Frocks galore & Project Pampering

Not posted for a few days so a little positivity catch up…

1) Support Been a pretty up & down few days, but I’ve had hugs & company from my Mama, & chats with lovely friends. I appreciate it so much.

2) 16 weeks Sylvie turned 16 weeks yesterday. She’s been a little off colour but seems to be turning the corner now. We went out wedding attire shopping yesterday with my Mama & she now has more changes of outfit “just in case” for the wedding day than your average celebrity! Yesterday, got a Baker girl frock & a playsuit in the blue cross sale at Debenhams. This having a daughter thing is still a novelty… So many pretty things! 😉

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3) Dens – little Stickle hasn’t been very well, and is very whingy & upset a lot recently. Coupled with his frustration at not being able to communicate well, it’s led to a few meltdowns. Very draining for us all. However, we had a lovely moment yesterday, building a sofa den & it really cheered him up!

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4)Hugs – My four year old kept randomly hugging me and telling me how much he loved me & how pretty & beautiful I was!! This boy will go far!! 😉

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5)New tricks Sylvie was sat in her bouncer last night and learnt how to trigger the blue lights to come on using her feet & hands!

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And a bonus 6) Frocks! – managed to get a couple of dresses yesterday in the sale, for my nephews wedding! I’ve not lost any weight as I’d planned to for the wedding as my priority has been breastfeeding (& cake eating!) but even though I’m overweight, I still felt kinda pretty in new dresses! It’s made me realise how I’d like to start making more effort to defrump myself, wear nicer clothes (instead of my usual crap maternity jeans & baggy tops) & feel happier in my own skin… So project pampering will commence shortly!

Smashing Strawberry muffins

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I love baking muffins as you can probably tell by now if you read this blog! So, today I baked two batches, some Italian Courgette cakes with added blueberries & these Smashing Strawberry muffins. I’m hoping these will be good for packed lunches & might try freezing one to see how they fare so I can batch bake them.

I didn’t have fresh strawberries but did have frozen which I thawed.

I used a large Cath Kidson sized mug for my measuring by the way! Sorry my quantities are a little haphazard!

Ingredients

1 & half mugs of self-raising flour
1 mug of strawberries (I used thawed frozen ones)
Just under 3/4 mug of caster sugar
1/3 mug vegetable oil
2 medium eggs
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180°C (mine is a fan oven)

Smash the strawberries up with a fork or masher in a large mixing bowl. Feeling grumpy or down? Smash them REALLY hard! It helps!

Add oil, eggs, & sugar to smashed up strawberries. Mix well.

Add flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon (sieve it in) – mix until combined.

Line a muffin tray with cases, I slightly sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in my paper cases as it seems to help stop sticking.

Spoon in the mixture approx 3/4 full. Should make around 10/12 muffins this way. Bake for around 20 minutes until risen & golden brown.

I don’t know what they’d be like with fresh strawberries but the frozen worked a treat! They turned out much better than I expected! Really pleased! Let me know if you try them!

Edited 3/5/13 – we made some Smashing Strawberry & Blackberry muffins today! We added a handful of fresh blackberries and smashed these up too along with the strawberries. These were delicious too!

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Eieio & Sewing Bee

Hard to think of many positives when 4 out of 5 children are not feeling well (and neither am I!) but let’s give it a shot!

1) Giggles – Sylvie really giggled at me tonight when I was singing Old Mc Donald to her! Was it my poor ability at holding a note? Or was she genuinely laughing who knows?! I know my singing voice isn’t up to scratch….(Unless I’ve sunk a few glasses of wine and handed a mic, then I like to think I’m a warbling mix of Patsy Cline and Eva Cassidy!)

2) 3 weeks tomorrow since leaving my old Facebook account, I’ve still managed to keep in touch with a few. I still need to reactivate to pass on some contacts, and copy a document and download my data… Then I’m closing it properly. Some people have said they miss me on Facebook, but I’m still here, I’m still contactable if people want to talk to me or email – and truthfully I feel a happier person for making this change. Not many have asked how this decision has affected me, but it’s made a real improvement to how I go about my day and spend my time. I didn’t want to make a big “hey look at me! I’m leaving Facebook!” gesture, nor actively encourage others to follow suit, but I’ve since seen or heard of a few others leaving, including my chap, and most people I have spoken with seem to have a renewed sense of purpose and positivity. Check out these links here and here… I found them quite good reads.

3) Phones I sent back my latest upgrade. I had switched from an iPhone 4 to a Sony Xperia Z but it was too big and clumsy for me after a weekend of trying to get used to it. Great phone but not worth it. In fact, it got me thinking about how I want to simplify my life, so I’m now considering going on a payg account and cutting my bills down.

4) Sewing Bee Watched the final of the Great British Sewing Bee tonight and was pleased with the result! I am itching to start sewing & learning how to make things. I need to lose the fear of making mistakes though… Which reminds me of a great quote by Sir Ken Robinson. (I love him!!)

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

5) Dandelions My four year old handed me a dandelion this afternoon and told me “I picked you a bootiful flower mummy!” 😀 what a lovely way to put a smile on my face.

Raspberry & Blueberry muffins

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Got a poorly household today, and cake baking urge was strong! Needed berry muffins after seeing a link here yesterday.

I am never very sure of cup measurements so I just kind of winged it! These had a lovely sharp tang from the raspberries. Even my blueberry hating eldest enjoyed them! I loved that they weren’t too sweet…

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… and they were perfect with a cup of tea!

Picnic & friendships

1)Picnic with friends
My friend Mia came today with her three children for a walk and picnic! It was lovely even though it didn’t quite go as expected! Came home & had a nice cuppa & chat too.

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2) Sleepy girls

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Our two little ones sparked out after the picnic! Sylvie complete with grassy knees! Was lovely to see! I really am looking forward to watching them develop a friendship as they grow!

3) Muffins

Made some Italian courgette muffins for our picnic with a little help from the children. Recipe was from Abel & Cole They were yummy!

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4) Warm weather Was lovely & sunny, and we managed to eat a lovely mackerel pasta outside this evening.

5) New phone Changed from an iPhone to Sony XperiaZ yesterday with a free upgrade. Phone is huge & it’s taking some getting used to but I like it. It’s positives outweigh the negatives so far. Exercising my thumb too! 😉

Rustic chunky chicken, chickpea & vegetable soup

20130417-132252.jpgWoke up this morning craving a bowl of vegetable soup, so whilst the baby slept after the school run I made one! Remembered I had roast chicken so added that too! Although without the chicken it was very yummy too.

I don’t tend to follow recipes when making a quick soup, just chuck in what I have to hand.

Today’s soup ingredients:
1 large brown onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
Couple of organic carrots unpeeled & chopped
Courgette – chopped
Tin chopped tomatoes
Handful of dried small pasta – I used organic tricolour Simpsons shapes!!
Handful of fresh baby spinach
Tin of chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
Squeeze of Tomato purée
Veg/chicken stock or bouillon
Seasoning
Dried chilli flakes
Lemon
Olive oil
Parsley
Oregano
Roast chicken leftovers (pref. free range)

Heat oil in large pan, add onion, & celery, gently soften for a few minutes, add garlic, chilli flakes, tomato purée.

Add tinned chopped tomatoes, stock (I added water & organic bouillon and mixed mine in), carrot, courgette, chickpeas, pasta. Black pepper & herbs.

Gently simmer until veg is tender & pasta/chickpeas cooked. Add roast chicken & simmer until heated through. I added my baby spinach at the end, stirring it through & putting lid on pan as it wilted, and I also tested it, adding a touch of sea salt & a squeeze of fresh lemon.

You can of course, add any variety of veg, I think I’d like to make a tomato-free one next time!

My fussy four year old wont eat soup like this often but he would eat it blitzed up and served in his favourite mug! Youngest son liked dunking bread in his! This reminded me it might also be good blitzed up and served with little rice cakes for babies from six months. I used to do this for my younger boys who I did baby-led weaning with. Just omit the salt or look for reduced salt stock or bouillon if not making your own.

I had my soup for a late breakfast! This was quite a big pan and would easily feed my large family with a little leftover, or feed at least a couple of us for a 2/3 days if stored in the refrigerator.

Dipping back into embroidery.

My Sylvie Toadstool embroidery!
🍄 ❤ 🍄

keep it simple

After doing my Folksy Friday post and finding the pretty embroidery items, I fancied having a go at doing a little something! It’s been probably more than 20 years since I did any, I used to do it with my Gran on my weekly Sunday visits, between playing Scrabble of draughts! I popped into the local sewing shop (The Sewing Shop!) the next day and picked up a hoop and some threads..

I have a friend, Jodi (from yesterday’s post!) who will be decorating a room for Sylvie and thinking of doing a woodland theme so I thought I’d make a little hanging hoop of some toadstools to go in it. I didn’t have a special disappearing ink pen so I looked at a few pictures online and used one as a guide to look at. I’m pleased with how it turned out! It’s mostly done in…

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Toadstools, Binty Bunny & friendship

1) Friendship and surprises – Yesterday, was a day of two halves. Lovely visit to a friend, and my Albie had a good first session at the school nursery but it was swiftly followed by scary accident at home. Albie banged his nose and cut it badly and there was a LOT of blood. He’s okay now, but a little sore. I was feeling pretty shaken up & upset, (we all were). Today, Mia came to see me & brought me a surprise she had hand embroidered for Sylvie. I was blown away at such a special thoughtful gift! (I may have shed a tear or two!) and it really cheered me up.

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I love it so much!!

2)Binty Bunny – When Sylvie was born, a lovely friend sent us a bunny she knitted, affectionately named ‘Binty’! Sylvie loves her & tries to chew her! 🙂 Sign of a loved toy I think!

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3) Love – Albie adores his baby sister so much, he can be a little ‘full-on’ but I love how much he cares for her… This was a photo from first thing this morning. Complete with taped up nose!

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4) Minecraft vest – My second eldest son decorated a minecraft vest for Sylvie a while ago! She wore it today for the first time!

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5) Sunshine – Feels warm today and it makes a world of difference to our day! Sitting outside with my children & they are eating ice cream cones 🙂

Friendships new and old :)

I didn’t do five things yesterday, as one of my boys had a nasty accident. Thankfully, after frantic 999 call & trip to a&e to be checked & taped back together again, he’s okay, just very sore. Gave us all such a fright. 😦
However, aside from that, we had a wonderful morning with a friend, & a lovely day before it all went a bit pearshaped! This is Mia’s five things featuring Sylvie & Violet! We had a lovely time. x

keep it simple

Today’s five things:

  1. A very very lovely morning with Jodi! Felt like it had been a while since out last catch up so really enjoyed this morning’s cup of tea and cake! Violet & Sylvie are starting to really take notice of each other, Violet was loving Sylvie – she kept trying to grab her face! They were talking and grinning at each other, it was so cute to watch! We were thinking back to when we first became friends, almost four years ago, thanks to facebook and cola cake! I hope our girls grow to be as good a friends as we are ❤DSC_6604
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  2. Summer hat. First day back at school after Easter break and we didn’t need to equip ourselves for arctic weather before doing school run for a change! Violet even wore her summer hat! Lets hope this is the real start of the warmer weather!

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It’s not even 1pm yet…

1) Walking – Today we went for an impromptu walk in the fields and newly planted forest by our house. It was wonderfully breezy, and warm. We will do this more often, next time taking the baby slings, and perhaps a picnic! We had a lovely time, and it is so lovely knowing this is literally on our doorstep! A perfect place to walk, run, or even cycle perhaps.ImageImageOur tyre swing at the top of the hill!

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The fishing lake.

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2) Making decisions – Today I made a decision, one that I won’t share just yet, but I feel happier and better for it already.

3) Talking – Having someone who I can talk to about worries or concerns, and knowing that they understand, it’s a nice feeling.

4) Strawberries – A simple plate of fresh strawberries made me feel better this morning.

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5) It’s only 12.43pm – The lovely feeling when you still have plenty of day left! I thought it was later, so it’s a pleasant surprise knowing that I have posted five positive things for today already and still have potential to think of more!