Christmas, Uni and Everything in Between

Catching up

I’ve been a little absent on the blog recently. Christmas was extremely busy, Amelia has been waking more often through the night and this week and next week I have three essays due and an exam. I’ve been surrounded by text books and resources and still have a pile of 10 academic books that I haven’t even begun reading. Amelia, housework and coursework require more hands and brain cells than I have available.

Am I the only person who still has their Christmas decorations up?

Our flat isn’t as tidy as it should be, Amelia’s Christmas presents still don’t have proper homes and I’ve been drying the washing on the radiators as I haven’t had chance to put the clothes away that are on the airer. I still haven’t purchased an iron so our clothes are all a bit wrinkly and my steamer is still at my mums as I leant it to her for cooking Christmas dinner. I’m just not organised enough to have collected it yet. I go back to work in a few weeks and I’m back at uni too so free time is extremely limited.

But we are all fed and clean and Amelia is happy so everything else will get done when I have chance.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and new year.

Lucy x

Mealtime Monsters

My last post was about two gifts that rob and I had purchased for Amelia. This post is about a few gifts I know my mum has purchased for Amelia. (Because I was with her at the time.)

Amelia is getting bigger now and eating anything she can get her hands on. She is still toothless so struggles with some bits but otherwise is a very happy little eater.

This wonderful monster bowl, plate and cutlery set makes meal times more fun for little ones. It’s from Aldi and I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it on Christmas Day.

31222E89-4EA0-4CEC-B9D5-3731583F925D

The snack bowl is designed to help little ones with their coordination as it has a soft lid that they must put their fingers through to pick up the food. I’m looking forward to seeing Amelia’s little face. She loves bright colourful things and eating so combining the two will be a win all round.

Pets Party

With Christmas being so close my posts are admittedly getting shorter. Amelia’s nanny’s and uncles and friends and other family have been busy shopping.

Rob and I have tried not to buy too much for her but there were a few items I couldn’t resist.

Two of these are from the lovely Cath Kidston ‘pets party’ range. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore guineapigs. I have two of my own called beep and nibble (@beep_and_nibble on instagram if you want to see pictures) so when I found a range of guinea pig decorated items I knew Amelia had to have some of them.

I restrained myself admirably and bought her the lunch plate which is really good as it is divided into sections and a lunch bag which is insulated so if you put an ice block in it the food stays cool.

B744E7F6-9A11-4B32-9968-5D904ABBC868.jpeg

(I say restrained because there are a number of items in the pets party range and I really wanted to buy them all. Anyone else feel compelled to buy entire sets?)

Last Minute Homemade Gifts

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Run out of time to order presents? Only got evenings left when the shops you want aren’t open?

Home made gifts are brilliant! Here are a few ideas.

Cookie mix in a jar:
Put the following dry ingredients in a jar.
* 210g plain flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 100g caster sugar
* 340g milk or white chocolate chips
* 110g dark brown soft sugar

Add a ribbon and attach a card with the following instructions:
In a bowl mix 170g butter, 1 1/2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract together. Add the dry mixture. Put tablespoons of the mix onto baking trays. Bake in a preheated 190 C / Gas 5 oven for 8 – 10 minutes.

Shortbread biscuits
Preheat oven to 190 C or gas 5. Beat 125g butter and 55g of sugar together. Stir in 180g of plain flour.
Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make the biscuit shapes. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes and then bake for 15-20 minutes.
Wrap the cooled biscuits in brown paper and decorate with red ribbon.

Flowery Soaps
Line ice cube trays with cling film.
Melt as many bars of clear soap in a Pyrex bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour the melted soap into the ice cube trays. Decorate them with small flowers, bits of lavender and other fresh smelling herbs.
Set the soaps in the fridge or freezer. Once set, turn out of the ice cube trays and wrap them in tissue paper.

Have fun getting creative!

traditional Christmas dinner or something else?

Traditional Christmas Dinner or Something Else?

Christmas dinner. Most people imagine turkey with all the trimmings. Roast potatoes. Stuffing. Red cabbage. Brussels sprouts. Roast parsnips. Cauliflower cheese. Pigs in blankets. Gravy.

But are you a family that chooses something else?

Over the years my family have had a variety of meats for dinner; turkey, chicken, gammon, lamb, beef, duck. (Not that it really affects me as I don’t eat the meat part.)
But regardless of the protein the rest of the dinner is pretty much the same.

Some ideas I’ve heard recently:

Fry up
A surprising number of people have a huge cooked breakfast for their Christmas dinner. This isn’t my favourite choice but it’s definitely an option for dealing with a Boxing Day morning hangover. (I’m sure plenty of people have a fry up for breakfast and then a roast turkey dinner on Christmas Day. It doesn’t need to be one or the other.)

Curry
This gives you a variety of meat options, just like roast dinner. It also means you can all pick your own spice strength and type of rice. Poppadoms and naan bread are easily ordered or bought from the supermarket. In fact you could easily buy a variety of curry dishes from Tesco or Sainsbury’s and heat them up. Much simpler than roasting an entire turkey.

Fish and chips
The old English favourite is another popular choice. I’m sure we will have a takeaway at some point over the festive period but for me it’s a roast dinner all the way.

Here’s a picture of Christmas dinner last year, cooked by me and my mum. Last year I was over 20 weeks pregnant. This year I have a 7 and a half month old little monkey.

Christmas dinner 2016

Christmas Visitors

Nearly all of my friends are at university. I am too but unlike most of the girls I went to school with I chose to study from home. I go to university in Canterbury so can commute instead of moving. This is a decision I made months before I found out I was pregnant but it’s so fortunate I did. Studying miles away from my boyfriend whilst carrying his baby wouldn’t have been ideal.

One of my closest friends, Mollie, is studying at Bournemouth. She is in her third year as she didn’t take a year out like I did. We saw Mollie today and she came bearing Christmas presents. She got Amelia the most gorgeous fluffy dressing gown and pyjamas with a little teddy bear. (There were bits for me too but any excuse to talk about baby clothes and I am going to take it.)

9BF27315-38BC-43C2-9DAF-4142993E60AF.jpeg

They are so soft and will look adorable on Amelia. I can’t wait to snuggle her up in them. Amelia adores her auntie Mollie and happily posed for photos with her.

Posting every day throughout December is proving challenging. Anyone else running out of ideas to write about?

Coffee Lovers

Anyone who knows me knows that before I got pregnant with Amelia I was obsessed with costa. I pretty much lived off of vanilla soya lattes and the people working in our local costa knew my order without me asking.

However when I was pregnant just the smell of coffee sent me rushing from the room to throw up. My favourite drink quickly became a major no go. It probably saved me a fortune as Costa’s aren’t exactly the cheapest drinks to live off but still, I missed it.

Amelia is now 7 and a half months old and I still can’t drink my much loved vanilla lattes. But I’m hoping I can learn to love coffee again.

I found these delicious sounding instant coffees and bought a variety pack so I can try all the different flavours. I am hoping at least one of them tastes nice to me.

F685FF48-70EC-4BDE-BCC7-4020424CE100

The gingerbread one sounds particularly good in the run up to Christmas. Pregnancy makes you hate your favourite foods and love things you previously hated. One of the many interested results of growing a tiny human.

D6992CE1-2220-4ECA-8CA1-7D3C486880E7

Small Businesses

In the run up to Christmas when we are all doing our shopping it is important for us all to have a browse of the products available from small businesses. The family run Facebook shops and the little stalls at markets that are the income paying mortgages and putting food on the table.

Their is a lovely business I found on Instagram called ‘stitchlings’ Instagram handle @stitchlingscreations. They make a variety of items including skirts, pants, hair bows and blankets. I purchased a lovely little taggy blanket for Amelia from them and it is perfect. It arrived this morning and she is already so attached to it. It is fluffy on one side and penguin printed the other, with red tags and silver tags.

6F34387C-6866-421D-BFE3-A107E98D5A2E.jpeg

The wonderful thing about buying items from small businesses is that they often help families afford dance lessons for their little ones, go towards christenings and weddings and allow families to have a delicious Christmas dinner. Not only is their the financial aspect their is also the joy of knowing that many of the products are made to order and are completely unique to you. No other person can have exactly the same one as they are hand made.

What small businesses have you found that you’d like others to know about?

Shopping Mad

December 15th

10 days til Christmas.

We have had a few snowy days now, all the decorations are up and most of the presents are wrapped.

I have seen so many people panicking and running round the shops like headless chickens. There is one thing I always try and avoid: panic buying.

You know that crazy moment when you buy your uncle who despises football the latest away shirt because you can’t think of anything else and it’s on the list of gift ideas for men? Or that mad rush to pick up the last chocolate snowman in Thornton’s for your Nan, even though she is diabetic and it’s full of sugar?

The closer it gets to Christmas the more people you see rushing round the shops and buying everything in sight. I absolutely dread the Christmas food shop because you always get that one person who thinks because the shops are shut one day they must buy 50 loaves of bread, 20 pints of milk and the entire aisle of tinned vegetables.

Panic buying. The most costly and pointless exercise. What exactly are you going to do with all those loaves of bread? Are you going to shower in the milk? The tiniest bit of snow and a similar shopping over load occurs. I try and avoid it and think I have managed it so far this winter.

What is the worst thing you have panic bought?

Must haves for a cosy Christmas

Making your home cosy at Christmas doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Just a few homely touches here and there and a few pounds will make the family warmer and comfier.

Candles
I found some gorgeous reindeer tea light holders from studio. Tea lights are really cheap and come in so many different scents so we can use these holders again and again. I also have a beautiful spiced orange candle from Aldi’s Christmas range. At £3.99 it was a bargain

Dressing gowns
I have a lovely fluffy pink one that my boyfriend got me for our second anniversary. It’s from primark and they stock so many different colours and styles

Slippers
I don’t actually have any at the moment but am hoping to get some for Christmas. I really like the look of the soft fluffy memory foam ones that are popular at the moment. There is a lovely pair in new look but as long as they are soft and comfy I’m not fussy. I’d particularly like a cream or pink pair. (Hint hint Rob if you are reading this.)

Hot chocolate
What better way to spend a cold evening that snuggled in a dressing gown and slippers with scented candles and a mug of hot chocolate. Options have a strawberry hot chocolate that sounds wonderful.

Teddies
This is more one for the little people than the adults. Amelia picked a cuddly penguin out in Aldi – literally she grabbed it from the shelf whilst sitting in the trolley. A soft toy is perfect for little ones to cuddle up with on the sofa whilst watching peppa pig. Amelia was not in a modelling mood and below is the best picture I could get.

ED6B01FF-A459-4AB8-BDA0-166232044160