Happy 25th Birthday Organix

Organix have always been our favourite snack choice for the ankle biters. The carrot puffs were one of the first finger foods they tried. We always have a good stock of Organix in the cupboard for them as we know we can rely on them to be tasty , healthy and mostly dairy free for Frankie who has cows milk protein allergy.

Organix are celebrating their 25th Birthday and we were so excited to be asked to work with them and share their cake recipes. As you know we love cake here!

This is the show stopper the people Organix baked.

Here are three cake recipes from Organix that we are definitely going to try them.

Organix Raspberry sponge cake 

250g unsalted butter (room temperature) 60mls maple syrup 200g fresh raspberries + table spoon maple syrup

2 tsps vanilla extract 4 eggs 300g self raising flour (or a gluten free option)

Filling and topping:

200g fresh raspberries 400mls double cream 4 tbsps maple syrup

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment using a little extra butter. Top tip: you can use the left over butter on the butter wrapper for this and it’s a great job for little ones.

Step 2 

Make the raspberry puree by blending the raspberries and a table spoon of maple syrup in a blender until perfectly smooth.

Step 3

In a large bowl beat the butter with the maple syrup and 1 tbsp of flour until soft. Add the mango puree and vanilla extract with 2 tbsps of flour and beat in. (Or you can use an electric cake mixer with the paddle attachment.)

Step 4 

Add the eggs one at a time with 1 tbsp of flour with each egg added. Beat in thoroughly. (The flour stops the mixture from splitting, which happens if it’s too wet.)

Step 5 

Sieve in the rest of the flour gradually and fold lightly into the mixture using a metal spoon. (You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture – so be careful not to over mix it.) Why not let little ones have a stir or press on and off on the mixer.

Step 6

Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins. Smooth over lightly, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch. Insert a knife to check they are cooked –it should come out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes to cool a little, then move onto wire rack to cool completely.

Step 7

Once the sponge is completely cool, whip the cream until thick, then very lightly stir through 2 tbsps of maple syrup. Blend additional raspberry into a bowl and stir in 2 tbsps of maple syrup.

Organix Apple sponge cake 

250g unsalted butter (room temperature) 60mls maple syrup 300g of apple stewed in a tablespoon of water

2 tsps vanilla extract 4 eggs 300g self raising flour (or a gluten free option)

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment using a little extra butter. Top tip: you can use the left over butter on the butter wrapper for this and it’s a great job for little ones.

Step 2 

Stew 300g of apple in a tablespoon of water. In a large bowl beat the butter with the maple syrup and 1 tbsp of flour until soft. Add the stewed apple and the vanilla extract with 2 tbsps of flour and beat in.  (Or you can use an electric cake mixer with the paddle attachment.)

Step 3

Add the eggs one at a time with 1 tbsp of flour with each egg added. Beat in thoroughly. (The flour stops the mixture from splitting, which happens if it’s too wet.)

Step 4

Sieve in the rest of the flour gradually and fold lightly into the mixture using a metal spoon. (You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture – so be careful not to over mix it.) Why not let little ones have a stir or press on and off on the mixer.

Step 5

Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins. Smooth over lightly, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch. Insert a knife to check they are cooked –it should come out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes to cool a little, then move onto wire rack to cool completely.

Carrot cake – tray bake

Ingredients

190g dates

200g plain flour

50g almond flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

240ml sunflower oil

3 large free range eggs

340g organic carrots

120g walnuts

100g sultanas

225g cream cheese

1 tsbp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

1. Cover dates in water and boil.

2. Sift flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together, add nuts in also.

3. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy

4. Grate the carrots.

5. Remove the dates from the heat and puree.

6. Add the carrots, eggs, oil, dates and sultanas to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

7. Pour into greased and floured tray tins. Bake for approximately 30 mins at 160 degrees.

Leave to cool for 10 mins before turning out onto a wired rack.

Topping:

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and the honey and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Spread on to the cooled cake.

 

 

 

I never said I was a perfect mum

This is something I have been seeing a lot of lately so wanted to write about it. I have witnessed and had it said about me “oh she thinks she’s the perfect mum” ” oh look at her constantly posting about what she’s doing with the kids” you know these types of comments. Also people thinking your just posting the “good stuff” for social media and masking the rest.

I do not think any Mum’s should feel guilty of posting and telling their friends and family on social media what they getting up to. Of course you want to celebrate and share what your little one is doing. For example how they are getting on with their ABC’s , their potty training or just to tell everyone how proud you are. Motherhood really isn’t a competition and I for one will never apologise or feel guilty sharing my babies milestones and achievements.

For example I will share days out and adventures we are going on , not because I think I’m perfect or that I have the best Pinterest picnics and activities. I do it because I’m excited to share what we have done that day.  My Nan and Bamps have Facebook and they love to see what we get up to each day. I have family and friends dotted all around the UK and also a large Maltese family. I love to see what they are al up to and vice versa.

I also share days out and what we have been up to for my local friends and followers to tell them how fab somewhere has been and recommend them going.  I go out every day and plan all of these activities to keep the ankle biters busy and quite frankly because if I had to stay in and endure a full day in the house with them I would be certified mentally insane after a day!

I also share the bad stuff too like how my two-year old is going through the terrible two’s which is tuning me grey and making my hair fall out … literally no joke. I tell you all about how some days are just too much and that final tantrum had tipped me over the edge and I’ve burst in to tears walking round town.  About how much fun it is potty training your toddler and stepping in shit that they have just kindly left for you on the rug. So no I definitely am not under any illusion that I am perfect.

I think we are more inclined to mostly share the good stuff with our social media following. I would rather happy celebrations that just negativity. Though it is good to share some of the negative and the bad days as this also helps other Mum’s relate and know that what they are going through is normal. That their two-year old is just being a two-year old and its nothing they have done or just because you have gone to the big M and not cooked this is fine too we all do it. The toddlers got a happy meal so of course they are happy.

Next time you hear someone saying “oh she thinks she’s a perfect mum” or “yeah that’s just for Facebook” Think before you join in or think the same. Of course this one good thing you share on Facebook or Instagram may be just a 10 minute snippet of the day. The rest of the day you may have spent pulling your hair out and riddled with anxiety, which could be all the more reason to share that happy memory that has been made.

So just for the record no I’m not perfect –

My washing basket is always full

my house is far from perfectly spotless I like to call it shabby chic

I give the littles beige food sometimes when I can’t be doing with cooking

I shout sometimes and have my own tantrums

I cry

I give them sweets sometimes so I can chill for five minutes

I hide with chocolate in the kitchen

I run down the stairs some nights singing I’m free and enjoy a wine

 

My bucket list

This is my bucket list so far there are some things on here I can tick off and some that I really hope to do in the future.

1 – Get married in Vegas in a drive thru chapel

James and I both hate the idea of a big wedding with loads of family that clash and all of the planning – it’s just not us. We have been together 10 years this summer. We could just go to a registry office and get married but we are saving to get married in Vegas. We will go for ribs , burgers and ice cream sundaes for our wedding party and drink our body weight in cocktails. This will happen when we have enough money. We would then like a little American road trip for our honeymoon.

2- Go to a gospel choir church

Always wanted to do this , I think the music is beautiful. Love the happy and energetic vibe.

3- Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

This is one that I have already ticked off.  I love cake and everything vintage so this was amazing. The sarnies were the best and of course the cakes. The toilets were the just amazing and the grandest I had ever been in , could have spent all day in there.

 4- Stay in a county manor house and be lady of the manor

Would love to live in one but that’s never going to happen, so maybe just maybe we can hire one out one day. Still a big dream but I love the Downton Abbey feel and all the vintage.

5- Go to Disney land

When the ankle biters are a little older I would love to do a trip to Disney land and capture those magical moments. Just not sure I could survive 1067 renditions of “let it go”

6 – Go up in a hot air balloon

This is another one I am able to tick off. Pre ankle biters James and I went up on an experience gift from my parents. It was amazing if not a little bit scary.

7-Deep sea diving

Always wanted to do this . Used to go snorkelling on holiday abroad. Not quite deep sea diving but loved it and will do it one day , I fancy the Maldives.

8- Go to New York

Another one I can tick off. I went on a trip with university when I was doing my teaching degree. It was amazing and I was really sad to come home. I want to take the littles there when they are old enough to appreciate it.

9- Go on an African Safari

Would love to go on Safari one day and be up close with lions and giraffes. I know you can do this in the UK so if I don’t make it to Africa then maybe I can look in to doing it over here.

10 – Dine in a Michelin star restaurant

This is another one I can tick off . Pre ankle biter life James and I went to the Hambrough in the Isle of Wight and stayed in the hotel for two nights and ate in the restaurant. It really was amazing.

 

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.