Children's books · Parenting

Ten thousand bowls of soup- a children’s book 

As a child me and my sister spent a lot of our free time reading, and Saturdays and school holidays were spent with trips to our local library to get yet more books! And now I have so much fun sharing a love for reading with my 2 year old son (and his baby brother watches and smiles), which I’m hoping we do for years to come.

And so, when I first spoke with the lovely ladies at ‘Ten Thousand Bowls of Soup‘, I was excited to receive a copy and review this book with my toddler and I was expecting a nice little story book.

But we got a lot more than we anticipated, and this is so much more than just another nice little story book! The book tells the tale of a 6 year old boy who, 15 years later, travels to Greece to help people who have been displaced to a migrant camp. His job is to make soup. Every day, 10,000 bowls of it! And together they share a love for, and bond over, food.

This book touches on issues that increasingly impact the world we live in, and the world we are raising the next generation in. I often ponder about the future, and the world my boys will grow up in. Some of the most important things I can teach them is to be kind and tolerant to others, and to be giving and forgiving. And this book touches on some of these subjects in a fun and light hearted way. Perfect for conversation starters with little people, and a great way for parents, Carers, and teachers alike to hold meaningful and thought provoking conversations with children.

I do often find myself second guessing my decisions or how I’m disciplining my toddler, and often wonder how I’m going to raise my boys the way I want to. And it’s tools such as  this book that will help me in the years to come.

What I love about this book is it’s not for profit, and all proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières who help to save lives in conflict zones, natural disasters and epidemics. What another great lesson to teach our little people about giving to others and helping those less fortunate. And, there’s even a recipe for some yummy sounding soup at the end of the book!

The book is aimed at children 5-8, but for now my little boy loves flicking through the pages and seeing the pictures, so I am going to keep this on our bookshelf for many years to come,  but mums with school age kids will find this a great book for teaching their little ones some great morals and raising awareness to the world we live in!


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Education · Parenting

Toddlers + Ipads. Kidloland App Review 

For the first year of my monkeys life, we were those parents. You know, the OTT ones that don’t allow their little ones screen time. I was so adamant about it that I didn’t even watch TV myself in the early days when he was a newborn and fed & slept all day. In hindsight, the second time mum in me is telling myself of for being so silly and not enjoying those first few months, as second time round there’s no such thing as a break or a cup of tea + biscuit sat watching a show while your baba sleeps! 

So anyway, we managed to get to 1 years old with zero screen time. But then as my pregnancy progressed and I’d have tired days and sleepless nights where all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep all day, the rules relaxed. It started by us letting my monkey watch aeroplanes land and takeoff on YouTube as he was such a fan of planes. We then allowed him to watch the odd nursery rhyme. Mother Goose Club & Chu Chi TV, I can’t wait for the day my babies outgrow you! 

So when Kidloland asked us if we would like to review their app, at first I was hesitant to allow my monkey to use the iPad and decided to wait until he was a little older. Well, just after he turned 2 I was running out of ideas to keep him occupied while I disappeared upstairs to feed his baby brother (note, the baba will only feed in a quiet and dark bedroom as he’s otherwise distracted). So, I decided to take Kidloland up on their offer and allow him some time on the iPad. 

Because he has never used a phone/ iPad before, he did need assistance with most of the games/songs and navigating the app. But I was happy about this as it means the length of time he uses it is limited. I’m sure this will change as he becomes more accustomed to it though as he is getting the hang of it pretty fast. 

What we liked about the app:

  • It’s educational, and a great way for your kids to learn in a supervised way
  • There are no adverts! And it’s safe. I was wary of allowing him to you YouTube independently due to all the bizarre vids that are of there that are aimed at children 
  • Once the app and different games/songs are downloaded it can be used anywhere. Now, we don’t allow him to take the iPad out, but I know lots of parents do. So this is great as you don’t need to be connected to wifi! On the odd occasion when he has point blank refused to go to nursery, I’ve allowed him to watch nursery rhymes on the app in the car and it has avoided major meltdowns! 
  • There is so much on there, they will never get bored! From games, to puzzles, and flash cards to songs. And every time we log in there’s even more new updates. We limit his use so he doesn’t even use it daily, but if he did, he literally would never get bored. 
  • It’s suitable for different ages kids 5 and under so I’m sure in a year or so his little brother will be fighting him for it! He already loves listening to the nursery rhymes, but as he’s only 7 months old he definetly doesn’t benefit from any screen time just yet. 
  • It’s affordable. There are few options, but the cheapest works out at £29.99 for the year. For its educational use and the ability to use it with no wifi connection, it’s well worth it in my opinion! 

There is just one niggle that I have to mention! If you choose to download everything from the app as you go, then it does take up quite a bit of memory, saying that, I have a an iPad with very limited memory to start with! 

Overall I would really recommend this app for busy parents looking for something educational for their little ones. I also think that as my monkey gets a little older (he’s currently 2 years and 3 months), the app will become more and more useful for both me and him! 

The iPad + Kidloland is currently helping me to get my toddler on the loo and to stay put on the loo, so I may be the first parent to attribute it to a must have potty training tool also 😂.. 

As the weather changes changes and we spend more time indoors I also think he will start to benefit from using it a lot more often, so my next  challenge will be learning how to limit IPad use, tips anyone? 

If you are interested in downloading the app, see below 🙂 

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-store/id533412119?pt=275891&ct=saman
 Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.internetdesignzone.nurseryrhymes&hl=en

Amazon Appstore: https://www.amazon.com/KidloLand-Nursery-Rhymes-Educational-Preschool/dp/B00HFQBCEU

Fashion · Parenting

Outfit of the week… 

Sooo I promised myself I’m going to make more effort with updating my blog in general AND my outfit posts it’s just so hard to find the time with two little monkeys. 

My youngest has cut his first two teeth, and I think he has his first bout of seperation anxiety which has resulted in him fussing at every nap and then last night, the worse nights sleep EVER! I don’t remember ever having a night that bad with his brother, but you do blank it out so maybe I am just forgetting.

So anyway, it’s autumn. My favourite season. So yesterday I dressed for autumn but was met with early winter and froze. So from now on I’m taking layers out for me and my boys and will be choosing comfort over fashion.. 

We had a family day at the museum yesterday and this is what I wore… 



I’m still living in high waisted jeans, but the 6 months of terrible eating has finally krept up on me and I need to do something now! For once I didn’t need to worry about a feeding friendly outfit as my monkey has started taking a bottle of expressed milk 🙌🏼, saying that I COULD feed in this top with no trouble 

Happy Monday people 

Lifestyle · Photography · Wedding

My big fat Asian wedding 

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So this week marks THREE years of being married! And we sure have filled a lot into three short years.. moving to London, a month long honeymoon, some fun weekends away,  a month in Indonesia, two pregnancies, two babies, and a move to birmingham later.. here we are celebrating 3 years of being married!

Celebrating our wedding anniversary (not that we do much celebrating with two kids on board) always makes me look back on ALL of the photos and ALL of the videos, and of course Timehop and facebook memories send me daily reminders of what I was doing ‘on this day’ x years ago. So I can’t help but flick through all the memories fondly while I’m stuck under a nursing baby or catching a rare quiet moment while both boys are asleep.

So today when I was doing said above activity,  it occurred to me that I have never updated my blog on my wedding details as I had always intended (I had lots of intentions for this blog when I started it, but that was before any babies popped out and the reality of keeping it up to date and the visions I had in my head have sadly become just that.. ideas in my head).

So here goes.. (I’ll try to keep this as concise as possible). 

My big fat Asian wedding lasted just over a week, with three main events (traditionally a mehndi night occurs before the wedding, then the girls side host a baraat where the bride traditionally leaves her family for her husbands family, followed by the boys side hosting a walima to celebrate the marriage). We also had two dholki nights and a mayoun leading up to the Mehndi. Which are basically held in the homes of the bride and groom and consist of food, dancing, singing, and lots of fun.. Although I’m calling it my ‘big fat Asian wedding’ there’s something to be aware of. My husband is not Asian. So although we had a traditional Asian wedding, we did also have a reception (I guess you could call it the Walima as my husband organised the food as per Asian tradition) which was more of a fusion event of both cultures, and although we adopted many of the usual Asian traditions, the main wedding day especially was more of a mix.

In Asian families, the bride or grooms family very much host the parties, but as this is not tradition for my husbands family, all three events were hosted and organised by my family. So I had 3 big events to plan and prepare for.. (courtesy of my mum).

The Venue’s

The biggest and most stessful part about planning your wedding, is finding the perfect venue and setting a date. We wanted a summer weekend wedding but we were flexible with dates. I started looking for venues in January 2014 for the summer of 2014! Yup, I like a challenge. As we were doing things a little differently than a standard Asian wedding, I knew I wanted a smaller baraat day, and a bigger, more extravagant reception. So, I focused on finding the perfect reception venue, and with the help of my lovely mum and sister, we found the perfect venue and booked it within a week!

My criteria for a venue was:

  1. A country house/ stately home or something pretty with a garden or outdoor space
  2. Must seat 200 guests for a meal (it was a challenge to only have 200 guests as Asian weddings tend to be a lot bigger, but it was a trade off between the perfect enue or more guests.
  3. The venue needed to be licencesed for a civil ceremony (in Asian weddings the civil ceremony is often done as a separate event all together)
  4. Must cater for Asian/halal food or have a preferred Asian caterer.
  5. NOT a marquee.. although marquees can look amazing and are a blank canvas, I did not want to spend thousands to be sat in a marquee. I wanted to enjoy the venue itself, after forking out all that money! A marquee reception was a big no no for me.
  6. Location wise I wanted something within driving distance of birmingham, or between birmingham and Manchester.

Myself and my sister looked at venues online, and called around and any that looked like they met my criteria we arranged a viewing for, but to be honest not many venues did tick all of my boxes so we only ended up viewing 4 or 5. And one of them was PERFECT and had availability in August 2014, which was ideally when we wanted to get married! So we quickly booked the stunning Ragley hall for Sunday 31st August, and hoped we could make the other venues and events work around it.

I had always wanted my mehndi event to be at home, and luckily my mums back garden was a reasonable size to host a good sized marquee, so this was very much my preferred option but we still looked at different options. Dates and availability were proving challenging, not to mention all of the additional costs beginning to stack up. So we made a very bold decision. If we were having a marquee at home for one event anyway, we might as well do the baraat and mehndi both at home and have the marquee set up at home for a longer period, making the most of the cost of the marquee and giving us more flexibility on dates and caterers etc. It was going to take a lot more planning, hard work from me and my extended family, but getting married at home was so personal and I loved the idea.

The weekend before the reception was bank holiday weekend, and so we decided on the Saturday for the Mehndi, and the Monday for the baraat, followed by the reception the Sunday after at Ragley. So, I then called around and asked around and found a company willing to setup a marquee for 200 people in my garden, for the dates I needed… and just like that, by the end of January, our wedding dates and venues were sorted!

 

The Dress (or dresses)

Once dates and venues were all confirmed, the next important thing for me was getting my outfits sorted, as Asian clothes can sometimes take 3-4 months to arrive as they are often made to order. I love traditional Pakistani bridal clothes, which are not easy to get hold of in the UK, so I booked appointments at boutiques in birmingham and London, but being super fussy about the style I wanted I only looked in about five shops in total, and found my outfits super quick. Asian bridals in the U.K. come with a hefty price tag.  Luckily my mum agreed to give me a more than decent budget as it was still cheaper than the cost of a flight to Pakistan and back 😂, but I appreciate that my bridal outfits may not suite every budget, but there are more affordable shops out there and now more and more people are offering Pakistani bridals.

1.My Mehndi outfit..

Traditionally brides wear bright colours on their mehndi, yellow, oranges and greens are common. I wasn’t too fussed on my mehndi outfit, I wanted something nice and simple, as traditionally a bride dresses down on their mehndi with little or no makeup, so that they look even more stunning on the wedding day. In the end, I opted for a dress by Lavelle. Although I had 2 options and didn’t pick what I was actually wearing until the night before.. Story of my life I am super indecisive!

 

2. My baraat outfit

Traditionally Asian brides wear red (I’m not actually sure why), and although I was undecided on whether I would, after trying on a few red outfits I decided I would follow the tradition and found a stunning outfit by Ziggi’s Menswear sister brand Mehzabeen bridal.

 

3. My reception outfit.

I wanted something elegant and timeless and I wanted nudes/pastels.. and when I saw my outfit from Gul’s Style (in ilford), I knew I had to have it.

 

The food 

We worked with one of the approved caterers for Ragley for the main reception and they were amazing. The food was impeccable and they helped to organise the whole day and made sure everything ran smoothly and on time, so basically act as wedding planners also. I would highly recommend Five Rivers, and they work with lovely venues all over the U.K. We had many meetings at their restaurant in Walsall, where we ran over the minute by minute plans of the day, they really were amazing. For the two events at home, my family arranged a local caterer based on recommendations, and we made sure we hired caterers with waiters/waitresses and their own equipment as I didn’t want my family to have to do loads at the events. Although they failed to send the waiters on the mehndi so my family had to step up and do it.. I have the best family! (They also did all the clearing up and washing up for both events we had at home).

The venues, clothes and food are the main things to organise, so once this was done I relaxed a little as the rest were all the finer details that I then had months to organise. I set up some spreadsheets, one to manage my budget and keep track of what I was spending, one to list all of the vendors I was using and their details, one to create a guest list which then become an ‘RSVP’ tracker, and one to create an ‘order of the day’ for all three events.. oh and finally one spreadsheet was a to do list of what was needed with dates/deadlines and requirements. Sounds a bit complicated but it was super simple and helped me keep organised.

The Decor 

I wanted a bright and vibrant backdrop for the mehndi with lots of lighting, and hired events company Dream moments for both the events at home. They spent hours setting up and then turning it all around for the second event, where I wanted something a lot more subtle and elegant. They did an amazing job and were worth every penny. Myself, my sister and cousins made the centre prices for both the mehndi and nikkah and they turned out lovely! We also had a pick and mix stand and dessert table, all home made! For the reception at Ragley, I hired a florist to provide candelabras and flowerballs, to compliment the beautiful grand hall and colour theme. Fresh flowers are pricey, but I didn’t need to dress the room in any other way as the room was simply stunning.

 

 

 

The entertainment 

For me, this was the fun part!

The mehndi is full of lots of traditions and singing/ dancing, so the entertainment is pretty easy. We hired a Dj and I forced my cousins and close friends to practise a couple of dances to perform on the day, I even took part in one and I am a shocking dancer! Once the food has been served, the dance floor is cleared and the rest of the night is lots of dancing. So this was pretty easy to organise.

The baraat day is traditionally sad for the brides family as they ‘lose their daughter’ to their husbands family. This is not really the case in this day and age, but it still symbolises the change in dynamic as you leave with your husband and his family. So, there’s usually a sombre mood and not much singing/ dancing. We did have a Dj to provide nice background music for the event.

So basically, all of the entertainment was saved for the main reception. We had:

  • A harpist for the civil ceremony and drinks reception
  • A live singer during dinner
  •  Dhol players
  • A photo booth
  • DJ for the after dinner fun
  • Fire throwers in the beautiful gardens
  • And finally a lovely fireworks display to end the night

 

We managed to squeeze ALOT into the day as it really was such a lovely day. In fact, I loved all of my events so much. The months of planning, ALL of the spreadsheets and the stress all paid off and our guests enjoyed it as much as us (so I’ve been told repeatedly). I could not have done it without my mum and sister, and of course my husband! I think I was a relaxed and organised bride, which came down to my attitude, my spreadsheets, an the help of my family. I absolutely loved my wedding events, and loved this little trip down memory lane.. I hope you enjoyed reading, and just in case you arent already sick of our faces, I’ll leave you with some more images below..

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Breastfeeding · Parenting

Outfit of the week 

So I’ve been sooo bad at posting outfit posts, mainly for a few reasons. Firstly I’ve been living in leggings, t shirts & pj’s. Secondly, as I’ve mentioned so many times, breastfeeding makes me SUPER DUPER hungry, so I just feel fat and frumpy! And thirdly 6 months into maternity leave the ££ has drastically reduced and if feel bad spending on clothes when the husband is paying. 

But anyway, here are a few to make up for the extreme lack of posts. And all are breastfeeding friendly 👍🏼

Cold shoulder jacket: Asos. On sale for £15, get it here

Leather look leggings: £16 by converse, available from asos Here

White flared t shirt: £15 by ellesse, available here here

Black furry slides: £6 from Primark

Peach double collared shirt now only £10 from Asos

Mom fit jeans by Monki, £40 from Asos

Suede effect sandals £8 from primark

White flared sleeves t shirt from Zara 

Mom got jeans by Monki 

Rose gold sandals from New Look now £8.50 at Asos

Denim flared top from Zara 

Monki mom fit jeans 

Rose gold sandals from New Look


Jumpsuit from Warehouse 

Brown crossed sandals from New look 

Breastfeeding · Parenting · pregnancy

Breastfeeding in pregnancy 

Disclaimer.. this is ANOTHER post about breastfeeding, so if you have no interest in the topic feel free to skim past this one! 

Yes you read it right, breastfeeding and pregnancy can go hand in hand. Before being a mum, I wouldn’t have had a clue about whether it was possible to breastfeed when pregnant. And it’s unsurprising as so many people believe this myth to be true, even health professionals! In fact, even my mum thought this to be true, as advised by her midwife at the time. So, when she fell pregnant with me when my sister was 3 months old, she too stopped breastfeeding. 

It’s widely assumed that your body cannot provide the right nutrients for both baby in utero alongside your breastmilk. This is infact false, and many women feed their babies throughout their pregnancies and beyond and eventually tandem feed. 

Tandem feeding didn’t appeal to me whatsoever. And so when I fell pregnant with his brother when he was just under 1, I had to reassess my aim to feed him until he was 2. I just knew it wasn’t for me. Perhaps this was due to the mental and physical demands breastfeeding required, but also I just couldn’t imagine having two babies so dependant on me, and the logistics! 

And so I knew I wanted to stop feeding my eldest before his brother arrived, but I didn’t put a time limit on it and I wasn’t ready to stop to begin with, and neither was my food refusing nearly 1 year old. Yes that’s right, at 1 he was still yet to eat a full meal of anything, so had been relying on me 100%.. (see what I mean about it being demanding)! 

So I decided to just go with the flow. And my baby decided more and more that he would feed more and more than ever before which made no sense to me as he had previously only been feeding at naptimes (twice daily), bedtime, and for night feeds. But I kept at it nervously as it seemed like I would actually end up tandem feeding after all! My monkey just showed no signs of stopping, and it felt cruel to take away his only nourishment as he still wasn’t eating or drinking anything else. 

But then it started to get painful. REALLY painful, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. But I still soldiered on, sometimes crying through the pain. For anyone that’s ever experienced the pain of early breastfeeding whilst your milk supply and babies latch is being established will know how bad this is. Only there was no end to this. Then, at around 20 weeks pregnant, my baby wanted to feed EVEN more, sometimes 3 or 4 times an hour and all night. It had become unbearable. But at 14 months old he had finally started to eat some solids. 

And then it hit me. The constant feeding but him never being satisfied, the pain, and the frequency, led me to the realisation that my milk had turned back to colostrum. And as he wasn’t established onto solid food or any other liquid, he was getting more and more frustrated as even though he was feeding more, he wasn’t getting what he needed. 

I managed 3 months of feeding him through the worse pain ever and and I was now 5 months pregnant. It all become too much, I needed my body back for a few short months before it all started again, and I needed a rest, and definetly some sleep. And so when my monkey was 15 months old I decided to stop breastfeeding him. It took 3 days of offering cuddles and snacks instead of milk, no tears and no fuss. I was shocked! But I also truly think it was a lot easier as he had not been getting any milk for weeks, maybe months and was actually just getting frustrated and fed up by this. 

I hadn’t actual decided to night wean straight away, I was still going to continue with one night feed until I was ready to tackle it, but I was shocked further when after day 2 he stopped waking for his night feed and slept right through.. which was of course a bonus! 

So yes, breastfeeding and pregnancy can go hand in hand, but just like breastfeeding in general, it will not be an easy ride and it takes a lot of effort and dedication. I was proud to feed my baby for as long as I did during my pregnancy but I was also so thankful for the few months break I got in between, and the sleep! 

I’d love to hear other mums experiences of feeding whilst pregnant, or if any of you were fabulous enough to tandem feed. Was it worth the pain and preserving or like me are you glad you stopped when you did? 

Breastfeeding · motherhood · Parenting

10 Tried and tested ways to get your newborn to sleep

I think almost every new mum has a few moments of madness where they just CANNOT get their baby to sleep despite trying everything in the world. And when they finally do sleep you run to the loo, put the kettle on, put some laundry on, then sit down to drink your cup of tea.. and just like magic they wake up! A whole twenty four minutes later! This ordeal is repeated multiple times a day until you are literally ready to tear you hair out.

So here I my tried and tested ways of getting a baby to sleep..

  1. Feed to sleep. This is the simplest, easiest method out of them all. Feed your baby until they fall asleep. Simple? Although many books, experts and other mums will tell you that you must absolutely NOT do this and you will ‘make a rod for your own back’ which is why I spent the first 9 months or so with my first little monkey avoiding feeding him to sleep but had an even worse ordeal in doing so. And now, my new little cutie will not feed to sleep and I so wish he would! Typical!
  2. Go for a stroll. This is a win win all round, baby gets fresh air and so do you (and a chance to burn some calories in an attempt to lose some baby weight.. only to go home and destroy a whole pack of chocolate biccys after 😂), and they will peacefully nod off. The only problem is if you have cheeky monkeys like me you have to keep walking the entire time you want them to stay asleep, otherwise they wake up the minute you stop!
  3. Take a drive. This is perfect if your feeling  to lazy to go for a walk or the weather is rubbish or your so shattered from trying everything else. But again, my monkeys will wake the moment the car stops!
  4. Wrap your baby. This worked like a dream when my baby was first born. I could pop him in my ring sling, carry on with chores and he would be asleep in minutes. But now he’s older he screams and screams when I attempt to put him in and my toddler is sat in the pram ready to go and gets impatient so when we attempt this we end up in a full blown disaster.
  5. Rocking.. This is another one that the ‘mum police’ will tell you to avoid unless you want to be rocking your child until they get married! But if it works you’ll do anything to get them to sleep when you so desperately want them too! You could also add in some humming and singing for quicker results.
  6. Humming or singing. Some babies will sleep to just music with no rocking involved.. worth a try!
  7. A bouncer/ swing. Your baby may weell fall asleep in these, perhaps with some encouragement (meaning rocking/ bouncing it so much it never stops). Mine very rarely did or do.
  8. Swaddling. This apparently works like a dream, if only you can figure how to swaddle without annoying your baby so much they are no longer tired from all the crying!
  9. White noise.. such a good way to calm down a screaming and overtired baby. You tube has many noises to choice from, or you can even just switch the tap on :). My baby seems to know the difference between ‘real’ white noise (the rap running) and ‘fake’ sounds on you tube, which my husband is rather unimpressed with as we have a water meter.. hmm.
  10. A combination of 1 or more, or ALL.. if your desperate like me, you might need to attempt more than one of the above. I rock, and sing AND use white noise all at the same time, until he finally nods off 🙂

You’ll be pleased to know, this mainly applies to the fourth trimester, after that, its easier to predict when you baby will be tired, and therefore easier to get them to sleep in a more ‘normal’ manner. So hang in there mama’s those first three months go quickly, and then you move on to new challenges!

Cooking · Food · Lifestyle · Parenting

Brunch at home.. very easy waffles

Before kids, Saturdays were spent Brunching with friends and family, chatting the day away with no rush to leave, no clock watching and generally just care free… ah that was the life! 

Attempting to go out for brunch now sounds like my absolute worst nightmare. Luckily I enjoy cooking yummy stuff at home, and our favourite weekend brunch is homemade waffles. 

Last year, a friend of mine grabbed me a Waffle Maker from none other than Aldi for a bargain of £20. Usually when we buy similar paraphernalia we never end up using it, like our two smoothie makers, or our George Forman which is still untouched 3 years later. But ever since we have had the waffle maker, we have had waffles atleast once a month for a weekend treat.. and they are delicious! 

Well anyway we had waffles this morning while the baba was napping. It took me around 20 minutes from start to finish to make, and we even let the toddler have his own (with lots of fruit). 



Did I mention they were YUMMY!

Whilst browsing through Aldi’s current special buys, I spotted that the waffle maker is back.. so here’s the link if you want to grab one Here for £19.99.

And here is my super easy recipe taken from the BBC website:

Ingredients

250g Flour (plain)

7g Baking powder

20g Caster sugar

5g Salt

475ml Milk

2 Eggs

30ml Vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Weigh all the dry ingredients, place in a large mixing bowl. Break the eggs into the milk and beat the mixture.
  2. Add the egg and milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and mix all ingredients together until all the large lumps have been broken up. Do not over mix otherwise the waffles will be heavy when cooked.
  3. Pre heat the waffle maker and spray with oil (1 cal spray works well).
  4. Pour 3/4 of a cup of batter into the waffle maker and cook for 3-4 mins or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  5. Serve with melted chocolate (I used dairy milk), strawberries, berries, banana’s, and cream. If it’s a hot day we add a scoop of ice cream too!

Enjoy:) 

Family · motherhood · Parenting

My secret to 2 under 2

So last week, my oldest monkey turned 2. I won’t talk about how I feel about it all in this post, as that’s an essay in itself! But, I officially no longer have 2 little monkeys under 2. My biggest little boy turning 2 has made me reflect on the last few months. I’ve talked about my day to day survival tips previously, but there are a couple of things that have made the last 4 months so much more manageable, and I’ve actually been suprised at how we have coped and how it’s been far easier then I ever imagined it would be.. don’t get me wrong we have had our moments as well! So, before I forget, I wanted to share these with you all. 

There are two things that have really, really helped us in the last four months: 

1. Routine, routine, routine… 
Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ mums. My eldest has a strict routine and has done from the very early days, which was driven by him not us. I often see friends rolling their eyes when I have to leave somewhere early due to nap or bed time, or god forbid turn something down. But having a solid routine works for us and has actually been a godsend with two which is why I also got my baby into a routine as soon as I could.  My days are predictable, so from the moment we wake, I know which baby needs what when, and when we can fit in activities, outings and chores. And the BEST part is, both my little boys have a longer lunchtime nap so I get a couple of hours to myself in the middle of the day to make lunch, do some chores and sit down and relax! And the even BETTER part is, both boys are in bed around 7/7.30pm. So I get a couple of hours to myself in the evening, to have a quick tidy up, and time to do whatever I want and feel like a human being again! 

I really don’t know how I’d cope without my days being predictable and a tired baby usually leads to a fussy baby, but with a solid routine I know if my babies fussing it’s not because he’s tired if he’s not due a nap. My newborn has been in a semi routine since about 8 weeks and now at 4 months he’s in a solid routine. He wakes at 6am, naps at around 8am, 11am, and 4pm and has 7pm bedtime. The toddler wakes by 7am and naps at 12-2 and has a bedtime 7pm. 

To get the baby into a routine I followed the same pattern as my eldest, which was from around 8 weeks old I would put him to sleep again after around 1.5 hours awake time. But as all babies are different, and their needs change as they get older, my youngest doesn’t actually need a nap until 2 hours awake time and can last 2.5 hours sometimes. From literally 1 week old, once he was asleep past 9pm I took him up to bed with lights out and no talking/interaction during wakings until the morning. This quickly allowed him to learn the difference between night and day and helped us to get into a solid routine. The last month or so I managed to then bring bedtime to 7pm by treating his last nap like bedtime when he woke up. 

I know that strict routines do not suit everyone’s parenting style, but without one I seriously don’t think I would cope as well as I have. I am generally on top of all the housework, the house is generally clean most of the time (I have developed OCD), and I mange to cook fresh meals most days. Oh, and I get my daily dose of ‘me time’. We have pretty much got to the stage where having two little monkeys is the same as when I just had the one and we can all, enjoy our time together. 

2. Co-sleeping 

I never thought I’d want to co-sleep. With my first, we moved our Snuz pod next to me crib away from my bed after a couple of weeks, as it didn’t sit flush against our bed and my stitches made it difficult to get my baby in and out of bed. Plus he was a good sleeper and we were disturbing each other throughout the night. This time round my monkey is not such a great sleeper and having my baby next to me has been amazing. I never put him in my bed as I like to sleep sprawled out and I do want him to be used to sleeping in a cot, but as he is just next to me, I don’t fully wake up when he wakes, I feed him, burp him, then pop him back in. As a result, I don’t have to get out of bed, I barely even wake up, I don’t check the time and best of all I don’t count how many times he wakes. 

This time around I have totally changed my outlook on night wakenings and I’m not focused on how well he is sleeping and purely just trying to get the best night sleep possible to deal with the next day. I often go to bed at 9pm or by 10pm latest and it helps me to get more hours rest, especially as my baby sleeps the best before midnight. It also helps with the super early mornings as he regularly wakes at 5am. As a first time parent I was obsessed with how many hours my baby had slept, how he had fallen asleep and getting him to sleep through, but being so much more relaxed this time and co-sleeping has made a huge difference and I’m in no rush to change things just yet as why fix it if it’s not broken.. 

I’m enjoying things so much right now that both boys are in a routine that I even think we could squeeze another little bubba in with a similar or slightly smaller gap! But having said that, we don’t know what we don’t know and I have NO IDEA what the next few months will look like, mums with older babies may be laughing at my optimism right now, but I’m feeling ready to handle anything so I’m excited about watching my boys grow together! 


Family · Lifestyle · motherhood · Parenting · Photography

Happy 2nd birthday to my biggest, littlest man.. 

And just like that.. my little monkey is 2 today 🎉🎉🎉.

 This second year has gone crazily quick and I can’t believe what a funny, kind, smart and happy little boy he has become.. and did I say funny? He is such a little character and makes all of our lives happier. I love how he articulates himself and it still shocks me that my little baby can talk in full sentences and demand what he wants, and more often what he doesn’t want. We are certainly saying goodbye to the baby days now and I’m so excited to watch this little man grow. 

We had big plans today as Bugaboo had invited us to the Henley Royal Regatta but my youngest boy isn’t well so we had to cancel our plans but we still had a lovely family day together. And the boy got his cake! 

His second year has been taken over by mummy being pregnant, and becoming a loving big brother. It honestly melts my heart how kind and loving he is to his brother and I just can’t wait for them to be able to interact more. Of course we’ve had the odd moments of jealousy (in the early days these were considerably more), but I was really suprised by how well he took to mummy having a baby attached to her 24/7 particularly as he was such a clingy baby before. 

He also learnt to crawl in his second year (13 months), and finally took his first steps at 19 months, and went from being able to say a handful of words to speaking in proper 7-8 word sentences! You can’t blame him for this though as mummy and daddy BOTH like to talk lol. 

Another highlight for him was getting on the plane for our first family holiday to the other side of the world to attend his Aunty Holly & Uncle Tom’s wedding. And he became a cousin to his darling cousin Ava, and is due another cousin very soon! He is slowly gathering a full on gang around him and I can so see him being the ring leader in the future! 

At 13 months we finally got this very headstrong little boy to eat a full meal, and at 15 months old we said goodbye to mummy’s milk in prep for his brothers arrival. He then had a new found love for food and all things acidic! He is slightly obsessed with blueberries, grapes, raisens and oranges! He still calls his water ‘tea’ as he truly believed he was drinking the same tea as us when he started drinking water and the name has stuck since. 

His favourite activity is cutting the grass with daddy and he has an obsession with airplanes! He spots them before me and his first ever screen time after his first birthday was watching planes landing and taking off on YouTube.. this soon switched to watching nursery rhymes but I still think we may have a budding pilot in the making. 

He is just so cheeky and funny I really don’t know where he learns it all from. He is currently in bed singing ‘oh my god’ to himself as I type this! The cutest part is he knows when he is being cheeky and making us laugh. 

Anyway, this was meant to be a short birthday post and it’s turning into an essay already! Every year around his birthday I plan to take some photo’s for him to look back on as kind of a birthday gift from us. So last year I did a Cake smash in our back garden, and this year I took some cute pictures in our garden again but this time with his little brother…