Sunday, 17 August 2014

What A Week!

I am not sorry to say goodbye to this past week! I've barely blogged and haven't been around much on Instagram or even got my camera out, its just been one long, never ending week.


It started with The Husband going off to Copenhagen for work and us not knowing what shoes to wear as the weather just couldn't make up its mind, and I managed to capture a beautiful picture of the children together for this months Siblings post then the week went down hill. Maybe the clue should have been the pants in the fruit bowl?

I woke up on Tuesday morning with a really bad stomach ache and ended up waking up on the bathroom floor with Big Girl on the phone to my Mum, my Dad on his way over and no idea what had happened. I'm very grateful Big Girl was able to get the phone, she says I phoned Nana and told her to 'talk' and I must have done, but I don't remember it. I've spent the reminder of the week teaching her how to unlock my mobile and call for help in an emergency. I'm suddenly very aware that I'm only human and my girls need to be able to get help if anything happens to me. 

It feels like I spent most of the week recovering and trying to catch up with washing and tidying, I was so grateful to see The Husband when he walked through the door, although I don't think he was happy to walk into the chaos.



Finally on Friday I was back on top of things...well almost.  Baby Girl went quiet, then bought me her doll, what is it they say about quiet children! After feeling rough all week I decided, as a treat to book an appointment at the hair dressers to get Baby Girls hair cut, my hair restyled and Big Girls fringe trimmed. My blood ran cold when I went to get my purse out of my bag and Big Girl said 'your purse is at home' she went on to explain that Baby Girl had taken it out that morning and we had been in such a rush to leave the house I had forgotten to check it was there. I was mortified and made to feel like a criminal, I had the hairdresser follow me home to get my purse, then on to the cash point to get some cash to pay her. I was so embarrassed and I will never be going back there, she didn't even do what I asked, but in proper British style, I sat there and let her do it then told her it looked lovely and I was happy!


On Saturday I made some cookies for the great blogger bake off and breathed a huge sigh of relief that the week was over. Along with Pop waking up every 2 hours during the night, some thing he hasn't done since the early weeks, this week has exhausted me! I did manage to end the week on a semi high when for the first time in a very long time I managed to slip my wedding rings on. I am so grateful to welcome a new week today and I really hope this one is better than the last!


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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Biscuit Week - The Great Blogger Bake Off

I wanted to do the 'show stopper challenge' this week, I had great plans for a colourful 3D ginger and short bread structure, it was a work of art! However after waking up on the bathroom floor with big girl on the phone to my parents earlier in the week (sometimes I am grateful children can use technology better than adults!) and being very ill, I decided to keep it simpler than simple.

This recipe is a family favourite, on Christmas Eve we gather at my parents house and bake these before the turkey goes in. The kids all take sneaky bites while they think the adults don't notice, but it's Christmas so no one minds! It's a recipe that has so many memories and emotions, it was the first recipe my mum gave me and the first recipe I baked after leaving home as I was feeling home sick!

Its such a special recipe for me, I'm actually quite nervous to share it with you, but without further ado, here it is in 3 simple steps


Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
2 egg yolks
vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut
chocolate chunks
4oz (approx) melted butter

Method

  1. Put all ingredients apart from the butter in a bowl mix together and add the butter until combined. Don't let the mixture be too wet and don't let it be too dry!
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for 10 minutes, or less. Take them out just before they have finished cooking and allow them to finish cooking on the tray for 10 minutes. 
  3. Transfer to a wire rack and enjoy.


I hope you like them as much as I do! I've never been very good at bread without a machine (and actually even with not that great!) so lets see what next week brings!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Siblings ~ August

My duo have been a trio for 3 months now, I've been really impressed with how well the girls have accepted Pop into our family and although we have had a few issues, we haven't really had any jealously towards Pop. Although Baby Girl did make me laugh earlier in the month when she was climbing on me. I was feeding Pop at the time and asked her to be careful because she was going to end up hurting someone. She looked at me with big innocent eyes and said, 'no, only Pop.' It's good to see he's fitting in just how a younger sibling should!



I thought getting 2 children looking at the camera at the same time with smiles, clean faces and nothing in their mouths was hard until I tried to take this photo! I started taking the photo at 8.30am and, in between feeding, nappy changes, changing camera and techniques, lunch, and tantrums, we finally managed to get a decent picture at 3pm! 

I'm very grateful for this project as it has made me stop and take a photo of all three children which is a rare opportunity at the moment. I usually get one or two children, but rarely the three of them together. I've also carved some time out in the diary so we can join in with Me & Mine this month, because we haven't actually had a family photo taken since before Pop was born!
dear beautiful

Wot So Funee?

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

The Great Blogger Bake Off!

I really don't think it will come as a great surprise to anyone to discover I am a BIG Great British Bake Off fan! This year, I have decided to join in with the Great Blogger Bake Off that runs along side the series hosted by Mummy Mishaps. I'm not promising to enter each week, but I will try and give it ago when I get inspired! So welcome to week 1. 

Week 1 is all about cake, the series saw contestants making Swiss Roll, Cherry Cake and producing 36 individual miniature British cakes. I loved watching and picking up tips from the contestants on how to do it and in some cases how not to! As much as I love baking and have been producing culinary masterpieces since I was 11, I have never made a Swiss Roll. I vaguely remember my cookery teacher at school showing us how to make one, but we never did it ourselves. So that's what I decided to produce for week 1, My Simple Swiss Roll.


Not bad for a first ever attempt! It would've been great to have achieved a thicker layer of butter cream, but over all I'm really please with how this turned out. 

For the cake you will need:

100g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
100g Self Raising flour

For the filling:

100g Butter
200g Icing Sugar
Strawberry Jam

Method:
  1. Beat the butter and sugar together. You are looking to put in as much air as possible when you do this, so using an electric mixer is best. Beat for around 3-5 minutes getting the butter and sugar as pale as possible. 
  2. Next add the eggs, add them really gradually, about a table spoon at a time. Again the more you beat and the slower you add the egg the lighter the batter is. 
  3. Fold in the flour with a metal spoon and then transfer the mixture into a rectangle tin that has been greased and lined
  4. Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  5. While the cake is cooking, place a tea towel on the kitchen work top and cover with baking paper. 
  6. When the cake is cooked take it straight out of the oven and turn out on the baking paper and t-towel
  7. Remove the baking paper that was used to line the tin and with a sharp knife gently score the cake around 1-2cm from the shortest edge. 
  8. Using the score as a guide roll the cake in the baking paper - careful as the cake is very hot, use the tea towel to protect your hands.
  9. Leave the rolled cake to cool while you make the filling.
  10. Place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar until you have a nice stiff butter cream
  11. When the cake is cool carefully unroll, spread a thin layer of jam and butter cream over the cake and roll back up removing the baking paper as you go. 
  12. Finally dust with icing sugar and voila, a beautiful home made swill roll. 


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Weekly Roundup

It's been such a long time since I posted a weekly round up, but I'm finally starting to feel I've got my blogging stride back, and as these posts are surprisingly popular, here is a quick round up of the past week.


The week started with a treat for the girls, Hot-dogs and a Tinkerbell DVD a reward for getting all their pom poms in their jars. Big Girl was complaining about not being able to play with her Duplo as there wasn't enough, and she was right, so we took a trip to Argos and spent a small fortune. I figured with Pop being just a baby we have at least 4 more years of Duplo play so worth spending the money now, and I was right, the girls haven't stopped playing with it ever since! Meanwhile, on the blog I was talking about poo, wee and more poo, and the fun we had when The Husband went out to get a hair cut!


I'm a big Great British Bake Off fan, I mentioned to The Husband that it was starting again and Big Girl said she wanted to watch it too so the girls and I watched it together and all 3 of my children were completely captivated by it!


Pop was being a little grumpy so I gave him to Big Girl to look after as she was feeling grumpy too, my logic was that if babies can make everyone smile then he would cheer her up and she would cheer him up because big sisters are just the best and can make the whole world a better place. It actually worked too! Later on, Big Girl stole my phone and was taking post-bath selfies of her and baby Pop cuddling on my bed, I just love seeing my children interact like this.


I got completely overwhelmingly emotional when I packed up Pop's pram  basket this week as he's too big to use it. Pop was also sent some Funky Giraffe Bibs to try this week and he loved them all...well maybe apart from one! We also got to go to Butlins in Bognor Regis a few weeks ago to find out how much they have changed over the years, we had so much fun and the girls loved running through the fountains and getting wet the most!


My last blog post this week was about Baby Girl and the strategies we are using to deal with middle child syndrome, but it really can be applied to just about every situation where a new baby is joining the family, so please do have a read and let me know what you think


And finally a few weeks ago The Husband and I tidied up his office, its now so clean and tidy I have room to work out there too...except I may have completely taken over rather than just be working out there! I'm planning on brightening up the place with a memo board for my to-do lists, after all I do now use it more than he does!

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Friday, 8 August 2014

Coping With Middle Child Syndrome

14 weeks ago a massive change occurred in our house, Baby Girl went from being the baby of the family, to being the middle child. She's not my baby any more, and no one knows that better than her. She is no longer little enough to be pushed around in the pushchair or fed at the dinner table, but not big enough to be allowed to do all the things her sister does.

The past 14 weeks have been a steep learning curve for both her and me, there have been many problems and many tantrums, and I'm sure there are still many more to come! I'm not going to pretend to be a guru on the subject, but here are the 3 main problems we have faced these past 14 weeks along with our 3 solutions. 

Everything belongs to Pop. Now this isn't actually the case, baby girl has her own toys and her own chair and her own blanket she's had since she was a baby, but she's still young enough to remember that a lot of what pop has used to be hers. Her cot, her pushchair, her car seat, her bouncer chair and even her mummy. The phrase 'it's not fair' has started coming out of her mouth an awful lot when I tell her something belongs to Pop, and whilst on the whole I find it a little bit funny, I know there is deeper resentment building.


'The Spot' is just a tiny cheepy Ikea rug that we used as a bath mat, but it's now her spot. It sits on the living room floor and no one, not Mummy, Daddy, Big Girl or Pop is allowed to sit on it or even walk over it. It's her space, that she can retreat to when she needs something to be just hers. She really loves her spot and occasionally it even follows her around the house! 

Mummy is never available. The second problem we faced was that Baby Girl only ever wants me when I'm feeding Pop, settling him to sleep or just having cuddles with him on the sofa. I was finding myself telling her off a lot as she tried to climb over us, I would get upset as Pop woke up or she tried to sit on him and she was getting upset because she just wanted her place on my lap back. The situation very quickly descended into a tantrum as both of us got angry. I was making time for her in-between feeding or settling Pop, but it wasn't good enough, she wanted to know while I was spending time with Pop that I still loved her and she was still my baby.


'The Cuddle Blanket' was actually an idea given to me by some friends, they had used a similar idea with their toddlers. We bought Baby Girl a pink, furry, snuggly throw and filled it with mummy cuddles...OK so I told her I filled it with mummy cuddles! When ever she feels she needs a cuddle and I'm not available, she can wrap herself in her special cuddle blanket and its just like mummy is cuddling her. She loves the idea, but it also acts as a visual aid for me. I can physically see when shes feeling left out and wanting me, and the blanket gives me a few extra moments to settle Pop before the situation escalates and we have a full tantrum on our hands.

Attention seeking. Having another child around means that I'm not as available as I once was, my time is now spread between 3 children who, rightly so, think they are the most important person in the world. Baby Girl quickly discovered that if she acts out she gets attention, and in recent weeks this has been in the form of wetting herself. If she wee's on the carpet or in her pants I will inevitably drop everything and engage with her by clearing up the mess and reminding her to use the potty next time.


The Pom Pom Jar is our way of giving positive attention, praising her for doing the right thing when verbal praise wasn't enough, and as Baby Girl loves the pom poms, she will literally do anything to collect them! It's such a simple idea, every time she uses the potty she gets a pom pom, when the jar is full she gets a treat, treats vary from a trip to the £1 shop, a hot-dogs and DVD night or ice-cream with a parent of her choice. (I love how it's the simple and relatively cheep things that toddlers love!)

These are such simple ideas but they have transformed our home, we've had fewer accidents and fewer tantrums. They still happen, especially when she's tired, she is only 2 after all! But these easy solutions have bought our happy girl back to us while she figures out where she fits in in our new family set up.

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Butlins Bognor Regis, A Review

For the first 10 years of my life, every year my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Parents and Siblings would head to Butlins in Bognor Regis. I have incredible memories of flying kites on the beach with my Uncle Tony, watching shows in the evenings with my Aunts and going to the disco after with all the older Cousins. We would play out in the green spaces in front of the chalets, make music videos and visit the fun fair. For a child, Butlins holidays were great, but I also have memories of visiting customer services and my parents getting annoyed at their less than helpful attitude. My Mum would pack ant spray because the kitchens were infested and even as a child I noticed parts of the park were pretty run down. For an adult, I guess Butlins wasn't that fun!

When I was offered the chance to go and visit Butlins in Bognor Regis for a weekend to see how much they had changed and how great they were, I jumped at the chance! I really just wanted to see if they were still as bad as my Mum remembers.

The girls were so excited when they found out, they started packing their suitcase straight away, luckily for The Husband and me, we only gave them a week's notice...mainly because that all we had ourselves! We set off on Friday 18th July unsure of what to expect, I knew it would have changed considerably since my childhood but I don't think I was prepared for just how much!

We arrived and were greeted by very helpful staff who directed us to the Ocean Hotel where we were staying and showed us where to park. Despite the fact we arrived around 1pm we were able to check straight in and get settled as our room was ready, which was great. We found our hotel room to be clean, tidy and actually quite nice, nothing like the horror story we were expecting! We were up on the 4th floor and had beautiful views of the park and the sea.


Walking around the park was quite a surreal experience, I have so many memories of the Bognor Regis site, and yet it looks completely different. The only place that was remotely similar was the swimming pool. The girls loved the slides and the rain, unfortunately the water was a little too cold for Pop and after 5 minutes he was shivering and very cold, but we enjoyed sitting on the deck chairs wrapped in a warm towel and watching The Husband having fun with the girls!

The girls are really into water at the moment, and who could blame them with the weather being so hot. At the other end of the park to us there were some fountains the children were  encouraged to jump into and play. Baby Girl was a little apprehensive at first about getting in fully clothed, but soon caught the vision and both girls had so much fun on what was a very very hot day!



We absolutely loved our time at Butlins, and you'll be able to see the full review on the Mumsnet website soon.

Disclosure ~ We were sent to Butlins in Bognor Regis by Mumsnet and Butlins, we were put up in the Ocean Hotel for 5 nights with a bed, breakfast and dinner package. However all opinions and thoughts are my own and I retain all editorial control



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