ and we all had a slice each with enough left for the next days treat.

Such a fab valentines Day present , which design would you choose ? Head on over to bakerdays to take a look , you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

I will definitely be using bakedays for future gifts and occasions.

As you can see it got Frankie’s deal of approval 🙂

I was sent a bakerdays letterbox cake in return for an honest review

 

Our stay at Bluestone National Park – A break from the norm

Our stay at Bluestone National Park

We were so excited to be asked to go and review a four night stay at Bluestone from Monday to Friday. It was so lovely to get away as we were all feeling a little worn out after a long January so a little holiday was overdue.

Bluestone is nestled in the stunning Bluestone national park. The resort had a variety of accommodation that catered for all. This included lodges , cottages and studio lodges. There was a village centre which had an array of restaurants , shops , a village hall outdoor play area and a lake. There were various nature trails for walks and adventures. There was also the blue lagoon water park and the adventure centre with soft play.  Plenty of activities were also available for children including messy play , shows and much more. The well being spa was perfect for any mummies or daddies wanting to relax.

We stayed in a Gateholm Lodge on Templars Court which was a two storey detached lodge with upside down living. It had three bedrooms and slept up to six persons. The double room was en suite with a bath and shower , we then had a separate bathroom with a shower. There were also two twin bedrooms. We had a travel cot for Frankie and a bed guard and baby gate were delivered for Archie’s room. There were also baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.

The kitchen and lounge were upstairs with open plan living. The kitchen was so well equipped and everything had been thought of. There were two high chairs and a dining room table to eat at. The lounge area had two sofas a coffee table and a TV with a Blu-ray player. The views out of the French doors and windows were amazing. Archie and Frankie loved seeing all the bunnies hopping around outside.

 

                                

The resort itself is just fantastic and the facilities for little ones are out of this world. We arrived and checked in before 4.30 to make use of the facilities. We parked up and headed over to the adventure centre. We had a coffee and snack in the Tree Top restaurant which was magical. We then went to the adventure centre soft play downstairs , the tots played on the bouncy castle and had a run around they were in awe. We decided to check out the circus room , this was fantastic and more suitable for their age. We ended up staying in there for around two hours as Archie and Frankie were contently playing , we loved the chilled vibe in there.

                                             

It was then time to go the lodge and get settled. We were so impressed with how spotless and well equipped the lodge was. The heating had been switched on so it was lovely and cosy.  Archie and Frankie were so excited they ran around exploring every room squealing with excitement. They chose their bedroom’s and we headed upstairs to cook dinner that we had bought from the well stocked village shop. Then it was early nights all round to be fresh and rested for the day ahead.

Tuesday morning we headed to the nearby Tenby town and beach. The town and beach are just stunning. It rained on and off but Archie and Frankie had their snow suits and we had loads of caves to shelter in and explore. We had so much fun looking for shells and pebbles. We then had lunch in the town and headed back to Bluestone.  We spent the afternoon in the Circus room as the kids absolutely loved it there.

           

Wednesday we decided to check out the blue lagoon , it was so impressive. There was a main pool , a small toddler pool with fountains and a shallow play area with hula hoops , balls , inflatables and much more to keep the littles entertained. The ankle biters loved the wave machine and water sprays in the main pool , the water was so lovely and warm. We then headed to the lazy river and ventured outside , even though the weather was cold it was lovely and toasty.

 

             

After swimming we decided to hire a buggy which was so much fun. Archie and Frankie were giggling and wowing the whole time. It was such a fab way of getting around. We decided to check the play park out which was lovely and just right for toddlers. It was then time for a coffee stop , we decided to try the Ty Coffi cafe. Such a beautiful variety of teas, coffees and cakes total yum and well needed mummy fuel.

The village shop was fab and so well stocked for all of your essentials and treats. We found some yummy dairy free cakes made by a local bakery. Frankie has cows milk protein allergy so it was fab for her to be able to enjoy a treat. We may have found some wine too 🙂

Wednesday evening we tried the fish and chips van for dinner. So much choice and freshly cooked to order. Very much enjoyed by all.

Bluestone was our favourite holiday so far with the ankle biters. There was so much to do indoors and outdoors and the way the cater for children really is special. We will definitely be visiting again.

I was given a complimentary stay in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

Mummy you need to look after you too – an open letter from the ankle biters

Dear Mummy ,

You need to start looking after you too.

Your always busy making sure we are looked after.

But what about you ?

When we wake up you fill our bellies with organic cereal and fresh berries ,  full of goodness. You sit there and drink coffee and grab a biscuit. You need to have goodness and be healthy too Mummy.

You get us dressed in our smartest ,  cutest fully coordinated outfits every day. You fix our hair and make sure we are preened and polished. You grab the nearest clothes and throw your hair up in to a mum bun. You deserve to be preened and polished too Mummy , curl your hair or put on some make up , do something for you.

Your last penny is spent on us , after all we need that other pair of boots or cute dress. What about you Mummy ? Treat yourself get that top you saw and loved , go on do it – you deserve it we have enough.

As soon as we show signs of illness or have a strange rash off to the doctors we go.  Mummy you have had a bad back since I was born , I’m now three don’t you think you should go to the doctors too ?

You take us to all of our toddler groups every week , gymnastics , dance class and always do fun things with us. You need to have fun things to do too Mummy – go for a spa day, get nanny to look after us , go shopping and eat a nice lunch or go on a date night with Daddy.

A lot of your time is spent trying to get us to take a nap. You say you were up all night last night you must be tired now , come on nap time. Mummy you were up all night with us too , now we are sleeping you sleep too. Leave the washing and the cleaning , crawl in to bed and pull back the duvet and sleep.

Mummy you make us the best bubbly baths with our favourite toys. You just jump in after us when daddy gets us dressed amongst all of our toys for five minutes.  Why don’t you have a bath with your favourite things when we go to bed ? Treat yourself to those bath bombs you like and read your book , go on Mummy you will love it.

 

So basically what we are trying to say is you need look after yourself. You matter too Mummy and need to be at your best to look after us.

Lots of Love

The ankle biters xxxx

 

 

Review: Plamil foods – dairy free chocolate products

I was recently sent a lovely package of dairy free chocolate from Plamil foods to review.  Such a fab variety including dairy free chocolate bunnies , strawberry flavour no added sugar chocolate , banana no added sugar chocolate , organic dairy free alternative to white chocolate and milk chocolate alternative 45% cocoa. All products were dairy free , nut free and vegan friendly. Frankie has cows milk protein allergy and is lactose
intolerant so these were perfect for her.
Dairy free chocolate bunnies
These were so cute for Easter. Frankie has never had a chocolate Easter  bunny as I’ve never been able to find one for her. She was so excited when she saw the bunny shaped chocolate , it tasted delicious too.  Plamil foods have a wide variety of Easter products on their website. I will definitely be purchasing some of these for Frankie’s dairy allergy and vegan friends for her birthday party bags which is around Easter time.
The fruit flavoured no added sugar chocolate – Banana and strawberry
These were really yummy and they are Frankie’s favourite fruits so she really enjoyed. You could actually taste the fruit flavour which was great. I liked that they had no added sugar too as some dairy free products can be high in sugar which puts me off giving them to Frankie. These would also be fab for my Dad who is diabetic for Fathers Day. Such a versatile product we are going to order some more from the website to make our Easter nest cakes to give them that extra special touch.
Milk chocolate alternative 45% cocoa
This really did have a lovely rich milk chocolate taste.  You could taste the quality and the fact that is was 45% cocoa. This would be fab for baking too I’m thinking of making a dairy free cheesecake with this.
Dairy free alternative to white chocolate
This was one of Frankie’s other favourites , its hard to find dairy free white chocolate they are usually milk chocolate alternative or dark chocolate.  This had a lovely creamy flavour and really did taste like white chocolate.
Overall the Plamil food products are fantastic and the variety is amazing as some dairy free brands only have a small selection. Plamil foods have so much choice on their website and really do have something to suit all needs. They are definitely our new favourite and we will be a regular visitor to their site.

An open letter plea from an allergy Mummy – NHS please don’t do this

Dear CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and the NHS ,

I am a mummy to two children who both have milk allergies. Archie who has just turned three was lactose intolerant , he grew out of this by the time he was 15 months old. Frankie who is 22 months old has cows milk protein allergy and is also lactose intolerant. Frankie is yet to outgrow her allergies and still has a dairy free diet. She is prescribed Neocate , an amino acid based formula and will continue to be prescribed this until her second birthday.

We went through a horrendous period in parenthood instead of enjoying and embracing the new born stage we were filled with worry and upset trying to work out what was making our babies so ill. Archie wasn’t diagnosed lactose intolerant until he was 5 months old. He used to cry in pain , projectile vomit after nearly every feed , have trouble feeding and was generally unhappy and unsettled. This was heart breaking watch as a parent and I felt like such a failure for not being able to help my baby.  Watching them cry in pain for hours on end and not being able to help is completely soul destroying. Archie was prescribed SMA lacto free formula and was a changed baby within 48 hours  , he was almost symptom free and we had a happy baby.

Frankie was diagnosed when she was 9 weeks old her symptoms were more severe than Archie’s. She would cry for hours on end in excruciating pain , she also had severe diarrhoea after every feed and eczema that was infected and oozed puss.  It took three different milk trials and a hospital admission to get the correct treatment for Frankie. Once Frankie was started on the Neocate formula she was also almost symptom free and happier within a week. It was a struggle to get that prescription for her as it carries a price tag of £38 per tin , these are half tins and we were using four tins a week at one point.

 

Having access to these formulas was fantastic as breast feeding was not an option for me , I had tried and not been physically able to breastfeed. This in itself was truly crushing and so stressful for me. Some mums with allergy babies can breastfeed if they also have a dairy free diet as dairy can be transferred to the baby via the breastmilk. If babies have various different allergies this can be more difficult for the mother as its hard to know exactly what is causing the baby to react.

I’m totally shocked and appalled at the decision the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) has made to ban writing prescriptions for dairy free formula in some areas in the UK. If this had been brought in to place when Archie and Frankie were babies I know that we would not have been able to afford £608 a month in formula for Frankie’s Neocate milk. Croydon CCG has already brought this proposal in to place.

It is so stressful having a baby with allergies and watching them cry in pain and see how unhappy they are every day. Even though it’s not your fault as a parent you convince yourself it is. I did exactly this and felt guilty and blamed myself for not being able to breastfeed. I would sit down at night and sob and  think this is all my fault if I was breast feeding her she wouldn’t have this allergy and she would not have to go through this.

If I had to see Frankie in pain any longer and not be able to get the milk on prescription I would have sunk in to the grips of post natal depression. To be completely honest I think it had already set in and had a hold on me before her diagnosis , it has taken me nearly two years and writing this blog post to admit that to myself. Seeing her the way she was is something I would not wish on any parent.

I also had a 15 month to look after and with a baby that cried literally all day and night and would only settle on me,  this was getting increasingly harder and taking its toll on all of us. Archie must have been so confused as to why this other little person we had brought home was so sad and also made mummy sad – this is how he would have seen it in his eyes as he was far to young to understand.

It would have had a huge affect on us financially , even though James works and does have a decent job we wouldn’t have ben able to find an extra £600 plus a month. I would have had to go back to work and give up on the idea of being a stay at home mum , which is something I always wanted to do.

Even if I had got a job it would have had to be full time which would have meant paying childcare fees for two and covering the cost of the milk. I would have also had to leave Frankie at 10 weeks old to be able to do this. The other option would have been to get a loan to cover the cost of the milk for two years which would have been £15,000 plus this would mean high loan repayments each month which would have destroyed us financially.

We are lucky that Archie has grown out of his allergy and we are hoping Frankie will too. They are now both happy toddlers but things could have been so different if they did not get the treatment/prescriptions they needed , they could have been very poorly.

CCG if you are reading this please don’t do this. Think about how this will affect thousands of babies and parents.

From ,

An allergy mummy

 

 

Things they don’t tell you about the hood (motherhood)

As a first time mum you are just starting out on that journey they call motherhood. I was in such an idealistic bubble when I was pregnant. I had this , read every book and been on all the baby sites. I knew it all now didn’t I? That was until they handed me that tiny baby and I fast realised I had no clue and there are loads of things they don’t tell you. 

They don’t tell you they will be there every second of the day no matter what you’re doing. Your having a shower , they’re pulling the curtain back and throwing rice cakes in to the bath. There is not one single bit of privacy where motherhood is concerned. Your having a pee , they are there then they are running out with the loo roll. I’ve even had to sit on the toilet holding Archie or Frankie because they don’t want to be put down. 

They don’t tell you that you are literally owned by this small person. They decide when you eat , sleep and take a pee. They always know when your just about to eat that’s when they will wake , the minute that hot coffee or piece of choccie cake you’ve waited for all day hits your lips – they are awake and want your full attention now !! 

They don’t tell you that some days you will feel like a complete failure and totally helpless. Your baby has been crying for three hours straight and no matter what you do , you can’t settle them! Your toddler is ill and you would do anything not to see them in pain. Your their mummy you should know what to do right ? In every situation because that’s what the book says.

They don’t tell you about the epic tantrums and meltdowns they are gong to have. You know the ones where they scream the shop down because they wanted to come out of the pram ,  but you know they will do a Houdini as soon as those straps come off. So they scream and bash themselves against the pram. Everyone is looking , some are shaking their head , you hear someone say “if that was my child” you feel yourself going read and hot and just want the ground to open up. The first time this happens you feel like the worlds worst mum but then you get used to it when it happens 98 times a day. You could do what the book says and put them on the naughty step , yeah right ok let me just find a step in the middle of a crowded shop and of course your going to sit there like the angel you are.

They don’t tell you how much of a mess you will look. Some days you can’t find the hairbrush amongst the mountains of toys on the floor so you use your fingers to “brush” your hair and the only bobble you can find is an Elsa one , that will do. Dry shampoo becomes your best friend because it takes longer to wash your hair in the morning which equals the kids trashing the place while your stepping out of the shower with shampoo on your head to see what they are doing. You walk around in your maternity clothes until your babies first birthday because you don’t want to buy yourself anything cause you feel mummy guilt as they need that cute dress and denim jacket. 

They don’t tell you will never sleep again. As soon as your head hits the pillow and you’ve been asleep for five minutes that’s when they decide it’s play time. You are literally so tired you walk round like a zombie putting fabric softener in the fridge , forgetting family members birthdays and health visitor appointments. Your desperate to sleep all day but the minute they are in bed you want to party. By party I mean parent party, which involves eating your body weight in Haribo and staying up till 1am watching movies , your free the night is yours!

They don’t tell you how lonely it can be some days , yeah sure you have your babies but you don’t speak to a single adult all day. So when he gets home from work you talk at him for three hours straight. You end up telling the woman sitting next to you on the bus your baby doesn’t sleep and how tired you are , she’s an adult and she’s listening so you’re talking! 

They also don’t tell you that you will love them so much your heart will burst. Even though they have turned you in to a sleep deprived emotional wreck , who cries at literally anything. But that doesn’t matter they are your whole world. This little person will love you more than anything , you are also their world and they adore you. 

They don’t tell you how rewarding this is. When you see how happy and confident your little tot is. Or how they can now say mamma or dadda – you taught them that! 

They don’t tell you how much you will laugh and act silly all day. Toddlers are hilarious. Like actual lol moments when they go to bed and you look back on the day. 

They don’t tell you that you will love their daddy even more,  if that’s possible because you see how he’s grown in to this amazing daddy who they idolise.

They don’t tell you about all the amazing adventures you will go on throughout this hood they call motherhood. 

It’s tough , but you’ve got this – you are amazing !!