30 December 2011

Poor second child!

My poor daughter, she is one at the end of the month and so far I have arranged nothing in the way of a 1st birthday party!

With my son I spent weeks sorting everything out so it was perfect but with her I haven't even started to think about it, it doesn't help it's a few weeks after Christmas and New Year and me going back to work :(

Poor thing, I am now in a rush to find somewhere to have a party as I don't think I can cope with 30 odd people round my house in the winter (normally if it's warm I can shove some folk outside),

I don't want to go mad, but with my son I bought banners, plates and all sorts with Happy 1st Birthday stuff, I went all out on party bags and everything.

It's like with the new baby cards we got when she was born, we must have got about 50 when my son was born but with my daughter we can't have got more than 20.

I never realised how hard it was being the second child, everything has already been done so it seems like nobody cares (I know this isn't true but you know what I mean).

My poor little princess, I really have to pull my finger out I think and sort something ASAP, I will only regret it if I don't :(



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29 December 2011

Food glorious food!

So my posts have been mainly Christmas related this week, sorry but you know how it is.

I've been doing a lot of baking and making, here are just a few of my festive offerings.

Me and my son made some Christmas cupcakes on Christmas eve for visiting relatives, he seems just to want them to eat the sweet off the top though!

Some festive cupcakes me and my son made together!

I hadn't made these before but it seemed cheaper to make some tarts than buy them, they were delicious and surprisingly easy. I have never used Filo before but had a stab and they worked out well. Will put the recipe or at least how I did them on the blog at some point.

Some Brie & Cranberry and Goats Cheese and Red Onion Tarts

For the last few years I have bought reduced turkeys after Christmas just to make this dish it is devine, even my three year old loved it! Turkey is so versatile, you can have a roast dinner, and do so much with the left overs. This is from one of my favourite chef's the fabulous Jamie Oliver, it is Chilli Con Turkey and you can use up so much with it :)

Chilli Con Turkey with left over turkey

And finally, fudge! As seen on Favourite Recipe Friday! I was giving to children so left out the pistachios but instead added some cranberries on the top for a festive look.

Some chocolate fudge, see recipe on Favourite Recipe Friday
I have a few other things that I haven't managed to get off the camera yet so will put them on another post but they include trifle and maybe depending on how it turns out a cake I have been feeding and nursing for the last two weeks! Don't ask, but it tastes lovely :)
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27 December 2011

Mmm hot chocolate!

Before this blog became The Mummy Diary it was called cupcakes and hot chocolate.

Reason being I love them both, even in the height of summer I will quite happily sup on a hot chocolate and my love of cakes will probably cause my arteries to eventually clog up.

So you can imagine my delight when I open not one but two tins of yummy hot chocolate and the fabulous scrummy Hummingbird Bakery book.

Yummy, yummy.

Also got a new cake stand from my mother in law which kinda makes up for the random wool comb!
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25 December 2011

20 December 2011

Tune on Tuesday!

One of my favourite Christmas tunes! Always makes me feel festive even if the meaning is one of woe!

Being an 80s child this brings back some memories and I just love the haircuts!

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19 December 2011

A hard decision!

So a reminder letter and a talking to by some work colleagues has got me really panicky about my sons school application for next year.

The deadline is 15th January and I haven't been and looked round a single one! I feel like such a bad mummy, this is his life and future I am being blasé about! I really think I have been putting it off because I can't cope with the fact my baby is going to school!

The last few years have flown by and my time with PND really took some quality moments away from me, he is the most amazing little person I have ever met and I feel really sad that this is happening!

I know every mum and dad go through this but my heart really aches with the thought of him being in school!

I think I have found a nice one within walking distance, which is something I had really hoped for. Well I say walking distance I think I am going to be super fit this time next year. We live on one side of a huge hill the school is on the other side and a bit a long!

The next decision will be what am I going to do about work? If we can't find a school with before or after school clubs then it just won't be worth me going to work and thus my daughter won't need to go to nursery.


I think this is so sad as my son has always enjoyed nursery and I did enjoy my time in work, but for what will be about £20 after we have paid for nursery is it worth it?!?

I really can't believe I am looking at schools for my son, it really does only seem like five minutes ago that we bought him home from the hospital all small and squishy!
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18 December 2011

16 December 2011

Favourite Recipe Friday -Snowball Truffles

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me get excited about this recipe, I love, love, love them, they are super simple and very yummy!

They would make the perfect present to give to friends or family who pop over at Christmas, if they last that long anyway!

Ingredients:

175g (6oz) plain chocolate (about 50% cocoa solids is best; any higher and the truffles may taste bitter)
150ml (5fl oz) extra thick double cream
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoon Irish Cream, Grand Marnier or Brandy (you could leave this out if you are giving to children but with plain chocolate these are normally an adult only treat)
1 tablespoon crème friache
40g (1 1/2 oz) icing sugar
Petit four paper cases

Method:

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and put into the bowl of a food processor. Whiz for about 30 seconds or until the chocoalte is very finely chopped.

2. Put the cream, butter and liqueur into a small pan and bring to the boil. Switch on the processor and with the motor still running add the hot cream mixture to the chopped chocolate. Blend until evenly mixed.

3. Spoon the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the crème fraiche. Cool, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight to thicken.

4. Arrange the petit four cases on a tray. Sieve the icing sugar onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper (foil is fine too if you don't have greaseproof). Drop teaspoons of the chocolate mixture onto the icing sugar and roll to cover. (You can roll them into a ball first before rolling on the icing sugar, either in your hands or on the worktop if they are cold enough just be careful not to handle too much as they will melt). Use two forks to lift and drop them carefully into the paper cases.

5. To gift wrap, pack each truffle in it's paper case into a decorative box. Tie a pretty ribbon around the lid ad cover the box. Label with storage instructions and an eat by date. The truffles can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week.

And hey presto, home made gift, or a treat if you don't want to give away :)

Favourite Recipe Friday
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15 December 2011

Thinking about things too much!

Last night I was watching the Royal Variety Performance and Greg Davies got me thinking about my school days.

He was talking about nick names at school and for me I was bullied so much it made me wonder how I would cope if my children get bullied!

Kids are mean, I used to get called coathanger shoulders or twig legs because I was so skinny, they always used to say 'she wants to be a model'. Looking back they were just being jealous cows, but at the time I wanted to die because of it!

Once during drama one of the less well off boys (a tramp as he was known to the other kids) ran up to me and put his hands out to stop himself from running into me, it looked like he was going to honk my boobs.

From that day forward and for the foreseeable future people went 'honk honk' and did that air boob pinching thing you do whenever I walked towards them (I can hear you sniggering and while it is funny now at the time I just used to cry)! Oh the shame :(

I had a PE skirt that one of the larger girls would always ridicule me for and say it looked like I had a hanky wrapped round me because I was so thin, looking back she was obese and the one that had issues and I shouldn't have worried about it but everyone laughed and that was that!

I suppose I have this knowledge and can arm my children with it and advise them of how best to deal with these bullies, after all I have a beautiful house, utterly gorgeous children and am still a pretty attractive woman (excuse the big head)!
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14 December 2011

What's in the box!?!

I love it when I go round to see my grandparents and my gran says 'here are these any good to you', she normally finds a skirt or a box of something she no longer needs and as I am the only grandchild to visit regulraly I am offered said item.

This time though I didn't mind, when anyone hands you a biscuit box dated Best Before April 93 you know your in for a treat.

What's in the box?

Oooh
And here is some of it's contents, some gorgeous and I suppose vintage decorations. Some just for  Christmas, some that will look gorgeous all year round.

I love these, they are paper and still look lovely!
 




These are a bit later but still you can tell they were made to last by the plastic holding the tassels


I'm not sure if she still has her button box but if she does I hope she offers me that one day, so many hours spent threading them onto cotton when I was little :D
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12 December 2011

Getting crafty for Christmas

Last week we made some Christmas cards for the grandparents, I got the idea from a post I saw retweeted by the fab Red Ted Art.

Basically we took some festive paper but you could do this straight onto a coloured card, red/green is pretty festive ;o)

I then got my two children to put their hands in some white paint and had printed onto the paper, once dried I drew on some hats, eyes, buttons and a carrot nose and hey presto snowman hand print cards.



I did them with both my daughter who is 10 months and my son who is 3 so you can do with your children however old!

Handmade, personal, totally unique and might I add super easy and cheap!

Here are our final four, I have some more to do but they are so simple I just had to share :)

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10 December 2011

9 December 2011

Favourite Recipe Friday - Parsnip & Celeriac Bake

My mother in law got me into this one but as I am the only one in the house that likes parsnip and celeriac I have to freeze some of it!

She found it in the BBC Good Food magazine a few years ago and has been making it for Christmas and Sunday lunches ever since.

It really is a lovely side and a bit different to roast parsnips, I have nothing against the humble roast parsnip I just never manage to get the timing right and they are either burnt or uncooked!

Ingredients:
  • 600g parsnips , peeled and cubed
  • 1kg celeriac , peeled and cubed
  • 25g butter
  • 4 tablespoon double cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves 
For the topping:

  • 50g fresh coarse breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoon Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), coarsely grated
  • handful of flaked almonds(if you don't have these in then leave out it doesn't make a difference)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
Method:

1. Cook the parsnips in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 mins, then tip in the celeriac and boil together for 8 mins. Drain well, then mash with butter and cream. Season, then add a grating of nutmeg, stir in the sage and spoon into a buttered ovenproof dish. Make up to this stage 1 day ahead or freeze for one month. Defrost in fridge overnight.

2. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan, almonds and oil together. Season, scatter over the mash, then bake for 35-40 mins from cold, 25-30 mins if not, until topping is crisp and golden.

Simple and easy to make and it really does taste lovely!


Favourite Recipe Friday
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8 December 2011

There's always one!

Aggghh, why is it there is always that one sneaky tissue that manages to get in with the dark wash, normally it is in my jeans but I have no idea where today's came from as my jeans weren't in there!!!

Hundreds of little white pieces now adorn the washing...hubby won't be pleased as it was mainly his stuff!

Oh well, not sure how it gone in there or if it was even a tissue?!?!
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6 December 2011

My oven is clean!

Today I have had my oven cleaned, I am not ashamed to admit this as it is now super sparkly!

I would have waited till after Christmas but it was so smelly that I thought it better to have it done before, so all my mince pies and Christmas biscuits get to cook away in a smell free oven!

Our oven is self cleaning but only the back and sides apparently so I just have it all done, the guys we use at RENU are brilliant and after an hour being here it is as sparkly as the day we had it installed.

The man who came was really nice he said I had a lovely house and even said it was a good oven and we should be proud of it!

Brilliant service and I am so happy with it, annoyingly I didn't take a picture of it before he cleaned it but here it is sparkling away :)

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5 December 2011

What is 'time on your own'?

I can't remember the last time I spent any time on my own, I mean on me!

About the only 10 minutes peace and quiet I get is when i'm in the shower but still I am usually thinking about whether the children are ok.

I go back to work in January, those two days a week will be my 'me time' I mean what the hell! I am going to get my hair done at the end of this week but I am taking my daughter with me so it won't be relaxing as such.

But then thinking about it what is time on your own, me time, time to yourself????


Surely you give up the right to time on your own when you have children don't you?

I just think life is so different now days, my husband is away a lot, he go's to work early and gets home late. I literally don't have any time to sit down and relax without someone wanting or needing me or having to do some house work.

My dad was home the same time every night and there was very rarely any change to that, my mum always had a bath in the evening and went to a coffee morning every Tuesday for many years once we had gone to school.

I know I shouldn't moan but could this be the reason I am so stressed all the time? Do I need to let my hair down? If someone said I'll look after the kids for a few hours you go and do something nice what would I do?

Sigh, I don't know and that is why I am writing this post!

On a happier note the Christmas tree is up, just wish hubby wasn't off to Finland next week for three days!
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4 December 2011

3 December 2011

Saturday charity shopping!

I love popping into our local town to support local businesses.

Today we went to meet a friend for a coffee and to pass the time before his train we looked around the charity shops.

I am normally looking for some china tea sets for my birthday next year, but always look through the book section for some new reads.

Today I spotted this recipe book, I already have one of Donna Hay's books so knew it would have some great recipes in.

I wasn't wrong and can see some of these becoming next years favourite recipes.


Next two bargain buys we're these children's books, each 50p.



Considering this one is older than me I don't think that is a bad price.

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2 December 2011

Favourite Recipe Friday - Cranberry Sauce

Today is another festive treat, now some of you may have made this before and it isn't particularly a difficult recipe. However since I first made cranberry sauce about six years ago I have only ever bought ready made for use in gravy or when cranberries are difficult to source (pardon the pun).

I even get asked to make this for family and it is my usual festive offering along with fudge!

This particular recipe I found a few years ago from Nigella, it uses cherry brandy which is fab. But if you don't have any or prefer no alcohol or just don't want to buy it specifically just for this sauce then you can use orange juice.

Because this lasts it can be made a week ahead of Christmas but I usually make on Christmas eve (mmm I suppose this is a tradition then).


Ingredients:

1 x 300g pack fresh cranberries (if you can only find frozen ones these work just as well and are usually cheaper)
200g caster sugar
45ml cherry brandy (if you have it) or freshly squeezed orange juice if you'd prefer
75ml water

Method:

1. Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan and let it bubble away until the berries start to pop, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon. This will take about 10 minutes, I always stay in the room to make sure they don't catch on the bottom of the pan. 

2. One thing to remember is that cranberries are rich in pectin and solidify a lot on cooling, so although it will be cooked when all the berries have burst, it will still look runnier than you think cranberry sauce should.  

3. I usually just squish any stubborn cranberries with the back of the spoon but a vigorous stir works too, taste the sauce - making sure not to burn your mouth (honestly it is like licking the sun) - to check whether it needs more sugar. If you prefer it sweeter then you can add more at this stage, I usually add a bit at a time until it is sweet enough. If you find it too sweet, which is unlikely or add to much sugar, just add some lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.  

NB: If you cook this sauce in advance it turns quite solid, so stir through with a fork before serving.

The sauce can be frozen and then thawed over night but I usually find it lasts for weeks in the fridge, just transfer from the dish into a separate serving bowl so you don't transfer any germs/ bits of food back into it.

This sauce goes great with cold meats and chicken dinners so don't be afraid if it looks like loads, it always gets eaten in our house.

Favourite Recipe Friday
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1 December 2011

End of a journey...maybe?

So I breastfed my son for 20 months, I am still breast feeding my daughter and had intended to until she was at least one. But my spots are so bad at the moment I fear the only way of stopping them will be by going on the pill.

But not the mini one that you can go on whilst breast feeding because that sent me mental last time!

So it means I will have to stop feeding my daughter, but can I bring myself to do this in the name of vanity?!? Or maybe it is in the name of sanity, I think my hormones have gone pretty mental causing me to lose it on occasion and also these hideous and might I add flipping painful cysts on my face.

I have been managing to cover them up with make up but there is only so much I can do without looking like I work on a make up counter.

Anyone who knows me can see something is different as I have gone from wearing very little make up to lots in a matter of weeks!

I can't believe how stupid I sound as I know it could be a lot worse, but for me it is bringing on slight feelings of depression, a feeling of not wanting to go out! When I do I am trying to hide behind my hair :(

I have an appointment at the hairdressers next week and I cannot even bring myself to think how I am going to cope sitting under bright lights in front of a mirror for a few hours!


I have the doctors this afternoon, a lovely doctor who has helped me so much in the last few years, I am hoping she won't tell me there is nothing she can do!

If anyone has suffered with this and has some miracle cure that isn't going to cost me then I would be forever in your debt!

My confidence is waning severely! Help!
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30 November 2011

Supporting local businesses!

I always like to support independant and local businesses, so when I needed some new jeans this week I headed to a local boutique that I knew would satisfy my needs.

I wasn't wrong, I picked up a gorgeous pair of skinny jeans and top that look and fit brilliantly.

Where is this place you may ask and can I buy on-line, well it is in Hockley, Nottingham and yes you can shop online at Pink & Lilly.co.uk

Caroline the lady who owns it is lovely and helped me pick out pieces to try on, this is something you don't get in a huge department store as standard.

As the owner of a small family run business I am all to aware of how difficult it is at the moment and I feel it is this attention to detail that sets small businesses apart from the high street giants.

Yes sometimes it costs more, but for good quality and good fitting items that I want to wear they are prices I am prepared to pay.

If you can please support small and independent local or online businesses this Christmas, so they may continue to thrive and someone's hard work and passion isn't wasted.

If you have a second then please check out this list that the lovely Karen over at All About the Boys has started, it contains many brilliant independent retailers who would be so grateful of your business this Christmas.

Photobucket
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29 November 2011

BBC Good Food Show with Belling UK

I was lucky enough to go to the BBC Good Food Show Winter with Belling UK on Sunday, it was the first time I had been and I had a great time.

I didn't get to see many of the stands because I had a pushchair, and it was just a bit too difficult on my own to try and get past so many people waiting to test the samples.

I did however get to visit the stands I wanted too and buy a few bits of yummy deliciousness (keep an eye out for a follow up post on these).

The show is split out into several area's. Produce, from drinks to jams, fudge and cheeses are in one section. Drinks are in another section and then you have all of the product stands in the other section.

I first visited the Belling Stand, staring back at me in all of it's pink glory was this fabulous range cooker! I have to admit if I had the room I would love on of these, I am not normally a girly girl but this is just so divine.

On the other side of the stand was the Facebook cooker, pretty sure it's obvious what this is but if not it is a cooker with lots of little Facebook profile pictures on it.



I missed the first few minutes of the morning session with Brian Turner so went over to the Magimix stand to watch the lovely Holly Bell of Recipes of a Normal Mum (you may recognise her from The Great British Bake Off).


She made some Christmas Scones which I shall definitely be making, so watch out for a post on these some time before Christmas. Plus I learnt some useful tips and probably the reason my scones normally don't look brilliant ;)

After spotting a couple of other faces from The Great British Bake off, I went off in search of a bag to put my bits in and got a couple of magazines too.

A quick trip to the Parent Room (which was a saviour, please keep for next year), brilliantly laid out with toys, free nappies, high chairs and an area to feed quietly in.

After walking around bagging a few more bargains and some lunch, I went back to the belling stand to see the brilliant Brian Turner doing his thing.



He cooked up some fabulous dishes in a Ready Steady Cook style, I can't tell you exactly what he made or point you to any recipes. But what he cooked did sound yummy!

Finally and here is the good bit (well I say good, I guess it depends on whether you like free stuff). I did manage to get a handful of freebies. Including a Tweet Pie Recipe Book (worth £4,99), which were being sold by the brilliant Food Cycle guys on the Belling stand, a copy of the show magazine with some fab recipes in it. Some samples from the Bonne Maman stand and Lizi's Granola as well as some other discount coupons, a pen and some other random bits of um....useful stuff!

All you need to do is fill in the form below and I will pick a winner using random.org on the 6th December at 8pm.

The competition has now closed and the winner has been informed, thank you to all those that entered  :)

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26 November 2011

Silent Sunday

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What would happen if...

Shortly after my son was born my husband was taken into hospital with two slipped discs, he had to have them removed and was then unable to do anything for 3 months!

As I replaced the empty shower gel this morning and got my daughters breakfast ready I wondered what state of disrepair this house would fall into if the same thing happened to me?

We had no time to plan for him being ill, the Thursday we were told he needed to go into hospital on the Saturday he had the operation.

It is always me who notices things are running out and either gets them or tells my husband to get them, me who does the shopping, me who makes my daughters meals, me who does the majority of the cleaning and ironing, so what happens if I suddenly can't do those things!

I can't even begin to imagine, oh gosh can you just imagine the children! I am pretty sure they would be wearing the most hideous of outfits, we would have no loo roll and dinner would be the same two things on rotation!

Mmm maybe I should give my husband the benefit of the doubt, oh wait, I have been with him for nearly 9 years and still he fills the bin up to the point he is balancing things like a game of Jenga just like when I first met him!
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25 November 2011

Favourite Recipe Friday - Christmas Gammon

Following on with the Christmas theme, this week we have a recipe which I am afraid isn't your normal recipe.

It came from a farmers wife who cooks it for her family at Christmas and it is a dab of this a measure of that etc, so I apologise in advance for the lack of measurements. But for me that is where the fun of cooking is!

Ingredients:

Gammon Joint (whatever size you require, more is better as that means left overs for pies and lunches)
Borage Honey (a heather honey or something similar would be fine)
Orange Juice
Salt

Method:

1. Wipe the gammon dry and place in baking tray.


2. Coat with a layer of the honey making sure it covers all of the skin.

3. Pour over some orange juice so it coats the gammon and sprinkle with salt.



4. Pour water into the tray - about 2cm deep around the meat.

5. Cover with foil and seal over the tray sides.

6. Roast at 150/160c for approx 1hr per kg.

7. Baste with juices from time to time.

8. Cook to 75c or until the juices run clear.
9. I take the tin foil off for the last ten minutes and use the liquid to make a gravy if you fancy having it as a roast dinner.



Perfect for a roast dinner or as a sandwich filler warm or cold.

I normally cook this for boxing day with left over turkey, pickles, pork pie and cheeses. There is normally enough left for sandwiches and for a turkey and ham pie. Will do a recipe with this after Christmas me thinks :)




Favourite Recipe Friday
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