Deep Breath and Relax.

I haven’t written a blog post for ages. The trouble is I had a rather unfortunate epiphany. One day after school, when I was writing a post and all three children were crawling on me and screaming, I realised that I was blogging to escape. By blogging I was actually just avoiding doing actual mothering. The house was a mess, meals were late and I was snapping at the kids when they wanted something (food mainly) because I was in the middle of writing.

It turns out my children expected me to do actual stuff for them. You know, cook, make sure they had clean clothes, get them to school on time, those inconvenient old chestnuts. I found that whenever I sat down to write a blog post or do anything at all on my iPad, the kids would just freak out. If I was standing up and being productive in a way that benefitted them, then they’d play beautifully and crack on with stuff. So, I decided to stop writing for a while and start actually responding to and interacting with my children. Weird huh? I’m very jealous of bloggers who manage to do it all, but in the end I’m not one of them, so there’s no point in sweating it.

So why are you blogging now? I hear you cry in outrage? Well, after 8 years of breeding and having at least one little person at home, Izzy, my smallest and noisiest child, has started nursery! I have real, spare time to do my own thing. Imagine that! So, the other day, I dusted off my laptop and started writing again, I found some old kids poems I wrote ages ago and am thinking of sending them off to some agents. (Please note that I am still only “thinking” about doing this, any actual doing is still a long way off…)

The good thing about my little blogging break was that I had a chance to think about what I want to write and learned some good lessons along the way. I’ve decided not to do product reviews unless I already use and love the product, (N.B. I will of course happily review diamonds, the new Volvo XC90 or any designer handbags) and to stop The Many Faces Of Maisie Moo. It turns out that Maisie became really paranoid about her smile and didn’t want to be in pictures anymore, (Nice, well done me.)

I’ve also had a chance to learn some decent mothering lessons. Here they are in all their glory.
1. Get up earlier. Turns out, it gives you more time in the morning, who knew?
2. Don’t ever sit down or relax when the kids are awake, it unsettles them and makes them wild.
3. Let the children play with play dough whenever they want. It keeps them happy for ages. I know it’s messy, but since I’ve learned how to sweep, mess is not horror it once was.
4. Let them ruin the play dough by mixing it up. (That one still makes me sweat but deep breathing and simply not looking helps enormously.)
5. Shouting doesn’t work. (I still do it, but whilst I’m doing it I’m thinking, “This isn’t working.”) Babysteps.
6. Wine doesn’t help. (Controversial I know, please don’t hit me.)
7. Don’t even try talking to another adult when there are children in the room. You can’t hear what you’re saying and neither can the adult your trying to talk to. I’ve discovered after eight years of tireless research that all children react very badly when they think you’re about to finish a sentence. That’s science.
8. If one of the children hates doing a club you’ve forced them to do then just let them stop doing it. Life’s too short. Having said that I’m sticking with Izzy’s ballet class for a little bit longer, as I’m sure she’s growing to love it.

The long and short of it is, life had been much less stressful and much more streamlined for the past few months. Let’s just hope that now I’ve started blogging again that I can resist the temptation to hide from the children whilst writing about what fun we’re having…

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Tiger Omelette

Tiger Omelette was created by accident when the only cheese I had left in the fridge was the Red Leicester that came with our Christmas Cheese Variety pack. Usually my kids refuse to have cheese omelette but oddly decided it was brilliant when I called it tiger Omelette.

Ingredients
A fifty pence sized blob of oil
One large egg per child
A splash of milk
A pinch of salt
Grated Red Leicester Cheese

Method
imageHeat the oil in the pan. Whilst it’s heating up, mix the eggs milk and salt together and then pour into the pan when it’s heated. Be careful not to let the egg burn by using a silicone spatula to go around the edge of the Omelette and scraping the bottom of the Omelette away to allow the uncooked mixture to heat and harden.

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Once the Omelette is pretty solid but still wet on top just sprinkle on the grated Red Leicester to create the tiger stripes and place under a grill until the top is solid but not brown!

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Once cooked just use the spatula to release the Omelette and serve! This is such a quick recipe and tasty too, we usually serve with fruit and raw veg so that it’s balanced but still really quick.

One last handy tip, we’ve discovered that our kids are more likely to eat raw carrot when it’s still carrot shaped. Kids eh?

Ta da!

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The Drama of a Sick Day

So today, Maisie is off school with a suspected ear infection. She’s wearing her most snugly and most pink clothes, she’s dosed up with Kids Ibuprofen and allowed to watch as much telly as she likes. The problem is… Isabelle. She’s being VERY 2 at the moment and taking great delight in punching, pulling, pushing and pinching her sister. She wants whatever Maisie has, she wants to sit wherever Maisie sits and she wants to do whatever Maisie is doing. This does not a restful day make.

Izzy has been wailing and screaming lots over the past week but her wails and screams are NOTHING in comparison to Maisie’s piercing shrieks of complaint. I’m basically living in fear of all the windows in the house shattering and the neighbours realising that my children are out of control and I’m an incompetent mother. Joy.

I’m managing to do my best patient and quiet talking but have a horrible feeling that it won’t be long until my inner harridan bursts forth. All I can say is Thank God for the Peppa Pig chanel. Did you know that even existed? Well it does and I think that it may well make this sick day just about bearable.

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A Rather Exuberant Review of The Hama Beads Group Suitcase.

I like to think of Hama Beads as a gift from God. For me and my family, they are literally like Hama from heaven (quite pleased with that). Apart from Lego and Play Dough (Dough Dough), they are the only toy we have that all the kids like playing with together. If I’m totally honest, Izzy seems to prefer throwing them around, but sometimes when she’s not feeling destructive, she almost gets it. I give it three months and she’ll be sitting with her bro and big sis, making equally impressive creations. Another wonderful thing about Hama Beads is that the whole process of making the little mosaics is fantastically therapeutic. Forget the kids, parents, if you’re feeling stressed, get the ol’ Hama Beads out, turn on the radio and make away. You’ll find yourself in a much better place after creating a day-glo dolphin or a psychedelic princess.

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For those of you who don’t know, Hama Beads are tiny beads that you place on a frame to create a sort of mosaic. Once your child has made a mosaic they like, a grown up covers it with some special paper and irons over it so that the little plastic beads all stick together. I discovered them by accident a few weeks ago during a play date. The mummy host (Hi Kinnary!) wheeled out her Hama beads and all of the kids were instantly entranced. After that, I decided we needed them in our lives and went on the hunt to get some.

We ended up getting the Hama Beads Group Suitcase from Argos which costs £39.99. It has loads of beads and plenty of templates to use, but prices do start from as little as £7.99 for the Little Princess set which also makes them brilliant stocking fillers or gifts for kids birthday parties. It looks like Argos have loads of deals on these at the moment but I’m not sure how long they’ll last for.

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What I don’t understand is, how did I not know about Hama Beads before?? Everyone else seems to have them and love them, but they’ve completely passed us by until now so we have a lot of making up to do. Here are some of our beautiful creations…

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We recently had our cousins over and after the initial excitement of running about and giving Maisie and the baby an extraordinary makeover, they noticed the Hama beads and immediately wanted to play with them. What ensued was an hour of peace and companionable quiet.

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Hama Beads are a bit like Lego, kids are happy to play with them for hours without squabbling or more importantly parental guidance. If you’re after some inspiration for Christams gifts then do consider these as an alternative to all the robots and crazy electronics that are about this year. If however, you’re feeling the need for some electronic craziness then check out Argos’s Dream Toys 2013 list which has loads of inspiration.

Ewwwww! Did you know…

…a survey commissioned by Dettol discovered that bacteria linked to faeces is found on 1 in 4 items of children’s washed clothes when washed at low temperatures? Well, I suppose this is only true if at least one person in your family regularly poos their pants, but for those of you with tiny ones and/or hot-curry consuming husbands, this is a distinct possibility. Thankfully in our family it’s only Izzy who occasionally has a little leakage now, but when there are leakages I hate the idea that the bacteria on her stuff is transferred onto everyone else’s clothing in the washing machine! Bleugh!

So what’s the solution I hear you cry!! Well, thankfully for all of us, Dettol has brought out a new product that “…kills 99.9% of bacteria, for hygienically clean laundry even at low temperatures”. All you do is add a capful to your normal wash and carry on as usual. I have to say, this has also been really good for my sweaty gym gear, although there’s no poo on it obviously, there’s usually lots of sweat and the low temperature washes don’t always clean as well as they might (TMI?).

Dr Pixie McKenna endorses this product and explains in her video some rather unsavory facts about bacteria on our washing. if you want to take a look then please click here for some nasty revelations!

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