Anyone who knows me knows I bake cakes. A lot. If I had the patience and time and money I’d go to all the decorating classes and learn how to do it professionally.
Instead I just have fun making cakes at home.
Amelia’s birthday is in less than two months. Birthday cakes made in bakeries instead of in supermarkets are very expensive. I’ve had quotes ranging from £50 to £150. (Nothing against supermarket birthday cakes, just want Amelia’s first birthday to be extra special. Okay maybe a little bit against supermarket birthday cakes then.)
So I am going to make one myself. I’m torn between making a vanilla cake or chocolate cake.
My chocolate cake trial sponge was adapted from an old easily memorable recipe my Nan taught me when I was little.
6oz of caster sugar
6oz of self raising flour
6oz of butter
Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the flour and eggs a little at a time.
Cook in two round baking tins at 180 for 25 minutes or until a knife in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
To make the cake chocolatey and rich I used 4oz of self raising flour and 2oz of cocoa powder, instead of 6oz of flour . I also swapped out half of the normal sugar for 3oz of brown sugar.
For the top I made butter cream and mixed in melted chocolate and decorated with sprinkles and a pretty flowery chocolate centre piece.
The centre was filled with mango and passion fruit jam. Maybe sounds a bit of a weird combination but it was actually really nice (admittedly I used this because I couldn’t find the strawberry jam, the fridge seems to have eaten it)
(getting a close up of this cake and having the sprinkles and chocolate flower on focus was a nightmare…so I’m using this photo as I like it)
When I get another spare hour I’ll have a go at a vanilla one. Who knows. Maybe a red velvet sponge or a strawberry one too.
Mental health is a subject in the public eye a lot at the moment. As I write this I can easily name ten bloggers that are open and honest about their mental health struggles. This is something I’ve been reminded of in a uni lecture last week, a lecture about mental health and violence.
Mental health covers a whole range of disorders, illnesses and conditions. Often mental health disorders are portrayed horribly in the media. Newspapers are particularly awful for blaming violent incidents on those with mental health conditions. As a society we are being far more conscious and considerate of mental health conditions and related treatments but we do have a long way to go.
There is still very much this idea that crazy people are out wielding knifes and axes and attacking members of the general public. This is partly as a result of the media blaming violent behaviours on individuals who should be sectioned. In reality those suffering with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder are not usually violent. And if they are it is often because of a trigger event or a lack of treatment. The lack of treatment is the area we should be focused on fixing. The bigger problem is that those with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of crime.
Mental health services are often very difficult to access. Some areas have year long waiting lists to receive an assessment. This means that sometimes those individuals don’t receive help until they have caused themselves or someone else harm. This is too late.
It’s brilliant that we as a society are encouraging people to ask for help but the help offered needs to be in a timely manner.
Charitys that you can contact:
Cruse bereavement care
Rape crisis England and Wales
Relate – for counselling regarding relationships
Samaritans – to talk about any problems at any time
Victim support – a service for those who have been victims of or witness to crime
So if you are reading this and aren’t sure where to go to ask for help either visit your GP or contact the charities above. Nhs website is also a good place to start.
First shoes: the facts
Where did we go for Amelia’s first shoes?
We went to Golden Boot a lovely independent store in Maidstone town centre. It has been there years and is where my Mum purchased my first shoes.
When did we go?
A few days after Amelia turned 10 months. My little brother was walking by 10 months and Amelia is very nearly there too. We have a family of early walkers!
What shoes did we get?
An adorable pinky corrally coloured pair with a t-bar strap.
What size is the little princess?
3G – pretty average for a baby her size.
Why golden boot?
They offer a little book with their picture in at a first shoe fitting so I have a lovely picture book and photo for Amelia’s memory box. They also offer shoes at lower prices than other shoe shops and their staff are wonderful. Amelia tried on 4 or 5 pairs in three different sizes. They don’t sell the shoes until they are completely happy with the fit.
Does Amelia like her shoes?
The honest answer to that is no! She likes having her tootsies free and always pulls her socks off. But she is getting used to the shoes. To start with she went back to tip toe walking but is now flat footed again.
I couldn’t recommend golden boot enough for baby and children’s shoes. If you live locally then pop in with your little ones. This post wouldn’t be complete without a picture of Amelia’s new shoes. Getting pictures of her sitting still is becoming a serious challenge so apologies for the quality.
Lunch with Appy kids co
Now that Amelia is nearly walking and always talking, packing lunch for trips out is a must. She’s a growing little lady and enjoys her food.
Trips to the park and days at nanny’s mean Amelia’s lunch box comes out. Something I always put in there is a juice pouch from Appy kids co.
Why Appy kids co?
Appy kids co pouches are decorated with popular cartoon characters – Amelia’s current stash are peppa pig and paw patrol themed. They come in a variety of flavours and contain no added sugar, no GMOs and no gluten. They are also vegan certified. This makes them perfect for little ones with special dietary needs.
What flavours do they come in?
Amelia’s favourite is tropical but they also come in orange juice, apple juice and mixed berry juice and summer berry juice.
Where can I buy them?
Appy juice co drinks are stocked in a variety of places, online and in stores. Tesco, Spar, b & m, poundworld, toys r us and whole foods all stock the juice drinks. Online they can be purchased from amazon and Ocado.
Will they break the bank?
Definitely not! Depending which pouches and where you purchase them from, Appy kids co drinks are no more than £2. (The cartons come in packs of 3 and the pouches come in cartons of 5)
So next time you’re going out for a picnic don’t forget to pack these tasty drinks
*** I was sent these products for the purpose of this review. All opinions on my own***
Snow snow and more snow
I remember when I was at school. A few snowflakes and we’d all be praying that it was enough to get the day off school. The buses were always quickly cancelled and more often than not the school heating system would break.
Now I’m sitting watching the heaviest and most continuous snow fall I can ever remember seeing – hasn’t stopped for nearly five hours – and wishing my uni would also shut. (As of yet it has not but I have no intention of driving home in the dark at half six tonight in 10cm deep snow)
The trains to uni have already been cancelled and the junction I need on the motorway if I drive there is shut due to an accident.
I think these are all signs that Amelia and I should stay snuggled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate. The hearings on and we are both in warm comfy clothes.
On a different note look at the poor little cars outside
I don’t like the term young Mum. It has a few connotations that are insulting and I’ve heard it used in derogatory ways. ‘Oh another young mum’ ‘young mums always take up all the room on the bus’ ‘young mums shouldn’t be having babies in the first place’ ‘young mums are always on benefits’.
The latter implies that only ‘young’ mums claim benefits and that they are neither deserving nor entitled to them.
I personally am not on benefits and have not been previously. I’ve managed to balance working and being a mum with relative ease. Benefits are there for those who need them and I haven’t needed them.
But I have encountered a lot of people who have assumed that I don’t work and claim benefits. Sure start vouchers are vouchers available for those on benefits to buy fresh fruit and milk and formula for their little ones (if you are reading this in the UK and think you qualify for them and don’t get them then definitely have a look at applying for them.) Today I went to my local supermarket and was informed at the checkout that they could accept my milk vouchers. This was surprising to me as I hadn’t asked and I hadn’t handed over any vouchers. When I told the lady that I didn’t get them she looked equally surprised.
Now I know she meant well and was very polite but if I was older would she have made the same assumption?
I’ve encountered similar assumptions elsewhere. When I’ve taken Amelia to the Doctors quite often my age is brought up. Being a parent is a learning curve the first time round whether you are 16 or 32. Yes the 32 year old may have more life experience but that doesn’t mean they will be a better parent or find it easier. The 16 year old may have been looking after young siblings, the 32 year old may never have held a new born.
If you’ve had any experiences you’d like to share then please comment below or send me a message on my ‘contact us’ page.
Here is a picture of Amelia eyeing up the other little ones when we did the food shop this morning.
9 month update
Amelia’s first tooth
A week ago today the little monkey bit me with her first tooth where it had started poking through. She now uses it to chomp on everything: fingers, noses, chocolate buttons, toes. All the tasty things right?
Amelia’s first pancake day
Yesterday was a day to enjoy lots of sugary chocolatey pancakes. I confess, Amelia has had them before, but she had one with Nutella and mini marshmallows. The little monster loved it.
And today is Amelias first Valentine’s Day so
I thought I’d be extra cute and get her a vest that says ‘daddy’s valentine’. I put her in it at 9:30 and it is currently (an hour later) in the washing machine. As her daddy put it: she did her business and it went all up her back and so the vest isn’t as cute now.
Thankfully I snapped a few photos before this happened. They aren’t the best but they are adorable and the best I’m going to get. I didn’t even get chance to put her matching red leggings and red hoodie on. But there we are.
Other nine month achievements:
Walking when holding someone’s hands.
Climbing up stairs.
Opening her snack cupboard and helping herself.
Trying to climb in the toilet.
Having a nearly-toddler is frustrating, funny and full of surprises. (The valentines vest is proof of the frustrating. Try and do something cute and it lasts an hour.)
With the weather cold and icy it’s not always easy to keep the little ones entertained in doors. Amelia is crawling and trying to walk now and the little monster doesn’t like being confined to the living room. She likes being a free titch and it’s hard work trying to keep her distracted – she’d much rather be emptying the drawers in our bedroom or tipping over the bin in the bathroom.
One thing that is brilliant for distraction the little mess making tornado is chocolate. Chocolate cake. Chocolate buttons. Hot chocolate. Chocolate ice cream. Amelia is not fussy.
So one of the activities we did together last week was making these peppa pig muddy puddle cakes.
Amelia helped with the mixing, although her favourite part was decorating them with the chocolate icing. Most of it ended up in her mouth and on the floor but for half an hour she was happily entertained. Amelia loves being the diddy chef.
They weren’t beautifully decorated but Amelia had fun and she thought that were delicious. The mix cost me £1.25 in Tesco and there’s even a competition the little ones can enter on the side. Cheap and messy fun. Between the making and the eating Amelia was entertained for most of the morning.
To a Lecturer From an Anxious Student
One thing I have learned from being at uni that isn’t to do with my subject is that not everyone is as kind as they could be. Some of my lecturers, particularly the guest speakers, seem to forget that we all have our own thoughts and feelings.
To a Lecturer From an Anxious Student
Announcing to your students at the beginning of the lecture that you like to pick on the student you think will be most uncomfortable isn’t funny. Telling your students that there is no such thing as a stupid answer and then making the brave student who raised their hand feel silly for getting the answer wrong isn’t fair. (Yes, he was as you correctly guessed a rugby player but that doesn’t mean speaking in a room of 150 students is easier.)
To the lecturer who said ‘I’ll stare at whoever doesn’t maintain eye contact and make them answer’ that’s not building confidence the way you hope. After you said that I saw at least two quiet students sneak out and several more who didn’t return after the break. You justified this by saying ‘you must build confidence now before going out into the real world and working’ as if all employees are forced to speak in front of hundreds of people daily. Please tell me when a sales assistant or a barista or a hairdresser has to stand up in a lecture hall and speak to 150 colleagues on a regular basis. If you can show me that it is the case then by all means expect each and every student to do the same.
To the lecturer who locked the door at exactly 1pm, meaning any student even a minute late had to knock and draw the attention of the entire room to get in, how did you think a student already having a bad day because they missed their bus or had lost their keys was going to feel? Yes, we all know it is not appropriate to be late but we are all human and have days that don’t go as well as we would have liked. Instead of leaving the door unlocked for a few minutes for the students having bad days to slip in without interrupting I would bet you scared off several.
Most people get nervous for one reason or another. Some people get nervous more than most and find daily life particularly daunting. There are the fears of avoidable things like snakes and big spiders. But not everyone’s fears are so obvious or easily dodged.
Please consider the students who found it hard to leave the safety of their student house where they are surrounded by friends. Please consider the student who may be caring for a sick relative and be a bit late because they had to make them lunch before they could leave for classes. Please consider the student who is terrified of public speaking and picked their modules so that they didn’t need to do presentations. Please consider that not everyone will be as comfortable in your lecture hall as you are.
Valentines Day with YouSaidItCards
Every year at the end of January the shops beginning overwhelming us with red roses, heart shaped chocolates and very cute cards in preparation for Valentines Day.
But why do we celebrate it?
It is actually Saint Valentines Day. Many denominations of Christianity celebrate it as a feast day and over the centuries it has had numerous Valentine men associated with it, most of them priests.
Thanks to the times of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century it became romanticised and associated with courting a potential lover. By the 18th century this day became one to court your would be partner and spoil them with flowers, sweet foods and letters or cards.
Now the history of Valentine’s Day is not so well known. It is a very commercial holiday. But who doesn’t love an excuse to shop?
You Said It Cards have an array of both rude, funny and somewhat sweet valentines cards. I selected a polite one as I appreciate that my audience is made up of carers and parents of young children and I didn’t want tiny eyes to learn rude words. However when the tiny tots are in bed I suggest you go and have a look as they are very funny!
Most of the cards are £2.99 and a lot of them can be personalised. They offer first or second class delivery and can be sent directly to your Valentine if you want to remain anonymous. The one I picked is in the image below.
For 15% off enter ‘bloggerv18’ at the checkout ❤️
*** I was sent this card for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own ***