Turning One

Amelia’s birthday is fast approaching and to celebrate we are throwing her an afternoon tea party for her and her little friends. With work and uni to juggle alongside the titchy princess I have to be organised.

The to do list for a first birthday party is surprisingly long. So far I have:
Gone shopping for all her presents
Paid for and put together the party bags
Got the balloons and banners
Got the plastic cups and paper plates
Got the wrapping paper
Got the icing sugar and other decorations for the cake

What I still need to do:
Wrap the presents
Make and decorate the cake
Buy and cook the party food
Find the princess an outfit
Buy batteries for my camera so I can take some decent pictures for once

Who knew a one year old required so much? I’m not a big fan of huge parties for first birthdays. Being an only child there aren’t that many children that Amelia could invite and I think Amelia would find a hall filled with people overwhelming.

Her little tea party is going to be in nanny’s back garden with lots of toys and people that she knows and loves. Small and sweet for our little sweetheart.

Four weeks Monday my baby is officially one. Where has the time gone?

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‘Young mums’

‘Young mums’

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.

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Valentines Day with YouSaidItCards

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  ❤️

yousaiditcards valentines

*** I was sent this card for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own ***

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.)

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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?

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.

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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?

Advent Calendars

Traditionally advent calendars are a religious concept. Most people don’t buy advent candles anymore but not so long ago they were present in family homes and churches, not the chocolate advent calendars we have come to love today.

Then there were cardboard advent calendars, ones where you opened doors to reveal a depiction of a scene from the bible.

Now we have moved on from chocolate advent calendars to ones containing toys and make up. This year there have even be advent calendars produced that contain gin and cheese.

I found this lovely advent calendar from Avon. It contains a pair of earrings behind each door. At a bargain price of £10 for 25 pairs of earrings it is a wonderful alternative to the more expensive gift advent calendars. (I also have a chocolate one thanks to my mum.)

 

Next year when Amelia is a bit bigger I’d love to get her the toot toot advent calendar.

Which advent calendars have you found this year that you love?

Food Amelia Couldn’t Live Without

1. Banana porridge
Amelia isn’t fussy if it’s cow and gate or aptamil as long as she gets her breakfast. She’ll eat other flavours if she has too but banana is her preference.
2. Fruity melty puffs
Amelia happily tucks into these as snacks or with her lunch (they are like baby wotsits). Her favourite ones are strawberry. Ella’s Kitchen strawberry and banana and kiddylicious strawberry puffs are two of Amelia’s favourites. If they aren’t available she’ll also tuck into carrot puffs from Aldi. She’s a growing girl and loves her food!
3. Yoghurts
Amelia particularly likes Yeo Valley – little yeo ones. Like the puffs if there are only alternatives available she’ll eat those too. Any fromage frais make her happy.
4. Rice crispies
Probably the strangest one on the list, Amelia has really taken to these. To start with I was putting these in her high chair tray so she could play with them whilst rob and I have dinner. (Unlike some things they are easy to clean up) In the last few weeks she stopped playing with them and started shoving them in her mouth. She loves the pop noise they make when they touch her tongue.

On another note – anyone else go to the shops and end up buying things they don’t need? Went over to Aldi to get baby milk and Amelia fell in love with a fluffy penguin. She was heart broken when I took it off her to pay for it. Who could resist that smile though?

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