28 September 2016

Easy Blackberry Turnovers

One of our favourite Autumn activities is to pick blackberries and as a result we already have a freezer full of them. We love blackberry and apple crumble on a Sunday after a roast dinner, with lovely warm custard but I fancied trying something different. Miss Tibs loves to bake and so I decided to incorporate some of the blackberries we had picked into one of our baking sessions and we made blackberry turnovers. They were so easy to make and toddler friendly so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

easy blackberry turnovers recipe

blackberry picking and what to do with them all

Ingredients 
- 200g blackberries (ish)
- 50g muscovado sugar
- 1tsp cinammon 
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 ready to roll puff pastry sheet 
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top

Method

- put the blackberries, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste in a pan and heat gently for 5- 10 mins

- unroll the sheet of puff pastry and cut into 8 rectangles

- pop a couple of spoonfuls of filling in the middle of each rectangle then fold over

- using a fork, crimp the edges to seal

- brush with milk/egg and sprinkle with sugar

- pop in the oven at 220 degrees c for 10-15 minutes until golden and puffy\

- remove from the oven and leave to cool before dusting with icing sugar and serving with cream or ice cream and a little of the blackberry mixture on the side if you have any left over.

making blackberry turnovers

Miss Tibs really enjoyed working with the pastry and particularly brushing the turnovers with milk and sprinkling them with sugar. Once I had shown her what to do at each stage she was able to fill, fold, seal and brush the rest all by herself.  The fact that they cook so quickly meant that they were ready to come out the oven by the time we had tidied up and ready to taste test- probably Miss Tib's favourite bit of all.

Enjoy! 

Me X

25 September 2016

Finding a new normal

With any period of change it always takes a while to find your feet, to adapt, to discover your new rhythm. I'll always remember the the wonderful chaos of having my first baby and the unknown newness of becoming a mother. I felt like I was paddling a boat rather unsteadily, unsure of where I was going and it felt a bit unsettling. The truth was I was trying to get to the destination too quickly, to a place where it all felt familiar and settled again. What I needed was to give myself time, time to find our 'new normal'. I can't quite remember when it happened but sometime between 12 and 16 weeks we made that transition and suddenly I couldn't remember what life felt like before and it all felt very normal again, even if that was an incredibly tired normal.

Adjusting to motherhood
Ellie and I when she was 10 weeks old
The introduction of a new sibling
Ellie age 2 with her new baby sister Phoebe
Inevitably our 'normal' was turned upside down by the arrival of baby number two as we learnt to juggle two little people's needs, feeling torn and working out our days with a newborn and a busy toddler to entertain. I remember meeting a lady in the park who was pregnant with her second baby and as we pushed our toddlers on the swings she asked me "how do you find having two?" I told her it was amazing, sometimes a challenge and that it took a while to find our 'new normal'  but we were finally finding our feet and I couldn't remember life without two. It was so lovely when I bumped into this lady after the arrival of her baby and when I asked how she was getting on she said that they had "found their new normal".  

Adjusting to life as a mum of 3
Me with my 3 little ladies, Ellie (3) Phoebe (18 months) and Lottie a few weeks old
Life has changed for us in other ways over last few years with job changes for my husband, working from home full time to then commuting to London with long days and this took some time for us all to get used to. The arrival of our third baby also threw us out for a while, although this was a far shorter period than before and was more to do with the logistics of looking after three under 4 and surviving the lack of sleep. She very much had to just fit in and we had already been through the change of adding a sibling to mix so kind of knew the ropes and found our new normal more quickly. 

Ellie starting school!

We had just got into a lovely, comfortable rhythm with life with three young children and knew how our days went and then our first born started school which is a whole unknown world. Just like that we've found ourselves in another period of transition to navigate and just need to embrace the change and find our 'new normal' once again.

So whether you are a new mum, have recently added a new sibling to the mix, moved house, started a new job, gone back to work after maternity leave, or undergone any other significant change in your life, give yourself time, be kind to yourself and you'll soon find your new normal too.

Me x

22 September 2016

Autumn Dresses and Hair Accessories

Now that the weather has changed my attention has turned to the little ladies autumn wardrobes. I love putting them in dresses, cosy tights and cute little boots and an outfit is never complete in our house without a coordinating hair accessory.  I love that dresses can be teamed with knee high socks on warmer days or with tights and a gilet or cardigan as it gets cooler. Here are my top picks, perfect for this transitional season and great for layering:


I love everything about this Baby Boden Rabbit Sweatshirt Dress so easy and comfortable to wear and not to mention it's ALL THE CUTE! Those bunnies are so fluffy and adorable and remind me of our own little bunny Pedro.


I've recently discovered 'Ditsy Dot' a fabulous hair accessory company run by Erica, mum to twins and now hair clip genius. 'Ditsy Dot' was born when Erica tried to find some dinosaur hair clips for her daughter and found very few available so decided to make her own. Unsurprisingly friends loved what she had made and put in their orders and 'Ditsy Dot' was born. Erica makes all the hair clips herself using the most beautiful fabrics which rather brilliantly co-rdinate perfectly with my Autumn Dress picks. Do pop over to the Ditsy Dot Facebook Page and the Ditsy Dot Instagram page for lots of inspiration.


I'm a huge floral fan and also love to dress the girls in blue and red so have already added these two gorgeous prints to the girls' wardrobes. They are a lovely soft jersey material and so easy to wear. This one is from Baby Boden and is available up to age 3-4. So pleased that Boden have extended their baby range age range this year. There are 4 prints available in this dress, this one is Vanilla Pod Primrose


I've invested in this Dress for Ellie and love the striped sleeves with the floral print. Again it's jersey material so will be so comfy. It's a swing dress so will pass her 'twirl test'. I've gone for it in age 5-6 but its available from age 2-12 from Mini Boden and there are two prints to choose from including this one. I really find that I can hand their clothing down through all 3 little ladies and it lasts so well without bobbing or wash fading.


These two button clips from 'Ditsy Dot' will co- ordinate beautifully with the floral jersey dresses above along with Denim dresses we already have. Erica thinks of everything even matching the colour of the slide to best compliment the fabric.


I am so happy with the abundance of woodland themed clothing out there this autumn and hedgehogs are my absolute favourite, look how beautifully the dusky pink and brown work together... I'd actually quite like this outfit myself! This super cute dress is from Baby Boden and is called 'Vintage Pink Hedgies' This clip and matching bobbles are from 'Ditsy Dot' and just too sweet for words, we'll definitely be needing some more of these as they are already a popular choice with Ellie and Phoebe.


Staying with a woodland theme, I love these two woodland cord pinafore dresses. They'll be so lovely with a plain body underneath and cable knit tights. I love the colours in this one from Baby Boden, particularly the orange and teal.


This pinafore is from John Lewis and the pastel green is really fresh and i think will look great through Autumn, Winter and Spring. The fox, rabbit and deer detail is so pretty. It's available from 0-3 up to 2-3, I really like the traditional vintage styling of a pinafore dress along with needlecord, as it's soft but a nice weight for autumn.


Of course 'Ditsy Dot' have several gorgeous woodland designs to match, I really like the copper clip as it really highlights the brown and orange tones to the dresses i've chosen and little plaits or pigtails with the pinafore dresses will be so sweet.


I really like to put the girls in matching outfits but as Ellie is getting older it's getting harder to find ranges for all 3 age groups. Meet Mini Boden's Pintuck Ruffle Dress available from 0-3 all the way up to 11-12! Its also available in 5 colour ways, this Formica pink is my favourite:


Teamed with these Liberty Print clips and bobbles from 'Ditsy Dot'' the little ladies will look simply adorable and will be matching in style!


 I adore Liberty Prints and couldn't believe my eyes when I came across these beauties from Mamas and Papas. I love both styles so much and am still undecided which one to go for. I love mustard for Autumn, its warm yet bright and looks amazing with greys and browns. This first one is the Liberty capel-collared-dress and the one below is the Liberty capel pinafore dress and t shirt set, aren't they both divine? They are available in 0-3 to 2-3 so maybe I'll have to get one for Lottie and the other for Phoebe ;)



'Ditsy Dot' have perfectly matching liberty print buttons with a navy clip to pair with them, an autumn wardrobe staple i'd say!


Last but by no means least is this very sweet unicorn print jersey dress from John Lewis and at £12 it's an absolute bargain. It only goes up to age 2-3 which is a shame as otherwise I would most definitely be buying 3!


Finally hair clip wise I love rainbows as much as I love unicorns and bunnies, this gorgeous little clip from 'Ditsy Dot' will brighten up any outfit on a grey autumn day.


 I hope you love my Autumn picks as much as I do, feel free to leave your comments below :)

Me x

This post contains affiliate links.
Ditsy Dot kindly sent me the featured hair accessories to match my dress picks. 
All opinions in this post are my own. 


16 September 2016

Bathtime with Childs Farm


childs farm brand ambassador

We love bath time in our house, it's something that happens no matter what at the same time each day. Ever since the little ladies were babies we have implemented a bath, book, bed routine and it's worked well for us. The girls love playing outdoors and getting stuck into arts and crafts so they always need a good bath at the end of the day. They love being in the tub together, pouring and splashing and squirting water and I'm always asked for lots of bubbles please mummy - because who doesn't like a bubble bath?!


We recently became ambassadors for Childs Farm, creators of a wonderfully gentle and kind children's skincare range. The girls have always had quite sensitive skin on their arms and cheeks and having experimented with several brands over the years, last year I came across Childs Farm. With a preschooler, toddler and a new baby in the bath I needed something super gentle but effective. I picked up a bottle of child's farm bubble bath after seeing it on offer in the supermarket and it ticked all the boxes:


Childs farm happy skin promise

 Using it in the bath that night the girls commented on how 'yummy' it smelt'. The scents are just so gorgeous, not overpowering at all and after getting the girls out of the bath and giving them a cuddle in their towels I just wanted to sniff them! Their skin felt so soft and lovely, I was so pleased and have been using Childs Farm ever since. Their happy skin promise gave me such confidence in the brand and we have since added shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, nappy cream and sun cream to our Childs Farm collection and I now don't buy anything else. They have won loads of awards and once you've used their products it's easy to see why.




The girls love the products too and there are no tears on hair wash night, in fact they love to wash each other's hair. If you are new to child's farm here are my top 5 favourite products: 

1. Raspberry bubble bath 500ml - I love the size of these big bottles, they last ages and are so easy to dispense, but most of all the bubbles smell divine. 

2. Strawberry and Mint Shampoo - It leaves the girls hair gorgeously shiny and a little goes a long way. 

3. Strawberry and Mint Conditioner - The girls have quite thin flyaway hair and like all children are not a fan of having their tangled tresses brushed, this eliminates all that and leaves their hair super soft.

4. Grapefruit and Tea Tree Oil Moisturiser - My favourite thing about this is that it's not sticky, we use once a week all over to give the girls skin a little drink, it's really light and smells so fresh. I also love the easy to apply and dispense with the pump action nozzle. 

5. Nappy Cream - It's so gentle, compact so fits in my nappy bag easily and most of all it soothes sore skin brilliantly. As well as this they also have a complete range of baby products from baby wash to baby oil.

If you'd like to try Childs Farm or just stock up on your favourites I have a 30% off discount code to share with you, simply enter CFAMB282 at the checkout on their website: www.childsfarm.com   


Wishing you and your littles a happy bathtime! 

Me X 






13 September 2016

The last feed

I recently shared a post called 'one day' about all the things I would no longer one day do, some of them precious, some of them mundane, some of them everyday. One of these things was feeding my baby. Sunday night marked our last breastfeed and last night daddy put Miss Dot to bed. This is a big decision for me, an emotionally mixed one and I felt I wanted to document it.

last breastfeed, stopping breastfeeding
Our last feed 11/09/2016
Every night since she entered the world I have held her and fed her and loved her as she relaxed and fell asleep in my arms. At 12.5 months it felt like the right time for us, she's become so independent in so many ways and is toddling around quite happily. We were down to just one feed at bedtime having naturally dropped the rest over the last few months so it's been a matter of 'when' the last one would go. I had decided that as she was my last baby  I wanted to decide when our last feed would be rather than letting her self wean. Miss Boo turned her head and pushed me away one night at 15 months old and as lovely as it was that she made that decision I just wasn't quite emotionally ready for it. I had to wean Miss Tibs at 13 months as I was pregnant with Miss Dot and it was very uncomfortable and was just exhausted, but I felt very guilty about this and it wasn't how I wanted it to end. This time I felt ready and it was my choice and for no other reason than that our journey had come to a natural end. I'd just like to say on that note that I have absolutely no opinions whatsoever on how parents choose to feed their babies,  fed is best, this is just my experience and as much as I dislike this phrase, my journey.

In honesty I'd reached the decision to call it a day because after 5 years of being pregnant and breastfeeding pretty much back to back I'd quite like my body back. There have been moments when it hasn't been easy, when it's been so demanding and exhausting and I've felt like giving up. I haven't enjoyed every feed, sometimes I've dreaded every feed during a growth spurt or similar. At times it's been intense, overwhelming and I've resented having to be there at every bedtime and being the one getting up in the night so many times I would never have been able to count. At the same time when I sat in that rocking chair on Sunday evening and we had that one last feed it felt so precious, so worth every tough moment, and i'd do it all over again, every single feed in a heartbeat. I cried and held her a little bit longer before putting her in her cot that last time. There were tears from her and even more from me last night when she went to bed without me, safely cuddled by her daddy. it was hard but it's the right thing for us, for me.  I feel sad, I feel relieved, I feel very proud but most of all I feel ready to move on. It's the end of a very long chapter but a new one is beginning.

Me x

11 September 2016

5 things I've learnt from the first week of school

I've learnt a lot from Ellie's first week at school, some of those things I really didn't expect so I and thought i'd share them with other parents with little ones starting school. You might be able to relate to some of these reasons or they might help prepare you for that first day at school if it's on the horizon.

1. It's emotional

There have been tears from me the night before school started, the morning school started and at the end of the week out of sheer relief I think. There have been squeals of sheer excitement from Ellie who until the end of the week skipped in quite merrily, on Friday there was reluctance and tears from her too. There have been tantrums and tears from Phoebe who misses her big sister and companion terribly. It's safe to say we have got through a large box of tissues.


Ellie first day of school
Ellie on her first day at school

2. It's exhausting 

I don't know if it's just the emotional side of things that has left us all completely exhausted this week or the change and the new routine; probably a combination of all 3.  Having to be somewhere 5 days a week and getting up and out the house for 8:40 with the 3 little ladies has been interesting to say the least, but we have managed it. Ellie is the most tired of all, too tired to talk when she gets home, all she has wanted to do is sit on the sofa and watch tv and they have all been in bed by 6:30. 

3. I know very little about what happens between 9am and 3:15pm 

I have tried several different ways of asking how Ellie's day was and what her favourite part was in an attempt to find out what she has done all day. So far she told me that she 'did a poo on the toilet and wiped my own bottom'... Good... And that 'someone had a nosebleed in the playground at break time but it was ok because the playground needed a wash anyway'... Ok... Great, anything else? 'No I can't remember...' Other than these very tiny nuggets of information I have no clue what she has been doing all day other than a few little bits and bobs that have come home in her book bag, including two pine cones. 

4. It's hungry work 

I learnt pretty quickly that I need to provide a snack as soon as Ellie gets in the door or things go downhill pretty quickly. Apples are devoured in minutes, bananas in seconds and I can't chop the grapes fast enough. She's having a good breakfast too and hot lunches and then often two plates of dinner. I had forgotten what hungry work school was.

5. It's going to take some getting used to 

I've realised having reflected over the weekend that this is a really big change for us all and its going to take some time to adapt. It's new for everyone, me included and as well as waving my baby off to school I'm trying to navigate (avoid) the oh so present playground politics; I'm really not one for cliques and it feels a little like i'm the one going to school. I also feel like Ellie's personal assistant... there are book bags and drinks bottles and PE kits to remember and library books bring back each Monday, reading records to sign and letters to read and dates for the diary.  Then there's the school uniform to wash and iron and school shoes to polish; I can only imagine what it will be like when all three are at school. On top of that there's the actual school hours that we are now confined to which has meant some reshuffling of some things for Phoebe and Lottie. Above all we are just getting used to being apart five days a week which is unusual for us. Very soon it will all become old hat and feel very normal i'm sure.

Bring on week two... We're ready for you... Well the school uniform is still in the washing machine but we're more mentally ready... I think! 

Me x

4 September 2016

Starting school

To Ellie

Tomorrow you're starting school. I just can't believe it. If I close my eyes I can still see so clearly the moment you were lifted up onto my chest after arriving in the world. It's like someone has a giant remote control and has held down the fast forward button. I can't actually believe that tomorrow you'll be making your first steps into a brand new chapter. 


starting school, first day of school, wooden ruler height chart
Ruler Height Chart is from The Real Ruler Height Chart Co
You're so excited and have been counting the sleeps for a week now. You've tried on your school uniform countless times and have been telling everyone that you meet that you're going to school. You're going to learn so much, you're ready for it and I can't wait for you to be able to write me notes and read to yours sisters.

Tomorrow I'll hold your hand as we walk through the playground and wait for the bell to ring. Then I'll give you a cuddle and a kiss and try not to cry. I'm hoping it's sunny enough to warrant wearing sunglasses. I'm excited for you but I'm really going to miss you. I'm so proud of you and all that you are. Remember all that we have taught you and you will be just fine, be kind, be gentle, be friendly, be thoughtful and most of all of be you. 

Have fun little one and good luck, I'll be right here if you need me. 

Love Mummy X