Saturday, 7 May 2016

Cleft Lip And Palate Awareness Week 2016

It's been quite a while since I last blogged. A house move, birthday party planning and an obsession with vintage furniture had put my blogging plans on the back burner! However, this week is Cleft Lip and Palate Awareness Week. So in honour of our beautiful Isaac, I thought I'd pen a quick post!

Around 2 years ago, we discovered at our anomaly scan that Isaac would be born with a cleft lip.

In July 2014, we welcomed Isaac into the world and the mayhem began as a family of 4. 

In November 2014, at 4 months old, Isaac endured an operation to repair his lip. He's now left with a small scar on his lip, however we are so impressed with his repair!

Isaac is now approaching 2 years old (yeah, he's a real life little person and no longer a baby!) He's happy, independent and always has a smile on his face. He's a very different temperament to his big brother; he's far more relaxed and resilient. Nothing is ever a challenge for him and he follows his big brother's example, usually into mischief! Isaac is a pleasure to be around and I'm so proud to call him my son!


I'm often asked if he's "sorted" now, however Isaac will have to undergo another operation when he's around 8-10 years to repair the gap in his gum. A bone graft will take place and I'm not looking forward to a hospital stay and witnessing him enduring pain. Isaac is a tough cookie and I'm sure he'll take it in his stride!

We've not recently participated in any fundraising, however I'm hoping to do a fundraiser later this year. Watch this space! :-)

Thursday, 18 February 2016

10 funny things about my threenager!

Being a mum to 2 toddlers is often a challenging, but humorous way of life! It's a battle of wills day after day and the older and more vocal your child gets, the level of embarrassment for parents increases. Here are some absolute gems from my lovely 3 year old over the last few months.

1. Noah's obsessed with dogs. He loves them, waves at them, bellows across the street to obtain their attention. However, he's also dismayed at the increasing levels of dog poo on the paths close to where we live. One morning, we had a huge stand off, because he's requested that I pick up the dog poo and put it in a bin. I politely refused, however when we arrived at the bus stop, he'd hatched a plan. "Mam if I poo, you've got to pick it up!" He then pulled down his trousers and began to poo in the bus stop declaring that I needed to pick it up. In a hurry, as the bus was due, I quickly bundled it into a nappy sack and got on the bus. All of our journey there, an elderly woman queried what the smell was. Noah proudly announced that it was his poo and it was "really stinky!" Cringe!

2. Noah's got a keen eye and is ever the social butterfly. Accompanied by a voice like a fog horn, it often gets him into bother. Announcing that the lady on the bus had "a big, hairy beard like my daddy!" Caught the attention on the busy bus. He then announced that he was going to "stroke it like a doggy!" Cue a huge tantrum when I told him that he couldn't. 10 minutes later and the sobs of "please let me touch the hairy lady..." Continued!

3. Noah is obsessed with diggers and can name several different types. Whilst walking by a new home development, we were discussing the diggers and an elderly gentleman commented that there were lots of tractors. Noah promptly responded, "no that's a dump truck and a backhoe! Stupid man!"

4. My boys love the bin man and he's treated like a local celebrity. Recently Noah was caught bellowing, "I love you bin man. You're so cool!" Apparently refuse collection is one of his life goals. 

5. When coming out of nursery, Noah was dismayed that some children wouldn't play the way he wanted to and began his conversation with, "well, those bloody kids..." 

6. My kids are constantly eating or asking to eat. My sister was horrified the volume of food that the two of them ate at a recent visit to a restaurant. It's a regular occurrence though and it's costing me a fortune. Hearing Noah bellowing at 4 in the morning, "I need toast/brioche/biscuits" is normal in our house! You only know they're unwell when they're not eating! 

7. After a recent visit to the doctor. I was debriefing Noah afterwards and discussing the medicine that he'd have to take and asked him, "can you remember what the doctor said?" "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" I despair!

8. Noah's often engaging in role play in the house, his current favourites are the fish and chip shop, the cake shop and the pizza shop. He's often in the Chinese restaurant role play at nursery too. I think our diet needs an overhaul! 

9. Noah's obsession with diggers means that we often drive around to nearby building sites. Nothing prepared me for finding a mini JCB tucked into his undies though!

10. The weather isn't always a factor in Noah deciding what he'd like to wear. Explaining to him that flip flops, shorts and a t shirt aren't suitable for a winter day is just asking for a meltdown. Instead, I merely encouraged him to layer up and put his trousers and sweatshirt on top of the summer clothes. However, the flip flops had to be replaced by wellies!
With Noah, every day is different and he's always keeping us on our toes. You could say that he's spirited and full of personality. Who knows what today will bring! What funny moments have you had with your three-nagers? 

Monday, 25 January 2016

BBQ Pulled Pork Pasta

I often take inspiration for my home cooking from meals that I've eaten out. Recently, at a popular chain Italian restaurant, I enjoyed a pasta dish of pulled pork and venison and attempted to do a simplified version of it at home and it's been quite a hit! 

I use Tesco BBQ pulled pork and make my own accompanying sauce to compliment it. Here's my version. This usually serves 2 hungry adults and 2 toddlers!

A pack of BBQ pulled pork (or make your own!)
A few mushrooms, chopped finely
Half a leek chopped finely
2 fresh beef tomatoes chopped
250ml of passata
A clove of minced garlic
A sprig of chopped Rosemary
A splash of red wine
Ground black pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
Pasta, we prefer fusilli

What to do
1. Cook the pulled pork according to the pack instructions.
2. Chop the mushrooms, leek and tomatoes and cook with a little olive oil on a high heat.
3. Add the garlic, passata, red wine and Rosemary.
4. Simmer the sauce for around 20 minutes until it reduces a little. 
5. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the pack.
6. Shred the pulled pork and add it to the sauce.
7. Add the BBQ sauce to the tomato based sauce and stir.
8. Add a little black pepper.
9. Add the cooked pasta to the pulled pork and sauce and mix together. 
10. Serve and enjoy! 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Butternut squash, leek, carrot and red lentil spiced soup

Butternut squash, leek, carrot and red lentil spiced soup

You will need;
A large butternut squash
2 large carrots
Half a leek
A few tablespoons of Korma curry paste
Tin of light coconut milk
200g red lentils
Water as needed
Knob of butter
Drizzle of single cream

1. Chop and remove seeds from the butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil. Oven roast at 200 degrees for around half an hour until soft. 
2. Roughly chop carrots and leeks and add to the pan with a knob of butter.
3. Add the lentils and cover with water. 
4. Bring to the boil and add the korma paste and coconut milk. 
5. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool. Scoop out, away from the skin and add to the pan. Discard the skin.
6. Blend and serve with a drizzle of single cream.

From this, you should get around 6-8 decent sized servings. Ideal for reheating for lunch the next day.

Serve as it is, or with a warmed pitta or naan bread. I've no idea of the calories, but it's warm, filling and full of favour! Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The truth about child number 2...

The truth about child number 2....

Transitioning to two (especially when there is a small age gap) is quite an eye opener!

1. Inevitably, your house will be filled with toys and various child and baby paraphernalia for them. It takes over everywhere and the concept of what you once considered as tidy has left the room quicker than your dignity left whilst giving birth, legs up in stirrups with an audience to rival the Great Albert Hall!

2. You'll have several unexplained stains on your carpet/floor/settee/clothes. You may even do the scratch/lick test and often smile to yourself that it was actually chocolate from sticky fingers and not smeared toddler turd!

3. Your Hoover will likely get more action than you do!

4. The washing and piles of singular socks will multiply. I've no idea where the 50 odd socks' partners have vanished to, probably with the Tupperware lids!

5. Being able to go to the toilet alone feels like a luxury reserved for royalty. Sitting smugly on the throne whilst two kids simultaneously nap is a rarity. Instead, I'm left to answer 101 questions from a toddler about my bodily functions and then politely have to refuse his request to look at the contents of said toilet and "no, you can't wipe my bum!"

6. Your youngest will learn a lot from their sibling. Like how to jump like a ninja from the sofa, where the sharp knives are kept and how to go down the stairs in the most dangerous way possible! 

7. You'll find that through your exhaustion, you'll laugh, a lot. It's either that or wail uncontrollably. It may also make you look a little deranged. 

8. You'll find that that you'll confide in mummy friends and realise that you're not alone in the insanity that is parenting little people. Other people's kids as just as crazy as yours. 

9. You may be unlucky enough to have an argumentative munchkin; current arguments that I've had with my 3 year old include; you can't go out in just underpants and wellies, your dad can't fly and 'it's definitely a lady, not a man, even though she's got a beard!' 

10. Your calm and composed 'mum' voice often mutters FFS under your breath, multiple times per day in utter disbelief of what your kids have done. 

However, in amongst the mayhem of day to day life, you'll see the love and admiration that your children develop for each other, the way in which your partner steps up to the mark of his daddy role and the love as a family unit evolves and changes into something really special. Oh, and you often ponder if it's too early to drink wine, even some mornings! 

Friday, 27 November 2015

I'm obsessed with baking cakes!

I'm often baking sweet treats and love experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. So I'm going to try to post a new recipe each week. At the moment, I'm obsessed with cakes, especially loaf cakes. They're usually fairly simple, easy to get the kids involved in and tasty! 

I don't tend to stick to a recipe directly, I often tweak it to my own tastes or substitute some of the ingredients and on occasion, add something new. 

A particular hit has been my carrot and walnut cake. Originally based on a Mary Berry recipe, I altered it slightly to include half Demerara sugar and half caster sugar. I also add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and sometimes add a handful of sultanas in too!

So here's Mary's recipe;

I tend to either halve it and make one loaf cake, or make 2 cakes and share it with some guinea pigs (usually my grandparents and Noah's nursery staff!) 

Here's our finished result! Delicious and doesn't last long!

How much is acceptable to spend on children at Christmas?

With Christmas looming, I've seen a lot of Facebook statuses and comments on 'mummy groups' regarding how much to spend on children at Christmas and what is acceptable. Amounts ranging from £30-£1000, there was a huge amount of variation! This got me thinking about my own budgets and spending.

Personally, I always try to buy a larger gift, lots of clothes to wear in the next size up, some books, craft items and a range of toys with topics that will interest them. I've spent around £300-£400 on each of the boys. However, my budget was lower and I've overspent a little. Although, this year, I've become a little frustrated with the volume of plastic toys in my house and invested in lots of lovely wooden toys, some costing a little more, but lovely items that the boys will treasure. 

One thing I'm passionate about is not spending money that we don't have. So, getting into debt is a no no for me personally. How much do you spend and what do you think is excessive/the right amount?