The big reveal

Okay bloggers I need some help. I am not your most creative person (I owe whatever creativity I do posses solely down to Pinterest) so I need some ideas to reveal we are pregnant with baby number two to the family. It is my mother in laws birthday next week and we want to do something special to announce the pregnancy on her birthday. I’ve had a quick look on Pinterest but nothing has really stood out to us yet. Does anyone have any fun ideas?

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Who says romance is dead?

Happy valentines day everyone! Valentines day is a very different celebration when you are married with a 16 month year old and another one on the way. There wasn’t a bunch of roses or a soft cuddly toy carrying a heart in it’s arms for me when I woke up this morning, not even a card. I’m not getting taken to a fancy hotel or out for a meal or to the cinema this year either.

But even so, this has been one of the best valentines day I’ve ever had. Because really after 9 years together none of that stuff really matters. The roses I received all of the other years died after a couple of days and the teddies are in a black bag in the attic.
But what you can’t throw put is memories and we made lots of good ones today. We spent a lovely family day having fun, making home made valentines day cards for all the family and watching disney movies. And as I currently write this the hubby is preparing a 3 course dinner consisting of stuffed potato skins, sirloin steaks and apple pie and ice cream for dessert (my favourites) washed down with my favourite fruit cider (non alcoholic for me of course). Who says romance is completely dead?

Enjoy your day everyone x

Our little secret

Okay world, I’m letting you all into a little secret… I’m pregnant! Only my husband and my mum know at the moment. We have still to tell the in laws and the rest of my family. I am only 4 weeks along so we want to wait till a little further along before we start sharing the good news. But I’m so excited I could burst and I feel like I really need to tell someone… So who better to tell than the whole internet (LOL)???
This is my second pregnancy as we have a little girl who is 16 months old. If I have worked it all out right (with a little help from google) my due date should be in October. My little girl, Grace will be 2 in the September so I think I will have just missed out on being able to say ‘I have two under two’ (unless this one is early).
I know it’s going to be quite difficult having two little ones quite close together but I’m ready to take on the challenge. I’ve always wanted to have kids quite close together in age. I myself am an only child and had no cousins or relatives of similar age to me growing up and i often felt quite lonely. Also, my husband and his brother are only two years apart in age and they have always been really close so we always wanted quite a small age gap between our kids. So, 2 years was the perfect age gap for us!

I’m only 4 weeks pregnant at the moment which is really early, but I’ve been feeling some symptoms so far. I’ve been feeling a little nausea and need to pee all the time (sorry if that’s TMI) but apart from that I’m feeling good. Is anyone else at this stage of pregnancy? How are you feeling?

Going Cold Turkey – My Facebook Addiction

Two weeks ago today I deleted
my Facebook account. To any normal (unaddicted) person this doesn’t seem such a big deal. However, I am not a normal person, I am what you call a Facebook addict. There isn’t a 12 step programme, there is no ‘FAA’ meetings (Facebook Addicts Anonymous – this doesn’t exist but it really should), there are no self help guides or any known cure to this disease I have.
There is no other treatment than going cold turkey.

So two weeks ago today, I bit the bullet and deactivated my Facebook account. It took months worth of going back and forward in my head deciding wether to do it or not and took a whole bucket full of gusto to finally do it but I am so happy I did.

So why did you delete Facebook – a social network adored by billions of people across the globe -you ask?

Well, here’s my answer –
Facebook is the same as any addiction – it’s fun at first, it is the ‘cool’ thing to do, all your friends are doing it so you do it to, but then it slowly, without you even noticing, drains all the fun and spontaneity out of your life and slowly but surely takes over your universe.
I was what you call a Facebook fanatic – I was totally and utterly addicted since word dot. I have had a Facebook account since I was 17 years old and it had been with me through all my ‘transitional years’. It has seen all my dodgy haircuts, questionable outfit choices, drunken girls nights out, fall outs, make ups, break ups and everything in between. Facebook has been my constant companion for nearly a decade of my life. I was truly addicted – I updated my status at least 5 times a week, posted hundreds of photos and ‘checked in’ to everywhere and anywhere I went. I told Facebook when I was happy, sad, excited, tired, hungry or bored. I checked my Facebook nearly 100 times a day. I would refresh my newsfeed about 6 times an hour to make sure I didn’t miss anyone else’s statuses. I would then check my own profile an extra 5 times an hour to check if anyone had liked or commented on a status of mine or messaged me of any sort. When I was out and about I would make a sure to connect to wifi so I didn’t miss out on anything on Facebook and would make a point of checking.
And then I realised I was living for Facebook. My world was starting to revolve around it. I wasn’t living for me anymore, I was living to post interesting things on Facebook. I would write happy statuses that I know people would like to hear (even if I wasn’t happy at all). I would post statuses about my wedding, post a photo of our new car, post a cheery status about us getting our first family home together, or a nice cheerful status about how proud I was to be graduating from university, a nice holiday snap or a countdown of days until my little girl was due when I was pregnant or posting her birth announcement, or posting a nice happy family photo. But I never wrote about the ‘real’ stuff. We all portray these happy, confident people with perfect lives. When people are happily counting down the days till their baby is due, they forget to mention how their back hurts, boobs are sore, that they are constantly nauseous, pee then thousand times a day and go to bed at 7pm every night because they are constantly exhausted. Nobody talks about having post natal depression – feeling so low and so happy at the same time that their head is about to explode whilst at the same time they are putting nice happy photos of their babies sitting up or smiling for the first time. No one states that they have had to take out two loans to pay for their nice new car that they have posted a photo on Facebook of or the fact that they have paid so much to buy their house that they are sitting in garden furniture in their living room and 20p eating noodles every night in life for their dinner to make their mortgage payment. Facebook is not real life. It is fake. It makes you look at other people’s so called ‘perfect’ lives and at the same time makes your ‘real’ life feel inadequate. A study by a British University has found that Facebook makes people feel worse aboit their livesand can reduce well being and satisfaction with your own life. You get sucked into the fake world of Facebook where everyone is living these amazing, perfect lives. Continue reading

Elsie’s First Foods

Aw i remember this stage well!! So cute xx

Eating with Elsie

On Thursday the 23rd of January awe started giving Elsie food while we ate our evening meal.

On the first night we gave her cucumber and red pepper:

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She coped well and didn’t gag at all. She wasn’t able to get much off either the cucumber or the pepper but enjoyed gumming them. I felt more confident about giving her something that would break up in her mouth so the next night I gave her sweet potato and butternut squash wedges:

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She was able to take little gummy bites and enjoyed squishing the sticks in her hands. Again, no gagging or choking so we continued with one or two veg or fruit choices every meal time.

Since the 23rd Elsie has sampled:

Cucumber
Pepper
Sweet potato
Asparagus
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Banana
Carrot
Potato
Pear
Apple
Mango
Pineapple
Sweetcorn on the cob at Nandos
Orange

Here are my favourite pictures:

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Easy Peasy Cupcake Tin Omelettes

I’ve seen photos of muffin tin omelettes pop up on my Facebook and Instagram for weeks now and wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I decided to try them (I don’t have a muffin tin so used a cupcake tin instead and it worked just fine). I am not the best at cooking and I was a bit apprehensive about trying these but I’m glad I did as I was so happy with the result – they were easy to make, delicious, healthy and best of all – my 16 month old are them (which is a huge big deal as she is very picky eater – she must take that from her dad as I eat anything).

The good thing about them is I didn’t really stick to strict measurements of the ingredients I just threw the ingredients into a bowl, mixed it up and poured them into the cupcake tins and they turned our perfect – you really can’t go wrong.
It the perfect breakfast for a busy mummy to make in the morning as it only takes 2 minutes to prepare and kids love them. They are easy for them to pick up and eat and the good stuff (the vegetables) are well hidden so they eat them and don’t even know it!

This is how I made them –

Ingredients:
Approx 5 eggs
Approx Half a cup of milk
Finely chopped red onions and tomatoes (this is just what I had in my fridge you could also use mushrooms, spring onions, white onions or any other vegetables you fancied)
2 slices of Chopped ham (could also use chicken, turkey or bacon)
Salt and pepper to season

How I did it-
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.
Grease your cupcake tin with a little oil so the Omelettes done stick
Then crack your eggs into a bowl and add the milk then mix
Then add in all your other ingredients
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all up in the one bowl then pour into your cupcake tin (I mixed mine in a measuring jug so it was easy to pour in)
Put in the over for between 15-18 minutes

Then hey presto your delicious healthy breakfast is ready to eat!!

Enjoy x

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Who works hardest: full time mums or working dads?

Okay so this is the argument me and my husband have been having since the day we brought our daughter home from the hospital? :

Who works harder: full time mums or working dads?

This question is brought up in nearly every argument we have – from who is getting a long lie on the weekends, who’s turn it is to walk the dog or who’s turn it is to do the dishes.
My husband thinks that because he works 5 days a week he should get long lies at the weekend (even though I get up with our daughter at 6am and he doesn’t have to get up till 7.30am to get ready for work) and uses work as a ‘get out of jail free card’ to get out of doing any housework (or walking the dog). And it’s only got worse since I went back to work (only 3 mornings a week). If I question him on any of it he says he uses working as an excuse.

If I ask why he gets to sleep in at weekends he says that I can nap when baby goes for a nap.

I think in the 16 months since our daughter had been born I have maybe napped 4 or 5 times during the day. Men don’t understand that nap time is the time we use to get the house tidied, wash the dishes, put on a couple of washing on, make the beds, moo the floors, get a bit or ironing done or prepare that night dinner. It is the only time in the whole day we get peace to get on with stuff – why the hell would we waste it sleeping.

I don’t understand why my husband thinks sitting in an office from 9-5 is harder work that running around after a toddler from 6am -7pm, making all her meals, cleaning up after her, playing with her, changing nappies, taking her on outings etc – you get the picture.
I do know and understand that being at home with our little one is much more fun and enjoyable than being at work (but this is not my argument)

And when my husband finishes work at 5pm.. That’s him finished. He comes home to a home cooked meal, plays with grace (he is an absolutely amazing dad) then sits in his bum for the rest of the night (okay I admit he occasionally tidies Graces toys away whilst I’m putting her down to bed and does the dishes on his day off but that’s about it).

When I put grace to bed, I then tidy up the remaining mess from the day, do the dishes then prepare for the next day, catch up on ironing etc and finally sit down about 9pm. I’m then too tired to do anything and end up going to bed and starting it all over again.

And he says I don’t work….

What does everyone else think – who should get a long lie this weekend?

Someone’s watching me in the bath…

In the 16 months since having my little girl Grace I can count on one hand the number of baths I have taken (I have had showers- I am aware of personal hygiene haha). The bath became something you stood in to have a shower or another place to store the ever growing amount of toys that exist in my house. But it is rarely used for it’s intended purpose. So today I decided I was going to have a bath! I began the preparations whilst running errands this afternoon and I bought a new candle just for the occasion and purchased a trashy mag to read whilst soaking. I cleared the hundreds of bath toys, water crayons and countless ducks out of the bath and began running the hot tap. I jumped in and was enjoying the peace and relaxation that only a bath can give untill I felt a strange feeling that someone (or something) was staring at me. I looked up to find this…
I obviously hadn’t cleared ALL the toys out of the bath this evening! It just goes to show It doesn’t matter how hard you try you can’t escape the fact that your a mum and that your house is now over run by a toddler!

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The Competitive World of Kids Birthdays – and How to Throw a Really Good Budget Party

As most mums know, since the day you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital you will be in competition with other mums. It is the unspoken rule of parenthood -even if you don’t think you are in competition with other parents, you most likely will be.
Competition can range from who has the best pram, to who’s baby is wearing the most expensive clothes, or who is throwing the most lavish birthday parties.

For me, I was first introduced into the world of competitive mums when I took my little girl, Grace to her first baby group meeting when she was 6 weeks old. As a first time mum I was totally naive and clueless to what a baby club was (but was persuaded to go as a companion for a friend of a friend). At first I thought it would be a place where we would all sit in a circle and sing nursery rhymes and shake rattles and talk goo goo gaga to each other’s babies… I was soo wrong!!

When I first walked into baby group; I was like a gizel walking into a lions den. There were a dozen mums sitting in a circle – however nursery rhymes and pleasantries were swapped for bitching and moaning (I felt sorry for all the poor mother in laws who were usually the butt of cruel jokes and stories). As soon as I entered I was pinned into a corner (literally) whilst getting a hundred questions thrown at me. I was quizzed on everything. From ‘what kind if nappies I was using?’, ‘did I have a natural birth or a c-section?’ ‘What pain relief did you use?’, ‘was I breast feeding?’, ‘when was planning on starting weaning?’, ‘what type of pram did I have?’ ‘What make of clothes is your baby wearing’…The list was endless and I came out feeling like I was doing everything wrong. But the one question out of the many that were thrown at me that day that stuck into my mind was ‘have you booked Graces first birthday party yet?’.

Most of these babies hadn’t mastered holding their heads up on their own yet and their mothers were already planning their first birthday parties. However, competition over who was going to throw the best first party was rife, each mum was trying to outdo the other by ordering the biggest cake,buying the most expensive birthday presents, hiring the best venue, hiring bouncy castles and petting zoos. I couldn’t believe it!!
As a new mum, I hadn’t planned what me and my husband were having for dinner that night, far las planned a birthday party eleven months in advance.

When I did get round to thinking about planning Grace’s first birthday party (probably about 8 months later). I knew that we didn’t have a huge amount of money to spend on a birthday party and if I was going to throw Grace one it would have to be on an extremely tight budget. So I decided to throw her a small party with close family and friends (and a selected few friends from baby group) at our house. I decided to try and make most of the party food and decorations myself. I would like to note that I am not a crafty person whatsoever and have never made anything like this in my life, but after looking at a few tutorials it really was simple. Not only would this save us a lot of money but it was really fun to do and helped me relax after long stressful days of being a mum.

The firsts stage of planning was picking a theme for the birthday party and we chose Minnie Mouse. The reason I chose Minnie Mouse as I was in my supermarket one day and they were having a massive sale of Minnie Mouse party ware (cups, table cloths, plates etc.) all down to 10p so it was an easy choice for me – it did help grace did like Minnie Mouse too which was an added bonus. I stocked my trolley up with heaps of party ware and it only cost me a couple of pound. So it goes to show it does help to pop by the party section in shops and supermarkets a couple of months before the party to see if you can stick up on any deals or bargains.

The second stage of party planning was scouring Pinterest to find some ideas and tips on how to make your own party decorations and food. I found lots of good ideas and tutorials that I copied and adapted to suit our theme.

The ones I chosen are described below-
(See photos at bottom of page)

1. Minnie Mouse party invites – these were really simple to make. all you need is black card to make the invite, wrapping paper or patterned paper to cut the bows out of (I chose red polka dot wrapping paper to fit my theme) and an invite insert. I chose to print mine off on the computer using word processor but they would look just as good if you were to handwrite the invite. I printed out a ‘mickey mouse head’ template (don’t get a minnie template as you want to add the bow later) from google and used this as a stencil to cut the card out if. I then cut out the inserts in circle shapes and glued them down on the black card then added the bow shapes cut out from wrapping paper. This was a really cheap alternative to buying store bought invites or getting them made. I’m lucky if it cost me £3 for the card and wrapping paper and I made over 20 invites. Everyone who received one loved it and I was really pleased with them.

2.Minnie Mouse birthday banner-
I found that there was only two types of Minnie Mouse birthday banners on the market and thought most of the other mums would have probably already bought them so I decided to scour Pinterest for some ideas instead and came up with this. It was really simple and easy to do. All you need is black and white card (doesn’t have to be good quality- the cheap stuff will do), and another colour or style of card or paper to make the bows (I used red and white wrapping paper), a paper punch and string. I printed off a Mickey Mouse head template from the computer (you can also do this using the outline of 3 circular cups) and cut out the black card in that shape. I then cut out letters in white card and cut out bow shapes from the wrapping paper. I then used the paper punch and put two holes in each card and tied them together with string. The finished product looked amazing and hardly cost me a thing to make.

3. Minnie Mouse cake pops. I used a cake pop machine to make these cake pops (basic cake pop recipe can be found here) and used chocolate buttons to make the Minnie Mouse ears then covered them all in melted milk chocolate. I then used a bow cutter I bought from eBay and some red fondant to make the bows (you can also buy fondant bows from shops or eBay but this works out more expensive). These were a great centrepiece and I put one cake pop in each favour bag. These were a great success and you can’t buy anything like it from the shops. To display the cake pops I got a bit of polestirine (you could use – block of oasis instead) and covered it in wrapping paper to make the base to put the cake pops in. It made a beautiful centrepiece and they tasted so good!!

4. Party Favour boxes. I liked the idea of the boxes instead of the bags as I found you can for more in the boxes. I kept these simple and just printed a little label off with graces name on and a picture of Minnie Mouse and stuck them on the side of the boxes. I filled these with healthy snacks like fruit and raisins, some bubbles, a slice of birthday cake and a Minnie Mouse cake pop. I bought blue for the boys and pink for the girls.

5. Minnie Mouse shaped sandwiches and party food. I kept food really simple and made Minnie Mouse sandwiches using at ‘mickey mouse cookie cutter’ I bought from eBay and used tomatoes cut into bow shapes to make minnie mouse’s bow. I filled these with simple sandwich fillings such as ham salad, tuna and cheese. For other party food I made cupcakes, meringues and filled rolls. I printed and laminated some pictures of Minnie Mouse and stuck these to cocktail sticks to make little flags to put on top of the good to keep it in with the Minnie Mouse theme

6. Minnie Mouse piñata –
This was simple to make and all you need is some card board (I cut up a box one of Grace’s birthday presents came in), celloptape and wrapping paper. I chose a red polka for wrapping paper I bought from the supermarket to fit in with my theme. The first thing I did was cut two ‘mickey mouse’ shapes from cardboard and used another piece of cardboard and stick them both together (i used this helpful tutorial to make it), cut a hole for the sweeties to come out and cut two holes at the top to add the string to tie it up with. Then cover it in wrapping paper. It was simple, fun to make and really effective. And the kids loved it!!

For other decorations for the party I bought polka dot bunting from a party shop (much cheaper than buying Minnie Mouse bunting) and first birthday printed balloons. My mum bought grace a life size Minnie Mouse balloon sculpture as part of her birthday presents so I displayed it at the front door for everyone to see as they entered the party.
I also was lucky enough to know someone who owned a Minnie Mouse mascot outfit who was happy to turn up at the party dressed as minnie for free.
Lots of friends and family also asked to help and brought some party food such as cakes, sausage rolls and meringues.
It’s always worth asking about to see if someone can help you with things for the party and always take people up on the offer when they ask to give you a helping hand.

Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog and I hope it has helped at least a little in the planning of your frugal birthday party.

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